Senior Rescue Dogs
Adopt a Senior
The Joys of Senior Dogs
It has been a long day and you are looking forward to a peaceful evening. You unlock the door and a sense of foreboding overwhelms you. The door swings open and you are greeted by a sheepish looking puppy, trying in vain to look cute and adorable. A glance inside reveals a trail of destruction from one end of the house to the other. Who forgot to latch the crate? The arm of the sofa, the corner of the rug, one of your brand new shoes minus a heel, your extra reading glasses a tangled web of metal and glass. You see the dirty laundry scattered throughout and the puppy deposits on your living room carpet. You sigh and debate where to begin. Then you realize that the remote control is missing. You call the vet and your quiet evening is a distant memory. A puppy seemed like a good idea but puppies require an inordinate amount of time and patience over several years.
A wonderful way to share your life with a canine companion without the constant oversight and energy required by a very young dog is to adopt a senior. Imagine arriving home to the adoring face and gently wagging tail of a dog who only wants to be with you. A companion whose idea of heaven is a good snuggle. His whole world revolves around you. Long past the chewing and accident stages, a senior dog cheerfully follows you as you kick off your shoes, share a snack, read the paper and prepare for a leisurely walk. Nothing compares to the devotion of a senior dog to his rescuer.
Senior dogs make great additions to most homes. Many people are hesitant to adopt an older dog because the time together may be short – but, oh the joy and love that can be squeezed into those years! Every single day is special. Senior dogs have an uncanny understanding and appreciation of their situation. They seem to know that they have been given the gift of a second chance and respond with a devotion and loyalty that cannot be matched.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that senior dogs are always couch potatoes. Most seniors remain physically healthy until the end. Although they are content to sleep the day away, trips to the dog park, hiking and swimming are all possible with an older dog. Older dogs have a confidence that makes social interactions more enjoyable because of the pleasure they get in meeting new people and dogs. Senior dogs are the perfect additions to a home with young children who may look like chew toys for a young puppy. They are also ideal companions for senior people who are active and for those who need to be more active. Scientific studies have shown that pet ownership can reduce blood pressure levels and stress levels in people. Senior dogs are uniquely qualified to deliver this benefit because of their own calm dispositions.
The majority of senior dogs have already learned the important life lessons. They know how to walk on a leash without tugging, they know that carpet is for lying in the sun and that outside is for "doing their business," they know that children are for kissing and not nibbling, they understand that shoes are not for chewing but bones are terrific, they really can learn new tricks and have been known to make great therapy dogs.
There are currently a number of senior dogs available for adoption through Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue, Inc. Many owners believe that there is some wonderful "retirement farm" where their beloved, though no longer wanted, senior dog can live out its days in bliss. Sadly, most will wait the rest of their lives for a new home. These are all beautiful, loving and active dogs that lived by the rules but were abandoned anyway. They truly deserve a second chance, a chance to live out their retirement with someone who loves and appreciates them for the wonderful mature qualities they possess.
-- By Nicolina Devito, Rescue Coordinator (2009)