There is nothing sadder to me than seeing a senior dog who has been abandoned by their family. After years of dedicated companionship and unconditional love they are dumped off at shelters for a variety of reasons.
As a dog ages it does bring new challenges, dealing with health issues and more visits to the vet, which usually means more of a financial strain on the owner.
With that being said, you wouldn’t put a parent or grandparent in a shelter because they’ve become an “inconvenience”. Yet, it happens everyday with senior dogs. The HSUS has a great article by Angela Moxley on the added benefits of adopting an older dog, and yes, there are definite benefits.
One advantage of adopting an older pet is that with age comes a grown-up perspective on life. Both Tess and Alma moved seamlessly into our home; they know their place in a house where humans rule the roost. It was as if we had adopted two adult children without suffering the angst of those trying teenage years.
The other great thing is that an older dog usually doesn’t require as much physical activity. Logan, our 5-year-old Berner, loves going to the park but is also content to hang out when I’m working.
When we just want to veg out and read a book or watch a movie, our aging companions are content to curl up by our side and veg out, too. But “old” doesn’t mean “sedentary.” Tess loves acting goofy, rolling around for belly rubs, and galloping after tennis balls. Alma goes crazy for the cat dancer toy. And at the end of a vivacious playtime romp, they’re perfectly happy to listen when we say “No more.”
I know people mean well when they say how lucky our old animals are, but they’re missing the point. We are the lucky ones, to have found them.
I couldn’t agree more with author Angela Moxley, we are the lucky ones. If you would like to read an inspirational story stop by the HSUS to checkout Gray, with a Silver Lining, the story of Grannie Annie.
Now go find a senior soulmate, because as quoted by Abraham Lincoln, “And in the end, it’s not the dog years in your life that count. It’s the life in your dog years.”