Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

Senior Dogs Rule....but don't take my word for it

by User Not Found | Apr 20, 2013

Puppies are cute right?  I mean really cute.  They are cuddle bugs for about a nano second and then they are up to their puppy antics again.  They demand energy and attention and don’t give you much time to yourself.  Although we know that they will eventually grow into wonderful family members, they require training and time to grow in to their personalities and most of the qualities we know and love in our dogs.  Fact: I do love puppies.  I have raised two goldens, by myself, from only 9 weeks old and both were my own first and second dogs.  Better Fact: As I have gotten older, I have learned a valuable lesson…..puppies are more fun to play with and then send home, kind of like grandkids.  No wonder my parents are enjoying life so much now! 

But I’d like to talk about Senior dogs….commonly at least 7 years or older, depending on their size.  They are unfairly labeled as “problem dogs” but senior dogs can lose their homes for a variety of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with their behavior or temperament.  Finances, allergies, death of an owner, new baby, loss of job, relocation, change in work schedule….unfortunately the list goes on and on.  There’s nothing worse than a dog who has known a home his whole life, only to have it ripped away and he has no idea why.

The most common response I hear from people is that there just isn’t enough time with an older dog and we just lost our dog, we can’t go through that again.  Well the reality is, you will go through It again, no matter how old your dog is. They just don’t live as long as we do.  You can’t predict disease, like cancer, illness or injury and when they will take hold.  These fates in our universe do not discriminate with age.  A puppy has his whole life ahead of him, but so does an older dog.  You can give an older dog the best years of their life and at the same time have an instant companion for the whole family. 

Just about everyone who enters a shelter is looking for a puppy or a young dog, usually three years or under.  Consequently, senior dogs turned in to shelters are usually the first to be euthanized to make room for puppies.  By adopting an older dog you send a message about the inhumane breeding of dogs for profit and for so called life-lessons like “teaching children about birth”.  You are showing compassion and value for life at all ages and you are literally saving a life!  

I was that person….scared to adopt an older dog.  The pain of losing our pets is immense and its scary to think that time is ever close.  But it only took a short time in rescue to realize, that in my opinion, older dogs are what rescue is all about, plus I don’t have the energy for puppy antics.  But don’t take my word for it……

Below are three stories of NRGRR alumni as told by their loving adopters.....

Meet Joe--Adopted Nov 2012 9 yrs old

“We decided to adopt an older dog for a few different reasons. We have had puppies and didn't want to do "ALL" the puppy things over again. Our first dog Sierra (a Lab) was a wonderful dog, but I think we enjoyed her the most when she was older, calmer and gentler. So when we decided to adopt a senior dog we knew he had to be at least 8 years old and up. It may sound corny but one of our main reasons for wanting to adopt a rescued senior dog was to give him his forever home. To provide a loving and caring family for his final years. We adopted a senior knowing he would not be with us for a long time but we would make it quality time.

So then came Joe!! A few dogs came up on our radar when we started looking but our application was still being processed and we missed out on them. I am quite positive they were lovely dogs, but how wonderful we did miss out cause then came Joe! I ask myself all the time how lucky WE are to have Joe come into our lives. He truly is a very special dog, quiet, calm, attentive and fun but most of all I feel he is happy. And that's the best part. I guess because I'm home the most he seems most attached to me. Always at my feet and by my side. It's as is if we have had him since he was a puppy. 

My parents had two goldens but after there last died they decided not to get another one based on their living arrangements, age and travelling schedule. After we told them that we were going to adopt Joe and sent them his picture they wrote me telling me how wonderful he looked. And my Dad said to me "thank you for adopting him and allowing me to love another Golden". For that reason alone it was worth it. 

There's something special about a senior dog, they just want to love you and have you love them. What more can you ask for!

Sue Kris Olivia Sam and Joe 

Meet Bucky adopted Nov 2012 12 yrs old

and Lionel To Be Adopted May 2012, 7 yrs old 

The Goldilocks Dogs by Lauren

     Puppies are too energetic, breeders are too expensive, but Senior Rescues are just right!

     Years ago, when our family had to make a difficult decision with our elderly Black Lab, we vowed we would never have another dog again - ever.  This was because, in her senior years, Rafferty had become The World’s Perfect Dog.  Weeks later, our neighbor began asking us on regular intervals to dog sit their elderly Black Lab.  We joyfully agreed and welcomed Scout into our home; after all, like Rafferty, Scout, in her elderly years, had become The World’s Perfect Dog.  Elderly dogs are so easy, so loveable and so docile.  Soon, though, Scout met Rafferty on the Rainbow Bridge and our house was lonely again.

    Without the presence of a warm, furry friend curled up by the fire, our family began to consider purchasing a Black Lab puppy.  Unfortunately, with two new jobs and two very active teens  none of us wanted to take on the challenge of puppy raising, or the headaches  of crate training, chewing, barking, leash training, dashing out the door and, oh, those little sharp teeth!!  We just wanted The World’s Perfect Dogs. 

  Either through Divine intervention or Canine intervention, we unexpectedly found our World’s Perfect Dog – on WRAL’s Pet of the Day.  He was a beautiful, calm, sweet ol’ yawning senior Golden Retriever Rescue named Bucky.  A neglected guy, who almost drowned in a neighborhood pool, Bucky lived out his last two months with us in a comfy bed next to a roaring fire surrounded by a loving family.  It was perfect! Yet, in those two months, Bucky gave more to us than we ever gave to him:   a sense of purpose.   Now, we will provide a home for those who are generally overlooked due to age.

     Recently, we adopted our second senior Golden Retriever, Lionel, from NRGRR.  Like Bucky, Lionel came to us recovering from the pains of neglect and has learned quickly how to trust.  He is gentle and calm but will muster the energy to toss the ball or go for a walk.  He snuggles at our feet when we‘re working and keeps us company for an evening drink on the deck.  He is so happy to love and be loved; he is, indeed, the World’s Perfect Dog!

Lauren, Allan, Charles and Deirdre Logan

Lionel and Bucky at the bridge

Meet Walter -12yrs and Carl 7yrs Adopted April 2012

Why I adopted a senior dog-by Susan

I did not set out to adopt a senior dog, but defiantly wanted a rescue.  I saw 12 year old Buddy (aka by his adopted name of ‘Walter’) and his trusty side-kick Carl (a seven year old black lab/beagle mix) on WRAL one Sunday morning.  Their story was sad and through no fault of their own they were both surrendered.  This was their second showing on TV and I wondered why no one had adopted them.  They were ‘brothers’ from the same family and NRGRR wanted them placed together in a forever home which was a tough sell at it was, but only made more difficult due to their age.  I certainly had everything they needed:  a place to call home, food, water and all the love and attention they could want.  By the end of the day, I realized the reason they were not yet adopted is because I had missed them on TV the first time they were shown!    By noon the next day, I had the approval for adoption and picked them up that evening.  Buddy quickly trained me that dinner time is at 5:20pm every evening and if dinner was not ready, there would be continuous barking until it was.  Carl taught me that any food left on the counter was ‘fair game’ to him.   They taught me right away about their routine (morning walk, eat, then sleep) and repeat again in the evening.   With senior dogs there is no teething or having to worry about potty breaks.  There are those habits that you have to learn like Carl’s counter surfing and trash can diving or Buddy’s evening barking at seemingly nothing (we think it might be some doggie-dementia or canine sun-downers behavior).

I went into this adoption knowing that Buddy’s days were probably numbered, but was I wrong.  Here it is one year later, Buddy is now 13 and Carl is 8 and they are livelier now than the day I got them.  I have since moved in with my daughter, her two boys and their two sister dogs Chloe and Sedona.  It gets crowded with 4 dogs and two energetic grandsons, but there is always something going on and a story to tell.  When my grandsons go out to the backyard to play, Buddy is always there beside them.   A tennis ball will keep him busy until he has had enough, then he lays down for a rest.   I feel as though he is giving us a glance into what life was before he came to live with us – loves to be with kids and play with them.  We wonder what their past was like… were they daddies… what did they look like as puppies, etc.  These are questions that we will never have answers to, but what we do have are the final chapters in their lives and we know they will be filled with making good memories and lots of love.  

Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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