May 12, 2015

4 Reasons Why Older Dogs Make Great Family Members

Posted in: Dog

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A few weeks ago when I was in Melbourne, my friends and I went out for brunch and one of them, Maryam, brought along her gorgeous new pooch, Teddy. Maryam has just bought a new home and wanted to fill it with something special.

Maryam and Teddy are in the photo above, how gorgeous do they look together!

Now, unlike most of us when deciding on becoming dog owners, Maryam didn’t want to get a puppy. Rather, she decided to go to the Save A Dog Scheme and adopt a senior dog. My heart panged when I found out she did this. Because of her, Teddy can now live happily ever after.

A lot of the time, senior dogs are overlooked at shelters. People believe they are there because they are problem dogs. And this is definitely not always the case.

There are so many good reasons why senior dogs make the most wonderful companions and are definitely worth considering when deciding on bringing a dog into your life.

4 Reasons why senior dogs are a good idea:

1) Usually they are house trained

Toilet training a puppy is hard work and I think, the most challenging part of having a puppy. Toilet training can be incredibly frustrating and messy. It takes a long, long time for a puppy to understand where to go to the toilet. However, senior dogs usually have been part of someone’s family for many years and therefore are house trained. As Maryam says, The best thing about having a dog that is already house trained is, Piece of Mind! Knowing I won’t have moments where I am kneeling over the carpet cleaning the mess made by a puppy early in the morning, after work, when I’m tired or when I just don’t have time to clean up accidents, is the best. The minute I brought Teddy home I knew I could go to bed or come home from work knowing that I wouldn’t have to clean up his mess. Having that piece of mind is priceless for where I am in my life right now.

2) You feel good about yourself

Bring home a senior dog and you will know what it feels like to give an old dog who has fallen on hard times a second chance at life. The way Maryam sees it, I feel great saying Teddy is a rescue dog, but I never really thought about it in the context of saving a life.  I suppose most animal shelters have a kill policy. So yes, I have saved a life and it feels good. It was tough walking into the shelter where Teddy was. There were rows of dogs, most of them were medium size dogs and I just knew the owners underestimated the time required to care for them and that was why they were there, it was so sad.

3) Less exercise

Older dogs do not need the same physical activity as younger dogs. The energy younger dogs have needs to be burned off on a daily basis but senior dogs are more than happy to have a slow stroll around the block every other day. Maryam explained that, I specifically wanted an older dog because I knew in reality I wouldn’t have the time to exercise a puppy and young dog. I was very aware of how much exercise they need and knew I wouldn’t be able to cater for their needs. Yes puppies are cuter and you can train them to be exactly as you please but if you don’t have the time to do that you end up raising something that becomes the four legged version of a dysfunctional teenager!

4) Senior dogs are good dogs

There is the belief that older dogs in shelters are there because there is something wrong with them. But this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s sad but true, a lot of senior dogs end up at shelters because of lifestyle changes. A new baby or job can mean less time for a once loved and valued family member. Allergies, death of a guardian or financial problems can also see older dogs sent to shelters. What Maryam loves about older dogs is, Older dogs have less demands. They are happy to just chill, they don’t require the constant need for entertainment and generally have calmer dispositions.

For Maryam, she loves having an old man in her life, Teddy has his own individual personality, he still has some cheeky spunk left in him, but he also loves quiet time and just resting. He fits into my family perfectly and everyone that meets him loves him. He is everything I need at this point of my life. Puppies are great, but they are a very, very big commitment and some people underestimate this commitment. I am aware that I can’t commit to a puppy but I can commit to the needs of Teddy. Sometimes I see people and think, ‘Why would you get a puppy when you can’t even manage your own life let alone make the time to create a healthy and well adjusted dog. I would love to see people be more open to adopting senior dogs. Puppies and younger dogs in shelters have a much easier time finding homes. Shelters can be a very scary, confusing and depressing place for an old dog and it can be hard for them to stand out and get adopted. But, open your heart and mind to them and your home will filled with the love and comfort only a senior dog can provide. 

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^ Teddy, thankful for a second chance at life