Senior Dogs for Young Professionals – A New Generation Opens Their Hearts

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Chihuahua Solana

As it has for many rescues and shelters, 2020 has been a year of challenges and surprises for Carolina Poodle Rescue (CPR).  COVID and the changes it imposed on normal operations at our rescue is something that we would gladly have by passed. There is however, one surprise that has been a welcome blessing.

Most rescues have well-established programs to place senior dogs with senior adopters. Our sweet senior dogs generally enjoy a calmer lifestyle and someone who is likely to be home more than they are gone - a lifestyle that typically dovetails most closely with that of senior adopters. “Seniors for Seniors” campaigns are common in the world of rescue.

Enter 2020 – a year full of surprise. A year where very little has gone as any of us planned or expected. A year where we’ve all learned to adjust. A year full of hardships, but many blessings. At Carolina Poodle Rescue, one of our greatest blessings in 2020 has been a new generation opening their hearts to senior dogs. Many seniors have (rightfully) been nervous about travel, meet and greets, and all the other efforts that go into placing a dog into their home. But in the absence of this important rescue demographic a new hero has emerged for our senior dogs – young professionals!

In this year of changes, many young professionals have found themselves working from home and having their active social lives significantly curtailed.  Seeking companionship, they are finding it in a senior dog to share their life.  We are engaging with a generation that grew up with dogs in the home - that lived with and loved on these dogs through all the stages of their lives.  A generation with warm memories of the dogs of their childhood. A generation passionate about the #adoptdontshop movement. A generation recognizing that age is just a number and older dogs have so much life and love to give.

Kristen J. is one young adopter who grew up with dogs. The first dog she adopted on her own was her heart dog, living and being loved until he was 20.  When he passed, she vowed to adopt seniors in his honor.  Kristen chooses to adopt seniors because although many people do not think that seniors have much life left in them, she knows better.  She believes that seniors should live out their last days in a life of luxury knowing and giving love until their time to cross the bridge.  Kristen came to Carolina Poodle Rescue to adopt Buddy, a 20-year-old toy poodle surrendered to rescue when the health of his owner made caring for her beloved companion impossible.

A Day in the Life of 21-year-old Buddy

Buddy
“Buddy has it made!  He sleeps in the bed with us most of the time (his choice). He takes his Cosequin in the morning and Gabapentin at night to ease those old joints.  My husband and I both work, so during the day he and his siblings are in the house.  He and Jedi (16) wear belly bands.  I teach so am home pretty early.  If it’s going to be a long day, my Mom comes by to let them out.  When I get home, it is snuggle time.  Buddy sleeps most of the day but does enjoy a walk.  He gets to ride in a doggy papoose or a stroller.  Buddy LOVES food.  He will literally run after me if I carry his bowl across the house.  He eats a hearty meal twice a day enjoying every bit even with his limited remaining teeth.  Buddy also shows his love by licking his humans - Buddy “baths” are common multiple times a day.  At 21, we make sure rest of this life is the best of his life in comfort, with all the love we can share.”

Another such adopter is a vet technician with a passion for old dogs. Having already adopted two sweet senior dogs from Carolina Poodle Rescue earlier in 2020 and enduring the heartbreak of losing one all too soon, Deneige found herself with an open spot in her senior pack for a quiet dog that would enjoy being a go-everywhere companion.  She found that match in a Grey Muzzle dog found as a stray and misnamed Hazel as he was such a matted mess the shelter thought he…was a she.  The first order of business was a new name – Waldorf!

Welcome Home Waldorf!

Waldorf
I’ve always been an advocate for “adopt don’t shop” but the dog to truly advocate that for me was Waldorf, a 14-year-old blind poodle. He was surrendered by his owners because he was old and not cute anymore. He was saved by Carolina Poodle Rescue who saw he had so much life left to live. He was adopted by me because he was handsome, had pearly blue eyes (although they’re cataracts and not true blue), a spunky old soul, chocolate fur with blonde ears and had one tooth that didn’t stop him from getting all the food and treats he wanted.

Waldorf is a true inspiration. Every day that passes that I’ve had Waldorf, I wish I’ve had him since he was a puppy. He may be old and blind but you’d never know. He loves: long walks, sunbathing, rolling around in the grass, nesting in big blankets, stealing food even if it’s a struggle to chew up, ice cream, getting the bouncies, dressing up, kayaking with mom, car rides with the windows down, cuddling with my mom and siblings and cleaning his face on carpets.”  

Senior dogs are a perfect match for someone that wants a companion who will love to spend time with them and who is content to enjoy a warm spot next to them.  Someone who does not require constant attention to burn off energy or stay entertained. In a non-traditional year, we’re making less traditional matches. And it’s working out beautifully!

About the Author: Jackie Orr is a volunteer with Carolina Poodle Rescue. Carolina Poodle Rescue is a two-time Grey Muzzle grantee.