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The Advantages of Adopting an Older Dog

If the puppy on that well known brand of toilet tissue makes you go all weak at the knees, but the thought of months of training the little fellow combined with the wiping up of yellow spillages and the picking up of smelly brown lumps puts you off. Help is, definitely, at hand.

Enter the grown up dog.

These grown up dogs are still able to give lots of love even when they are showing signs of grey hairs in their coat. And, best of all, they may still have plenty of years left to give you companionship, fun times and can enrich our lives just as much as a puppy.

Puppies can be one of the most loveable pets on the planet but can also demand lots of time, attention and effort to get them to settle into your lifestyle pattern. A grown up dog will take a lot less time to adapt to the care that you have to offer and will lap up all the love that you have to give and will actually appreciate it more. An older generation dog, especially one that you might have picked up from your local animal shelter might have been there for some time and whilst the staff at the shelter do a magnificent job, they cannot offer much one to one attention, as they would like, to each individual dog as you can. Even an older dog that is moving from owner to owner will usually adapt to the situation a lot greater than a puppy would.

So, how can I convince you that you should adopt an older dog rather than go for a puppy? Well, if your mind is made up and you are adamant that you are after a puppy then I wouldn’t even attempt to convince and change your mind. You have still made a worthwhile decision to look after a dog, train a dog and give him all the love and affection that they deserve. I would have no reason to convince you. Also, if you have no intention of getting a dog then, again, there will be no point in trying to convince you. Those people who are thinking about getting a dog and have not decided what type they want or how they want to go about it. IT IS YOU THAT I AM AFTER.

I am going to assume the role of Lloyd Grossman, purely for this feature and in my best American come Canadian come English accent (I have no idea where he comes from) I would like to say, “Let’s look at the evidence”.


Your aged pet will more than likely be housetrained and will not feel the need to urinate, because he is excited, when your nephews’ and nieces’ come to visit. A dog has to do what a dog has to do and as long as you allow your older dog time outside, whether it be in the garden, or walks in the park, your dog will do his business in an exterior location and not in front of the dining room. Don’t forget to pick up any doggie business that he may have left and get rid of it in the proper manner.


We all love to shower our pets with gifts; we probably get the greater satisfaction out of this than our dogs do. Older pets are much more receptive to gifts and presents than the puppy generation. Puppies just love to play and be it a squeaky toy or an expensive knitted dog coat, it may not be long before he gets his teeth into it and attempts to rip things to shreds. The older pet welcomes the attention that you are lavishing on it.


Older dogs are much more unlikely to roam away and investigate things on their travels. A puppy will want to be everywhere at the same time, impossible but will want to none the less. An ageing dog is more likely to appreciate his daily walks and will not stray far from you. Been there done that is what he would be thinking. He will want to walk on a regular basis but will take his time and plod along.


If you adopt an older dog from a rescue centre, more often than not he would have already been vaccinated. This is benefiting you as you now have a vaccinated dog whereas a puppy may need a whole host of vaccinations, which could cost you a tidy sum. Not that this should put you off. If you have decided to invest in a puppy then you should be aware of any financial implications. An ageing dog from a rescue shelter will have been fully looked after during its time there. You can also guarantee that caring and helpful staff would have looked after the dog.


Older pets are normally easier at adapting to human lifestyles; after all they have probably lived in a similar situation before. Alarm clocks, telephones and your Eminem CD all have the potential to create noises that may cause stress and / or intrigue in a puppy. An older dog is probably used to all the noises that a puppy may find disturbing. An anxious, disturbed or even excited puppy may feel the need to yellow stain your carpet.


As with vaccinations, the majority of dogs adopted from rescue centres will probably have been neutered or spayed preventing the chances of your dog becoming a father to umpteen puppies or the mother of umpteen puppies. Again, with a puppy, if you have looked it into buying a puppy and researched it thoroughly you know what to do and when to do it. An older dog that has been neutered or spayed reduces the risks of you forgetting anything like spaying or neutering your puppy.


You may be nearly convinced but worried why the dog was placed in the rescue centre in the first place. Does it have behavioural problems? Is it a troublemaker? Worse still, has it a nasty temperament, especially where children are concerned. The common reason that dogs find themselves in this situation is to changes in their owner’s domestic circumstances and not necessarily because of an underlying behavioural problem. Therefore, most of the dogs that you have the chance to adopt are likely to have very good temperaments. The staff at the centres will advise and help you as much as they can and more importantly they will be honest. They don’t want to see the dog back with them in two weeks time. With a puppy you have a clean slate and the way it behaves and learns is ultimately down to you. An older dog will not require the same sort of attention and you may actually learn something from it.


By giving an older dog a home, you can make a difference. They can give you plenty of happiness, love and affection and in return you can offer the same. We all know the advantages of purchasing a puppy, but don’t forget that these older dogs were puppies once. Their first owners probably had just as good intentions as you have of having a dog. If you have ever visited a rescue shelter and walked along the rows and rows of cages and seen the dogs in these cages, then you will have seen dogs of all differing personalities. The one that is running around chasing his tail probably makes you laugh, then there is the cute looking one that makes you want to go “awwwww”. The older dog is probably the one just sat watching the world go by. It might seem quite boring to you but this dog has so much love to give to you. Give him a go, you will find that it will be worth it.

You can find a list of your local animal shelters in your Yellow Pages and / or Thompson’s Directory.

I went through my local Yellow Pages in the hope that this would prove my theory that ‘the older the dog, the less chance they have of being re-homed’.

JAYGEE SANCTUARY FOR DOGS, Warsop Lane, Blidworth, Nottingham, NG21 0PJ, telephone 01623 792886.

Average time for dogs to be re-homed = 2 weeks.
Oldest dog there = Cindy, Collie-cross, 9 years old.
Time there = 9 months.

RSPCA, Animal Centre, 137 Spital Lane, Spital, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

Average time for dogs to be re-homed = 2 to 3 months
Oldest dog there = Shep, Border Collie, 11 years old
Time there = 6 months.

ST. BERNARD’S ANIMAL SANCTUARY, Broomhill Road, Old Whittington, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Average time for dogs to be re-homed =
Oldest dog there =
Time there =

So, if you are considering adopting a dog from a local animal rescue centre, spare a thought for the older generation of canines out there. They have just as much love, care and affection to give.

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