Why Rescue an Older Dog?

When I was contacted by this guest blogger and given some suggestions for blog post article titles, my heart was touched and I thought of our dog, Scout, who lived into her mid teens.  She was such a loyal dog.  What if for some reason we were not able to care for her any longer and she needed to be adopted.  I would hope that some caring person would adopt our precious Scout, even though she was a senior. I agree with you, John.  These wonderful older dogs deserve a loving home to enjoy their twilight years.

Guest Blogger: John Devlin
Owner – Dogsbarn.com
Husband, father and avid dog lover. Currently the proud owner of George a pedigree Golden Retriever who barely leaves my side. However cute this sounds a little break from the dog hairs every now and then would be nice!

Why Rescue an Older Dog?

Older dog


Is there anything cuter than puppies? Probably not, which is why they never stay at shelters long. However, while you are walking towards the puppy section at your local rescue center, spare a thought for the oldies languishing in their kennels.

Many are there through no fault of their own, perhaps their owner has passed away or can no longer care for them, maybe there is a new baby in the family or their owner has moved somewhere that doesn’t allow dogs or has developed allergies. Whatever the reason, imagine the confusion they feel having spent years in a loving home and when they should be enjoying their twilight years suddenly they find themselves desperate for a second chance.

The sad fact is; Senior dogs are often overlooked and can wait up to four times longer for a home than their younger counterparts resulting in many being euthanized. So, if you are considering adopting a dog it’s worth thinking about the benefits of adopting a golden oldie.

Plenty of life in the old dog yet

Cute older dog


One of the reasons people tend not to adopt an older dog is the fact they might not have them for long and yes, of course, it is extremely upsetting when we lose our canine companions, but a dog is classed as a senior once it reaches 7 years old and for many especially smaller dogs they are just reaching their prime at this age and often have many years left.

None of us know how much time we will get to spend with our beloved pets, no matter what the age so isn’t it worth considering offering a loving home and bringing happiness into the lives of these deserving dogs.

Home Alone

Whilst adopting an older dog may not seem like the best idea at first once you have taken into account your situation and the responsibility of owning a dog you may find it is the best option. For example, a lot of young families have busy lives with work and school commitments meaning your new four-legged friend would probably be left on their own for at least a few hours every day, this isn’t the ideal situation for a puppy, they need consistent training, lots of attention and plenty of walks and depending on what breed of dog you have could cause big problems.

A young untrained bored puppy is a recipe for disaster and you will more than likely return home to either the neighbors complaining about the barking, your favorite shoes lying in tatters or a remodeled living room.


Puppies may be cute but they are incredibly hard work and new owners need to invest a lot of time, patience and money to produce a well-behaved adult. A young puppy has a lot of energy, it requires plenty of exercise, it needs to be house trained, socialized and it needs discipline.

It can take months of puppy classes and consistent training at home to teach a young dog appropriate behavior and at times can be extremely stressful, this can be avoided by adopting a senior dog, while not all rescue dogs will have had extensive training, most will have left the destructive phase behind and are more attentive and willing to please than puppies, they will not be so demanding of your attention or need so many walks.

If a well-trained dog is important you could consider one of the many retired service dogs which come up for adoption and make great pets. Generally speaking, an older dog will be better behaved than a puppy as well as making great companions, happy to be curled up next to you on the sofa.

What does the future hold?

Dogs end up in shelters for a variety of reasons and one of the biggest is a change in circumstances, how many of us can say where we will be and what we will be doing in five, ten or fifteen years’ time? Buying a puppy is a big commitment, with some breeds living well into their late teens, can you offer a secure loving home for life? Marriage, kids, work, travel, illness can all impact on our pets, imagine the heartbreak if you had to rehome your faithful friend after years spent together.

This is another reason why adopting an older pet is a great option, although it is still a big commitment, the length of time you’ll be committing to will probably be shorter.

Time to chill

Old dog resting


Senior dogs, on the whole, are not as energetic as puppies, although they still enjoy walks and maybe a romp on the beach or at the dog park they don’t have the constant on-the-go attitude of youngsters. Exercise is important whatever the dog’s age and even a gentle stroll can help keep joints strong and supple, improve circulation and boost Fido’s mood.

Adopting an older dog whose activity level matches your own is important and for someone looking for a canine companion who prefers a few short walks a day before hanging out together on the sofa watching a box set, senior dogs can be the perfect match.


Purebred puppies are not cheap with costs ranging from around $500 to thousands but the good news is; there are many older purebred dogs available for adoption. If you can’t find the breed you love at your local animal shelter, there are numerous breed specific rescues across the country who often have older dogs needing homes and while you will still have to pay an adoption fee this will be a much cheaper option.

An older dog will more than likely be neutered and vaccinated so that will be another expense you don’t need to worry about. A senior will not require costly puppy classes, nor will they need a pet sitter, unlike puppies who need regular “potty times” unless you are going to be gone for long periods.

Of course, some older dogs have health problems or special needs but the good thing is; you will be told about any existing conditions or issues so you can take this into account before bringing your new best friend home and saving money on chewed up sneakers, furniture, stained rugs and other not so great surprises is just one of the rewards of adopting an oldie.

You get the right match

Old dog waiting

Source:Flickr.com (credit Rikki’s Refuge)

It is impossible to tell how a puppy is going to turn out, yes, we have some idea on size and looks if we choose a pedigree pooch, but buying a mutt can result in some surprises. Personality is even more difficult to predict; a timid shy puppy can become hyper as they grow up, that confident playful little fella can become an incessant barker and of course, there is always the chance of unplanned medical issues.

Rescues are full of puppies who as they grew, became too much dog or failed to match the owner’s lifestyle. When you meet an older dog in an animal shelter you’ll know what you are getting, any personality quirks, behavioral or medical issues will be discussed so you can make an informed decision, whether the dog is right for you and your family. If you are looking for a certain personality or dog of a specific size then adopting an older dog is definitely your best option.

It Works both ways

We’ve discussed all the benefits adopting an older dog can bring for an owner but the greatest benefit of all is gained by the dog. After a lifetime of providing unconditional love, senior dogs deserve to spend their twilight years in a secure and loving home, the care and companionship they so desperately want can’t be provided in a noisy, shelter and many find it extremely stressful. When you bring home an older pet you could be saving their lives and showing them, this kindness will undoubtedly guarantee their devotion. These lovely oldies deserve a second chance so if you are considering adopting a dog check out the elderly pooches. You may just find the perfect companion.