The Joy of Adopting an Older Dog May 4, 2017 10:55

Every November is National adopt senior pet month but I think every month should be.

I never thought in a million years I would rescue a senior dog knowing the heartbreak I went through after losing a dog. I didn't think I was strong enough to give my heart and soul to another dog knowing our time together would be shorter. But as fate would have it, adopting a senior was the best thing for both of us.

We needed each other. My time, patience and commitment to her health and wellbeing, no matter what, and her unwavering loyalty to never leaving my side has been a tremendous life gift no matter how short… or long.

How Do Senior Dogs End Up In Shelters?

Old dogs can end up in shelters for a lot of reasons. We often see the heartbreaking stories on social media about the family that dumped their senior dog off. It’s typically portrayed that they were tired of dealing with their old dog’s needs and wanted a puppy instead. Sadly, that does happen (and it makes me mad) but there are many, less sinister reasons, why senior dogs are surrendered.

For example, sometimes they’ve lived many long, good years with a loving human but, unfortunately, their human’s time was up before theirs was. No other family member was in a position to properly care for the dog so they let them go to a shelter where the perfect person could discover them.

Another big one is the reality of financial limitations. A family may have adopted a dog intending to see them through their golden years but then their circumstances changed. Caring for an aging dog’s health needs can be a costly and some people just can’t afford it no matter how hard they try.

The point is that the dog didn’t necessarily do anything wrong and the family that had to let them go is not always the “bad guy”. Sometimes they reluctantly let them go knowing that someone else could give them a better life.

That Person Could Be You

There is definitely something special about getting to know a senior dog for the first time. It can be fun and enlightening getting to know each other - like two past lives coming together in a twist of fate. Some celebrities, like George Cloony, recognize the importance of helping older dogs in need.

If you think could give the gift of health and happiness to an old dog, I suggest you check out a specialized senior rescue. They really understand what their older dogs need and do a great job of uniting you with the right one for you. The Senior Dogs Project compiled a great list of general and breed-specific senior dog rescue groups in the US. In Canada, the Senior Animals In Need Today Society (SAINTS) rescue is a great place to look for senior or special needs pets. There is nothing wrong with checking at your local rescue or shelter too though. You never know where your special one might be hiding.

Let’s Be Honest Though

While bringing a senior dog into your life can be a special gift for both of you, it’s not without its challenges. Like any rescue dog, there will be an adjustment period while they are settling into their new home. They may experience fear, anxiety or just act generally uncomfortable for a while. Because of their age, they could also need extra health care.

Some great, natural products that can help you care well for your senior dog are:

There's nothing as rewarding and fulfilling than caring for a senior dog. The unconditional love and gratefulness they show is so special. They also teach you to be more mindful and to recognize that slowing down doesn’t mean enjoying life less. Some might argue that going at a slower pace, stopping to smell the roses, makes things MORE enjoyable.

I hope you are having a great experience with your senior pet. I’m right here with you to offer support so would love to hear about your senior success stories or challenges. Please share them with me by leaving a comment below or on the DOGsAge Facebook Page.