When most families talk about getting dogs, they tend to talk about the puppy they will bring home. This is a beautiful thing, but there are so many advantages to adopting an older pet that might otherwise be overlooked:
1) You get to skip the hard stuff. An older pet usually understands at least the most basic of commands and will generally be potty-trained. When older pets are relinquished or abandoned, it can be for a number of reasons, and it is usually not because of a behavioral problem. It can be because of their human parent passing away, financial burdens, allergies or other reasons that would in no way deter this dog from being a wonderful addition to your home.
2) They understand the human schedule. She’s less likely to need a middle of the night hug or walk and will adapt easily to her new home. She will probably have an understanding of how to make it work in her new pack.
3) You may be saving her life. Dogs that are over five are generally overlooked in shelters and are usually quicker to be put down. Most dogs are labeled “senior” at age seven, but they can still have many more years left to spend with a loving family.
4) They have passed the “puppy” stage. This may seem like a disappointing thing, but they are usually calmer than their younger counterparts. This is why programs like, “Senior dogs for seniors,” have been established. Their lower energy level can be perfect for someone older that needs a loving companion.
5) Many say that there is a gratefulness that comes from pets pulled out of shelters at an older age. Maybe they just know that not a lot of people were stopping to look at them, but the bond that develops between a senior pet and his new owner is usually fast and very strong.
6) You can still teach him new tricks! Older pets can learn behaviors and tricks just as easily as their younger counterparts. That, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” saying simply is not true.
7) They will likely be less destructive. Your new puppy or younger dog will likely have more anxiety, more behavioral problems to change or train and may have a tendency to eat your shoes or other undesirable things. Your new older addition will understand that your heels are made for walking.
Please don’t overlook our older four-legged friends in the shelters. Bringing one home is a decision that will make you feel wonderful for saving a life that may not have had much of a chance… and Fido will be grateful, too.