5 Joys of Adopting a Senior Rescue Dog

9th Nov 2017

5 joys of adopting a senior rescue dog

5 Joys of Adopting a Senior Rescue Dog


We lost Harley in April 2013, another round of In vitro fertilization was unsuccessful and I turned 40 on November 8. But then we found Shasta, brought him home on November 9, and soon learned the joys of adopting a senior rescue dog. Who rescued whom? The answer is not abundantly clear.

Shasta was a stray in Stockton, CA and he was at risk of euthanasia. When shelters are overcrowded seniors, who are considered “less adoptable”, are often the first to be put down. When a pet is considered a senior varies based on size and breed but usually is about seven. We were all lucky Pawz for a Cause in Redding, CA found him. They gave him a wonderful foster family and then we discovered him on AdoptAPet.com. This leads to the first of our 5 joys of adopting a senior rescue dog…

1. Adopting a senior rescue dog; saves a life.

Denise's Dog Dish; Shasta's 1st Day

According to Petfinder.com shelters said seniors are the hardest animals to adopt out. Have you ever scrolled through rescue sites and seen the URGENT WILL DIE at a date that often seems way too soon. I can’t look at them without crying and wishing I could take home EVERY SCARED little face (though I might not survive my husband if I did). Seniors are often first in line so by adopting you are not only giving the sweet innocent animal a better life but probably saving it as well.

 2. Adopting a senior rescue dog; a gentle playmate for children.

Snapshot Sundays March 2017: Shasta, Denton & the Magee Pack

A common misconception about older dogs in rescues is that they are “problem dogs”. The reality, many have lost their homes through no fault of their own because of moving, divorce, death, family illness, etc. They are often friendly and gentle playmates for children, especially if they were previously the pet in another family.

3. Adopting a senior rescue dog; saves potty and other training.

BlogPaws Red Carpet

Most adult and older dogs have good bladder control. They need fewer potty breaks and are less likely to have accidents indoors. Of course, a senior or special needs dog can be an exception but there are still ways to manage. Harley had less bladder control with his Diabetes (read more) and Shasta with his Cushings (read more) so we used belly bands.

Senior dogs also often know simple commands like sit and lay down.

PetSmart Training-Graduation Cap

4. Adopting a senior rescue dog; means lower levels of exercise.

Denise's Dog Dish; Shasta's Lift

Most senior dogs have decreased energy levels and therefore have lower exercise requirements. Shasta was happy to spend a day on the couch while “we wrote” for the blog, but could still kind of keep up when hiking and backpacking. Taking walks was one of his favorite things to do and he would get really excited when he saw us pulling out the tent.

5. They seem to KNOW and APPRECIATE they have been adopted.

It is truly uncanny but I swear Shasta knew he had been given a second chance for happiness. When he learned to trust he had found his forever family he bonded tightly with us. He loved family time and was willing to go pretty much anywhere as long as we were together. Rescue dogs like Shasta have generous souls, huge hearts and a lot to teach us about unconditional love.

5 reasons to adopt a senior rescue dog. You'll learn what unconditional love truly is! Click To Tweet

Of course, it is not all fun and games. Senior rescues have more health problems (Dog Arthritis-Pain Relief) and we have less time with them (Our Shasta is Waiting at the Rainbow Bridge).  However, the other side is all the love you will give and receive. Remembering the wonderful times and how you filled each other’s lives with love, laughter and adventure, will bring comfort in the loss. Then someday, when you are ready, you will share the love you have for them by rescuing another senior dog.

Photos of our dog Shasta in the snow, kayaking, paddle boarding, backpacking, camping, at the beach and traveling

November is National Adopt-a-Senior-Dog Month and the 9th is Shasta’s gotcha day. I hope this post provides some insight into why rescuing and adopting senior pets is so important and truly life-changing. Shasta… this one is for you!

Please share your stories of love and rescue in the comments.

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8 comments on “5 Joys of Adopting a Senior Rescue Dog

  1. I completely agree that adopting a senior dog is amazing! I’m so grateful that you gave Shasta a phenomenal rest of his life. I prefer mellow dogs, so I definitely see a senior dog in my future.

  2. Carmen Thomas on said:

    Oh Denise! Number 5 brought tears to my eyes… so precious! November 9 is Brent and his dad’s BDs! Just celebrated! God bless you ALL! <3

  3. Awe, I am so glad you guys found each other and you know I agree about senior dogs! Ruby was the exception with the housebreaking, but we managed. LOL.

    I had no idea that Harley passed away in April 2013 and you adopted Shasta in November 2013. Pip died October 19, 2013 and we adopted Ruby November 26, 2013! All before we met, but very strange that it was all the same year.

  4. You guys were so lucky to have each other. Just wish it could have been for more time. (But there’s no amount that could really ever be “enough.”) Lovely post!
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…Caption This & A Chance to Win Some “Magic”My Profile

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