I love puppies and dogs of all ages, but I would have to say after adopting two senior dogs, I would not hesitate to adopt another. Puppies are great, but they can be unpredictable and can show unwanted behaviours down the road. After buying a couple of puppies from a breeder, it did remind me how much work you have to put into a puppy. Not to mention all the training they need and their razor-sharp teeth!
The first mature dog that my family adopted was a 5-year-old, male, Old English Sheepdog. We already had two other dogs in the house when one of our neighbours down the road passed away. We helped find homes for all the farm animals, but nobody would take the dog or cat, so we ended up taking them both in. They fit right into the family and caused no issues. They were pretty relaxed and lazy, just like our two. Sam came with his name, and he lived with us for five years before he passed away from a type of bone cancer. He was a very sweet boy and partly why my next dogs were male. We couldn’t have hoped for a better rescue, and he certainly loved every one!
My next rescue was after we had lost Sam and our almost 15-year-old husky/collie mix, which left us with a 12-year-old Black lab mix. Already having a senior dog in the house, I didn’t want to get a puppy and stress her out. So, I searched for another senior dog looking for a new home and eventually lucked out. I found a senior, male, Chocolate Lab, who sounded like he needed a good retirement home. I do have to say, though, when I went to go meet this dog, I thought to myself, “what was I thinking?” This dog who the owners didn’t even know his actual age, or his feeding instructions (gave me no food, toys or belongings for him), had zero manners and wasn’t neutered. While we stood there discussing his adoption, he was busy marking everything and pulling on his chain leash and choke chain collar. The only thing he had going for him at that point, is he seemed happy to see people, and I didn’t see any signs of aggressive behaviour. It felt like I was starting fresh with this dog as he had no veterinary care, no vaccines, no training, he was underweight and really, he had no manners. It sounded like he was not in the best situation with this owner (as I found out later, he really wasn’t), and it wasn’t hard to tell.
In my heart, I knew I had to take this dog in no matter what, and as we drove home, he was amazing in the car. He just kind of looked around like, “where am I going now?” He didn’t make a peep; he just observed and watched the scenery go by. When we got home he did try to mark once in the house, out of instinct, I yelled at him, put him outside and after that he never did it again. It was just like a switch had flipped, and he knew he wasn’t going to get away with anything anymore. The next day I took him to get a training collar and that week he had a health exam, vaccines were started, and he was neutered as soon as they were updated, plus he had a dental cleaning!
I will never know what this sweet, gentle soul went through, but together we never looked back. I renamed him Budweiser (as he didn’t respond to ‘Hunter,’ the name he came with), and we spent two amazing years together! In those two years, we did everything together. We did multiple obedience classes, as well as agility and therapy training, which helped us bond plus he loved and enjoyed all of them. He also went to work with me, to all my baseball games, all kinds of road trips, he was such a happy boy and just loved everyone he met. It seemed like he just wanted to please me in every way. The bond we formed in 2 years was unbelievable, I wish we had longer together, but I’m happy he was able to retire and enjoy the rest of his life with me.
Written by: Amanda Gorrell, VA