Lucy, my 12-year-old puppy
The biggest misconception people have about adopting senior dogs is that they will not bond with them as strongly as they would with puppies.
This could not be more false.
Many senior dogs who come up for adoption have lived in homes, hopefully with loving families and they miss that. Especially if they have been abandoned or dumped at a shelter. They bond with you as quickly as a puppy would, and in my opinion, love you ten times more than a spoiled puppy ever can.
My labrador Lucy came home to me about two years ago when she was around 8 to 10 years old. I just cannot imagine life without her. Everyone with their young troublesome dogs look longingly at her, wishing she was the dog they could have.
She is cooperative and just the perfect dog without me having to teach her a thing! She came with the skill of making good decisions — this is something that comes with age and maturity, and cannot be taught. She assists in my training sessions and is the perfect dog for a puppy to meet and role model his or her behaviour on.
She can be used in behaviour programmes with fearful or aggressive dogs as she instinctively knows when to ignore other dogs and mind her own business. She just knows what the right thing to do is!
Lucy taught me that I don’t need food to train her. She is happy with my enthusiasm and scratches. More than all, she loves a good dose of dramatic attention, kisses and cuddles. She is so proud of herself when she gets something right and earns her praise. She is the most obedient dog I know, and I deserve no credit.
She absolutely loves all people and is so gentle despite her size. We’ve been through many surgeries and medical procedures together without a fuss. Lucy just sleeps on the vet’s table. She calmly stays still when we dress her wounds at home, and even if it hurts, she doesn’t move an inch. Sometimes, she even snores!
She would have been the perfect therapy dog if I had met her a little earlier in life when she had a bit more energy and was physically fit to work. She is good with children, seniors and people with disabilities. Above all, she’s a complete socialite and has to make at least one new friend whenever we go out. The best part of her day is either when someone comes home to see her or we go out to meet people.
She doesn’t even mind sharing her home with the dogs I board, no matter how pesky a puppy is. Even though she prefers to be the only dog, even this cannot dampen her spirit. With naughty puppies, Lucy behaves like a little puppy herself, which is my favourite thing in the world to watch.
All of the dogs who come to board, fall in love with her.
Surgeries, cancer, debilitating arthritis — she wags her tail through all of it. She doesn’t have the time to sulk.
All we have to do is look at her and say, “Tak tak”, and she starts thumping her tail with a big smile on her face, which makes us smile. She is super popular amongst my clients and friends, and everyone asks more about her well-being than mine.
She’s the dog I always dreamed of and I feel absolutely blessed to have her, even if it won’t be for long.
If you can’t get a puppy, don’t discount an older dog… their companionship is really special.