Let’s face it, puppies are adorable. Who can resist their playful antics and cute baby faces. But puppies take a lot of time and effort to train and socialize, plus a lot of messes and chewed up shoes along their way to becoming a full-grown, adult dog. Have you ever considered the benefits of adopting a senior pet instead?
Perhaps you have hesitated to adopt a senior dog because you believe your time with them will be short. No matter their age, it’s always hard to lose a beloved pet. But if you can look upon your time together as a privilege that makes every day more precious when shared with a loving and loyal companion, you can be grateful that you gave an older dog or cat a second chance at life. You may have just added years to an older pet’s life that they wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t made the decision to be a special angel in that animal’s life.
Oftentimes, senior folks and senior pets are a great match. For example, my mother is 85 years young and she has begun the search for a special little dog of her own. She knows that a young pup would not be right for her situation, nor does she have the time or energy to devote to training a puppy, so she is looking for a senior dog to share her life with. Here are just some of the benefits of adopting a senior pet:
- Senior dogs are usually already housetrained. They know that outside is where they should do their business.
- Senior dogs are less energetic and require less exercise, which is especially ideal for senior citizens.
- Senior dogs still have a lot of love to give and will be forever grateful to you for saving them. They’ll be your friend for life!
- Senior dogs have learned valuable life lessons, such as shoes are for people to wear and not for dogs to chew on.
- Senior dogs like to take long naps and will cuddle up with you if you’re ready for a nap too.
- Senior dogs can learn new tricks. In fact, they often make great therapy dogs.
- Senior dogs still have lots of companionship, love, and devotion to give.
Adopting a senior pet is saving a life. Too often, they are passed over in shelters in favor of young puppies and kittens, so they are more likely to be euthanized to make room for more younger, more adoptable animals.
Contrary to popular belief, senior dogs don’t always end up at shelters or rescues because they have a “problem.” More often than not they end up there through absolutely no fault of their own, such as the death of their owner, allergies, changes in circumstances such as a new baby, or other lifestyle changes. These poor dogs and cats need homes just as badly as the younger animals, and they certainly deserve a second chance at life.
Let me tell you the story of a very special black Lab named Scratch that my son adopted at the age of 9 years old. Scratch had been rescued from a bad situation where he had been horribly abused by his previous owner. He was used to being left tied outside and beaten for no particular reason. When my son first adopted him he was scared and shy. But with a lot of TLC it didn’t take long before he became a sweet and loving companion. Apparently somewhere along the way he had some housetraining, because he rarely made a mess in the house. He loved nothing more than to just hang out with his human family, go for rides, and explore the great outdoors. Every time I would go to visit, Scratch would lay his chin on my knee just wanting a little attention. In fact, he was just a big snuggle bug who wanted to cuddle and be loved on. In the summer time he loved to jump in the pool and go for a little swim to cool off, or even just lounge around on a floaty in the pool.
You may think that by adopting a 9 year old Lab he wouldn’t be around too long since the average life span of a Labrador retriever is 10-14 years. And even if he only lived to an average age, he still would have had several years of quality living and loving to help make up for the abuse he suffered during his first years of life. But surprisingly, Scratch lived to the very ripe old age of 23 years! Yes it may sound incredible, but his age was verified by the vet. He was physically very healthy and the only signs of old age that he had was having cataracts in the last couple of years. He did slow down some, but at times he would still run and play with the younger dogs as well.
In fact, he was healthy right up until the end of his life. One day about a year ago or so, my son let Scratch out to go potty like usual, and he never returned. Instead, he wandered off to die by himself. It was very sad, yet he apparently knew his time had come and he didn’t want to put his family through losing him. We are just so glad that he got to enjoy so many years of being a beloved family member .
The moral of this story is that even if you adopt a senior pet, you don’t know how many more years you’ll have together. No one ever does, even with a younger dog things happen. So why not consider giving a senior pet a second chance at living out their days in a loving home?
To find adoptable senior pets in your area, you can always visit Petfinder or Rescue Me, or call your local animal shelter and tell them you would like a senior pet. Would you consider saving a life? Old dogs and cats make great friends!