Back in January I adopted an Oldie, an oldie dog that is – our little 84-year-old bundle of scruff Wilson. I’d been thinking about adopting a dog for a long time (for me it’s been a life-long dream scuppered by allergic parents) and after even more thought I decided to adopt an older pup instead of some of the more popular younger doggies. Straight away it was clear I’d done a wonderful thing and Wilson was the perfect addition to my home.
Wilson was a little on the scruffy side when we first brought him home and looking a little worse for wear, but over the past 6 months he’s really come out of his shell and made a proper home with us. Puppies are adorable and young dogs can be a barrel of fun, but we think that owning an older dog is the best thing in the world and I wanted to share a little update with you all along with showing you why an older pooch could be the one for you!
The first few weeks were quiet as Wilson was getting used to yet another new home. He was probably very scared at these new people who wanted to cuddle him all the time and were constantly bringing in new toys and more food than he could ever imagine. He settled well and slept a lot along with pacing round and round our living room whilst trying to comfort himself and understand what was going on. He was very wary around new people and we tried to keep petting to a minimum so as not to overwhelm our furry little man.
As Wilson is no spring chicken he has a bit of incontinence at night-time so our carpet isn’t as new as it once was! Make sure you check out my rescue dog essentials post for a great carpet cleaner which unfortunately has become part of our weekly shop! He has a little doggy dementia too and sometimes forgets where he is which also results in a few ‘other’ accidents around the house, but luckily these aren’t too frequent and we can usually spot the signs now to help him snap back to reality and potter outside. Like humans an older dog may be a little slower in their later years and accidents may happen, but it’s all manageable and as long as you’re prepared for this (like you would be prepared to potty train a puppy or stop him from chewing) then you and your VIP OAP will be absolutely fine.
About 6 weeks in we had a little incident where Wilson accidentally ate an entire packet of chewing gum that had fallen out of my bag – queue worried dog parents and a couple of sleepless nights. A note to fellow dog owners, the sugar-free chemicals in gum are lethal to your pup so we had him rushed into the emergency vet over night to have his stomach pumped and lots of injections to make sure he was ok – thank goodness for pet insurance as that would have been a whopping £800 bill, make sure you find a company who will still insure your doggy over a certain age. Luckily we picked him up the next day right as rain and looking rather pleased with himself for all the attention he’d received. It was a scary time and one we’re not looking to repeat any time soon – owning an older dog means accidents like this can be twice as dangerous as they’re bodies can’t take as much as a youngsters can so prepare yourself for that one.
He also has a very sensitive tummy which means all natural dog food, no tasty (but full of junk) treats and a regular feeding schedule. Anyone who’s ever had a doggy with a dodgy tum will feel our pain…newspaper anybody?! He’s slowly putting on weight as we try to beef him up but he often just eats what he wants and leaves the rest – although if there’s pizza going round he’s a little bugger for snatching that when you’re not looking!
It wasnt’ long before Wilson started to come out of his scruffy little shell and become absolutely fine with new people. After barking at the postman a few times and being a little wary of new visitors to the house he was soon cuddling with our friends, lapping up all the stroking and destroying toys like a puppy!!! Watching his personality slowly come out as he begins to trust you is one of the best things in the world, as is coming home and having your pup go crazy because they’re so excited to see you! With a rescue dog this might take a while but it will happen, be patient and loving and your VIP OAP will give you a million times more love in return.
As the weather started to get warmer our walks became longer and we discovered Wilson LOVES to be outside! Whenever we take him outside he bounds around like a puppy and will walk for hours until you take him home – I think he forgets how old he is sometimes! He loves trotting along on the grass as it’s softer on his feet and although he still barks like crazy at other dogs he seems incredibly pleased with himself afterwards, protecting his new owners with pride like a true terrier.
Older dogs sleep….A LOT! The beauty of adopting an oldie means that they’re incredibly happy just minding their own business and snoozing in bed pretty much all day long! We have a dog walker who comes in every day during the week for a while to let Wilson outside and take him on a little walk, but sometimes I work from home I often feel as though I’m annoying him by disturbing his naps! He’s most active at night-time from about 6-10pm but then he snuggles back down in bed for even more sleep with a big sigh as if life is just SO hard! He also sleeps in some ridiculous positions which keep us giggling every day!
Wilson plays fetch but gets tired quickly and needs to have a sit down. He’s also learnt some new tricks whilst staying with us – not bad for an oldie! If you’re looking for a dog who will chase after a ball for hours across a field, or join you on your morning jog, then an oldie might not be quite right. He will however potter over every now and again while you’re watching TV for a scratch behind the ear or cuddle up next to your bed in the morning so you can have a little lie-in together – catching a Frisbee is over-rated anyway.
Adopting Wilson was the best decision I’ve made, and although our carpet doesn’t look as it once did after night-time accidents and re-potty training we wouldn’t change him for the world. We know he may not be around for as long as other dogs (although we often joke when he’s being a pain that he’ll probably end up living forever!) but we’re proud to be able to give him a loving home for his twilight years and let his grumpy little soul enrich our lives for as long as possible.
Thinking about adopting a rescue dog? Do give a thought for adopting an oldie if you can, they’re a real breath of fresh air. You can take a look at the Oldies Club for OAP pups near you and of course on the All Dogs Matter website too who were caring for Wilson until he found us.
Do you own an oldie? What would you say is the best part about having an older dog?
Tweet me @xameliax or leave a comment below! #VIPOAP