Thinking of adopting a new companion animal? Here’s why you should consider a senior dog!
#AdoptDontShop — we've all heard it. Most of us stand behind it. And sometimes, our four-legged friends epitomise it.
Although we may have come a long way as a society in terms of the “Adopt Don’t Shop” movement, unfortunately, several pet owners continue to abandon their loyal companions for the most absurd reasons. One such reason is Nature’s most irreversible principle: ageing.
While numerous Pedigrees are abandoned every day across the country, the kind that most frequently end up on the roads are senior dogs: that is, dogs that are usually discarded for the simple crime of having aged. Amidst all the Facebook adoption appeals for newly orphaned puppies or teenaged dogs looking for their new forever homes, one often forgets that senior dogs need loving families, too.
But it isn't just that older dogs need a home: caring for a senior dog is one of the most fulfilling facets of the human-dog relationship, and I’m here to prove it. So without further ado, here are some reasons why senior dogs absolutely rock!
1. THEY’RE PRACTICALLY A FOUNTAIN OF KNOWLEDGE
Because of the years spent in the company of another family, senior dogs are often:
- Walk and leash-trained
- House and potty-trained
- Familiar with basic commands such as “sit”, “stay”, or “come”
Adopting an already-trained dog will save you a ton of time and energy that you’d normally have to dedicate towards training a younger dog. Best of all? Because they are already leash-trained, an older dog is quick to accompany you on walks, play fetch, and participate in activities that would normally require basic obedience training.
Image Courtesy- eurobanks-Shutterstock
What did I tell you? With age comes wisdom!
2. THEY’RE LESS LIKELY TO GO SHARK-WEEK ON YOUR SHOES
Older dogs are calmer and less energetic than puppies, making them less destructive and possibly even more receptive to commands. While the joy of training an eager puppy is its own reward, this can be exhausting for some, which is where the calming, mellow nature of seniors is a refreshing reward in its own right. More often than not, senior dogs aren’t interested in chewing your shoes, or wrecking your charging cables, or waging war on your furniture: they just want the simple pleasure of your company... preferably with treats/cuddles attached, of course (hey, I said they were seniors — not that they weren’t dogs!)
Kacey, a senior dog who was found abandoned but eventually got adopted by an amazing couple! (Image credit: RESQ Charitable Trust, Pune)
3. THEY’RE TERRIFIC TRAINERS
Senior dogs are perfect for first-time dog parents who are nervous about adopting a companion animal. Mature dogs with an established personality and habits have a way of ‘training’ their humans, easing you into a new world of pet parenthood, all whilst stealing your heart in the blink of an eye!
For those of you who aren't quite as new to the pet parenting gig, a senior dog’s presence will go a long way in calming and training their boisterous younger sibling.
A puppy succumbs to your personality, moulding her life, her quirks, her very being to your schedule and predilections. A senior dog, on the other hand, is its own dog: you mould your life and schedule to suit her needs, and therein lies the wonderful challenge; the beginnings of a lifelong friendship that are rooted not in convenience, but in compromise – and isn’t that the basis of a long-lasting relationship?
Bailey, my senior dog who has successfully trained everyone in the household (human and canine alike) and has us wrapped around her little paw. (Image credit: RESQ Charitable Trust, Pune)
4. AGE IS BUT A NUMBER
Contrary to popular belief, dogs can be trained at any age, and older dogs tend to have a greater attention span than puppies. With love and dedication, you can teach an old dog new tricks!
Think of it this way: adopting a senior companion animal is almost like caring for a puppy on Easy Mode. The rewards are just as incredible, but the journey is a breeze.
Older dogs will constantly surprise you with their intelligence, resourcefulness, and best of all — their unparalleled goofiness!
Image Courtesy- InBetweentheBlinks-Shutterstock
5. ADOPTING IS ITS OWN REWARD
Perhaps most important of all, adopting an older dog might just save its life. Pets (particularly Pedigrees) are genetically and behaviourally hardwired to be human-dependent, and stand little to no chance of surviving on the streets. While dogs both young and old have their own merits, it is important to mention that adopting is its own reward. Opening your heart and home to an animal in need of a second chance enables one to learn, grow, and heal -- and no, I’m not just talking about dogs here!
Then again, a senior dog may not be everyone’s speed: some may prefer a more energetic young dog, while others may seek a calmer, more predictable lifestyle that is better accommodated by a senior dog. Whether an older dog is more your stride or a puppy seems to be the way to go, one thing is for certain: all abandoned animals deserve the warmth and love of a second chance -- and YOU can give it to them. All you have to do is adopt.
Image credit: RESQ Charitable Trust, Pune
Disclaimer: While I have encountered my fair share of unjustly abandoned cats, this article was penned in response to the sheer number of abandoned dogs I have come across recently. I’d like to clarify that senior cats rock just as hard as dogs.
And, no, I did not just type this with a horde of displeased felines holding me at gunpoint. Promise.
This article was previously published on the RESQ Charitable Trust website.