5 things I’ve learned from adopting an older dog

20160211_141731-1_wmPippin is the oldest dog that Chuck & I had the opportunity of adopting. Older animals have such slim chances of being adopted. It’s so sad to see one in a shelter. They’re bewildered why they are there, frightened & anxiously waiting for their family to come back to get them. People judge them as if they are a “problem” dog when sadly they might be there because their owner has passed away or a family is forced to move to a new home that doesn’t allow pets. There could be so many other reasons for their current situation.

Here’s what I’ve learned in adopting an older dog.

Saving a Life

People are so quick to adopt a puppy. Older dogs are the first to be euthanizied to make way for other animals to have a chance of being adopted. There’s only so much room at a shelter so sadly choices have to be made if there’s no interest in the older animal. By adopting an older dog you’re not only providing a good life but you’re saving it from being put down. Pippin was 9 years old with a collapsing trachea issue when we were presented the choice of adopting her. She was blessed to have been adopted from the Connecticut Humane Society by her second owner at the age of 7. We felt certain her chances now had become much slimmer. She is of fine health & a good dog overall but we didn’t think anyone would consider that. We couldn’t live with ourselves not knowing if she get that third chance. The feeling of being able to make a good impact on her life has been nothing short of priceless.


From the first day I met Pippin there was this connection with her. For those who don’t know; Pippin was our very first client we cared for. She was a great companion for her second older owner. When her second owner suddenly passed away; I became her new owner. She is always happily barking waiting for me at the door when I come home to welcome me. No matter what time that is; she’s there to greet me. We become comfortable on the sofa & she looks into my eyes happy to cuddle. A very loving & loyal companion. And when it’s time to go to bed she spoons right up to me on the bed. She’s by my side as much as she can be. There’s some habits Pippin’s learned on her journey in life that I have learned to live with also. None of those habits would I consider to be negative. After all; we all have our quirks!


An older dog has already gotten past the destructive stage of puppyhood. I can’t believe our Pippin is 10 years old! Pippin still has an occasional “puppy zoom” but for the most part she’s happy to enjoy life more in the slow lane. If you haven’t had a puppy in a while; you’ll realize quickly how out of shape you are in for the demands of caring for a youngster. An older dog takes life at an easier in the moment life style. I am coming into a milestone birthday this year & can really appreciate her attitude. And because we don’t have to be chasing her around or cleaning up after her; there’s more time for a relaxing walk or cuddle time on the sofa.

Already  Housebroken

Need I say more on that challenge? Training a puppy means starting at ground zero. They need to be fed more often than the older dog & with that; must be taken outside more often as they can’t hold off having to go potty for long periods of time. Many older dogs are already house trained & just need a day or two to learn the new potty rules of their new home. We all learned from each other the “signal” when Pippin needed to go out to take care of her business. That only took a day to work it out amongst us. Older dogs can quickly learn what’s expected of them with their new family

You CAN Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

Older dogs have a greater attention span than a puppy. They are just as smart as the younger ones. They are incredibly adaptable & eager to learn new things. They have a sharper focus than a puppy to learn. Your older dog will probably have already learned basic commands like sit, stay & come from it’s past life. Now the two of you can learn together more intricate tricks keeping both your minds active & sharp. Pippin also teaches our younger dogs what is & isn’t acceptable behavior between dogs.

Although this blog is about what I’ve learned adopting an older dog; I like to share with you also that there are older cats that share the same plight. Some years back I was visiting the Humane society when a cat saw me & began meowing to me from her cage. All she wanted was a good scratch behind the ears & cuddling. I found out she was to be put down in another day as everyone who came looking was only interested in kittens. Her time was almost up & she was only 3 years old. She came home with me that day & lived to the ripe age of 15!

Have you adopted an older pet? We would love to have you share their pictures & stories with us in our comment box.



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