Five Reasons Why Old Dogs Rock

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 11:00am

You know it’s true: Senior dogs are the best. As much as we can’t resist puppies, there is something about an old pooch that really makes our hearts sing. In honor of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, we’re counting down the top five reasons why old dogs rock.

1. What you see is what you get. Older dogs are open books—from the start, you’ll know important things like their full-grown size, personality and grooming requirements.
2. Seniors are super-loving. Adopted dogs already in their golden years are devoted and grateful. They create an instant bond that cannot be topped!
3. They settle in quickly. Older dogs have been around the block and already learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack. They’ll be part of the family in no time!
4. Seniors enjoy easy livin’. Couch potato, know thyself. Consider adopting a laid-back canine retiree rather than a high-energy young dog who needs constant monitoring.
5. They’re CUTE! Need we say more?

Did you adopt a senior dog? Tell us about your elder states-pooch in the comments below.

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Joyce Morris

Brandy was 13 years old when she became part of our household. Her human family were getting divorced, and she was going to be "put to sleep." Make that "killed"--I hate the euphemism. She was old and crippled, but still spirited. As spirited as a golden retriever gets. I had her in my car, and we were on our way to the vet's office before her former human got to the end of the street. She began to get treatment for her terrible arthritis and her other less serious ailments. She got a warm comfortable bed inside the house instead of being relegated to an open garage with a thin rug. Although she howled when first left with me--she knew she was being abandoned by the person she had lived with all her life--she quickly became a member of the family, the matriarch in fact. She was the eldest of my four dogs, and they all showed her the respect due to an elder.

Brandy was only with us for a year, but I feel good thinking that her last year just may have been the best year of her life. She gave us so much, not least of which is the knowledge that adopting a senior dog brings wonderful rewards to the adopter.

Nancy Krutenat

I adopted my German Shepard, Kristi, when she was 13. She weighed 60 lbs., and looked like she didn't have much time left. I knew that I could make her remaining days wonderful. Well, in March she will be 16, she weighs a very healthy 90 lbs., and is the Love of My Life!


We now have a 10+ year old adopted dog. Her family moved to Europe and didn't take her with. We have had her for 3 years. The little girl we had before her was 10+ when we adopted her, she was a stray from Chicago and not spayed and had tumors. We took care of her medical problems and my husband said "no heroics" Well she developed cancer in her bladder and we took her to the UofI Vet School for treatment. She lived with us for only 10 months, but they were probably the best 10 months of her life. We miss her very much and would not have done anything different. HURRAY FOR SENIOR DOGS!

Tina Mizhir

I love old dogs they are great! I remember one who was at the New Rochelle Shelter. They had a big old dog that would lay in the front of the building enjoying the sun close to the street. The first time I saw him I walked closer and closer and he never moved...I was worried he was hit by a car and unconsious but as soon as I got one foot close to him he rolled over and gave me his belly to rub. I was so happy he was OK and rubbed his belly a long time. He was a great old dog too!

Mona MacCormack

I do not agree with some of this. I absolutely adore older dogs and will likely never again adopt a pup. Older dogs, once settled in, are incredibly loving and thankful and all the way around great additions to loving homes. However, older dogs DO need more time to settle in because they're more set in their ways; they do NOT immediately embrace new homes because they tend to miss their previous homes more and are hurt/disappointed deeper. They require a bit more patience early on and don't offer that instant gratification that you get from much younger dogs. But ohhh.... when they finally come around to trusting again, there's absolutely nothing better! Yes, old dogs rock!


My mother's little dog was found tied to the fence at a shelter in Florida. He was already an elderly dog. My mother owned him for several years, but when she passed away, I had him vanned up here from Florida. He has lived here in RI for almost 5 years now and is still going strong even though he is in his late teens. He has never given me one moment to regret that I gave him his last "forever" home.

Dianne Ewing

My daughter adopted a 13 year old male shepherd from a rescue that was shutting down. The lady called her a week later to convince her to take another male shepherd that was 4 years old but has severe colitis. They are all so happy now.

Ruby Elrod

We adopted an older dog from the shelter. He was an 8-year-old Cockapoo who had been turned in by his owner. When we took him to the vet the following day, we were told he had kennel cough and when x-rays were taken, one lung was completely filled with fluid. He either had pneumonia or was going into heart failure. The vet said that if I didn't want him, she would take him. It took three months to get him healthy. He does have heart disease, but he shows me so much love. I tell him every day he will never be in a dark place again. Elderly people should adopt older dogs. You have committed 15 years to a puppy, and too many dogs end up in shelters after their owners have died, and the kids don't want the dogs. We have also adoped an older Cocker Spaniel, and we are the fourth family she has had, but we will be her last. My vet told me when he dies, he wants to come back as one of my dogs.

Marcia Smiley

My husband and I have adopted several senior dogs. Ziggy was a puppy mill mom who was scheduled to have her life ended. She gave us several more years of fun than she would have otherwise had. Mandy was also destined to be put down as her former owners were moving and didn't want to take her to the new home. She was a jewell and like Ziggy, had so much to give. Then came Puff. Her owner passed away and she spent a month in the local animal shelter before we learned of her plight. She has so much spunk and character and in spite of her epilepsy, she never fails to warm our hearts. The length of time they are with us is not the issue but what we learn from them and the joy we share in their twilight years is the gift. Never pass up the opportunity to adopt a senior dog or cat. I've also adopted senior horses and learned volumes from them. Then there was Cleo and Jube and Jamboodi… Well, you get the picture. Seniors are a gift.


I saw this photo of the "old dog" and recognized my rescued dog. She was found on a dairy farm and my husband said we would take her since the family was heading to the humane shelter. Cassie, our old dog, is now 12 years and looks identical to this sweet dog. She is the best. God brought her to us when my old cocker spaniel would be leaving us. Thank you Lord for filling the gap with this special baby.