A customer called an order in the other day and as we began to chat (which is gonna happen if you call ME), she shared that her new dog was a 14-year old Lab cross who came from a neglectful and abusive situation. She had adopted him from her local shelter and was gathering up her arsenal of tools to get him back in shape. A crusty nose was one of his issues and also the hair was worn off of his neck from a chain, yes, chain. He had been chained up for the vast majority of his life. This post is not a “how can people be so $#@% mean,”one, though we can all take a moment to wish a particularly heinous boil, make that several boils on various tender parts of this guy’s anatomy. There visualization complete! The point is, that older dogs often end up lost and alone and need a home to spend their last few years enjoying life.
Thank goodness for people like this kind-hearted lady who saw past the scrapes and scars and fear in this dog’s eyes. Thank goodness she put aside the thought that she will fall in love with this dog and have him break her heart sooner, rather than later. Thank goodness she followed her heart and took this dog home and set about making him comfortable, content and, of course, loved.
First, older dogs at a shelter are more at risk for euthanasia or being in the system for longer. Hey, puppies are CUTE and many people think you have to raise a dog from puppyhood to have it bond to you. I admit there is no getting past the cute factor in adopting a puppy, but needing to have a dog from puppyhood to have a loyal companion is a total myth. Some breeds DO rebound more easily than others. I always say a Frenchie would go home with Satan if he a treat to give them. Those resilient little gremlins rebond FAST. Other breeds, such as a Chow or Shar-Pei or some of the working types. like a Great Pyrenees may take a wee bit longer to totally shift allegiance. But they DO become your dog with all of the dedication and loyalty you could ever hope for. I have personally adopted adult Shar-Pei and our Pyr, Zoe came to us at the age of 2-½. I cannot imagine a more loyal dog than Zoe. Oops, I rambled…
Older dogs have often had more training and my be somewhat obedience trained and housebroken. Expect an adjustment period, but hopefully their previous owner(s) taught them the basics. Ask question at the shelter or of the rescue group and get as much info on how your prospective dog lived before being surrendered to the shelter.
Just like us, older dogs are calmer and more laid-back than puppies. They are past that everything-must-be-chewed stage and past the need for hours of play each day. Remember that small dogs mature more slowly and age more slowly. A Mastiff at seven is an older dog and a Jack Russell Terrier at seven is just hitting his prime. I am the same age as Christie Brinkley and just saw a picture of her in a bikini. Sigh, I am feeling like that Mastiff now!
Once again, depending on how your dog was raised, he or she may be relatively problem free. Not every dogs ends up in a shelter on in the rescue system because they are mean or vicious or destructive. It is your responsibility to ask lots of questions to determine if a dog is right for your schedule and household, this goes for any dog, not just a senior.
And YES, you can teach an old dog new tricks!
The next time you are ready to bring a new dog into your home, please give the one with the grey muzzle a chance. Even if they are with you a few less years than getting a puppy, the love and devotion they give you can enrich your life so much.
One more thing…And yes, we sent him a Happy Rest of your Life gift with his order.
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