Fostering Old Dogs: Giving an Old Dog a New Lease on Life

People love puppies. What’s not to love? Their tummies are round. Their heads seem entirely too big for their bodies. They have a way of padding across the floor that can cause practically anyone to say, “Awww.”  Geriatric dogs can be another story. Sometimes people forget to see the, “Awww” worthiness is an aging dog. But, personally, I love an old dog. And I have a deep and abiding affection for the people who choose to care for old dogs.

Old dogs have spent a lifetime trying to please their people. Sometimes the mounting vet bills or the increased care concerns cause long-time owners to surrender their aging hound to a shelter. It’s a crushing reality. Fortunately, for those of us who love old dogs, that means there are numerous volunteer opportunities.

Because shelters are particularly stressful for aging dogs, a growing number of rescue groups focus on finding foster homes for them.  A quick internet search will probably reveal a senior dog sanctuary near you.  You can also contact your local animal shelter to ask if they know of such a program.

There are numerous benefits to caring for an older dog. They require less exercise than younger dogs and don’t need as much space to roam. Their lower energy levels can be ideal for people who love dogs, but don’t want to go through the puppy years. Old dogs still have a lot of love to give to people who are willing to open their hearts and lives. For senior adults, who are looking for a companion, geriatric dogs can be ideal.

Some senior dogs are placed into permanent foster care and others only need fostering until a permanent home can be found. Ideally, foster and adoptive families should have experience in dealing with an aging pet. It is important that someone be available to spend time with an aging dog. They often require more frequent potty breaks and medical care throughout the day.

You will, of course, want to be sure that a geriatric dog would get along with your existing pets. If you have a soft spot in your heart for old dogs and are willing to invest in their medical treatments, perhaps you should look into fostering. Who know? You might even teach an old dog a new trick.


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