Senior shelter dogs, which make great pets, are desperately in need of loving homes

“All I really care about is changing the perception of older dogs. They might be slower and they might sleep a little more, but all the dogs I’ve met in this past year like to play with their toys and chew on their bones. They still have that zest, that joy for living…”

"Daddy's Girl," senior dog Jazzie, by Nomadic Lass

“Daddy’s Girl,” senior dog Jazzie, by Nomadic Lass

These kind words about senior dogs come from Lori Fusaro, a renowned dog photographer whose recent work has focused on capturing the beauty of dogs in their golden years and showing that they make just as great, if not better, companions as the younger pups.

In a 2014 survey, Petfinder asked numerous shelters and rescue groups across the nation to vote which pets they have the most difficulty placing in homes. Senior pets were the unfortunate majority among categories like “pets with special needs,” “pitbull types” and “adult cats.” To raise awareness and speak up for senior pets, November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month!

Puppies are undeniably cute, but older dogs are not without their own perks. Check out this list from the ASPCA detailing some of the awesome benefits that come with owning a senior dog.

ASPCA’s Top 10 Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog

  1. What You See Is What You Get
    Older dogs are open books—from the start, you’ll know important things like their full-grown size, personality and grooming requirements. All this information makes it easier to pick the right dog and forge that instant love connection that will last a lifetime. If you’re not so into surprises, an older dog is for you!
  2. Easy to Train
    Think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Hogwash! Older dogs are great at focusing on you—and on the task at hand—because they’re calmer than youngsters. Plus, all those years of experience reading humans can help them quickly figure out how to do what you’re asking.
  3. Seniors are Super-Loving
    One of the cool parts of our job is reading stories from people just like you who have opted to adopt. The emails we get from pet parents with senior dogs seem to all contain beautiful, heartfelt descriptions of the love these dogs give you—and those of you who adopted dogs already in their golden years told us how devoted and grateful they are. It’s an instant bond that cannot be topped!
  4. They’re Not a 24-7 Job
    Grownup dogs don’t require the constant monitoring puppies do, leaving you with more freedom to do your own thing. If you have young children, or just value your “me time,” this is definitely a bonus.
  5. They Settle in Quickly
    Older dogs have been around the block and already learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack. They’ll be part of the family in no time!
  6. Fewer Messes
    Your floors, shoes and furniture will thank you for adopting a senior pooch! Older dogs are likely to already be housetrained—and even if they’re not, they have the physical and mental abilities to pick it up really fast (unlike puppies). With their teething years far behind them, seniors also are much less likely to be destructive chewers.
  7. You Won’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
    There are those who yearn for a doggie friend of their own, but hold back because they worry what might happen in their lives in the years to come. And they are wise to do so—a puppy or young dog can be anywhere from an 8- to 20-year responsibility, which is not appropriate for the very elderly or those with certain long-term future plans. Providing a loving home for a dog in her golden years is not a less serious commitment, but it can be a shorter one.
  8. They Enjoy Easy Livin’
    Couch potato, know thyself! Please consider a canine retiree rather than a high-energy young dog who will run you ragged. Not that older dogs don’t require any exercise—they do—but they’re not going to need, or want, to run a marathon every day.
  9. Save a Life, Be a Hero
    At shelters, older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. Saving an animal’s life offers an unparalleled emotional return on your investment, and you’ll feel the rewards every day you spend together.
  10. They’re CUTE!
    Need we say more?

If you’re thinking about adopting a new family member, please consider opening your home to a senior pet. To learn more about Lisa Fusaro’s senior pet portraits and senior pet advocacy, visit