By WINA STURGEON, Adventure Sports Weekly
(TNS) It happens to all dog lovers as they get older. Your frisky pup that used to romp over hiking trails with you and run through tall grass starts slowing down. Eventually, your beloved dog either dies of old age and illness or must be euthanized to end their pain.
After a while, maybe years, you may start missing the presence of a dog in your life. But now you are older, and perhaps slowing down yourself. Should you get another dog at this time in your life? It’s a good question and one that deserves a lot of careful thought.
The first question to consider is if you have the energy to look after a young dog. Think about that for a while. Then ask yourself other important questions. Do you have a fenced yard where your dog can run and play? If not, are you going to want to walk your new dog every day, or drive them to a nearby dog park where they can socialize? Do you actually have time for a new dog in your life? Is there someone who will look after your pooch and allow it to live its natural life span if something happens to you? What exactly will you want done with your furry friend if something happens to you?
Remember, most dogs only live about one-seventh as long as humans. According to online research, that’s usually between 10 and 13 years. Small dogs live longer than big dogs like Labradors and German shepherds. Let’s say you’re 60, and very active for your age, and you believe you could handle that cute little puppy being offered for sale.
The only way that would be true is if you had little else going on in your life. You may have forgotten how much time and commitment a puppy takes to train. When you were in your 20s and 30s, you may have had both the time and the energy to adopt and train a very young dog. It may have also then been a family dog, so you weren’t stuck with being the only caretaker.
But dogs are part of everyday life when you yourself are young. You may take them over to friend’s houses, friends who are in their family years and will usually welcome your well-behaved pooch. When you’re 50 or older, your friends in that age group may not want dog hair or dog damage in their homes, so you may not be able to take your canine sidekick with you when you go to visit. Will your new dog be happy to be locked up in the house while you spend the day working and the evening socializing?
Should you decide that you really do want another dog in your life, the best thing you can do is to give an older, already housebroken dog, another chance at a forever home. Look for your new dog at the Humane Society or another animal shelter. The staff will know whether a particular pre-owned dog is suitable for an older owner.
An older and already trained dog will allow you to have the dog presence that you want, without having to start all over with a mischievous puppy. An older dog will appreciate the fact that you chose it, so it could get out of the shelter and go home with you. ISI
Wina Sturgeon is the author of “The love of a shorter lived species,” which tells the story of her own dog, Arwen. She is an active 55+ based in Salt Lake City, who offers news on the science of anti-aging and staying youthful at: adventuresportsweekly.com. She skates, bikes and lifts weights to stay in shape. (TNS)