Why Adopt an Adult Dog

(Reprinted with permission of Sandy Mowery (Front and Finish Columnist)

If you want a dog that is completely devoted and bonded to you, you need to raise him from puppyhood, right?

WRONG.  It takes about a year for a dog’s heart to become beautifully wedded to your own, and this is true whether you start with a puppy or a mature adult. The only real difference is that the first year with the pup will be a trying time filled with messes, mistakes and destroyed property.

Sure, puppies are cute, especially for the first six weeks. The gangly growth period isn’t so cute and the “terrible teenager” time (9 months to 1 ½ years) can be devastating. Many people abandon their pets before the second year, convinced that the youthful misbehavior will never end. Dogs tend to become homeless just when they are finally getting good.

Puppies seldom fail to find homes. Fully grown, abandoned puppies seldom succeed in finding homes. The irony of this, and the tragedy, is heartbreaking. Yet the grownup dog is the perfect answer for most people in today’s busy world. Raising a puppy successfully requires full time parenting, yet dog owners no longer have that time. Adult dogs require much less supervision.

But will a dog love you if he has formerly loved someone else? 

Many homeless adults are still searching for their “first love”, having never known a good home. Those who have loved someone else are now broken hearted. Both types will be eager to adopt you, and will love you as only a homeless dog can. The pup you raise will surely take your love for granted, having never known want. The homeless dog has learned that life can be very hard. Can a dog really feel gratitude? You bet your life.

I speak from experience. Of the 24 dogs that have shared my life (all “till death do us part”), ten that presently fill my home were all rescued as adults. Most were strays and I know nothing about them except that they suffered greatly wandering on highways without food, shelter, companionship or hope for the future. Some were emaciated and two had actually been struck by cars. All are wonderful, loving companions. I take great pleasure in seeing them now, happy and healthy, asleep at my feet. And I can’t bear to think what their fate would have been had I not taken them into my heart.