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EthelHave you considered adopting an older dog? Maybe the first question to ask yourself is "why am I adopting a rescue dog?" If you have already decided that you want to rescue a dog, your reasons may be: to save a life; to give a dog a second chance; to show a neglected or abused dog the love he/she deserves; and to provide a safe home for another living being that may otherwise have not known love.

Many people are under the impression that it is easier to train a puppy or very young dog. They think that: older dogs come with baggage and issues from past experiences; older dogs can't learn new things; older dogs have medical issues and therefore increased vet costs; and older dogs are only with us a short time before we have to deal with the grief of losing them.

Have you ever considered that: an older dog may already be house rosietrained; an older dog is more likely to have the maturity to focus and therefore learn new things more quickly; health problems can happen at any age; older dogs who are given healthy food, adequate exercise and a loving home can remain in good health for many years; most common medical problems in older dogs are relatively inexpensive to manage; and when the time comes to say goodbye, you know you have truly given another living being the love and security they may not have know otherwise?

Please consider looking at adoption from the dog's perspective. There are many older dogs who, through no fault of their own, have been abandoned or neglected. Some have never had a loving home. Others have had a home but through unknown circumstances have found themselves in a shelter, frightened and alone. By adopting an older dog, we have the opportunity to truly make a difference for that dog, possibly allowing them to experience the joys of having a loving home for the first time in their lives.

We at B.O.N.E.S. have asked some adopters who prefer older dogs to share their thoughts as to the reasons they find these more mature dogs to be so desirable. It is our hope that by reading these, you may find it in your heart to provide a loving home to one of these very special Beagles.

Aimee Love was adopted at age 11
Her mom writes:
Aimee LoveThe reason I adopt seniors is because they KNOW, they know that they have been given a second chance. I have found them to show appreciation through their eyes and how they interact. I think seniors are overlooked because people think that they may also be a medical/financial drain. They think that as soon as they get attached to a senior, it might not have a long time to live and they will have to say good-bye sooner than having a puppy. They think that saying good-bye is going to be hard. What people don't understand is that seniors give so much in return…in love and devotion, and in thankfulness for being given a second/third chance...that saying good-bye to them when they are ready to pass is actually okay. One learns that giving them a safe and loving home does more for one's heart than can be explained. Every dog/animal deserves a safe home before they pass. And as hard as it is to say good-bye, as sad as the passing is, I also realize that I have given that dog a safe, soft and loving home and I know, I know that is more important than my selfish feelings of sadness over departure. I know that I did the right thing by adopting them and letting them into my heart. That overcomes and outweighs the feeling of loss.

Her dad and human siblings added the following advantages of adopting an older dog:

  • Already trained
  • Used to people...typically
  • More laid back
  • Wisdom
  • House trained
  • Appreciative
  • Obedient
  • Typically they get in less trouble
  • Seniors are overlooked and puppies are always adopted
  • They are adorable
  • You don't have to deal with the chewing stage...most of the time
  • They sleep a lot
  • They have character (!!!)
  • They have big hearts
  • Don't have to deal with the puppy stage and less destructive
  • Seniors are less likely to eat your shoes
  • It is easier for a senior to train you to fulfill its needs than it is for you to train a puppy to fulfill your needs

Herbie was adopted at age 9-10 and Snoopy before him at age 9
HerbTheir mom writes:
Why do I love my frosted face beagles? Let me count the ways!!

I could list all the many practical advantages, but the reason I love the older beagles is simply they touch my heart and they deserve to be loved. They return every bit of love and more. I first learned this from giving an older beagle a chance, and I have been hooked since. Contrary to misconceptions, older dogs indeed bond to new family, are remarkably adaptable, are often very active into their teenage years, and learn new tricks as readily as herb&snoopyyoung dogs.

Just give them a chance, they will surprise you! Their personalities will emerge, and age will become a forgotten number.

Herbie's dad adds:
I look at the senior dogs we've adopted over the years, and I can see that we've made those years happy and loved for them; it is a real reward for me.

Buck was adopted at age 10
His mom writes:
buck diggingI have always enjoyed the company of older dogs, age 5 and up. They are not crazy like young dogs, what they come with for "baggage" is well known. They are generally housebroken, crate trained, know how to take a pill, know how to greet you happily and how to sleep with you. buck

Older dogs are a pleasure to take out in society - they don't pee on your friend's carpet! They are happy to lie down and wait for you to finish your conversation.

I just flat out love them for who they are!

Leo was adopted at age 10, and before him, the twins Nina and Oscar at age 7-9:
leoTheir mom writes:
Have you ever looked into the eyes of an older dog? Have you ever felt the depth of their soul? Older dogs are so wise, they are appreciative and grateful because they have known life without security, and they let you know that they are well aware of the kindness you have bestowed upon them. When I first heard about Leo, and Nina and Oscar before him, I knew they needed to join our family. Leo was found starving in the woods in the middle of winter. Apparently, he never lived in a house because he was not at all house trained. We found he has a bad heart, and he is completely deaf. Honestly, his vision isn't the best either. I put myself in his place – frightened, lonely, hungry...didn't he deserve a loving home where he could be well-fed, warm, safe, and loved? The reaction from most people is always the same. "How can you adopt such an old dog? You won't have him very long before he dies." The reality is that none of us knows when we are going to die. We don't know when an accident or illness may change our lives completely.

Today I share my home with five dogs ranging in age from six to fourteen, three of which were adopted as older dogs. My husband and I joke that it is a retirement home for Beagles. However, all we have is today. And today, we laugh and enjoy our fur family. Today, Leo will sit with me outside on the swing or nap on the couch. Today, we will snuggle and Leo will feel safe and loved. And if tomorrow Leo leaves us, we will know that in his golden years he no longer had to feel lonely, hungry or frightened, that he has known love and security and the comfort of having a family of his very own. Of course saying goodbye is painful, but tomorrow there will be yet another dog in need, and we will be able to provide a good life for another precious soul.