|Barked: Wed Jun 2, '10 9:50am PST |
|I wanted to add a slightly perspective. My Ben is an oldie, not a much loved pet, but a puppy farm stud, he lived his whole life in a cage barely bigger than a cat carrier. When he was rescued the owner didn't know how old he was, just that he was "8 or so", turns out he's more in the range of 12-15 years old, he's had so many ear infections that his ears are scarred closed, he had most of his teeth out, and mange all over. His life expectancy when he came was in months not years, I've had him for 6 months and am thankful for every day we have together.
-- How do you deal with the heartbreak of possibly losing a dog within 1 or 2 years?
The way I see it, that's a selfish view, of course I will be heartbroken if he died, but would it be better if he died alone in a shelter somewhere? He deserves way better.
-- Can you bring a dog of that age into a household of multiple pets and at least have acceptance between all of them?
Ben is too old to be bothered by other animals, he is a laid back cool dude. But either way, shelters are so eager to find homes for oldies they'll happily cat test for you or give you a time to bring your dogs in to meet the new dog. Ben loves everyone, puppies, cats, its all great to him. Some oldies might be snappy with pups, but its a case by case situation.
-- How would you truly know before hand if they get along with other dogs, cats, grandkids?
As before, get assessments done, meet the dog, maybe even try fostering it.
-- Can a dog really learn to love a new person after spending 10-12 years with another?
Ben has never loved another person before rescue as far as I know. Maybe he loved the person who fed him before? I have no clue, but he loves me. He hops around like a puppy when I come home from work, we call it his happy dance, he doesn't do it when anyone else comes, so I'm his special friend.
-- And last but on a practical note, how expensive did you find it healthwise when you adopted this age of a dog?
Ben has been fairly expensive in rescue, I'm very lucky that he's a sponsored dog, so nice people with more money than me pay his vet bills, it's not always the case though, some dogs are fairly healthy, especially those who've always been well cared for, they may need a regular tablet, or a few extra check ups, but every dog will reach that eventually, and any dog can get ill, especially a breed like the Dalmatian which has hereditary issues, in that situation it may even prove cheaper to adopt an older dog who you know has no health issues rather than a youngster who may have HD show up in the first 12 months and have a lifetime of vet visits, painkillers and ops.
Overall, I do hope you go for an oldie if you can, the pay off is amazing, Ben is by far the dog who makes me smile the most, I was ecstatic when he jumped on the sofa for the first time after 4 months, I actually started phoning people to share the good news! I know he won't last forever, but every day I get is a blessing.
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