I grew up surrounded with pets, especially dogs. I even had a long stint with breading chocolate labs. While an amazing experience, after spending nearly a year pet free, I was enjoying the hair-free lifestyle. This past fall, the opportunity to adopt a senior dog presented itself and I must say, this sincerely changed everything! I hadn’t realized that something was missing until, Laine, a “Bugg”: Boston Terrier/Pug joined our home bringing tremendous joy to our lives!
Laine fit in like a dirty shirt and we were overjoyed to have a little cuddle bug. As my family appreciates firsthand, there are loads of reasons to consider adopting a dog. They provide us with instant friendship and teach kids about responsibility and unconditional love. They offer companionship and often protection.
Having a dog can be a great way to make walking and even socializing part of your daily routine. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, you might even want to consider adopting a senior dog.
BENEFITS OF ADOPTING A SENIOR DOG
According to most vets, a dog falls into the ‘senior’ category around age seven, though smaller dogs mature slower and become seniors later in life than larger dogs. Many senior dogs were once owned and loved by someone and for any of a number of reasons, were given up. Those reasons often have nothing to do with their behaviour or temperament and might include the death of a pet parent, loss of a job, a change in work schedule or allergies.
Just like younger dogs, senior dogs make loyal and loving companions but are often overlooked. By adopting a senior dog, you’re not only providing him with a chance at a forever home, you may save him from being put down. There are other benefits to adopting a senior dog. Many are already housetrained and have mastered basic commands, saving you the time and energy needed to train a young dog.
When we adopted Laine, although she initially has some allergy concerns that took us a few months to sort out, she really had a lovely disposition and was 100% trained. It took out the hard work for us. She appreciates the consistency and mountains of love that we are able to give her on a daily basis.
As my family has discovered, it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. As older dogs have a greater attention span than puppies, they can even be easier to train. A senior dog has an established demeanour and temperament, giving you a better idea about how she’ll fit into your household, not to mention how big she will grow. Senior dogs can be ideal for lower-energy households or if you don’t want to commit 10 or more years to pet ownership but still want a loving companion.
FINDING A SENIOR DOG
Of course, providing a home and care for a pet is a serious commitment, as the Humane Society of Durham Region(HSDR) reminds. That includes providing such essentials as a balanced diet, litter, licensing, socialization and vaccinations. Places like HSDR are committed to finding forever homes for the animals it cares for and can help you decide if adopting is the right fit for you.
Dogs available for adoption have typically been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and dewormed. Adoption fees can vary and depend on a number of factors but are often reinvested in an organization’s adoption program. You can adopt a dog from a rescue organization – some of which are dedicated to specific breeds – as well as animal shelters.
Here’s a helpful resource: Adopt-a-Pet.com – Official Site. The following are among the shelters located in Durham Region:
BRINGING YOUR DOG HOME
While you and your family will be excited about bringing your new dog home, he will be confused about his new surroundings and what to expect from you so pay attention to making his transition as smooth as possible. Visit Petfinder – Official Site for helpful tips, including the following:
- Give your dog time to acclimate to your home and family before introducing him to strangers. Make sure children know how to approach the dog without overwhelming him.
- Take your dog to his toileting area immediately and give him time to get used to the area and relieve himself. Be prepared for accidents. Coming into a new home with new people, new smells and new sounds can throw even the most housebroken dog off track.
- It may take a few weeks following adoption for your dog’s true personality to shine through. Be patient and understanding as he gets to know you while also keeping to the schedule you intend to maintain for feeding, walks and so on. That will show your dog what’s expected of him as well as what he can expect from you.
When we first brought Laine home, it took us a little bit to understand that she had some food allergies that were causing discomfort. With the right care from an experienced vet, we were able to have those concerns sorted out quickly and she settled in really well after that. It does take a few weeks to a few months for your pet to feel relaxed and understand that this is their forever home…but I can definitely attest to the fact that the rewards to adoption are insurmountable for you and your pet!
Please feel free to share your stories of pet adoption. We would love to hear them!!