Lease of life:
Think taking in a dog in its later years is just not worth it? Well think again…
Why adopting an older dog could be a great thing
At five times the average age of a dog at Dogs Trust, the country’s oldest rescue dog Snowy caught the hearts of the nation when it was announced earlier this year that he had been rehomed. The 20-year-old West Highland Terrier may have now found his forever home, but unfortunately there are many more dogs just like him waiting to be adopted.
For most potential dog owners, the initial choice is to adopt a younger four-legged friend or puppy, put off by older dogs and the potential challenges they may face. However, as David McNaught from the Dogs Trust says, older dogs come with many positives.
“We’re always promoting the adoption of older dogs. With an older dog a lot of the work has already been done for you as opposed to a puppy; they have personality and they’re house trained,” he says.
Older dogs often come into the care of places like the Dogs Trust due to a change in their owner’s personal circumstances. This could be that an owner has fallen ill and can no longer care for their pet, moved to a retirement or care home, or cannot afford to look after the dog anymore.
However, some dogs could also be strays that have come in from local authorities.
“It can be really rewarding to adopt an older dog, as you’re giving it another lease of life,” says David. “Some people do get worried about becoming emotionally attached as we don’t know quite how many years it has left, but you have to see it as their second chance to enjoy life. The dogs of course receive great love and care when at the Dogs Trust, but nothing beats a real family home.”
If you’re worried that perhaps you’re too old to adopt a dog, this is a perception that the Trust are trying to break. David says that a lot of people think they won’t be able to care for a pet due to their own age, but some dogs don’t need that much exercise and are just looking for a companion too.
“The same can’t be said for all though, you wouldn’t believe the amount of energy some dogs still have!” he adds with a laugh.
However whether it’s an older dog or a puppy, the same rules still apply – can you look after it and ensure it has a forever home? We have all seen the ‘A Dog is For Life, Not Just for Christmas’ campaign, but this is a message that rings true all year around.
“You can’t be complacent when it comes to a dog and sadly we do have peaks and troughs in the year when we have dogs coming to us. It’s a culture shock for people; a lot of owners don’t realise you are actually adding another member to your family. It can be romanticised getting a pet, but it’s a serious decision.” Dogs Trust North End Road Snetterton NR16 2LD 01953 498377 dogstrust.org.uk
ABOVE: Shiloh, a Collie Cross, aged 13
BELOW: Mollie the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, aged 10