Adopting a dog is a big decision, and for those in their later years, it can be even more significant. While many people may lean towards adopting a puppy, adopting an older dog can be beneficial for both canine and companion. Senior furry friends often have a calm and gentle demeanor, making them the ideal partner for retirees or individuals who walk less.
There are many benefits to bringing an older dog into your home. They are often much easier to care for. Unlike puppies, they’ve already gone through the teething stage and are generally well-behaved. They’re also often already house-trained, so no chewed shoes or spoiled carpets! Older dogs tend to be less demanding when it comes to exercise and playtime, which is great for owners who want company but can’t venture as far as they used to.
Despite the age-old adage ‘it’s impossible to teach an old dog new tricks’, many pensioner pooches actually revel in reward-based training just as much as the youngsters. Although the training may not be as rigorous, it’s a wonderful way to strengthen the bond between pet and owner.
But perhaps the biggest reason to adopt an elderly dog is the joy it can bring. Many end up in shelters after their owners can no longer care for them, and they often still have a lot of love to give. By adopting you’re giving them a second chance at a happy life.
Of course, rehoming an older dog isn’t without its challenges. You may need to be patient as your new pet adjusts to their new surroundings, and they may have health issues that require extra medication. But with proper care and attention, an older dog can be just as loving and loyal as a younger one.
Before adopting, consider your lifestyle and what breed would fit into it. Think about your daily routine, exercise habits, and living situation. Are you looking for a dog that enjoys leisurely strolls or wants to chase a ball all the time? Consider your living environment, whether you have a garden or live in a flat, and how this will impact your choice of dog.
You also need to think about the dog’s changing needs much like your own at home. Having a raised water bowl or bed can make life more convenient and comfortable for them. Just like the Stiltz Homelift, which makes moving around indoors easier whether you have two legs or four.
Joint, muscle and bone problems can make stairs a problem for everyone in the family. Take for example stroke survivor Steve Waller and retired, arthritic guide dog Evie. They both use a Stiltz Trio+ Homelift to remain side by side whether upstairs or down. Then there’s Craig Mucznik, who’s visually impaired and also relies on a Trio+ to avoid the risk of slips, trips and falls. Each journey’s a bit of fun too with his cute Bichon Frise’s Snoopy and Rocky regularly sharing a ride. Carrying your beloved best friend up and down the stairs will never have to happen again.
Fellow animal lover Mike Lord, CEO at Stiltz Homelifts, sees many domestic lift customers taking the lead with older dogs: “Both owners and their ageing pets find it a real treat to no longer have to use the stairs. However many legs you have, you can experience the same challenges going up to bed or getting ready for a walk. But not with a Stiltz home lift in your life.”
When you’ve settled on a possible breed, you need to make sure you find a suitable dog from a reputable rehoming centre. Use the Kennel Club’s ‘Find a Rescue Dog’ search or check the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes members’ website. You could also consider adopting a former guide dog like Steve or seek out pet charities that run ‘Gold Oldie’ rehoming programmes.
If money is a worry when considering a dog there‘s help available. The Give a Dog a Bone charity help the over-60s to finance pet care and the Dogs Trust provides a free rehoming service that can give you peace of mind in case anything happens to you.
Adopting an older dog is a life-changing decision that not only benefits the animal but also enriches the lives of its new owners. By providing a loving home, you are giving them the opportunity to enjoy their golden years in a caring and comfortable environment. In return, you gain a loyal and loving companion who will raise a smile time and time again.