The gift of adopting a senior dog

Sam, on his adoption day

Linda Rowe

I had the great pleasure of adopting Sam, a twelve-year-old senior dog on September 28, 2018. Sam is a Border Collie/German Shepherd mix. He had lived with a family in Texas for his entire life. When they moved to Europe, he was re-homed with the family’s ninety-three-year-old mother. After she had an accident, Sam was taken to the humane society for euthanasia. The reason: his advanced age.

Realizing euthanasia was an unnecessary thing to do to a wonderfully sweet dog; the Texas Humane Society asked the Arizona Border Collie Rescue group for assistance. Sam was then relocated to a foster home in Flagstaff.

Upon his arrival in Flagstaff, he was seen by a vet. Sam was very depressed and emaciated. Previously diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, and apparently being inappropriately treated, he was removed from all medications and responded immediately. He perked up and started gaining weight.

Because my last dog was a Border Collie who lived to the ripe old age of sixteen, I felt that a senior dog still had much to offer. Sam exceeded all my expectations!

In human years, Sam is eighty-four. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Within two days, Sam learned to use a doggy door. He is extremely well mannered. When we walk, he doesn’t bark at people or other dogs (even when they bark). When someone comes to the door, he goes to the door with me to greet visitors without barking. He readily comes when called. He doesn’t jump on furniture. He doesn’t chew on things. He loves to go for rides in the car. And if this isn’t enough, despite relocation to a strange environment he has had only a couple of accidents. Who in their right mind would not want a dog like this?

When you think about it, senior dogs and humans have much in common:

1. Their mind is still active.

2. Their heart may be willing, but the body is sometimes unable to follow through as before.

3. They enjoy love, hugs and treats.

4. They may need a little help getting in the car, but a good ride to see the sites is always fun.

5. They love naps.

Several people have told me they think it was so great that I adopted an older dog. I can only say that I feel like the one who was blessed. I am so proud of my Sam, his resilience, his ability to adjust, his big heart and ability to give unconditional love despite all he has been through is amazing.

I encourage anyone thinking of getting a dog to consider adopting an adult or senior dog. There is much to be said for not having to go through a puppy stage and going straight to a mature, calm, loving animal that only wants to be loved.