When people are considering adopting a dog from a shelter, they often only want to consider adopting a puppy or younger dog. Sometimes the perception is that there must be something wrong with older dogs. I mean, if they were great dogs, the owners would have kept them, right? That’s not quite the case. Shelters are often full of older dogs based on issues that the people were having and not because of any illness or behavior problems presented by the dog.
Older dogs lose their homes for many different reasons….most of them having nothing to do with problems the dog has, but rather with those of the person or family surrendering the dog. Many folks think dogs who end up at shelters or in rescue are all genetically and behaviorally inferior. But, it is not uncommon for very expensive, well-bred, well-trained dogs to outlive their usefulness or novelty with folks who bought them on impulse and no longer want to take responsibility for them.
Other reasons older dogs become homeless: death of a guardian….not enough time for the dog…… change in work schedule….. new baby…..need to move to a place where dogs are not allowed…. kids going off to college…. allergies…. change in “lifestyle”…. prospective spouse doesn’t like dogs. (All these reasons are taken from real case histories.) (Read more)
Some of the advantages of adopting an older dog are that they often have already been trained. Sometimes this training is quite extensive, more often, they are at least house trained already and understand what “no” means and what should and should not be chewed on in the home! They are already socialized and usually deal well with kids, other dogs and other pets. You will still want to get a report on the dog’s general health from the vet, but you get to start with an instant friend and companion.
Not only these reasons, but adopting a mature, older dog can show a respect for age and keep the horrid puppy mills from getting your money to further their practices. Respect for dogs and the current problem with so many being put down because there is simply not enough homes for them all should also help with your decision. Do the responsible thing…do the loving and amazing thing of welcoming an older dog into your home. The rewards will outweigh any risk!