Dogs Trust urges people to give old dogs new digs
Since lockdown began, demand for puppies has soared and families have welcomed the pitter patter of tiny paws into their homes.
But Dogs Trust is urging dog lovers who are thinking of welcoming a four-legged friend into their life to consider giving a golden oldie their perfect retirement home.
Google searches for buying a puppy increased by a huge 213% after lockdown began in March last year compared to the previous 12months.
Now Dogs Trust is asking people to remember that when it comes to giving a rescue dog a second chance, older dogs need new homes too – and have lots to offer.
Spike the Springer was adopted from Dogs Trust Leeds and is now in his retirement years at the age of 14, with his family pulling out the stops to make life as relaxing for him as possible.
Catherine Morris, whose family adopted Spike, said: “We were originally looking for a young puppy, no older than two, but all our expectations were turned on their heads when we met Spike.
"He was full of energy when we met him, but he kept looking back to check we were still all following him on his walk, so we feel that he picked us just as much as we chose him.
“While we needed to do some additional recall training with him, he was completely house trained thanks to living in a home for most of his life prior to joining us.
"Once he settled in, he was absolutely besotted with the family and always wanted to join in activities; nowadays he takes himself to bed when tired, but always prefers to be snuggled up next to someone.
“When he was a bit younger Spike would sleep upstairs with the rest of the family, but as he is older, he can no longer make the stairs. However, he is such a beloved member of the family we all take it in turns to sleep downstairs with him.
“We no longer have any reservations about adopting an older dog as they have so much character and generally love to take life at a slower pace. However, no matter what age the dog is, it is still a big commitment and shouldn’t be rushed into.”
In the nine months up to the end of March this year, almost 50% of people looking to adopt a dog from Dogs Trust were looking for a four-legged friend under six months, compared to five per cent looking for a dog aged eight or over.
Amanda Sands, Rehoming Centre Manager at Dogs Trust Leeds, said: “In the last year so many people have wanted to welcome a puppy into their family, but just like Spike has proven, older dogs make fantastic companions too.
“Currently around 24% of the dogs here at Dogs Trust Leeds that are ready to find their forever homes are over eight and we would love to find them their perfect families.
“Older dogs are often calmer and less energetic so although they may still be playful and enjoy a stroll in the park, hiking up hills may be a thing of the past for them, which suits some owners, young and not so young.
“Also with an older dog, what you see is what you get both in terms of personality and size and although you can certainly teach an older dog new tricks, they usually know the training basics and have experienced many things in their lives, so as long as they have had positive experiences, they will take things in their stride.
“Helping an older dog enjoy their autumnal years and giving them the chance to live their best life is incredibly rewarding. Owners like Catherine always tell us that the feeling you get from seeing them safe, warm, happy and enjoying an afternoon snooze snuggled up on the sofa, is something that can’t be beaten.”
Dogs Trust is working to change the tale for older dogs who find themselves without a forever home.