November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and I can't think of a better way to honor a dog's life than to give it a balanced and loving home in its twilight years.
Some of the benefits of adopting a senior dog: they have a much calmer energy, require less strenuous exercise and less often, and are most often already housebroken. They can also be invaluable tools for attempting to balance other dogs in your home. Nothing beats a senior dog when it comes to showing younger dogs how it's done!
Adopting a senior dog is a noble decision in another important way, too. In many shelters and rescues across the country, senior dogs are the first to be euthanized. Between an adorable, young puppy and a seasoned old veteran, the decision is almost always made in favor of cute faces and tiny, tumbling bodies. Most people don't want to deal with the extra care and commitment that comes with adopting an older dog, despite the many advantages. So by adopting a senior dog, you may be saving a life. That's no small accomplishment!
Once you've brought home your senior dog, there are some very important things you can do in order to ensure that you provide the love and the care that he or she deserves. For starters, find the absolute best veterinarian in your area - someone that you trust implicitly - and establish a good relationship with them. Older dogs should receive medical checkups more often than younger dogs; ideally about once every six months. Be sensitive to your dog's abilities when it comes to exercise. Senior dogs should remain active, but not all of them will be able to keep up with a rigorous routine like younger dogs. Adapt the walk to your dog's abilities.
In many countries of the world, families care a great deal for their senior members. They are valued for the contributions they made in their youth, and respected and loved at a time when they need it most. I believe it should be just the same with dogs as it is for people. By adopting a senior dog and giving it calm assertive leadership, care, and affection, you are doing a wonderful service and spreading good karma at the same time.
And your reward? Unconditional love and companionship.