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adopting a senior questions

This is a special section for dogs needing new homes and for inspiring stories of dogs that have found their furever home through Dogster or through the love and energy of rescuers. This is also the place to discuss shelters, rescue organizations, rescue strategies, issues, solutions, etc. and how we can all help in this critical endeavor. Remember that we are all here for the love of dog! If you are posting about a dog that needs a new home, please put your location in the topic of your thread so those close by can find you! Make sure to check out Dogster's dog adoption center!

  
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Harlow

st. francis of- asses
 
 
Barked: Sun May 16, '10 5:52am PST 
Our plan has always been to find another breeder when Harlow is older and get a male dal. This, as all of you know is my heart breed and I will always have one or two. After reading thru the ads for dogs in danger and adopt a pet I am leaning towards rescue, more specifically, towards a senior dal. The ads on these websites will break your heart and leaving a senior, some 12 to 14 years old in a rescue is more than I can bear. These dogs have lived most of their lives with an owner and for some reason they have been dumped in their later years. So, my questions to dogsters who have adopted older dogs....How do you deal with the heartbreak of possibly losing a dog within 1 or 2 years? Can you bring a dog of that age into a household of multiple pets and at least have acceptance between all of them? How would you truly know before hand if they get along with other dogs, cats, grandkids? Can a dog really learn to love a new person after spending 10-12 years with another? And last but on a practical note, how expensive did you find it healthwise when you adopted this age of a dog? I know these are alot of questions but if we do this I want to start with good information and reasonable expectations. And I only want to do this if I can give the best quality life possible to a senior dog. These situations to me of dumping a dog this age at a shelter is no different that dumping an old person in a nursing home. Why does age equal less value sometimes???? Thanks to all of you who can give me some insight.
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Dolly - RIP Old Lady

Old Dogs Are The- Best Dogs
 
 
Barked: Sun May 16, '10 7:56am PST 
I adopted Dolly almost 2 years ago. She was supposed to be a foster, but she was pretty sickly so she was eventually deemed "unadoptable" so I kept her smile

I won't lie, it's not easy to think about losing her. When I first got her I tried to sort of ready myself for the fact she wasn't going to be with us long, but she just kept on chugging! We had a couple of scares but she's still here!

In some ways it was easy to integrate her in other ways hard. Dolly is amazing behaviorally (we call her our only "good dog". lol) Fitting an older intact female in with two DA dogs was not without planning and work but now they are one happy family (I still do not leave her alone with Marlo however). The hard part is that she is very needy. She can't really hold her bowels or bladder too long so she is basically always with me (I am lucky to take her to work). SHe can't be crated or penned although we have had success with keeping her in our kitchen. And yes, she does have medical bills for her congestive heart failure.

In terms of bonding, she actually did bond with me very quickly. She loves all people but she knows who I am for sure and is very attached. Funny to think that she doesn't even know her name is Dolly (she's deaf and I have no idea what her name was before, she was a stray).

Anyways in conclusion, do it!! Senior dogs are so rewarding.
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Megan

893573
 
 
Barked: Sun May 16, '10 8:34am PST 
My family adopted a senior cat, he was between 12 and 14 at the time of the adoption. We had him for close to 4 years, it was 100 percent worth it. Never have we had a cat so loyal and bonded to the family, a cat so creatively affectionate. The vet bills were only high in the last month of his life but that was mostly due to a young vet's misdiagnosis. He blended easily into a busy house of pets (old and young) and people. Adopting a senior is so special and such a different experience than bringing a young animal home. It made our lives very blessed and we are left with wonderful memories.
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Harlow

st. francis of- asses
 
 
Barked: Sun May 16, '10 3:57pm PST 
Duncan, Tiller, ya'll around for this one????
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Harlow

st. francis of- asses
 
 
Barked: Sun May 16, '10 6:42pm PST 
bump...
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Mon May 17, '10 12:53am PST 
Aw, Harlow, I am going to be no help laugh out loud I am a HUGE advocate for senior adoption! I think more often than not, these are the dogs that are most aware that you have rescued them. Past a certain age, odds are they were a family pet. They know what that is, then they lost it, and now all of a sudden there you are, returning it to them. My advice is to look for a senior who fits that profile. Who has the markers of having been a loved family pet. Some understanding a petiquette, some kindness of approach, some sort of "wise old soul" vibe, the markers of having known good care. Sometimes people dump seniors, which is so gross I can't even touch that, and sometimes, too, the owner dies and that is how the family handle the four legged part of the deceased's estate. We had a Pekingese recently, Harley....I am sure that was what happened with him. He was an incredibly well adjusted dog, knew a car meant rides, was HW negative. Duncan was actually sad to see him go (she's no foster freak, not am I wink).....he settled right in, put up with the house dogs fine. No, they won't last forever, but often it is such an instant and close bond, you appreciate that more than checking how many days are left on the calendar. Quite a few breed people....who breed and show dogs as their hobby.....that I know totally vibe off adopting seniors. It can be a very nice experience if you know how to look for the right dog.
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Turner - Gone Too- Soon

Hi I'm Turner- Wanna Smell My- Butt?
 
 
Barked: Mon May 17, '10 12:24pm PST 
I think that just knowing that you gave them a happy ending is worth it! I love the seniors -who doesn't. They deserve a good life until the end -whenever that may be. Until then - enjoy them!! Good for you for thinking about a senior. You won't be dissappointed!


wave
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Peaches- ♥

I'm adopted!!
 
 
Barked: Mon May 17, '10 12:54pm PST 
We've adopted two seniors...

--How do you deal with the heartbreak of possibly losing a dog within 1 or 2 years?

I think when you know that the dog is coming into your home to spend his "golden years", you just kinda accept that and know in the back of your mind that it can happen. I think it makes you appreciate every day with them a little bit more. And knowing that they lived the last days of their lives in comfort, with love and dignity...that makes up for anything else they might have experienced. We expected Rufus to only last 6 months. It's been two years and he's still going strong. Peaches is a bit younger but still a senior and she's not showing ANY signs of slowing down anytime soon. So you might have them for longer than you think.

--Can you bring a dog of that age into a household of multiple pets and at least have acceptance between all of them?

Just like with any other age, it depends on the dog but yes, you can. Rufus doesn't really care if the other dogs are around or not. He will let Sam cuddle with him if he's cold but if Sam and Jax start playing in the bed, he gets snippy and barks until we make them get out and leave him in peace. Peaches. on the other hand, wants to be the queen bee and tries to make the other dogs behave. She doesn't want them barking or playing and snaps at them if they bother her. Luckily she doesn't have any teeth left to hurt them with or we'd have a problem. We'd still keep her, we'd just keep her more separated from the others. Each of our dogs have their own crate so they can be alone if they want and away from the others, so when Peach gets snippy, she goes off by herself for a while. Most of the time, its peaceful though.

--How would you truly know before hand if they get along with other dogs, cats, grandkids?

Again, it would just depend on the dog and would be the same as a dog of any other age...you'd just have to visit with them and try and see. Many rescues will at least try and experiement with them and see how they do in various situations if they can.

--Can a dog really learn to love a new person after spending 10-12 years with another?n

Yes, they can. Rufus isn't a great example of this. As long as his food and water bowls are full and his bedding is clean, he really doesn't much care if we're here or not but he does show some bonding with my husband more than with me...I'm the evil lady who bathes him and takes him to the vet while my husband is the one to give him treats and scratch is back. Peaches, however, was TERRIFIED of men when we got her - she was apparently abused by someone in her previous life. Not only did she learn to accept my husband, she LOVES him now. He is her favorite person in the whole world.


--And last but on a practical note, how expensive did you find it healthwise when you adopted this age of a dog?

Peaches had been in rescue and was fairly healthy at first except for her teeth. We had to spend a healthy amount to get her dental cleaning done and have some teeth removed. But that was mostly due to her jaw having been broken and not healed correctly. Since then, the only thing she's needed that the other dogs don't is arthritis medication, a bit extra blood work when she goes in (not much add'l cost) and maybe an x-ray or two as a precaution. Since she does have arthritis, they did an x-ray on her when she had some unidentified pain. They thought it might be her back, turns out it was gas. We spent $300 to find out she just needed to fart. BOL big laugh

Rufus was a mess but didn't really cost us more than any other dog would have to get him fixed up. He has flea allergies so he was bald when we got him. He was also emaciated and wormy. But that got fixed up pretty quickly. He is borderline incontinent so we have to keep him supplied with potty pads and he leaks urine on himself so we have to use diaper rash cream on his tummy. He had some bad teeth and had to have most of them removed so he's on a strictly soft food diet. But other than that, he's just like the others.
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Maggie - RIP - 1998-2010

Even senior dogs- make great new- pets.
 
 
Barked: Wed May 19, '10 10:29am PST 
How do you deal with the heartbreak of possibly losing a dog within 1 or 2 years?We adopted Maggie when she was 10 years old. I really didn't think about loosing only having her for 2 1/2 years. She was very health at the time, and we made changes to her diet to keep her with us longer. But it was in the back of our minds.
Can you bring a dog of that age into a household of multiple pets and at least have acceptance between all of them? Maggie was our only dog when we adopted her and later added Skippy to our home. She did take a long time to get use to him but I think it was more her personality than an age thing.
How would you truly know before hand if they get along with other dogs, cats, grandkids? I have three kids and I talked to the owners and the rescue about her getting along with small children as she was posted as not able to be with kids. But it turns out she was fine with dog savy kids.
Can a dog really learn to love a new person after spending 10-12 years with another? Yes they can. Within a week Maggie was always at my side or with my son. She loved us and let us know all the time.
And last but on a practical note, how expensive did you find it healthwise when you adopted this age of a dog? We were lucky that until 6 months before we lost Maggie she was perfectly healthy. When she did start to become ill there was nothing really we could do for her as at first it was a form of dementia that was effecting her. We found out the day we had to say goodbye that her heart was failing and that was what was causing her to do some of the things that we thought was just her acting confused. She hid the fact that she was so sick from us. Heck that same morning she was chasing snow balls the kids were throwing. I only really knew that she was in trouble when she couldn't walk the short distance from the bus stop to the house.

Even though it was hard to only have her in our lives for a short time I would not change my mind about adopting a senior pet. They still do make great additions to a family.
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Frank

My dog is- spoiled, as he- should be!
 
 
Barked: Thu May 20, '10 4:36am PST 
Awww, Harlow's mom, you have such a beautiful heart!
Well, what I can tell you is that most often, you can take your dog up to the shelter and they have (normally) a run where you can see how your dogs do on their first meet. It may not go fantastic right away, but you should have a good idea if it will be workable. Harlow will be the best judge.
I am a big advocate of adopting seniors as well. They've often just been dumped and have no idea what has become of their homes or why they are there. It's very sad.
How do you deal with the heart break? It's not easy, but the biggest thing and rewarding thing is to think of it like this, you brought in this senior dog that really needed you and gave him a home when he had none, gave him love when he needed it the most and he WILL return it in kind. You will cherish every moment that you have with this dog, when the time comes, you will not regret one single moment that you shared with him. The only thing that you will think of is 'I'm so glad that I had this time with him'. Yeah, you will miss him, but above that, you will be grateful to have had him.
Bless your heart!hug
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