Senior Smiles

Adopting dogs who are no longer young animals.

A trip to your local animal shelter reveals that dogs of all types, backgrounds, and ages may usually be seen. Inevitably, those dogs that are no longer in ‘the first flush of youth’ are frequently seen as less adoptable than younger animals. While that is understandable from a prospective owner’s point of view there’s no reason at all to disfavor the older dog.

Both Casey and Pedy were dogs that Jean and I adopted when they were well into their middle years, or six-years-old to put a number to it.

Casey, shown above, had been in the animal shelter for over a year and on top of being six had the added burden of being a Pit Bull breed.

Hi Pedy, I'm the bossman around here. Name's Pharaoh and you'll be OK.
Hi Pedy, I’m the bossman around here. Name’s Pharaoh and you’ll be OK.

So when the Care2 blogsite published a post about adopting senior dogs I thought that this was most certainly something to be shared with you.

Here it is.

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What Advice Would You Offer Someone Adopting a Senior Dog?

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By: Vetstreet.com August 18, 2016

About Vetstreet.com
Those of us who have been fortunate enough to share our hearts and homes with a senior dog know just how special those gray-muzzled darlings can be. Earning the love of an aging pup who truly needs you creates a special bond that’s hard to put into words.

True, they may have some age-related health issues (like arthritis, dental disease or failing vision or hearing) that require attention or treatment. But older dogs have lots of pros, too, like the fact that they’re likely to be better trained than a puppy and they’re probably game to lounge around with you and take it easy. And when it comes to adopting a senior dog, you have the benefit of knowing what you’re getting in terms of size and in most cases, personality.

Our readers recently shared some great tips for people getting their first dog or cat — and in fact, we know that many of you have opened your homes to adult dogs. So when we wanted to offer tips to people looking to welcome an older canine into the family, we turned to our Vetstreet Facebook followers and asked: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone adopting a senior dog? And, as we suspected, our readers came through with some excellent — and touching — words of wisdom.

Advice for Someone Adopting a Senior Dog

Many readers expressed the importance of showering your senior dog with love. “Love them unconditionally, as you don’t know how long you will have them,” said Peggy Lowe-Brooks. “Enjoy each day they are in your life.”

Rich Dunn agreed, saying, “Love them, love them. Treat them like family, be there to the end and hope someday to see them on the other side!” Dee Davis added, “Make sure you’re committed to love, care and cater to them for them the rest of their lives.”

Mike Carroll suggested remembering that, for some dogs, age might be just a number: “Have fun with them; they still have a lot of energy and the desire to do most anything they ever did before. Baby them big time and be ready to be on the receiving end of some serious love and affection from them. Just let them enjoy the rest of their life like never before.”

William West Patience’s experience backs up Carroll’s suggestion. “I have had dogs that lived until 15, then I adopted one that was 16 because no one else would,” he said. “It has been a rewarding experience and has taught me so much. Except for some mobility issues he doesn’t know he’s an old dog.”

Of course, it’s important to remember that taking on a dog during his golden years can be a big responsibility, and potential owners should be ready for that. “…Remember they may have expensive medical bills; be prepared to give them the medical care they will need,” said Priscilla Leuliette.

Susan Holt Stanley was of a similar mind, saying, “Love them with your heart, care for them medically and tell them a million times how special they are!”

And Sarah Vaughn reminded us of the golden rule: “Be patient! One day you’re going to be elderly and you don’t want someone yelling at or getting frustrated with you because you move so slowly and have accidents because you can’t make it outside (or to the facilities) in time.”

If you’re considering bringing a senior dog into your home, there are numerous things you can do to help him enjoy his senior years. You might take steps to pet-proof your home in a way that makes it easier for him to get around. And believe it or not, teaching your old dog new tricks isn’t only possible, it’s a great way to help your new-old pup stay mentally and physically sharp! Getting him to the vet for regular exams and keeping an eye out for any physical or behavioral changes is important for dogs of all ages, but becomes perhaps even more important as he ages.

Care2 readers, what advice do you have for people adopting senior dogs? Tell us below in the comments. [Ed: as comments left on this post.]

By Kristen Seymour | Vetstreet.com

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Keeping an eye out for any physical or behavioral changes doesn’t just apply to aging dogs! 😉

19 thoughts on “Senior Smiles

  1. Just a few days ago I relived in my mind the pain of losing our 16 year old Bichon- and that was a year and a half ago! Honestly, that is my biggest fear of adopting another dog- esp an older one. 😕

    1. Cindy, the pain you feel is because of the love you gave your Bichon. The two sides of the same coin!

      But don’t let that pain distract you from what your love meant to your dog. Dogs that are adopted into a world of love spend the balance of their lives fulfilled and happy.

      I rest my case!

      1. It’s so true..and I believe that. Maybe it’s selfish to hang on to grief like this, and I REALLY don’t mean to, but the aftershocks still roll in and ugh..it’s just tough to imagine going through that ache again. (Maybe I just need a bit more time.)

      2. Spot on! Grief is not a selfish attitude, far from it! You will know when it’s the right time to adopt, and love, a new dog.

        Really hope you don’t mind me playing the amateur psychologist! 😉

  2. I have adopted two older dogs and I have no regrets. They are both gone now. When one of my animals dies I seek comfort in my other pets. In my opinion it helps to have more than one animal. It does ease the pain- a bit.

  3. I adopted my two greyhounds last year when they were both 7. They are full of life and show no signs of slowing down, especially Chicken my little girly. When I went to get the first one, I asked them to show me the dogs who’d been waiting the longest. I ended up with Monty who’s brilliant! Great post – thank you.
    Tess🐾

  4. I have had 3 dogs with various health problems and I was very thankful that they were a part of my life. It is true, adopting an older dog is the way to go if you are not prepared to deal with a puppy but want a companion.

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