Senior Dogs are Extra Special

by Diane Blankenburg

Beaumont, one of my labs, just turned eleven. As I look at him in his mature state with greying muzzle and slower pace, my heart melts. He is so unassuming and accepting—bringing such a sense of peace and harmony to my household (especially in comparison to my younger, more energetic labs). I will never forget his young, happy-to-do-and-see-everything years, but the senior ones are even more special, providing a comfort that is indescribable.

Don’t get me wrong, Beaumont lives up to the lab reputation. He gets into playful trouble when I’m not looking and shows bursts of energy in wrestling with his canine siblings. He still alerts me when FedEx arrives and attacks his food with the vigor of a pup. But his favorite spot is “his” end of the sofa and he now waits to follow me until he is sure my new location will be held for some period of time. He no longer demands attention but when I return from an out-of-town trip, he gently approaches me, wedging his head into my lap for a gentle ear rub while he moans in ecstasy.

Having known this special bond with a senior dog, my heart is particularly heavy when I see the eyes of senior animals in shelters. I wonder how hard it was on them to give up a comfortable home and family for a lonely kennel. It’s even tougher to watch potential adopters pass them by for younger, more chipper animals. I so want to help others know the same deep connection that I have felt with my own senior pets.

The advantages of adopting a mature dog are immense. They have mellowed and are much easier to handle. They tend to be house-trained, generally know some commands like sit and stay, are content to lie by your side (more or less), and don’t seem to require as much exercise as a puppy or teenage dog. But they have every bit as much (maybe even more) unconditional love to give.

My Beaumont is lying at my feet as I write this column. He is not worried about a thing except being near me and I am so touched by his mere presence. To use an old saying, “try it, you’ll like it.” I know that in a very short time after adopting an older dog, you too won’t be able to imagine life without him or her by your side.

Events that Help Animals

Year of the Cat Adoption Promotion at Nevada Humane Society. Adopt your “good luck” cat through January 21. Cats over three are free; other adult cats are $25 and most adult dogs are $50. Shelter open every day at 2825 Longley Lane, 11:00 am to 6:30 pm and an hour earlier at 10:00 am on Saturdays.

Senior Dog Adoption specials offered all year long at Nevada Humane Society. Senior dogs ten and up are $25 and people 55 and older can adopt a dog over six for free.

Beat the Heat and have your female cat fixed for just $20 at Nevada Humane Society all February long. Call 775-856-2000 for an appointment.  Beat the Heat is generously sponsored by PetSmart Charities.

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