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Woo Hoo! Senior Dog Adoptions Are On The Rise!

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The average “golden years” age for a dog varies based on size–smaller dogs are usually seniors around the age of 12, while larger dogs are considered elderly between six and eight years old. Sadly, senior dogs are typically high-risk for euthanasia in shelters because typically, most people look for puppies.

Related: Why Senior Dog Wellness Checkups are Important

But Today.com producer, journalist and award-winning author Laura Coffey says that she is seeing many innovative and motivating programs geared toward rescuing senior dogs pop up all over the country, and she couldn’t be more thrilled. Coffey, a self-proclaimed dog-nut, wrote a piece several years ago called, “No Dog Should Die Alone,” a piece that featured Lori Fusaro’s photography of senior dogs. Fusaro’s photos were part of a project called “Silver Hearts,” and were taken to promote the adoption of senior dogs. Her work was then turned into illustrations for a book Coffey wrote called, “My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts,” which happens to be a best-seller.

Coffey is thrilled that new research seems to show more positive attitude toward adopting senior pets. A survey conducted by The Grey Muzzle Organization showed that 80 percent of the respondents believed there was a better public perception about adopting senior dogs, and over two-thirds of had seen an increase of senior dog adoptions in the last two years. The Grey Muzzle is an organization that gives grants to shelters and other rescue organizations committed to helping high-risk senior pets.

 What Lisa Lunghofer, Ph.D, and executive director of The Grey Muzzle found was that senior adults were opening to adopting senior pets because they could appreciate the slower pace and need to be accepted. Coinciding with that finding, more and more, rescue organizations are sponsoring programs like “Seniors for Seniors,” that will pair a senior dog with an elderly person for little to no cost.

Lunghofer also says that the findings of this survey are encouraging in the efforts to ensure that no old dog dies alone and afraid. Coffey agrees with that, saying that people are really starting to see how much joy and love a dog over the age of six or seven can be, and how they thrive when they are rescued. That, and the recognition of a senior dog’s love, loyalty and gratitude, according to Lunghofer are reasons she believes more and more people are looking to adopt senior dogs.

Which is a great thing…because these ladies are right. Many senior dogs have been turned in to their local shelters simply because a family cannot afford to keep them, or an elderly pet owner can no longer take care of them, and they literally have their entire worlds turned upside down through no fault of their own. Now is a great time to consider a senior dog, and Coffey’s book site has state-by-state resources to help get you on the right path to some of that senior loving!


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