This is Adopt-a-Senior Month and You Can Help

 The month is slipping by and I can’t let it go by without trying to bring some attention and awareness to “Adopt-A-Senior Month.”

Finding the perfect dog can be difficult and confusing. When we go to a shelter we are frequently drawn to the puppies. They are irresistibly cute as are those rambunctious teenagers. But, as this is National Adopt A Senior Month, I’d like to put in a few good words for the adoption of the older dog.

Years ago I adopted a senior greyhound. He was hard to place as he had epilepsy which was not yet under control. I had previous experience dealing with epilepsy so was not particularly put off. His sweet greying face touched me and I immediately knew we would be a pair. To this day, he remains the most devoted of all the dogs I have had and lived to be 13 years old. That wasn’t long enough but they were years filled with love and affection.

Surrendered Seniors By Seniors

 Advanced age and failing health often force seniors to surrender their lifelong companions. These cases are particularly poignant.  Although in England and some parts of Europe there are facilities that allow dogs,too few retirement or assisted living homes in the states allow dogs. Studies have shown that when the elderly are forced to give up their pets they often suffer all the symptoms of bereavement and the pets they are forced to give up are often elderly themselves.

Other Reasons for Surrendering Seniors

Senior dogs often require additional attention. Sometimes there are medical conditions and the owners are financially unable to provide the care. Sometimes the owners know that it is time for their dog to be euthanized but reject that responsibility. They are not willing to see their dog through this final stage. Commonly owners are moving and the new home won’t accomodate a dog.

Five Persuasive Reasons To Adopt A Senior

There are many good reasons to adopt a senior. Here are just five of the many.

  • They have gone through that phase where everything in the house is a possible chew toy just waiting to be discovered. Chewing shoes and furniture is far behind them.
  • The demands older dogs make are fewer. With puppies, we often can’t exercise them enough and hours of throwing the ball or Frisbee provide just enough exercise to take the edge off their boundless energy.
  • Older dogs are housebroken. They have learned that nighttime is for sleeping and not for throwing the Frisbee.
  • Senior dogs are more mellow and are done with the puppy zoomies and other craziness. Though entertaining, this phase of puppy craziness can seem  interminably long.
  • And last but not least, seniors seem to be grateful for the second chance to have a family.

Senior Advocates

The Senior Dogs Project  focuses solely on senior dogs. They provide a state-by-state directory of rescues that support. Their homepage has many links to additional information.

The Grey Muzzle Organization  assists welfar agencies provide the proper care needed by these special dogs. They provide funding for carefully selected organizations nationwide. They provide a list of ways that you can help.

Old Dog Haven in Washington State is one of a few organizations that promotes the adoption of these older guys.

The Society for Campanion Animals Studies in conjunction with the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association has made available on line an in-depth study with a summary of their key findings

The Sanctuary For Senior Dogs not only rescues older dogs from shelters they also advocate the lifelong responsibility that we have to our pets. Read the touching story of the birth of this organization.

Senior dogs give so much to us, and ask very little in return. Please consider making one a member of your family.

“Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.”
- Sydney Jeanne Seward

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One Response to “This is Adopt-a-Senior Month and You Can Help”

  1. Ken Perry 22. Nov, 2010 at 7:37 am #

    As an old dog, myself, I sure hope someone will adopt me.

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