Puppies. One word strikes so much joy and excitement in people’s hearts. Who doesn’t love a puppy? They are tiny, silly, and pretty much want to play all the time. The cuteness factor is ridiculous. Many people feel the need to get a dog as a puppy due to the sad fact that our canine companions do not live as long as us. They want as much time as possible with their furry friend. When puppies come in at the shelter, it’s a frenzy. Everybody wants one. I can’t say I haven’t been tempted before. One look at those little faces and its hard to resist. I always know that these puppies will get a new home, and fast. But what happens to all of the other dogs? That is what people should really be thinking about.
I got Teddy when he was almost a year old. Do I ever think about what he would have looked like as a wee little pupper? Of course. I’m sure he was so cute I would have cried every day just looking at him (a little over dramatic I know). I wish he didn’t have to go through a whole year with an owner that didn’t take care of him. But, I also think that we found each other at the right time for both of us. So I think things were supposed to happen the way they did. To tell you the truth I find myself often tempted to adopt the older dogs rather than the puppies. I guess I just don’t get as excited over puppies anymore, and I will elaborate. We usually get puppies in as groups. Guess what happens when there are 3-5 puppies in a kennel. Well, they pretty much go to the bathroom everywhere and they all step, roll, play, and sleep in it. We are constantly cleaning up and then 2 seconds later another one goes. Then an adopter comes over and asks to see one. Let me paint you a picture. It’s like a puppy war zone. You have to open the kennel door as fast as you can and close it just as fast so there are no escapees. Then you have to watch for little bombs all over the floor.
“Which one did you want to see mam?”
“That one with the white spot”
“No, that one has a white patch, the one with the spot on his chest” Little does she know I can’t really see the white spots clearly as the puppies just pooped and rolled in it and now I have to pick one up and hand it over. Gross right? This is why I think I’m semi-desensitized to the cuteness of the puppies. But I’m not a monster, I’m mean I still sneak in for some puppy love sometimes.
Let’s think about the older dogs. I’m talking about at least a year and up. There are a lot of advantages in getting a dog this age. (Please remember that all dogs are different, so if you get an older dog that is a puppy mill survivor or that has medical/ behavioral issues etc. then your situation will be radically different.) In my opinion most dogs that are a year and older are easier to train. I potty trained Teddy in less than a month. He did funny stuff, like stealing socks, shredding tissues etc. but nothing that wasn’t manageable. I never had to be on him 24/7 like you do with a puppy. There was still training involved, but it all just seemed to happen faster. If you’re lucky, sometimes we even get dogs at the shelter that have already been trained. You would still have to get them accustomed to your life, but the big stuff is already done. I also like that older dogs seem to have developed their personality and know who they are going to be. I think it’s easier for an adopter to know if a dog is going to fit well into their life or not. Puppies are growing and changing so much in their young lives that I think it’s impossible to really know what your going to get. I have seen some people that adopt a “spunky” puppy that grows into a maniac dog, and life as they knew it ceases to exist.
When it comes to dogs however, love is just love most of the time. A few weeks ago, we had a couple come in determined to get a puppy (like most people). They stopped at one of the first kennels and weren’t able to move on. They just kept saying “We really came in for a puppy, we just fell in love with this dog.” It was like they were looking for one of us to say “Well then, you need to get a puppy!” Instead our response was more like, ” You can’t help who you fall in love with!” They ended up leaving with an adorable and amazing 7 year old dog. A question I get asked very frequently with older dogs is “How long will they live?” I mean I’m not a fortune teller, I can’t see the future. I can look up facts and say that different breeds have different life expediencies, but a lot of our dogs are mixes. I just tell them that as long as they are healthy they can live a long happy life. I have heard stories of puppies getting sick early on, and older dogs that were adopted living to be 18. The point is you just never know either way.
There are older dogs, and then there are senior dogs. People are always horrified at the fact that someone would bring a senior dog into a shelter, but its a sad fact. We see a lot of older humans having older dogs and the human either gets sick, goes into a nursing home, or passes away. So inevitably a lot of their dogs end up in the shelter. Sometimes people say they can no longer afford a senior dog’s vet bills. Then there is the most ridiculous reason, they just don’ t want the dog anymore because it’s old. As heartbreaking as it might be, it happens. There are a very special group of people in the community that come in specifically looking for senior dogs to give them a retirement home. I think these people are amazing. I know not everyone can adopt a senior dog, whether it be financial or emotional struggles, and that’s fine. We all do what we can. If you are able to adopt a senior dog, then you have my unwavering respect. My best friend’s parents adopted a senior dog named Reba from my shelter a few years back. The poor dog was seized from a cruelty case we had. She had been stuck in a cage her whole life. Their only goal was to give her an amazing retirement home. And they did. They are amazing people.
I hope that you find this information helpful. There are so many dogs out there in need of love. Please keep your mind and your heart open to the possibility of adopting an older dog. If you adopt a puppy, you are awesome as well. Just know that there are other dogs out there waiting for their forever home too. Adoption is always the best option, and I love all of you out their that have opened your hearts to an animal in need.
Thank you for reading! I would love to know what you think and what you would be interested in hearing about next. Remember to follow me on instagram @singledogmom and if you haven’t already clicked the “Follow Single Dog Mom” button at the bottom of this page please do. Teddy and I appreciate you! xoxo
Pup of the Week:
Meet beautiful Sheena! All of the volunteers last week were smitten with her (including me). She has the sweetest demeanor and personality.
It looks like my girls got adopted! They were amazing and I can’t wait to find out more details!
Not so great news, poor sweet Duncan is still available. Direct message me if you are interested!