“Blessed is he, who has earned the love of an old dog” said by Sidney Jeanne Seward. Love can never grow old, and this is the case with senior dogs at shelters, just waiting to be adopted. I would know, as one of my childhood dogs was a senior dog looking for a home herself, and her name was Chata. Though old as dirt, she was loving and only got sweeter with her age. Without us, Chata would have been on the streets fending for herself or could have faced euthanasia, and for the countless senior dogs in shelters, it’s the exact same story. First, we’ll discuss why senior and adult dogs aren’t being adopted fast enough, Second, what shelters are doing to increase adoption rates of senior dogs, and third why it’s beneficial to consider adopting an older dog rather than a puppy.
Though everyone wants a puppy, senior and adult dogs will always be available for you unlike puppies. Ignoring senior dogs while adopting, could be a fatal mistake for them if you were their last chance. With puppies being adopted as soon as they’re brought in, this leaves an abundance of sweet senior dogs left behind to watch the newer younger dog go home happy. The ratio of puppies to old dogs grows greater, which always creates a demand for puppies. Its a sad cycle that leaves senior dogs living their last days in a lonely kennel.
And most older dogs end up at shelters through no fault of their own. Like with the case of the Chihuahua named Rumplestiltskin, renamed that way by his new owners when his previous owner died and he ended up stuck in the house for 2 weeks, close to death. When police finally found the owner deceased,they found that the tiny dog was surviving by eating his human to stay alive. Rumplestiltskin went straight to the shelter, and because of his strange story, older age, and unique long bowed front legs, no one wanted to adopt him. That was until Tyffanee Fortuna saw him and fell in love despite his oddities. Without rescue from Fortuna, the little dog would have faced euthanasia if another year had gone by. There are many cases like Rumplestiltskin, where a senior dog ends up at the shelter due to their owner passing away, other instances include divorce, family moves, or financial troubles. This creates older dogs with no home to go to.
Because of these problems families might have, shelters have had to get creative with their answers to overcrowding. The Shelters have found that increasing public awareness of their available senior dogs proves to work. For instance, at the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, or RCDAS, they’ve combated this problem by placing the puppy kennels and puppy rooms at the end of the shelter, where anyone walking through for adoption has the chance to view the senior dogs first. Another strategy at the RCDAS is to place less desirable older dogs with a popular breed to boost their visibility at tours. Many people are also unaware of the undoubtable benefits of senior or adult dogs. When adopting and viewing a puppy, its personality and adult temperament is not visible, as they haven’t matured yet and are growing into themselves. With a senior dog, there is no guessing game or chance that your new friend will be a different animal by the time you take them home. The senior dog will have already matured, and is in a mellow stage of its life. Adult and Senior dogs also have the added benefit of being trained already, and are potty trained. This saves you time and energy to enjoy being with your dog.
In conclusion, we can increase the chances of making a senior dog happy by telling our friends and family the benefits adult dogs have.By simply spreading the word about Senior dogs, we can save a life, and someone goes home happy. If you like to go above and beyond, you can visit the Yucaipa Animal Placement Society, which their mission statement reads that they are a “no kill, non profit animal shelter that strives to prevent the euthanasia of dogs and cats in shelters throughout the region by providing them a temporary safe haven until a permanent loving home can be found”. You can point friends and family towards this shelter close to us if they ever seek to add a new member to the family, and remind them that love never grows old.
ASPCA. “Shelter Intake
Gray, Allison. “Why Senior Dogs Are Left at Shelters.” June 13, 2016.
Lee, Jamie. “Old Dogs, Best Friends.”Chicken Soup for the Soul. 2011
Fortuna, Tiffany. “Rumpelstiltskin’s Story” Wednesday Oct. 25, 2017