So you decided you’re ready to welcome a new furry member to the family. YAY! GO YOU! If you’re leaning towards a younger pet because you think younger pets have more personality or you’re concerned about time, please take a moment to read the untold facts about senior adoption and what I’ve learned since a senior dog (my pug, Emoji) adopted me.
There are a lot of things you won’t hear when it comes to senior adoption.
They don’t always tell you about their history.
The sad reality is some senior pets are left overnight or abandoned outside of shelters. Others are surrendered because they’ve slowed down or sometimes “just because.” Some end up in rescues or shelters just in time for a new, younger addition to the family or because their original owner passed away.
They don’t tell you, you will become best friends with everyone in your vet’s office.
Sometimes a senior pet comes with a full medical history, but most come with little to no information about their past. Rescue organizations and shelters work hard to provide the best care, which can be challenging because procedures are expensive and seniors have a harder time recovering.
They don’t tell you that you will spend nights sitting on the floor trying to hide a pill inside a cheese-wrapped treat.
Don’t be fooled. If your senior is anything like Emoji, they are smart and know how to scrape all of the peanut butter off of the meds…or they’ll wait and stuff them into their bed corners. Don’t worry, you’ll compromise and figure out a way to sneak the medicine past them.
They don’t tell you you’ll appreciate purchasing pet stain removers and pee pads in bulk.
When welcoming a new family member, patience is key. Even dogs who are housebroken have accidents as they adjust to their new environment. Comforters are washable, shoes are replaceable, but the bond you’ll create is irreplaceable.
If you have room in your heart to welcome a special needs senior, get them on a regular schedule and stick to it. A regular schedule and routine will help minimize accidents in the house, but when they do happen you’ll become a seasoned cleaning pro. Shit happens—literally and metaphorically.
They don’t tell you that senior adoption is one of the most rewarding experiences.
They don’t tell you how a senior pet knows and appreciates you giving them a chance at happily ever after.
By no fault of their own, seniors are surrendered because they have low energy or slowed down. They’re left heartbroken, confused, and scared, just like a person would be. A shelter can be a stressful situation for any dog, and for seniors, it can be harder to adjust—and harder still to come out of their shell to show off their personalities to potential adopters.
When you open your heart and home to a senior, they appreciate having a second shot at happiness.
They don’t tell you that watching a senior’s personality blossom is worth a thousand derpy puppy videos.
After Emoji’s adoption, he became more comfortable in his environment, and his bossy, grumpy, old man personality came out. He began to march around when it was close to dinner time and stomp on my foot if I took too long. Nothing compares to seeing a senior feel more confident in his surroundings and building a stronger relationship with you.
They don’t tell you how much a senior’s quirkiness will bring a smile to your face.
They don’t tell you how your social life will diminish because you’ll prefer to stay in and cuddle.
You’ll become a Netflix master. Trust me, it’s glorious.
They don’t tell you that many senior pets* already understand basic commands and are house broken.
*Well except pugs. They train the humans…not the other way around.
They don’t tell you how senior pets inspire you to be your best self.
Be the human that your dog thinks you are.
They don’t tell you you’ll dread the day it’s time to say goodbye.
The reality is, nothing is guaranteed. We don’t know what the next day will bring. Unfortunately, there is no way to know how much time you have, regardless of age or health. Focus on the time you have together, and don’t dwell on the what-ifs because it’s the quality of the time you spend together that matters, not quantity.
They don’t tell you how you’ll angrily wish you had more time.
I’m thankful every day to have time with Emoji. I don’t know how much, and I try not to think about goodbyes, because I can’t imagine life without him.
They don’t tell you how much you’ll cherish the time you had for the rest of your life.
I angrily wish that I knew Emoji when he could see or hear, but I’m still grateful because he’s taught me so much. He wouldn’t be the pug he is today without the unknown struggles he’s dealt with before the ACC picked him up.
They can’t tell you how amazing senior adoption can be if they’ve never experienced the love of a senior.
Adopt a senior and experience this life-changing event.
Are You Ready to #AdoptASenior?
Emoji here. During and after the holidays, rescue groups and shelters get an influx of senior surrenders. Some surrender because the dog doesn’t play anymore. Others surrender because they can’t afford their medical care. Sometimes the senior is abandoned overnight or left without reason. We don’t know how much time each senior has, but what we do know is the time you’ll spend together is time you’ll cherish forever.
If you have room in your family, please consider senior adoption, and help a senior live out their golden years loved. For inspiring senior stories and available senior dogs, check out Susie’s Senior Dogs and Old Dog Haven. Also, Lady and I made a deal. She agreed to be more active on my Facebook page if I share available senior pugs and pug-mixes looking for homes! I think it’s a fair deal.
Lastly, share your senior adoption stories and tag Pug Squad and me on Instagram and Facebook! We love a great senior story.
Lady and Emoji
P.S. Feel free to shoot us a message if you ever have any questions or want to know more about senior adoption.
*Featured Image by Real Happy Dogs