The decision is made. It is time to add a dog to the family.
Now it’s time to make a lot more decisions. Particular breed or a mutt? Male or female? Puppy, adult or senior?
Wait … senior??? Why would anybody adopt a senior dog??
For many lifestyles, the better question is why would you NOT adopt a senior dog?
Do all the adults in the family work or go to school full-time? Are there children in the family? Small children who require lots of time and attention from parents? Older children who are in to a lot of activities that keep everyone on the run? If your family wants a dog, and you have plenty of love to give a dog, but you don’t have time to do a lot of training, a senior dog could be perfect for your family. Senior dogs are great BFFs for families of any age!
What is a senior dog? For a larger breed with average lifespan of 10-12 years, you might consider 7 years old as senior. For a smaller breed with an average lifespan of 14-16 years, you might consider 10 years old as senior.
Senior does NOT mean ‘bad,’ ‘problem,’ ‘sick,’ ‘grumpy,’ etc. (those things define ‘special needs’)
Senior does mean ‘polite,’ ‘loving,’ ‘easy-going,’ ‘laid back,’ etc.
Fact: Senior dogs generally spend at least four times longer in shelters or rescues than younger dogs.
Senior dogs lose their homes for a variety of reasons, usually having nothing to do with their behavior or temperament, but more due to the fact that their owners are unable to keep them for reasons including: the novelty of owning a dog wearing off, allergies, death of a guardian, a new baby, loss of a job, a move, change in work schedule, and various other lifestyle changes. Think about how sad and stressful it must be for an older dog that has had a family all its life to suddenly end up without his/her family and in a strange (and sometimes scary) place. With AAMR, dogs are in a foster home, not a shelter facility, but each dog deserves to have a family of its very own.
When you adopt a senior dog, you immediately become a hero to that dog. When you open your home and your heart to an older pet, you show them that they are worthy of love and comfort during their twilight years. When you look into the eyes of a rescued senior dog, you will see a pet who knows you have saved them. They don’t care where you live, what you look like or what you do for a living; they will dedicate the rest of their lives to thanking you. Senior dogs may have some physical and/or emotional scars, but they are great at forgiving, forgetting and living in the present. If you give your love to an old dog, you can be sure he will devote the rest of his life to loving you back.
Senior Pets vs Puppies
With senior dogs, what you see is what you get. You immediately know their size, their coat, their temperament, their energy level.
Puppies are ever-changing and you never know how they will finish.
Most older dogs are potty-trained and know at least a few basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “down.” Adopting an already-trained dog will save you a lot of time and energy.
Puppies need to learn all these things and it will be up to you to teach them.
Seniors like to sleep … day and night. When you’re ready to relax, they are with you. Puppies are higher energy, need more exercise, and (like human babies) 3 a.m. potty runs are not unusual.
Senior dogs have generally learned the difference between dog toys and your favorite designer shoes.
Puppies have not … and you will need to teach them.
Senior dogs are still ready for new adventures. You most certainly can teach an old dog new tricks! No matter what your senior dog’s lifestyle was before he met you, he can easily adjust to your way of doing things. Love to hike and stay active? Many senior pups do, too! Unless there are health issues, older dogs can run, jump and play just like any puppy. Plus they’re more likely to tire out at the same rate you do.
Senior dogs can help you with your volunteer work. Since they’ve already gotten that wild-youth-phase out of their systems, they are excellent at performing service tasks like visiting nursing homes and hospitals or participating in reading programs for school children.
Puppies … not so much! They need maturity and training first.
Senior dogs love to be with their people, but they will also amuse themselves. Older dogs can be trusted to play on their own when you are occupied … or sometimes they just nap!
Puppies are curious and tend to wander off on their own to get into the trash or shred your newspapers or chew your baseboards when unsupervised.
Check out our AAMR Super Seniors! You might just find the love of your life!
Not ready to adopt a senior dog? Pick one (or several) and sponsor their continued care while at AAMR.
AAMR is a 501c3 non-profit organization and all cash deductions are tax-deductible.
You can now make your donations by Pay Pal!
You can also make a donation by mail.
All-American Mutt Rescue
5491 Johnson Mtn Rd
Huddleston, VA 24104