Age is catching up on me fast.
A couple of months ago I went to see a lady who described herself on the phone as a pensioner. She sounded elderly (it turned out she was younger than me).
I have been thinking about this Paws for a while. I have four dogs who are slowly ageing with me.
Even though I am still very fit and active, I could never consider having a puppy again, not least because I would probably ‘park up’ as they say in New Zealand before the dog. (Never again that lovely puppy smell, the cuddles and the multiple trips outside).
‘Small’ not ‘lazy’.
Older people too often get very unsuitable dogs. They think ‘small’ rather than ‘lazy’.
Small dogs are so often bred to be busy.
What about a sofa-loving rescue adult greyhound for laziness (providing he’s not got the kind of prey drive that means he pulls the lady over at the sight of a cat)?
The lady I went to lives alone. She has a 15-week-old Cavapoo puppy – the most gorgeous little thing I have ever seen.
Getting up out of her chair was visibly uncomfortable for her. She walked carefully. Understandably, her way of dealing with puppy was to try to direct operations from her chair.
As we get older, it’s very likely we like our surroundings to be better organised and tidy and puppy leaving our papers and slippers alone.
Shouting ‘No’ merely fired him up more. It didn’t tell him what he should be doing. He became frustrated and wild and then he became rough.
The poor lady was being jumped at and grabbed, her clothes torn and the thin skin on her hands damaged by the little sharp teeth. He had already chewed through one leash while she held it at arm’s length to protect herself as he spun around with it in his mouth.
What he badly needed was appropriate stimulation.
This lady is, however, now proving that it is possible for a less-active older person to give a puppy a fulfilling life.
It’s a question of planning and management, including enlisting other people.
The lady is now providing her energetic and playful puppy with a lot of enrichment in the form of chewing and digging opportunities. He destroys a box of rubbish in the search for little biscuits and has a sand pit with buried bones and toys in the garden.
A dog walker calls daily so he can walk and play with a couple of other small, young dogs. Family help her too.
When someone has less energy to put into occupying puppy, who can’t move fast when necessary, an older dog would be the wise choice.
An older dog
An unpalatable truth that I will myself be facing is that if we get a puppy, most likely that puppy will become an orphan eventually – one of the many lovely older dogs whose owners can no longer care for them. See Oldies Club. Adopting one of these dogs would be a far wiser choice. Great for both the dog and the elderly person.