Getting a new dog as a puppy has many rewards, and I love puppies too. However, senior dogs have so many qualities that make them much more appealing to many people who don’t want all the work of raising a puppy. I am most definitely one of those people. Yes, senior dogs are not with us as long as puppies, but the joy and love they share more than makes up for the lack of time. From the moment we adopted our first senior dog, I knew that senior dogs would from that point forward own my heart completely. Many people have asked me over the years why. There are so many reasons that I can’t put into words. Here are several that I have been able to.
1. Senior dogs are just calmer. They have outgrown the rambunctious puppy stage and the awkward teenage years. Senior dogs have moved on to a dignified stage where they know how to just relax and enjoy being with you, and they know when to leave you alone.
2. Generally already housebroken. This means very few accidents in the house and no headaches in trying to train a puppy to potty outside.
3. Have more training. Seniors usually know tricks such as sit and shake. But more importantly, they know not to jump on people, they know not to dash out an open door, and they know how to act when on a leash. These are all valuable time-savers if the dog already has these skills
4. Don’t chew on everything in sight. Puppies are great, but they can destroy a lot if left alone for just a few minutes. Seniors have left all this behind and are mature and well behaved.
5. You usually know what you are getting. There will be no surprises on how big your dog will become, what characteristics your dog will develop. The dog has already grown to an adult so what you see is what you get.
6. Actually less vet bills for “younger” seniors. Puppy shots are done, spay/neuter is behind you (if you are lucky), and no surgeries to remove that “foreign body” that your dog ate and ended up getting stuck in their digestive tract… For most “younger” seniors, all you have to worry about is annual check-ups, vaccines, and dental cleanings.
7. And for me, this is the best – what senior dogs can teach us. Puppies need to be taught everything while seniors already know it all. Instead, they have so much to teach us – what second chances look like, what it is to forgive past hurts, how to love unconditionally, how to show complete appreciation for the second chance. I have learned all of these from the senior dogs that come into my life. Each one has taught me something new and I wouldn’t trade those lessons for anything.
8. Yes, senior dogs are not with us as long as puppies, but the joy and love they share more than makes up for the lack of time.
Nicole Laber, Board Treasurer