Senior dogs are cool. When they’re in your family, you love them more than ever, despite the fact that they might be slightly tired. You still care for them like a child, yet respect them like an adult. They’ve paid their dues.
Why is it then, that when they aren’t family members from a young age, the vast majority of people refuse to welcome them?
We’ve put together a list of good reasons for adopting a senior dog. Read it, then get in touch with a local shelter if your life today allows you to devote enough attention and resources to a new member of the clan.
1. You’ll feel good about adopting an older dog.
We aren’t trying to pretend that adopting a senior dog isn’t for your benefit. It definitely is. So the number one reason adopting an old dog is cool is easy to name: it makes you feel awesome. When you see an older dog in a shelter full of lively young’uns, tell us your heart doesn’t leap.
Making excuses doesn’t make you feel less guilty for not taking a chance on that relationship. Older dogs stay in shelters longer than younger dogs, as a rule. Don’t walk away with regret—sometimes being selfless requires being selfish. This is one of those times.
2. In many ways, it’s pretty easy.
Let’s list them.
You won’t need to train an old dog to pee outside (though bladder control might lack in old age, too, at least it won’t be the original housebreaking task). You won’t have to make it through their chewing stages or teenager attitudes. Many times, they will already be spayed or neutered and have all shots. They generally won’t need as much exercise or careful supervision as a younger pup. They know their names and to come when you call them. They might even know how to shake your hand. And they sure know how to love.
3. There are no surprises when adopting an older dog.
If the dog hates cats or always gets jealous of children, that fact will be well established. You don’t have to think about what their attitude will be like in the future—their personalities already exist. That doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to their growth and emotional well-being, only that getting caught off guard should be a rare occurrence.
4. It can be like finding your soul mate.
You might not have a lot of time with an older dog, but all dogs will get old someday, and adopting an old dog can be likened to meeting the love of your life in the last and best years of it. If you, like most people, wouldn’t pass up spending time with your soul mate just because time is fleeting, then you shouldn’t pass up a dog just because it shows a little age.
5. Sometimes a relaxed companion is the best companion.
If you want a dog to go hiking and along on every camping trip, perhaps a younger dog is right for you. But if you’re looking for someone to loyally relax by your side while you read the paper or sip coffee, a senior dog can offer perfect companionship. Many people who adopt older dogs feel like they both took a chance on each other, making the loyalty that much stronger and the emotional bond that much tighter.
Bottom line? Adopting a senior dog is cool. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by because of mere convention. Sometimes it takes stepping off the desert trail to find the diamond in the ruff.
Have you or a friend ever adopted an older dog? Tell us about your experience in a comment!