Deciding which dogs get out of a shelter is the worst part of the job. It never gets easier and the decisions are heart-wrenching. The very worst part is when we spot a senior dog that is sitting in a run waiting for an owner that will never come. We consider a dog a senior when it is eight years of age or older. Once a dog is labeled a “senior”, its days are numbered and that dog is likely to be the first euthanized.

We have a special affinity for the seniors and we encourage their adoption. Seniors have tremendous advantages:

What you see is what you get. There is no mystery about what they will be when they grow up.
They tend to be very mellow animals and enjoy hanging out.
They tend to be good sleep dogs and will let you sleep. No howling at 2 a.m. for a potty/play break.
You are not likely to be gnawed on by a senior dog and you can avoid the whole bitey phase puppies go through.

You get the undying love of a devoted dog who will love you more than any creature on earth.
They already know that shoes are for walking only.
They almost always know that outside is for potty and play, and the inside is for play and relax only.
They are rarely interested in making you live up to your New Year’s resolutions to jog two miles a day.
They already know how to get along with others.

We know people say “Oh, but I would just get too attached and the dog would die so soon”. Well, there’s no way to sugar coat it, but dogs do die and their time on this earth is too short. That said, any of us could kick off tomorrow and that goes for that cute puppy, too. Longevity is not guaranteed to anyone or anything. Learn to love the sweetness that comes with each day and rejoice in what you have. A senior dog can teach you this.