Updated: Jun 8
Adopting a dog can be a big decision for any household. Families with children need to be sure their new fuzzy friend is compatible with the little humans in the home. Active families may want to take their dog with them on adventures. Couch potatoes may want the “lappiest” of lap-dogs as a companion. Whatever the type of adopter one may be, a senior dog is always the best choice. Indulge me for a few minutes while I try to convince you to feel the same.
Any dog that makes it to the stage of life considered to be “senior” deserves a comfortable, and predictable, place to call home in the twilight years of their lives. Ellen, the inspiration for Ellen’s Honor, a 501c3 nonprofit organizationIf you, or someone you know, is considering adding a pet to the homestead, consider entertaining some of the ideas outlined below:
Most senior dogs are housebroken. Older dogs have been through the routine of this type of training. True, some geriatric pups need pee pads and diapers, but what could be cuter than a grey-faced dog in a diaper?
Senior dogs show their gratitude for adoption. When you adopt a senior dog, and invite them to live with you during this stage of their lives, you will receive an undying appreciation for your act of kindness. Senior dogs have a deep connection with their caretakers, one that becomes a reciprocal reward for everyone.
Self-worth strengthens while caring for a senior dog. There is nothing more satisfying than taking care of another’s needs, especially when they cannot help themselves. Administering medications, carrying furry bodies up and down the stairs, being lulled to sleep by a snoring pup, and an endless supply of dog farts are all things to look forward to when adopting a senior. If you see this list as a string of liabilities, it won’t take long for you to change your mind, trust me.
You may help younger dogs by saving a senior dog. Younger dogs and puppies are usually easily adopted when they find themselves in a shelter. When you adopt a senior dog, you are making more room for dogs that spend less time, on average, in shelters, making the adoption process more efficient for all those in need.
Older dogs are super chill. Some households avoid adopting a dog due to their inability to provide the exercise and space needed for a puppy or dog that may be in the prime of their lives. Older dogs still need their exercise, but they are generally far easier to please with a jaunt around the neighborhood, or a quick game of tug-of-war before they take another nap on the carpet by the fire.
Older dogs are adorable. What could be “aww” inducing than a toothless chihuahua with a tongue perpetually hanging from the side of its mouth, or a cloudy-eyed poodle that sometimes bumps into the wall while walking to the water bowl? The answer is absolutely nothing. Nothing is cuter than a senior dog.
Senior dogs will always want to cuddle. A cuddle session is a sure thing with a senior dog. Those who crave a warm, hairy body for comfort on a cold winter’s night will find a great deal of satisfaction from adopting their own personal, breathing space heater.
You will save a life. Senior dogs with complicated medical or behavioral issues are often deemed unadoptable by shelters and euthanized to make room for healthier dogs. This is a common practice, and (surprisingly) often requested by the family surrendering the senior dog to a shelter.
You can have more than one. Due to the calm and easy-going nature of these senior sweeties, making room for two, or three, more is simple! The routine of morning medicine, short walks, and the occasional pee-pad switch-out is just as easy with multiple dogs of an advanced age.
You will feel amazing. Spending a warm summer evening on the porch with your elderly companion by your side is more personally rewarding then anything I can imagine. We take so much from our world and giving a little back to those unable to help themselves is part of our job as humans.
It’s no secret that people tend not to tolerate animals that need care due to advanced age. The animals that are used for food, and other products or services, live far fewer years than they’re genetically programmed to live. Animals used for work or competitive racing/sports are regularly euthanized when injured or “lame” and older dogs with expensive and extensive medical problems often have their lives cut short out of convenience and cost.
As a species, humans can do better.
Somewhere along the way, we have partially lost our ability to share the planet’s natural resources and space with its native animals and insects. In fact, animal and environmental conservationists are considered to be on the fringes of our modern society, and it is the consumer of products that harm our world and its inhabitants that we regularly classify as the main stream.
I believe the flippant and, too often, abusive attitudes toward the non-human beings of Earth help to contribute to the avoidance of assisting older animals as they move toward their twilight years. My goal is to provide readers with some inspiration to open their homes (and their hearts) to a senior dog.
Ellen’s Honor, my 501c3 nonprofit for senior dog awareness and assistance, is operating to celebrate these wonderful gifts of life that our universe has decided to provide to us. A senior dog is nothing short of a gift to the world, as is any senior animal just trying to live its best life.
Be kind, people. Be an example of how to use our advanced human capabilities for compassion and care, instead of self-preservation and accumulation. Please visit http://www.ellenshonor.org to learn more about helping senior dogs.