It's only natural that as we age, we tend to slow down. We may even lose exuberance and zest for the things we once found pleasurable.
But does it have to be this way?
As many psychologists have told us "age is only a number and we are as young as we feel." Sometimes we may just need a boost and some motivation to get back what we lost.
For this reason, many shelters are now encouraging seniors to adopt a pet, some even offer special programs and discount rates when a seasoned person chooses an older animal.
This is a win-win situation, as senior dogs are more likely to be passed over for that bouncy puppy. Plus, elderly folks can also reap the benefits of pet parenting.
Check out the 5 reasons why senior dogs are good for seniors.
# 1. Improved Physical Health
Our bodies are meant to be in motion, but as we age, those tired joints and bones may want to bring us to a halt.
Having a canine companion gives the senior a reason to go outside and take a walk. When the dog is also in the golden years of life, a stroll through the park followed by a relaxing sit to take in the view is all that will be needed.
Having a pet has also been scientifically proven to lower stress levels and blood pressure, and improve heart health; three conditions many seniors may find themselves battling.
# 2. Improved Social Life & Mental Outlook
People are naturally drawn to the canine species - we go together like peanut butter and jelly - so there's not a better way to meet new people than with a furry buddy by your side. This is perfect for seniors that may have lost dear friends and are looking to build new relationships.
Many seniors also suffer from loneliness and depression. However, bring a dog into the picture, and suddenly Grandma has someone to engage with and care for again, as well as talk to others about. She may even want to look up information on her dog's breed, which in turn helps to stimulate the brain.
Another benefit the canine species brings with it is the "live for today" philosophy. For some seniors, "tomorrow" can be a scary thought. Dogs don't worry about tomorrow, but rather live in the here and now. This attitude tends to be contagious allowing the older person to adopt the same bright outlook.
Just ask any dog, he'll tell you; "have that extra cookie, as none of us know what tomorrow brings…"
# 3. Senior Dogs Are "Ready to Go"
It's highly unlikely that a senior dog wouldn't already be potty trained. This is a huge plus for the aging person that may not have the energy or wherewithal to go through this tedious process.
Some older pooches may also already have the basic obedience training down, as well as being spayed or neutered.
Another benefit of adopting an aging dog is they are just happy to be given another chance. They don't need to play for hours on end with a squeaky toy or do marathon jogs around the city. All they ask for is a comfy place to rest their head and some well-deserved love and kindness.
# 4. You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Despite that tired adage of old dogs not being able to learn new tricks, they can and will eagerly do so if given a chance.
Senior dogs tend to be more eager-to-please and more focused, so teaching them new skills or even some advanced obedience can be less difficult than with an energetic puppy.
This not only mentally stimulates the aging canine brain but can be very rewarding for the senior citizen. Imagine how proud Grandpa would be to show off Fido's latest antic.
# 5. It's Saving Two Lives
It's sad that as a society we tend to shuffle away those that deserve the most respect. Old folks' homes and animal shelters are both full of the discarded, forgotten and passed over. So when a senior adopts a senior dog, it's saving two lives.
Just because we label something as "old" doesn't mean it's worthless, both senior people and aging dogs still have a lot to offer. We just have to take the time to see it.
If you have senior in your life that may benefit from having a pet, be sure to discuss the matter with them to see if they agree. If so, visit your local shelter for that older dog that keeps getting passed over. He may just turn out to be the light of your senior's life.