35 percent of WSR shelties are defined as seniors, or dogs over the age of 7. Why would anyone want to adopt a rescue dog who might have “only” 5 more years to live?
Below you can read the stories of people who have, but briefly: senior dogs are generally more obedient, calmer, more willing to snuggle. They won’t chew your rugs. Many know basic commands and are familiar with walks. Unlike a puppy who needs to play when you’re bushed from that long day at work, a senior is thrilled with a short walk and a soft dog bed near your chair.
Seniors fit easily into your lifestyle. And the best reason? Any rescue dog young or senior who knows what it’s like to be in an unloving place is going to be the most loving dog you will meet. But you can double that for the seniors.
WSR has a Senior Dogs Program to help offset concerns about costs associated with caring for an older dog. Visit the Forms page to download information about our Senior Program.
Read on to hear from those who have rescued, fostered and adopted the older ones:
They’re just like older people! Every one of them has lived a life and if you listen, they’ll tell you all about it.
- Lisa Martin, WSR Founder
This is Andre. I adopted him from WSR when he was six years old, and never regretted it. I highly recommend getting an older dog, they’re already housebroken, they’re past the teething stage, they usually have basic training, and they’re so appreciative of being adopted into a happy home. Andre was so easy! I brought him into my home the first day, and he got acquainted with my other sheltie Maisie, who was approximately 10 years old at the time, and the two of them hit it off and were inseparable from then on. I kenneled him at night at first thinking he would need to be kenneled for a while until we got to know each other better, but after a couple of nights of doing that I decided I’d let him up on the bed with Maisie and me. He found a spot at the foot of the bed and that was it, no problems. After Maisie passed away, he took her spot at the top of the bed. Andre was my shadow, the most loving, easy-going sheltie I’ve ever known. People that discard their older dogs are missing the best that dog can give them. I had Andre for 10 years; he passed away at age 16. Don’t shy away from getting an older sheltie, the best is yet to come.
- Andre's mom Deb
I have this unexpected day off this week, and lucky me it is warm and finally spring-like! The dogs are enjoying the day in the fenced yard. Both my shelties came from Lisa, Rocky adopted 2 1/2 years ago is approximately 8-10 right now, and Peaches adopted a 1 1/2 years ago turns 13 next month.
Today is garbage day and all loud trucks must be warned and herded. Peaches races in circles through the back yard barking and looking really darn cute! Rocky isn't as spry as his older friend so he stands in one place to bark at those evil trucks. They are such bundles of happiness and energy someone must remind me never, ever to get a sheltie under the age of 6 for I think it would drive me insane!
Someone was telling me what a wonderful, giving, selfless person I was to take in elderly dogs. Ha! Little does she know that I am lazy (who on earth wants to go through house training a puppy or that awful chewing stage, let alone have to exercise that youngster!!) and that although they will only be here a few years that I get the honor of bringing home another one every few years.Why, if I got puppies it would be 10 years or more before I got to share my home with another furry personality! I would say it is totally selfish!
- Rock and Peaches' mom Dawn
We got a lot of questions from people asking why we would want to adopt an older dog when it really probably wouldn't live many more years. I wondered that myself but only for a brief instant. These old ones need a loving home and hugs just like the young ones. No, we won't have them 15 years like some people will have their shelties but in the time we have with them we can make them as happy and love them twice as much. I am certain that I will adopt another elderly pup in the future.
- Kit's mom Tina
My heart goes out to all of these wonderful shelties tossed away like old shoes. Actually, they are usually the best-kept secrets of adopting! I've had to do little in the way of training, and they are loyal, affectionate, and well-behaved. I guess after my previous sheltie died, I thought the best tribute I could give to her was to give a loving home to someone else. Who can guess how long you might have them? Just make the most of the time you have!
- Brooke and Snicker's mom Anne
I decided to adopt Lucky because at the time he was the oldest dog and he had been at WSR for awhile. I talked to Scott and said "Who is going to adopt a 14 year old dog?" So he agreed if I really wanted him we would get him. I remember calling Lisa and telling her we were interested in adopting Lucky. She says "Why?". He has added a lot of joy to our household. He sure keeps you on your toes. He LOVES to get in the garbage so we usually keep it up on the stove. I used to set it up on a table that was about 2' high but he still managed to get it down. He is full of energy outside when your car backs out of the garage. I don't know if he wants to go with but he barks and runs along the fence every time you leave. He loves treats and when it is "Chow Chow time" he knows it. He knows when it is 6:30 in the morning and 5:00 at night. He is usually the first one done eating and then he stalks the other two to make sure they don't leave anything behind. If they do he will surely clean it up. He licks every bowl about 20 times a day. He loves to go for walks and loves to go up to the lake and just lay around under the deck.
- Bandit, Cody and Lucky's mom, Denise
I am a hospice nurse and when I begin my relationship with my patients whom I adore, I know it's probably going to be for a short time, sometimes only hours. It doesn't change my attitude for them one bit...I love each and every one of them and treat them with the same love and respect they deserve...no matter what their age or time left. I think the same is deserved of our pets who have devoted their lives to loving us.
- Debby, whose family consists of 6 human and 7 fur children
For a long time, I'd been wanting to add a dog to the family; I did not have a dog since growing up with a collie. A sheltie felt right because of the similar appearance to a collie, and I wanted a smaller dog to live in a condo. I thought I needed a puppy so the kitties could train him or her to be cat friendly. I worked with WSR and with a breeder, knowing that a puppy from Rescue wasn't too likely. For some reason, a puppy just wasn't happening. It was never right - somehow. For many weeks, Evan had been calling to me from the website and the newsletter, and I kept turning away, telling him he wasn't a puppy. So when I accepted that I wasn't supposed to get a puppy, there Evan was - where he had been all along, and he bounded right into my heart. I called Lisa, drove to Chilton, and in about 4 days time he was here! With Evan's arrival, I knew at last that my fur-family was complete. His presence in our lives is a true blessing. He is a wonderful old soul who brings grace to us all.
Jan, 2002 - Evan became certified as a therapy dog. Although he is hard of hearing, and never had obedience training, he passed the test with flying colors. He will be working with patients in nursing homes and other health care settings.
- Betty, mom to 6 Birman kitties and Evan