Enter any rescue facility, or even visit its webpage, and the message is always the same: senior dogs tend to be the hardest to adopt out. And it’s a total shame.
While many find it difficult to resist the adorable allure of a puppy, or the activity of a young adult, passing up life in the company of a senior is an experience most people don’t realize they’re missing out on. Senior dogs come with all of the best stuff a dog has to offer: loving, loyal and none short on laughs, these grateful gals and gents still have so much to give. Added bonus: They probably won’t destroy all of your shoes, rugs or rolls of toilet paper, like a certain popular poochie demographic I don’t think I need to call out by name…
Because no dog deserves to spend their last days in the cold confines of a cage, we wanted to share with you just how much senior dogs have to give. We reached out to 10 owners of amazing social-media savvy seniors and asked them to share with us just how awesome life with an old-timer really can be. Here are just a few reasons to bring a senior dog into your home:
1. They remind you what really matters in life.
Despite what her famous namesake might suggest, keeping up with 11-year-old Chloe Kardoggian (@chloekardoggian) is actually a pretty easy endeavor. “I love my senior dog, Chloe, because she adds a sweet, calm, kind place to my life, and has so much love and zest for life at the same time,” says Chloe’s two-legged companion, Dorie. “Chloe reminds me every day that the simple things in life, like a good snuggle and kiss on the nose, are what makes the world a better and happier place.”
2. They are young at heart.
According to Jane Y. of @jaeun2, her 16-year-old cocker spaniel, Piri may be well into his senior stage but still has the spirit of a puppy. “He’ll nap for most of the day, and he moves slower than the younger pups, but when he’s happy he prances, hops and trots with the best of them,” she says. “What I love most about Piri are his deep and soulful eyes. I know he has seen and experienced so many things, and what is more, he has still so much more love to give. When he adds a head nudge or two asking for neck scratches? Completely melts my heart.”
3. They are expert snugglers.
Jenny M. never has to guess what’s on her dog’s mind. “Senior dogs know who they are. They have likes and dislikes and they quickly tell you, making our job to enrich their lives an easy one.” For her 10-year-old pit bull Lexy (@lexytheelderbull),that means lots of sweet snuggling. “I love that she likes to be close. She rests her paw in my hand when we watch TV and shares my pillow when we sleep,” she says. While always an advocate for adoption, this lucky dog mama has a sweet spot for the seniors. “I think senior rescues are even more special. I believe they know how lucky they are to have been given a second chance.”
4. They can still make waves.
Haole (@haoleboysurfs) is a champion, both in and out of the water. Companion John M. says of his surfing senior: “This time of Haole’s life is an exceptionally rewarding one. Senior dogs have such a calm, sweet, loving temperament, and still so much life left in them. We feel blessed everyday to share our lives with Haole.” When resting his sea legs, Haole loves to make people laugh. “He has a way of capturing your heart and putting smiles on everyone’s face!”
5. They repay the love, tenfold.
Shirley Braha couldn’t be happier with her decision to choose an older dog when searching for a companion. “Adopting a senior dog is just an all-around awesome thing to do. From the start I knew that when I adopted Marnie (@marniethedog) that she would be luckier than many older dogs who never make it out of shelters, but I hadn’t realized how lucky I was as well.” Since meeting in 2012, Shirley and Marnie have been owning the streets of New York City. “Taking care of an older dog has made me feel better about myself, because I saved a life instead of supporting the puppy mill industry, and I also get to have the coolest best friend ever,” says Braha of her 12 year-old tyke.
6. They can definitely learn new tricks.
Dubbed “The Smartest Dog in the World”, 11-year-old Chaser (@chaserthebordercollie) continues to wow the world with her extraordinary vocabulary (She has made appearances on 60 Minutes and The Today Show and hung out with Anderson Cooper, Matt Lauer and Diane Sawyer.) It’s not all work for this clever canine though. “Her spirit perpetually remains that of a 2-year-old toddler. Her love of play has not diminished, which is an asset as far as exercise not only for Chaser, but for me as well,” says Dr. John P., Chaser’s human and trainer. “I love that despite her physical maturation, she maintains the joy of a 2-month-old puppy. At any age, dogs are magical creatures and forever our babies.”
7. They appreciate everything you do for them.
For 12 year-old rescue pug The Bumblesnot (@thebumblesnot) every moment is a blessing, and he isn’t shy to show his gratitude. “His old grey face reminds me how much he’s been through and how much he appreciates all I do for him. A simple head rub, ear scratch or just sitting next to him on the couch makes him happy,” says his person, Melissa G. “Senior dogs like The Bumblesnot may need a little help now and then, but they still have a lot left to give, and we can grow older together for the rest of his life, how ever long that may be.”
8. They have a lifetime of love to share.
A stray all her life until just this past April, the nightmare is finally over for one Houston hound named Pearl, as she abandons her past to enjoy her new life: Pearl’s new life (@pearlsnewlife). Found sleeping under cars and begging for food, new mama Joy R. continues to be amazed by Pearl’s resilience. “Pearl is a sweet, gentle, loving old soul and each ounce of love given to her is returned a hundredfold. Easygoing, trusting and calm, all she wants is a soft place to lay her head and as much petting as you are willing to give.” Pearl’s new life is the life every senior rescue hopes to enjoy. “Her days are spent happily by my side, following wherever I may go, treating each day as a new adventure and a gift.”
9. They show us how to forgive.
Oliver of @oliver.adventures found his forever home at the ripe age of 10. “It is the best decision we ever made,” says Brittany G. of her and her husband’s decision to add Oliver to their pack. Regardless of his rough start in life, this lucky Lab found the second chance all dogs deserve. “Despite everything that people had done wrong to him, he still had the capacity to forgive, and he is now the happiest dog I’ve ever met. No matter their age, all animals deserve a loving home, and I honestly can’t think of anything more rewarding than making the last year’s of a pet’s life the best that they can be.”
10. They have such wise, happy faces!
For Rosalyn A., the 14 years of love and living worn on her beloved Sugar @goldenwoofs really brighten her day. “Sugar’s mature sweet face makes me smile everyday,” she says. Despite a grizzled brow and beard, this Golden girl can still hang with the best of them. “She knows how to have fun. I can sense her joyful appreciation of everything.”