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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Top 10 Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog

With the Yakima Valley Pet Rescue Chili Cook-
Off coming up next weekend, this seems like an appropriate time to talk about adopting OLDER DOGS vs. puppies.

The photos of cute puppies in the newspaper's monthly adoption ads have, frankly, never compelled me or tugged at my heart strings. They are clean slates, and they'll generally get adopted because of their cuteness.

No so, however, with the photos of OLDER dogs. These are the dogs who have most likely already known a quality life somewhere, and for reasons unbeknownst to them have fallen into a bad place. They've been plucked from a stable home and forced to survive on their own. They are children of divorces, companions whose beloved leaders have died or gone into nursing homes, or faithful friends who became separated from families on vacations. Not all, but many, are dogs who have known love and given love for years. And now they can only wonder why their world has been turned upside down. We'll never know most of their stories, but we can help provide these innocent victims with happy endings.

Here are 10 reasons to adopt an older dog, as outlined in the Senior Dogs Project:

1. Older dogs are housetrained. You won't have to go through the difficult stage(s) of teaching a puppy house manners and mopping up after accidents.
2. Older dogs are not teething puppies, and won't chew your shoes and furniture while growing up.
3. Older dogs can focus well because they've mellowed. Therefore, they learn quickly.
4. Older dogs have learned what "no" means. If they hadn't learned it, they wouldn't have gotten to be "older" dogs.
5. Older dogs settle in easily, because they've learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack.
6. Older dogs are good at giving love, once they get into their new, loving home. They are grateful for the second chance they've been given.
7. What You See Is What You Get: Unlike puppies, older dogs have grown into their shape and personality. Puppies can grow up to be quite different from what they seemed at first.
8. Older dogs are instant companions -- ready for hiking, car trips, and other things you like to do.
9. Older dogs leave you time for yourself, because they don't make the kinds of demands on your time and attention that puppies and young dogs do.
10. Older dogs let you get a good night's sleep because they're accustomed to human schedules and don't generally need nighttime feedings, comforting, or bathroom breaks.

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