While everyone loves puppies with their playful ways, perky personalities and plump, cuddly bodies, the 'cute factor' is less obvious with our older canine friends.
This means they're often overlooked
when it comes to people thinking about bringing a dog into the family
and shelters struggle to find them homes. This is a real shame as seniors have a lot of cute, plus more, to offer
if we open our hearts and homes to them.
Seniors Know Everything
Well, maybe not everything that would be weird, but where puppies need to be taught the lot, older dogs have already mastered how to live with their human friends
. They know we don't like them peeing in the house, chewing our shoes, or ripping up the mail. Puppies are a lot of work
, but seniors generally come with the basics covered.
Peace and Gratitude Are in Abundance
Older dogs seem to have a unique sense that they've been given something special
and aren't shy at showing their gratitude. There's a wise knowingness that dogs given second, or third or fourth chances seem to have. It's as if they want to show their thanks by being perfect, peaceful companions
. They enjoy every day they get to show it, and will sleep, walk, or just simply be with us whatever we're up to. They're not hurtling around needing attention like their puppy counterparts. Those hours of frantically exhausting energy are in the past for our oldies. A quiet nap, or a tranquil walk together is much more appealing
No Size Surprises
When buying or adopting a puppy, there's just never quite knowing exactly how big
the baby will turn out to be. Guesses are made, expectations raised, but, till the growing stops, a tiny bundle of fluff can easily turn into an almighty great handful of adolescent dog that's not quite what was expected. Many young dogs end up in shelters when bought as tiny pups by those not realising the full extent of the big dog that finally emerges. None of this applies to our great seasoned seniors. We know what we're getting, and can love every bit of their marvellously mature bodies and minds
Costly Veterinary Procedures Might Not Be a Big Deal
While it's easy to assume that older dogs are going to require expensive veterinary care
this is not always the case at all. It just doesn't make a lot of sense to do the most costly, lengthy procedures, like cancer treatments with our seniors. It's more usually about quality of life, keeping them comfortable and most certainly well loved
. But, should illness hit, which let's face it can happen at any age, there are many great rescues and organisations
across the world which provide good quality treatment and care for oldies
before and after adoption, with some covering lifetime expenses
. You won't find this deal with puppies.
There's One to Suit Us All
Like humans, dogs are individuals and while we can generalise, there's really no such thing as an 'average' oldie. While some will happily snooze their days with us in quiet security, and snuggle up in mutual comfort, others will be keenly out on their walks, enjoying the scenery and active company. There really is a senior for everyone
. Older dogs are ideally suited to those whose lives are just too busy
to accommodate the time that young puppies really deserve. When the walks are done, our older pals are more likely to contentedly rest than the bundles of constant energy puppies typically are. One thing's for sure with seniors, they know what life's about and they'll make the most of what's on offer
For more resources see the brilliant 'My Old Dog Book'
website which has a list of international organisations specialising in helping senior dogs.
Janetta Harvey is a writer and commentator on the international puppy breeding industry. She's author of three books: Saving Susie-Belle
and Saving One More
for adults and her latest, Saving Maya
for young readers. All are based on the lives of her dogs, rescued from large scale breeding facilities. Janetta is a strong advocate for pet adoption, especially seniors and her writing promotes this to all ages.
Janetta lives with her husband Michel, and their three dogs in England and France.
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