Whether you're looking for a loyal pal to take on a hike or to catch your favorite Netflix series with, a senior dog may be that perfect plus one.
While people oftentimes turn to a puppy to take home, there are so many advantages to having an elder companion.
As a matter of fact, dogs aged seven and older are typically housebroken, less destructive, and calmer than younger dogs. The devastating reality, however, is senior dogs have a 25% adoption rate, compared to a 60% adoption rate for younger dogs and puppies, according to ASPCA.
"After about 12 years of volunteering in animal shelters, what I noticed was the older dogs that I fell in love with were getting passed over for puppies," said founder and CEO of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue Sherri Franklin.
Franklin vividly remembers when of her favorite dogs at the shelter -- a cheerful 8-year-old Beagle Basset -- was euthanized for space because she wasn't considered adoptable.
"I knew I had to do something," Franklin said. "I started taking home dogs one at a time, fixing them up, getting them to see my vets and finding them homes on my own."
It was such a large mission, which led Frankin to start a nonprofit in 2007. In the past 16 years, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue has saved over 9,000 senior dogs.
"I like to say we made senior dogs sexy," she said.
Did you know older dogs often end up in shelters after their owners pass away, get sick, or transition to assisted living?
"I know for me personally, one day I'm going to grow old, or older, and I hope at some point in time when I need it, there will be someone out there that's going to provide the assistance that I need," said Doreen Jakubcak of Marty's Place Senior Dog Sanctuary.
While there are many benefits to adopting senior dogs, be prepared to accommodate semi-annual veterinary checkups, special diets and decreased mobility.
The key is to address any and all health issues as early on as possible, Jakubcak advises. Catching any health ailments before they worsen can oftentimes rectify the issue or at least save the dog before it becomes untreatable.
"People often ask us how do you do it when you have to say goodbye?" Jakubcak said. "We focus on that quality of time, we focus on knowing that we did our best and we gave that dog the best care we could during that period of time they were with us," Jakubcak said.
So what are you waiting for? This is your sign to run to a shelter and take home a loyal senior dog today.