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I grew up having pets. Usually a cat and a dog, but sometimes mice, hamsters, rabbits, fish, and birds joined the mix. All of our dogs started out as puppies, being raised and molded by our family. The only dog I’ve ever taken in that didn’t start their journey into becoming a senior dog with me is our oldest dog Meg.
She was actually raised by my sister and her family until we took her in. I did get the benefit of watching her grow, but for the most part – I skipped the puppy stage. And while I love our youngest dog Sookie to pieces, her puppy stage made me question if I was really cut out for the job.
Sookie’s puppy stage was hard. Really hard. She destroyed furniture. She ate pedometers, and gum, and chocolate covered espresso beans – all of which led to an ER visit or a round of induced vomiting at home. These moments made me appreciate those blissful, non-destructive moments with our senior dog so much more.
Luckily, she’s grown out of the phase. And our house if full right now, so we’re clear from that destruction for a long time now. But when we are looking to add to our fur family – I know it’ll be a shelter dog. And it very well may be a senior dog as they make such good companions for a variety of reasons.
You May Save a Life | Older dogs aren’t as likely to be adopted at a shelter for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, they’re often one of the first to be euthanized if a shelter is becoming overcrowded. By adopting a senior dog, you’re saving it from this unfortunate fate and providing it with a life that it deserves.
They’ve Already Calmed Down | Senior dogs have gone through their puppy stage and have settled on a demeanor that suits them. Because of this, they’re less likely to destroy your belongings. They’re also much better suited for younger children who may not be used to having a dog in the house.
They’re (Most Likely) Already Trained | Senior dogs are likely to be potty trained and even know basic commands the day they’d walk in your door. Instead of having to dedicate your time to teaching them these tasks, you’ll be able to enjoy quality time with them as soon as you bring them home!
You Know What You’re Getting | You never know what you’re going to get with a puppy. You don’t know how big they will get, or how easily they’ll be trained, or even if they’re demeanor or personality will fit with your lifestyle. With a senior dog, you know what you’re getting. You can easily find the right dog for you and your family.
They’re Still Trainable | The saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is far from the truth. Senior dogs are trainable and are able to focus on the tasks you’re teaching much better than a puppy. So even if you’re looking for a pup that can go beyond “sit” and “stay” – a senior dog is still a great fit.
Even if you are unable to take in a senior dog right now, you can still help them. Donate to your local Humane Society. Urge your local shelter to become a no-kill shelter if they aren’t already. Foster a dog if you can take one in for a short period of time.
You can also buy food or other supplies that put money towards animals in need like Rachael Ray’s Nutrish. 100% of Rachael’s personal proceeds from sales of Nutrish have gone toward food, medical supplies and treatments for animals in need. And Rachael’s Rescue was created for all of the forgotten pets. You know – the ones that might not have someone who loves them as much as you love your pet. For Rachael, food equals love.
Whether she’s cooking a meal for friends or working with pet nutrition experts to create delicious recipes for your family’s furry companions, she makes wholesome meals with simple ingredients that are naturally delicious. For more info on Nutrish, follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
So if you’re going to adopt, don’t just look at the puppies that still having a lot of growing and learning to do. Look at the older dogs who’ve already come into who they are and are just need of a loving companion like yourself.