We know, we know – there’s nothing quite like the thrill of buying and raising a puppy, all on your own. The adorable face of a newborn dog instills a peace and joy like no other. We have a society that loves to celebrate new beginnings, after all. Puppies are easier to train and will learn to be loyal to your family over time. However, this mindset that prevails in society has created quite a gap for senior dogs who lost or never had the chance to grow in a loving home.
It’s quite unorthodox to hear of people who actively seek out older dogs to adopt as pets. Fortunately, as a dog-lover movement, it is getting a lot of attention. A notable pioneer is the acclaimed founder and photographer of Humans of New York, Brandon Stanton, whose fiancee Erin O’Sullivan started the non-profit Susie’s Senior Dogs. Inspired by the experience they had with the then-12 year old Chihuahua, Susie, they proceeded to show the world that older dogs deserve as much love as puppies do.
If you’re considering adopting a new dog, whether your first or your tenth furry friend, why not look at the direction of senior dogs? We list great reasons why giving these pets a warm spot in your home makes the world a better place.
For your dog: You will give a dog a second chance at a happy life.
Senior dogs at shelters are likely in need of constant love and attention. It is hard for shelters to attend to the needs of each and every dog. Resources are stretched among the number of dogs in these places, and that doesn’t just go for food and shelter – love, affection, and playtime as well. Having experienced this kind of life, senior dogs will be full of gratitude for the kind care that you will give them. Giving them a warm and welcoming home is very much like giving them an opportunity at living a good life, away from suffering. While they may not live as long, it is a beautiful thing to help them make the most of their canine lives on earth. Their presence as part of your family definitely radiates a different and deep kind of love.
For your community: You will get to help your local shelter from overcrowding problems.
Stray dogs are already a huge problem, especially in third world countries and lower class communities. It’s hard to think of solutions to solve the growing population of aging dogs in the area and in shelters. Euthanasia should not even be a last resort in this situation. Sadly, older dogs tend to incite this mindset since they will not live as long as puppies who end up in the pound. If you have the heart to consider getting a pet who might not be brand new, you will alleviate this serious problem. Small deeds such as this might not feel like charity work since you are getting a new friend, but it positively impacts everyone in your community in the slightest ways that add up. Doesn’t that sound like an amazing decision to make?
For yourself and your home: You will gain a calm and constant companion.
Unlike puppies who tend to be very energetic and playful, senior dogs dial down the peppiness and lead very mellow lives. If this is the kind of lifestyle you prefer with your dog, then this is the perfect option for you. This is especially great for families who don’t really live actively – although exercise is important for dogs at any age, of course! This tempered behavior can be very refreshing if you are used to constant running around and barking out loud. While it’s still different for each breed, age, and general personality, senior dogs tend to have a gentle temperament and easy-going style. If you aren’t looking for a sporty pal or a sturdy guard, then you can consider a senior dog for your family.
Perhaps the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has set an unconscious bias against senior canines in society. While training and habits might be limited unlike the experience you get with puppies, these aged pets are not problems and may just be victims of cruel circumstances. Have a heart and remember that while senior dogs may seem frail and difficult, they have just been waiting their whole lives for the perfect owner as well.