The Plight of Older Dogs in Rescue
My experience in dog rescue bought to light how overlooked the more mature dogs were when it came to be considered for adoption. I completely agree that a puppy comes with no emotional baggage, can be trained easily and after all who doesn’t love a puppy?
Having said that, choosing to adopt a rescue puppy is so much better than going to a breeder so highly commendable, but in some instances, a mature dog might actually be a better decision.
I fostered Mickey an eight-year-old Yorkshire Terrier who had been handed into rescue because family priorities had changed. Mickey had never been abused, he had never known hunger or felt cold. However, he did know what it was like to go from being the star of the show to practically invisible once the children came along.
A lovely, newly retired couple adopted Mickey. They had hit a void in their lives when their previous dog died and they had time on their hands. It’s hard going from a busy working life, routine and structure to suddenly having endless hours to fill. Adopting Mickey gave their lives a focus, they gained from the exercise of dog walks, made new doggy friends and felt a great sense of satisfaction that this little dog had regained a loving home. They had rehomed a dog who was house trained, fully grown and extremely unlikely to start eating the furniture. Mickey was happy to be the main attraction once again and flourished in his twilight years. Six years later and Mickey and his adopted parents are still really happy, Mickey is a sprightly fourteen-year-old and still in good health. So it was a win, win situation for all concerned.
I know the main concern of adopting an older dog is;
‘Why did he end up in rescue?’.
Well, in lots of circumstances it is absolutely no fault of their own.
When you buy or adopt a dog you have to make a fifteen-year commitment and it’s a long time; things change, families evolve, relationships fail and sometimes people have no choice but to surrender a much-loved pet
To be more certain of dogs needs go to one of the many rescues who keep their dogs in a home environment with a fosterer. This way any problems come to light whilst the dog is under assessment and will be tested with children, cats, other dogs etc and any medical conditions will come to light.
This is a poem I wrote to highlight the plight of older dogs in rescue.
The kennels were quiet
Now the gates were closed
The puppies had left for forever homes
Old Patch and Old Billy remained in their pen
Not surprised to be staying again
Their eyes were cloudy
Their muzzles grey
The people would stop then just walk away
For Old Patch and Old Billy, there was no surprise
They didn’t want oldies, loyal and wise
They wanted the young ones
Eager and small
But the years weren’t always kind to them all
So, next time you visit with a new home in sight
Consider the oldies and their sorry plight
For Old Patch and Old Billy deserve a break
Their eyesight is failing
Their muscles ache
Next time you visit there is your match
Look no further
Than Old Billy and Old Patch