An incredibly simple, but positive, way to make a lasting impact on a dog’s life is to adopt a senior. To
do so isn’t conventional wisdom as typically those seeking to adopt a dog will automatically assume they
are in the market for a younger one. But why be conventional? Senior dogs aren’t adopted nearly as
frequently as shelters would like; the energy and “cuteness” of puppies and younger dogs are the first
to catch the eye of prospective owners. Because older dogs are often overlooked, this, too often,
tragically seals their fate with a spot on death row. In addition to saving a life, providing an older dog a
loving, warm, secure home to live out the rest of his days is an invaluable gift. If a senior dog is in need
of a home, it can mean two things:
He has already lived a majority of his life in a stable home and there has been some sort of
major change such as a family member’s death or other life-changing circumstance no longer
allowing for a dog, or
The dog’s life has been less than pleasant as he has likely bounced around from place to place.
Either option is heartbreaking reason enough to seek out an affectionate, needy member of the older
population and drastically improve the final years of his life. To make the choice to remove an older dog
from the dreary confines of a shelter and bring him into a cozy home is a decision that comes back to
the owner in spades. The gratitude and loyalty he will feel toward you will be like none other.
Aside from the instant love and devotion you will receive, there are other benefits to adopting a senior:
Senior dogs are calmer. They are less demanding than a younger dog and are often content to
just sit and cuddle.
They are most likely already trained. They are usually housebroken, can walk on a leash, and
may even know some basic commands.
The commitment period isn’t as long. It goes without saying, but, depending how “up there”
they are in years, senior dogs don’t have many years left. Besides the companionship you are
gaining, the main reason to adopt a senior is to make an enormous difference in his life.
However many months or years he has left, you can guarantee they will be good ones for him if
you consider the alternative.
Last month our family adopted Clyde, a lab mix. He is 12 or 13 years old and has settled into our home
beautifully. We fell in love with him the second we saw him in the cage at the SPCA and we had no
doubt whatsoever that he belonged with us. We gave him the gift of a joyful, doting family with whom
he will happily live out his days and, unbeknownst to him, he gave us so much more !