top of page

Why Senior Dogs Are the Perfect Addition to Your Family: Making a Case for Adopting an Older Dog

two happy dogs sitting in their yard

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional, and I don’t claim to know what's right for you. Before getting a dog make sure it is right for you and your family. I have had a great experience adopting dogs from a shelter but that does not guarantee you will. 

From Apartment to Paw-some Companionship: The Tale of Adopting Our Senior Dog 

We had been wanting a dog for quite some time. When we lived out in Hawaii though, we did not have a stable home. I was so nervous applying for housing when we came back to the mainland but it was a piece of cake.  After securing the apartment we were in now,  Our first thought was “Yay!!!!  We can finally get a Dog now. 

We scheduled an appointment to look at the dogs! There were several that we liked, and we played with them all. But then my husband and I noticed a dog that was looking at us. She was gold, beautiful, and sadly a little older. I asked the woman who was helping us about her, and she told us that this little dog had no interest. To make things worse, she already had been at the shelter for months. She was reduced from an abandoned place and was found covered in fleas. She was found hungry.  

My husband wanted to play with her and as soon as they brought her out we knew she was our dog. She took to us right away and she just melted our hearts. I absolutely could not leave her there, no way she is too sweet a dog. She walked up to us with her pouty little face and started wagging her tail. Like I am dead serious I have never felt so much love from a Dog in my life! I knew that we would have maybe 4 good years with her and that it was going to be hard losing her. In that moment though, it was more painful to leave her there, with no other families interested. 

It’s so heartbreaking how many older dogs are abandoned in shelters

Golden Oldies: The Overlooked Charms of Senior Dogs in Shelters

two dogs walking along the bridge


On her adoption papers, they wrote She is such an angel. As we left the young lady who helped us said “Oh I’m so glad you are adopting her,” In a world where puppies often steal the spotlight senior dogs like mine are often overlooked. I mean I get they are very cute and everyone wants their dog to be with them for as long as possible.  Also, older Dogs may have more health issues, and I mean why attach yourself to a Dog that's only going to be around a few more years? These are only misconceptions. Not all senior dogs have serious health issues or are on their way out.  Plus, let me tell you this Dog instantly improved my mood and I felt myself become 10 times happier. Here are the reasons why you should consider adopting a  senior Dog. 

Oldies but Goodies: The Stress-Reducing Magic of Senior Dogs

It depends on the Dog, but a lot of older Dogs know basic commands, know they are not supposed to pee in the house, know they are supposed to walk next to you on the sidewalk, and can fall into the routine you set for them. Our Dog knew we were her family and effortlessly fit right in. It was less stressful for me because she was obedient and didn't bark much(which is good since I live in an apartment). She is very healthy! But for some reason, no one wanted to take her. At the time, a younger Dog would have been a lot more work for me, and even though the work is worth it, it has been much more supportive of my mental health to first have a dog that does not need a whole lot of training.  

Serenity Now: The Quiet Comfort of Older Canine Companions


As I mentioned in my first paragraph, when I brought my doggie home she was chill. Older Dogs tend not to bark as much. They tend to sleep a little more when nothing in particular is going on in the house.. This is a good thing! When I was struggling with anxiety and depression,  having a quieter Dog was grounding for me. A louder dog would have been sensory overload for me!  It has been so comforting to have a furry companion just hang out with me until I felt ok again. 

Heartfelt Connections: The Special Bond Between You and Your Older Dog


Even though your Dog isn't human he or she may have gone her entire life without feeling loved or cared for. Your dog may have given up “hope”. If you are struggling with mental health or are neurodivergent;  you know all too well that some days are just so hard.  You may have gone a lot of your life feeling like you don't fit in, like things won’t get better, and days are filled with emptiness, worry, and dread. The Dog may not be able to form linguistic thoughts but Dogs can sense it. It may give you comfort knowing your Dog can “relate”.  

On the days when it seems like you can’t do anything right, you can look at your older dog and say “It's because of me this dog has a loving home, without me this older dog may not have been adopted.  The bond is real and science is starting to back that up! Recently I have been reading a book Called Dog is Love by Clive D.L Wynne PhD.  In the book he talks about how dogs produce oxytocin when they see their human and even higher levels of oxytocin when their humans play with them. In the different scientific experiments covered by the book; they say that in dogs’ brains getting to see their human is just as rewarding as getting food. Also in many instances, a dog will choose to play with the owner over a bowl of food if they have not seen their human for a while. Can we say AWESOME!!! You both will benefit each other’s brains 

Pawsitively Healing: The Instant Mental Health Boost of Senior Dog Adoption

The minute we brought our sweet Doggie home, I can't explain it but I just felt better. I didn’t get as scared when my phone rang from an unknown number or an unexpected knock on the door. Sometimes I have been able to push through and go to the grocery store on those days when I just can’t. I get out and get fresh air because Doggies need to be walked. I have also been less angry and less of an urge to yell when stressful situations arise because I know that it will not create the best environment for my doggie who has gone through so much already.

a close up of a dog looking at the camera

Ageless Joy: The Long-lasting Impact of Adopting an Older Dog 

Ok, the reality is, that an older Dog will not be around as long as a younger Dog. But they can be around for a while. You will most likely have a few solid years of fun with them. And to them it is everything! It is the difference between a sad ending to their life or a few more years of Christmases, birthdays, beaches, cuddles, movie nights, walks, treats, and other warm memories.  Oftentimes, all they need is love, affection, food, and a good home and you would be surprised how many dogs can push through.  When I take my dog out on walks, people always tell me that they are surprised by how much life and energy my dog has. 

 This has been my experience adopting an older Dog. I can only speak from my experience and not anyone else's. However, if you have been thinking about adopting I encourage you to do so! There are so many sweet Dogs out there that just need love. The dogs deserve better. We bring them into this world, so we need to see them through to the very end. Have you ever been adopted from the shelter? Let me know your story! 

a woman sitting in a hammock with her dog

Hi! I am Paulie D. from Notes from My Hammock. I write about living authentically, freedom, nature, and mental well being......all with dogs!

20 views0 comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page