Rescue A Senior Dog | It Can Change Your Life

Have you ever been to a dog shelter?  Going to a shelter can be a hard place to go, as it tends to really pull at your heart strings.

The second that you step into the shelter and walk back to where all the dogs are, you start to feel that rush of excitement.   At the same time, as you start to walk by each kennel it can be very overwhelming.  

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Seeing all those poor dogs needing a home, it is really heartbreaking.

Every time I have gone to a rescue or shelter, I always have that feeling of wanting to take all the pups home with me.  Obviously that isn’t possible, so you really need to keep your emotions in check.   Reign it in.

Most people that go to shelters are looking for a puppy.  Sadly that leaves older dogs overlooked and left behind.

What not rescue a senior dog?  It could be the best decision of your life.

Why does age matter

When it comes to rescuing a dog, why do we always forget to give the older dogs a chance.   There seems to be real dog ageism out there about what age of dog we are willing to rescue.

I know that you have made your way to the shelter with a puppy in mind, but why not think about getting an older dog?   Is it because puppies are so cute and playful?  Remember with that youth exuberance comes a lot of work!

Puppies are a blank slate and need your attention 24/7.   That means constantly running to catch your puppy before he pees in your house just due to the lack of any bladder control at all.   Let’s not forget training them every single day, as they really don’t even know basics like how to behave.   Bottom line is they are really a ton of work.

It is a sad fact that many senior dogs are at risk for being euthanized, just simply because of their age.

What is a senior dog

What age do we consider dogs to be a senior?   Well the honest truth is it really depends on what breed of dog you have.  Typically a dog is considered a senior in the last 25% of their lives.  We all know that smaller dog breeds live much longer than larger dog breeds or giant dog breeds.

All 3 dog breeds have such completely different life spans.

Giant breeds like Great Danes sadly may live only 10 years on average.  That means that at 5 years old they can be considered a senior dog.


On the other side a small breed dog like a Chihuahua can be considered a senior dog at 10 or 11 years because their average life span is upwards of 18-20 years.

A medium-sized breed like a Labrador Retriever maybe labelled a senior dog at around 8-10 years of age.

Any of these “Senior” aged dogs, are still typically healthy dogs, that may just be starting to show signs of aging.

Let’s also remember that a dog’s life span can be linked to many things like that breeds genetics, there environment and and most of all the type of caring loving home they spend their golden years in.

When it comes to deciding on adopting or rescuing a senior dog remember that it isn’t important how many years they have left.   It’s not like the clock is ticking down already.   Let’s think glass 1/2 full!

Already they know so much

An older dog already knows so much more than a puppy.   Rescuing an older dog means you aren’t starting with a blank slate.  You already have a dog that is :

  • Potty Trained
  • Finished Teething
  • Basic dog manners or behaviour
  • Used to a leash already
  • Had all their shots
  • Already fixed

Picking an older dog that is mature already, really can provide so much more than that of a puppy that requires you to continually handle their boundless amounts of energy.

Just because an older dog is at a shelter or rescue, doesn’t mean that they aren’t amazing dogs.  It is no fault of theirs that they ended up there.

A dog can end up at a shelter for many reasons. The most important thing to remember is that no dog wants to live out their life in a cage.  They just need love and attention.


Still lots to learn and lots to give

An older dog can still be taught new tricks.  They are still more than capable of learning to adapt to a new home and family while picking up some new tricks along the way.   An older dog is an opportunity to really save a well-deserved dog’s life.

For them all they see is that they are all of a sudden taken to a different location and locked in a kennel.  They may have come from a loving family that either threw them away or decided that they didn’t want a dog anymore.

When you rescue a senior dog, you really give a dog a second chance to show that they are good dogs, but they just need love and a good home.

They still have so much joy and unconditional love to give, all they really need is to be picked to be part a family that really wants them and loves them.

Although everyone thinks that they want a puppy that doesn’t mean that getting a puppy is a great match for you. Sometimes you need to take a second look and say what amount of time can I really give to a dog.  Can I really handle a puppy.

With a senior dog, you get a mature dog .  No matter what that dog has been through, that dog when shown consistent love and attention that they can be part of any family.


Senior dogs are so thankful

Have you ever seen a dog that is a “Senior Dog” at a shelter or rescue that finally gets adopted by a family?   It’s like they are smiling from the inside out.  They bounce out of the cage and can’t wait to see what’s next for them.

Just imagine you are in a loving home and all of a sudden you are taken for a car ride and dropped off in a place that puts you in a cold concrete cage.  Wouldn’t you think, “What did I do?”   Was I a bad dog?


I can’t really fathom what it must be like for a dog to have been the centre of a family that loved and cared for to then all of sudden be dumped at a shelter or rescue.

I currently have 2 senior dogs, that I love dearly.  When that day comes that I am without both of them, I really think that rescuing a senior dog is something that I can’t wait to do.

Having a puppy and starting over is a huge job.  Rescuing an older shelter dog, that is overlooked every time someone comes to see them, will be the most rewarding feeling in the world.

I actually can’t wait to be that person that walks in to look at all the dogs, and then pick the saddest dog of the bunch to bring home.

Just imagine what that will feel like for you…..and the dog.   I’m guessing… BEST FEELING EVER!



6 thoughts on “Rescue A Senior Dog | It Can Change Your Life”

  1. I CANT AGREE MORE! Who wouldn’t want an already trained animal! Senior dogs are sadly left behind most times because their owners are getting too old and cant care for them, or they have passed away and need love and affection! My wife and I were looking into getting one however she got pregnant! Now our daughter is 9 months was looking into getting another one however she is pregnant again!!! So the dog/puppy will have to wait 🙁 

    • Hi Trevor,

      Well congratulations are in order to you and your family. What a wonderful time. 

      Many times, you are right and dogs owners pass away which leaves their dogs left behind.  I really wish people would consider an older dog more often, as getting a puppy is such a big job. 

      Best of luck to you and your growing family.



  2. Wow! Rescuing senior dogs make sense! Actually, when talking about dogs, I remember someone very special to me. She would definitely do everything for a dog. She’s the reason also why I love dogs now. Thank you for this article. Will look into this and definitely consider saving a senior dog!!!

    • Hi AJ,

      I am so glad that you liked my post and found it informative. Senior dogs deserve their forever home and I glad that you are thinking about it. 

      Thank you for your comments on my post it is really appreciated.

      Thank you. 


  3. Coralie, I really appreciate what you are doing here. Just like those extremely sad commercials on T.V., I cried. My next pet will definitely be a senior dog in need of a good, loving home. There is some really great info here and I know you are going to save many dogs. Thank you so much for that! Bless your heart.

    • Hi Tracy,
      I really appreciate your thoughtful comments on my post.
      Knowing that your next dog will be a senior dog, is the reason I wanted to write this post.
      My hope is to bring awareness to these wonderful dogs that deserve a forever home.
      Thank you Tracy.


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