The Star-Herald

Adopting an older dog

Why would anyone want to adopt an adult rescue or shelter dog? Who wants someone else’s problems? If the dog is wonderful, why give him away?   Or you may hear, “I’m getting a puppy. That way I know what I am getting, and they’re so cute.”

Rescue groups and shelters hear many variations of these sentiments all the time.  I for one prefer adopting an older dog.  I adopted a poodle at the shelter that was very old and blind and I had that little dog for a year.  He must have been 13 or 14, and he needed a home so I gave him one. He passed away after a year with health problems.  But in that year he was loved and a wonderful little companion.

By adopting an older dog they are most always housetrained. With most family members being gone during the workday for eight hours or more training a puppy and his small bladder can take a while. Puppies need a consistent schedule with frequent opportunities to eliminate when and where you want them to.  They can’t wait for the boss to finish his meeting or kids to come home from school.  An older dog can “hold it” much more reliably for longer periods of time.

Even with alarm clocks and hot water bottles, a puppy can be very demanding at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. He misses his littermates and that stuffed animal will not make a puppy pile with him.  If you want peace and quiet, get an older rescue dog.

Puppies require series of shots and they need to be spayed or neutered.  Add in a few frantic phone calls to an emergency veterinary service along with a sudden scary trip to the vet’s because they swallowed something, the costs add up.  When adopting an older dog they are almost always altered and current on shots.

How big will the puppy get? What kind of temperament will he have? Will he be easily trained? How active will he be?  These are all questions you need to ask yourself.  When adopting an older dog from a shelter these questions are easily answered.  You pick a large or small dog an athlete or a couch potato.  You will know immediately if your dog is goofy or brilliant, sweet or sassy.  The shelter associates can help you pick a right match for you.

With an older dog you automatically have a buddy who can go everywhere and do everything with you right now, you don’t have to wait for a puppy to grow up and hope he likes what you like to do. Instead, you will be able to select the most compatible dog: one who likes to travel, one who likes to play with other dogs, one with great house manners, and after a long day’s work a nice walk or ride with your new best friend, rather than cleaning up after a small puppy.

Come visit us at Central Aroostook Humane Society and see what we have to offer you. Everyone need a best friend, and maybe you will find yours on that visit.  You will find us at 24 Cross St. in Presque Isle. Our hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed for lunch from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Remember to be responsible pet owners: spay and neuter.

Gail Wieder is a member of the Central Aroostook Humane Society board of directors.

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