Why We Chose a Senior Dog

When I was a freshmen in college I had to complete volunteer hours for an english project. I chose to complete my volunteer hours at the animal shelter. I remember calling my mom crying almost every time I left the shelter because I felt so bad for the animals. If I could have I would have brought them all home! But living in a student apartment complex, that wasn’t an option at all.

Fast forward 9 years later and I still have the biggest soft spot for animals. Sometimes I cry when I read the news stories about abused animals. Dogs have so much love to give and I hate seeing them not receiving the wonderful life they deserve.

A few weeks ago I saw someone post on facebook about a 11 year-old lab at the local animal shelter, named Lena. I didn’t bring this up to my husband at the time because we’re living in a 2 bedroom house in military housing and I just KNEW he was going to shoot the idea down and tell me we couldn’t get her. About once a week or so I would check the animal shelter website, praying she wasn’t still there and someone had adopted her. Lena had such a sweet face and I hated seeing such an old girl spend her golden years in the animal shelter.

On Sunday when I checked the animal shelter website and still saw that Lena was at the shelter I knew what I had to do. I brought the idea of long-term fostering up to Matt and after one look at sweet Lena he agreed immediately. We decided on a long-term foster verses adopting because as an 11-year old lab, there will be vet bills and medical issues as she continues to age. As a long-term foster the animal shelter will cover all vet bills as well as her food. We just have to supply a good home and lots of love!

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We chose to take-in a senior dog because, just like puppies, these dogs deserve a good home and love too. So many people pass these dogs over because they want a “fun” dog or a dog who will be around for many years. And while I completely understand that and have even chosen that route myself before, I feel like we also need to take a look at those senior dogs out there as well. Many of these dogs won’t be able to hike or take part in many outdoor/strenuous activities. But they will still be able to give us all the love they have in their hearts.

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When we showed up to the animal shelter we received the full backstory on our Lena. She’d been abandoned as a younger dog because of a divorce. She was literally just left to die in an abandoned house. Once the shelter received her, an older gentleman adopted her. A few months ago her owner had to go live in an assisted living facility and could not take her with him. The thought of such a sweet dog receiving such a bad deck of cards just broke my heart. And I could tell it resonated with Matt too. Lena reminded us so much of his family dog, Belle, that passed away last year. One look and we HAD to have her.

Per the animal shelter rules we had to allow a meet and greet with Lena and Riley before they would allow us to foster Lena. Luckily Lena and Riley seemed to get along well and we were able to take Lena home that night. So far, our experience has been good. Riley is still adjusting but for a dog that has been completely spoiled rotten and an “only dog child” since she was 8 weeks old, thing are going pretty well. I know we made the right decision when I see how excited Lena gets over receiving a milk bone, how she tries to roll on her belly when I brush her matted fur or when I see her cradling the toy we bought her under her arm in her sleep.

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There are thousands of dogs that need to be adopted and I commend anyone who helps give a dog a second chance at life. However, I’d like to recommend adopting or fostering a senior dog as well. Either way you’ll find you receive a dog that has more love to give than you could ever imagine.

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  1. Skipper B | 20th Oct 16

    I have an inherent distrust of people who do not love animals. They give back so much more love and it is always without any strings attached. Look into Lena’s eyes, you can see already the comfort and love she has for her new home.

  2. Vincent Carabeo | 21st Oct 16

    This post! Loveeee dogs. We actually adopted two dogs – one from the shelter and one from a family that received it from a shelter as well. They’re like family to us!

    • Brittany | 21st Oct 16

      Adopting is so awesome! We call our dogs “dogters” because they really are like kids to us!

  3. Aida Ingram | 21st Oct 16

    This is such a great idea. There are probably so few people taking in mature pets. Everyone wants a puppy but then you have to train them. Love this idea

    • Brittany | 21st Oct 16

      Thank you! Our first dog, Riley, we’ve had since she was 8 weeks old and went through the potty training stage. I will gladly adopt an older dog than to have to go through that again!

  4. Katina | 21st Oct 16

    Such a sweet face on her. My partner and I have been considering a second dog and we’ve discussed adopting an older dog. Our Doxie is 5 so I think she’s at a good age to have a sibling.

    • Brittany | 21st Oct 16

      You should do it! Our first dog, Riley, is only 2. But I think she brings a little life into Lena and I’m hoping Lena calms Riley down some, haha. Older dogs are amazing and they always give you extra loves to let you know how much they appreciate you adopting them.

  5. Kathy Brown | 21st Oct 16

    Senior dogs are full of love and will forever love their owners for giving them a second chance. They are usually already house broken. Past the biting stage and great with children. Wonderful post to get this subject out there and creating a conversation.

    • Brittany | 21st Oct 16

      Thank you! Having a dog you don’t have to potty train is the best!

  6. candy | 21st Oct 16

    I know many older people who have rescued older animals because they just can’t handle a younger dog.

    • Brittany | 21st Oct 16

      It’s an awesome thing to do!

  7. Cait Weingartner | 21st Oct 16

    What a heart warming post! You’ve given this old girl such a blessing, which will no doubt be returned to you many times over. It’s so sad to hear about people surrendering senior dogs for one reason or another, or an elder dog becoming homeless after a beloved master passes away. Best of luck to you all!

    • Brittany | 21st Oct 16

      Thank you! I think Lena has blessed us too. I hate hearing stories about dogs being surrendered as well. I’d adopt them all if my husband would let me!

  8. Bobbi | Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen | 22nd Oct 16

    Bless your heart! So many people don’t want to take on a dog that will probably pass in just a few years. But, like you said, they deserve a home and love too!

    • Brittany | 22nd Oct 16

      They do!! And they give even more love back to us!

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