November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month and I can say from experience, it’s one of the best thing I’ve ever done!
Annie was 9 1/2 when we brought her home. She had been in foster care for over a year, but her case was extreme. Most senior dogs that are up for adoption don’t have the emotional and behavioral needs she had.
When you adopt a senior pet:
1. You are saving a life!
2. Seniors have been around, they’ve seen a lot and they have a lot of love to give. They are usually calmer and adaptable to new situations.
3. Seniors don’t demand the same level of exercise or entertainment of a younger dog. They are very happy to curl up by your feet and take a nice long nap.
4. They usually have some training, are house broken and aren’t teething so they aren’t shoe destroyers. Seniors are a lot less work than puppies and you probably won’t need to supervise any middle of the night potty breaks!
5. Don’t believe the old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. It might take a little while, but senior dogs aim to please and are receptive to training. They will learn the “house rules” in order to earn your love and affection.
6. There is no mystery about how big they will be, what they will look like and what their grooming needs will be.
7. Even though your time will be shorter with a senior pet, I have found that I appreciate each day that much more. There is no lifespan guarantee with our pets but knowing Annie is a senior has reminded me that every moment with her is precious. Pets change our lives, they give us so much love and every day is enriched with my sweet, old girl.
I feel so lucky to have Annie in my life, but it’s not always easy. Seniors need more medical care as they age. (Something all pet owners face at some point.) Twice yearly health checks are recommended so one should be prepared for increased veterinary bills compared to those of a younger and middle-aged pet. Their health can change quickly and must be attended to. Annie just developed an abscess in one of her teeth. She needs to have it removed which requires anesthesia. I’m nervous about that but we will have it taken care of and hope all goes well.
If I had to make the decision again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I know our time is limited, but really, our time is limited with all of our pets. I know that I’ve changed her life. She’s living her best years now and she showers me with love. She acts like she appreciates everything we give her and she is so happy, every day. I also know she’s changed our lives and I treasure every moment.