Yes, puppies are adorable, young dogs are full of energy, and our normal human reaction is to likely be drawn to that when we enter a dog shelter or browse sites like Petfinder for a new furry friend. But I am here to tell you, that if you look beyond that, and consider the more mature canines in the crowd, it might just be the best decision you ever make.
You can google and find many practical reasons why adopting a senior dog is a good choice. They are likely already house trained, they probably know some commands, and they are lower energy just to name a few. And while all these and more are true, in my opinion they are just the tip of the iceberg.
As the owner of 6 dogs, I have adopted most as a puppy, or a young adult. But the 4th dog into my pack changed my life in ways I could have never imagined. As a frequent visitor to my local county animal shelter, walking in on this particular Saturday wasn’t any different than most. That is, until my boyfriend and I and walked by a cage, with the most handsome, and gentle fellow in it. We made our rounds as we always did, but found ourselves back at this same cage. “Champion” his kennel card said his name was, and with sharpie was written, “Adoption Special $20”. He stood quietly, clearly curious about us, but not overly demonstrative. We found the nearest employee and asked about the dog, as we found ourselves very drawn to him. We were told that he was surrendered by the out of state family of his owner, who had passed. After a few weeks in the shelter, he was adopted out, but had sadly been returned earlier that day. Given his age of 10 years, and his failed adoption trial they chose to run him on an adoption special.
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