A Guest Post By Anna Crockett
As a volunteer with the senior dogs of APA!, I know one of the shelter’s best kept secrets–senior dogs make some of the best pets! Many people pass by the kennels of senior dogs (7 years and up) without giving them a second thought, but they are really passing up on some of the brightest gems we have at APA!.
I don’t want this to be a secret anymore, so I’m here to tell you why adopting a senior dog is one of the best things you can ever do.
- They know the drill. Senior dogs are often (but of course, not always) house trained and know basic commands from previous training. Most of our seniors have already been in homes (sadly, some uprooted from the only homes they’ve ever known), and they’ve got this whole “indoor pet thing” down pat. You’ll save lots of time and energy without having to go to basic obedience classes.
- Old dogs CAN learn new tricks. Contrary to the old saying, old dogs can learn new things just as easily as their younger counterparts. This is because they often have greater attention spans than younger dogs. Our Canine Good Citizen senior trainees, Banjo and Stardust, are excellent examples. These two have been around the block and were quick learners in the CGC program!
- Seniors are often low-maintenance pets. Senior dogs are individuals, and they all have their own energy levels and needs. However, they are generally calmer and less hyper than younger dogs and therefore don’t require the hours of exercise that young dogs do. Are you a busy 20-something year old who wants a pet that doesn’t interfere with their social schedule? Are you a senior human who wants a quiet companion to spend time with? Then a senior dog could be perfect for you.
- Adopting an older dog is incredibly rewarding. It is completely untrue to assume that you won’t bond with older dogs as easily as young pups. Because most seniors have been household pets before, they know just how good they have it when they finally arrive at their forever home–and they’re forever grateful. If you adopt a senior, you’ll be met with quiet, sincere gratitude from your dog–all for giving them a soft place to lay their head. And they will love you forever for it.
- It takes a senior dog FOUR times longer to be adopted than a young dog. Unfortunately, senior dogs face a lot of stigmas and untrue stereotypes. They are often the first dogs to be euthanized in shelters simply because of their age. Adopting a senior will help some of the most vulnerable of our shelter dogs and make a statement about compassion and the value of life at any age. Our senior dogs need heroes who won’t make them feel invisible anymore.
In short, senior dogs are not lost causes. They’re worthy causes who are capable of true companionship, gratitude, and love. Check out all of our Senior Class members–we have so many wonderful personalities to introduce to you. Tell your friends and family about the benefits of adopting a senior dog. That’s the only way we are going to open minds and knock down stereotypes.
And next time you visit your local animal shelter, take an extra second to linger outside a senior dog’s kennel. Your best friend might just be waiting for you on the other side.