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Adopting a mature dog has its advantages

By HELEN PALMER

K9 Corner

November is officially “National Adopt a Senior Dog Month” and there are many good reasons to consider a mature — maybe graying — dog as your next companion. One good reason is that you are relieved of the responsibility of keeping your eye on the animal the way you must if you adopt a puppy. Actually, I do watch any new pet that joins my household, at least at first, so I can learn the signals that he needs something and observe his reactions to my home. 

I have found that an older dog — mine was 10 when I adopted him — can be very perceptive to your needs and your schedules. Over the past year, my newest pet has observed that I have difficulty hearing the phone if it is in another part of the house, so he now howls when the phone rings no matter where the instrument is. However, somehow he is aware when I am asleep and comes into the bedroom and whines until I wake up. He is consistent in this alerting duty and I am just amazed.

There are several websites people can go to if they are thinking of getting a new member of the family. A friend sent me links to www.pawsitivepurfection.com and www.nationaldaycalendar.com for information. One of these sites mentions that you can find a world of dogs waiting and hoping for a “forever home” by going to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website or to Petfinders.com. 

Petfinders.com has so many dogs that you need to fill out a form saying what kind of dog you are looking for. If you have a particular breed in mind, search for that breed’s rescue website or go to the American Kennel Club’s website for further information on your breed.

For a short article on taking care of our older dog go to www.pawsitivepurfection.com. It mentions keeping your dog fit with a healthy diet with supplements as needed; adequate exercise; dental health and the need for keeping the teeth clean; regular veterinary visits, as well as playtime, grooming and time for love and petting/massaging.

Our local Animal Shelter/Humane Society with the assistance of a number of volunteers, work very hard to place the animals they receive in loving homes. They have volunteers who come regularly to walk the dogs, play with them and help them socialize with other dogs and with humans.

They work with the local state prison in a program called Mutts with Manners, where selected mature dogs from the shelter are trained and socialized before being offered to the public as highly adoptable pets. Another program is the monthly obedience class offered to those who have adopted shelter dogs and are confused on how to handle them. Both of these programs are directed by Cheri Carbone, a professional trainer and animal behaviorist, who volunteers her time and expertise. 

So, if you are toying with the idea of getting a canine companion, consider adopting a mature dog from a shelter or rescue group and honoring the month of November.