Post # 1
My husband and I might be adopting a 10-year-old female golden retriever next weekend. So, we still have a few more days to make sure this is something we’re ready to do. We haven’t met her yet. That will happen at the end of this coming week (Nov 2). If she likes us and we like her, chances are we’ll bring her home with us.
She’s had a good, stable life filled with love and attention. Sadly, her owners are getting divorced and neither can keep her. She’s never been abused, she’s never bitten anyone, and she’s completely housetrained (used to being indoors for 10+ hours/day while owners are at work). She’s got no major health issues, except that she’s overweight due to a lack of exercise. My husband and I will take her on walks to help build up her fitness and help her lose weight. She’s also on a strict diet of weight-control kibble.
I’m concerned about how she will handle being moved to a new house. I’ve been told to look out for a couple of days of confusion, nervous pacing, maybe even an accident or two in the house. Do any of you have experience/advice on this? If we take her in, we’ll have a whole weekend with her before we both go back to work full time.
I also have two 15-year-old female cats who spent the first 11 years of their lives with a dog, so I’m feeling pretty good about them being able to adjust again. Is there anything I should look out for? Should I keep them apart at first? According to the current owner of the dog, she ignores other animals and won’t chase cats.
If we do adopt this dog, we’ll have a couple of weeks to feel it out and see how we all do. If things don’t go well, we’ll foster her until someone else adopts her. I’m really hoping we don’t have to do that, though.
I’d love any advice you can give. Thanks, everyone!
Post # 3
I think it is AMAZING that you are adopting a senior dog!!! Darling Husband and I are volunteers at our local shelter and we often foster dogs. It is so sad that amount of senior dogs that get put down simply b/c they are old….goldens make the best pets.
I almost couldn’t even open your post b/c just this Fri we had to put down our golden who was 9. He had cancer and he no longer was responding to the chemo. It was by far the hardest decision that I have even had to make. He died in my arms and I was there as he took his last breath. That dog brought us so much joy and I can’t tell you what a JOY is was having him!
I hope that you do decide to bring this baby into your home….like I said I almost couldn’t bring myself to open this post but felt that maybe if I chimed in it might give your the encouragement to adopt this baby!
Post # 4
Here is the post I just created…..after commenting on your post I felt the need to just get things out…http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/have-been-devestatedwe-lost-our-furry-babysoooo-sad
Post # 5
@LadyJDAG: I also think it is awesome that you are considering adopting a senior pet.
I may have some advice, although I have never adopted a dog. I have adopted quite a few cats though. As far as how she will react when you bring her home, I think you will be able to get a feeling about that when you meet her. When you meet her next weekend, will you and your husband be able to be alone with her? Maybe take her for a walk? I think you will be able to see how she will react being away from her current family if you are able to do that. She will probably be anxious at first, but with a lot of attention and love, she will feel more secure and happy soon.
When you introduce her to your cat, I highly suggest keeping them separated for a day or so. Let them sniff at each other underneath the door for a day and then introduce them under supervision. In my experience, it is best to take these introductions slowly. Make sure you continue to give your cat as much attention as you normally do. However, although it may take a few weeks for them to feel ok with each other, I am sure that they will get there. My cats all hated each other for about a month, but they are all the best of friends now.
Post # 6
I hope that you do this and you deserve great respect for being willing to adopt a senior. Most people think that once a dog is old then there is no point but that is SO wrong. There is nothing like a dog in your life.
When you go to meet him/her get down on their level and let them come to you. Stick our your hand and let them smell you. Take everything at his/her pace. Something that we do with the dogs that foster with us is share the new owners scent. They bring a towel/piece of material with them and we place it in the dogs space. The scent works best if it is something that you sleep with for a few nights. It helps make them familiar with you.
Because my SO and I foster animals, we are used to an animal adjusting to our lives and us to theirs. We are currently fostering a senior until he goes to his forever home next week. We haven’t had many issues with accidents over the years (we’ve been fostering for 4 years). The main thing we’ve faced is howling or whimpering. Goldens aren’t prone to howling but if it does happen just remember to be patient. The behavior usually goes away. If you are willing to provide a lot of love then the adjustment should be a breeze. Having the weekend together will help make everything easier. Make sure you have a special place just for the dog. If the dog is crate trained, continue that. Crates make some animals feel safer, especially if that is their routine. In their crate you can have a bed and a piece of material with your scent as well. Most important: Let them come to you. Everything needs to go at their pace.
In terms of cats; What we did was let the introductions happen on their own. Since your cats have been socialized with dogs then the experience should be great. We supervised, but other than that we didn’t need to do anything else. What I’ve found is that introductions are usually a case by case basis. You’ll know what to do.
Once again, best of luck and I’m so glad to see someone willing to not only adopt a senior pet but work on their weight issues.
Post # 7
Thanks everyone! Ever since we adopted our elderly cats two years ago, I have felt very passionate about offering our home for older animals to have a comfortable place to spend their senior years. As fun as puppies can be, I am more attracted to the docile nature of an older dog. Also, my husband is not crazy about dogs with a lot of energy – his mother had dogs that were hard to train, and would always jump on us and lick our faces even if we told them not to – so he likes the idea of a dog that would be happy just to be next to us. Goldens seem to be the perfect breed for that.
I have no idea how long this dog will live, but once we get her weight under control, hopefully she’ll have a few great years with us. Another one of my concerns is medical care. My husband and I can afford regualr vet checkups and supplements if they are necessary, but we probably won’t be able to pay for very expensive surgery or extensive treatments. I suppose every pet owner sets their own limits as to how far they’ll take things if their animals become ill. It’s a painful thing to talk about, but we need to be realistic. Should we look into pet insurance?
Thanks again for all the great advice. Keep it coming! 🙂 I feel very encouraged.
Post # 8
I don’t have any advice, but I just wanted to reiterate how great it is that you’re giving a senior dog a nice home. I’m glad that are people out there like you. Good luck!
Post # 9
Golden’s are awesome! Most likely she won’t need too much adjusting and will do fine! They have a very go with the flow attitude! Be prepared for lots of love and affection – our goldens can never get enough!
Post # 10
With a senior dog I wouldn’t really consider Pet Insurance. Pet insurance doesn’t cover any pre-exisiting medical conditions and they are a pain to deal with. I got my dog as a pup (9 weeks old) and they battled me for 2 years over covering her diabetes. Most issues in older dogs will be considered pre-existing anyways. Plus, the extremely high end surgerys in an older dog are usually not the best ideas. (Arthritis, etc becomes an issue.) Once you get the weight under control I’m sure you’ll be fine. The only thing I’d consider is glucosamine in an older dog. It helps keep their joints lubricated. This can be bought through a vet (so it’s meat flavored) or from Costco etc.
Post # 11
Goldens are the best! Ours will sulk for a few days when we leave her with someone else, but then she’ll be fine. They’re really easy going and have tons of love to give.
Post # 12
I LOVE LOVE LOVE old retrievers! That is when they are at their best! Just lots of love and hugs and think about taking it swimming when the weather gets nice 🙂 It helps the joints and they love it!
Post # 13
Did you adopt her, or is that this coming weekend?
Older dogs are usually wonderful because they are out of the puppy phase and usually don’t bring a lot of bad habits with them. I always feel bad for the older pets who either get dumped (they aren’t cute little pups anymore), their owners pass away or a divorce. People always pass by them at the shelters, and I think “you’re passing up a perfect dog here!”
Let us know how it goes!
Post # 14
Sorry everyone – I didn’t mean to leave you hanging! We postponed our meeting with the dog until this coming weekend (the 3rd) because a huge hurricane named Sandy decided to pound the East Coast. We live in Philadelphia and we weren’t too badly hit, but there was a lot of flooding.
Thanks again for all the advice. I do have one more question – is separation anxiety common with older dogs/goldens specifically? We will have the weekend with this dog at our house but then we go back to work on Monday and will be gone for most of the day. I’m planning to use a baby gate to give the dog her own “section” of the house while we’re gone. We’ll have her crate set up and we’ll see how she feels about it. If she seems happy in her crate we’ll probably leave her in it for the first few days while we’re at work, and let her out when we’re home.
We’re going to focus on getting her weight down. She’s 100 lbs right now but she gets next to no exercise. It also seems like her owner feeds her more than necessary, so we’ll gradually wind down the amount of food we give until she’s at a more suitable amount.
Wish us luck! I feel good about this. Nervous, of course, but that’s very typical of me. 🙂
Post # 15
I always baby gate a new dog in the kitchen – mainly so the new dog (whether permanent or foster) can get to know the other dogs without actually being together, if that makes sense. Once they are used to each other, then I let them roam around together.
Having her gated in the kitchen with her bed/crate/toys in there might actually give her some feeling of security while you are gone. It would be her “safe place.”
I’ve never had an issue with separation anxiety with senior dogs, but I’m sure it’s possible, depending on her background.
Can’t wait to hear updates!
Post # 16
I have updates!
We met her and everything went well. She came home with us, and things have gone really smoothly so far. She’s showing signs of anxiety, which is to be expected, but as I’m typing this, she’s eating a good meal for the first time since she arrived yesterday. That’s a relief.
I’m still on the fence about whether or not I’m ready for this. We’re fostering her for the time being, and I have 2 weeks to think about whether or not I’m even up to that. It’s going to be a big schedule shift for both me and my husband, since it tacks on a bunch of things that we both need to do each morning before we go to work (we both leave at 7:30)
My cats are not taking this well, but I’m giving it time. One of them is basically too scared to eat, and if that continues, it will be a big problem. They spent most of their lives with a dog that did not bother them, but then two very energetic dogs entered the picture and it scared them both out of their minds. That’s actually why we adopted them. I knew that the whole idea of getting a dog would depend on how the cats would handle it, so this fostering/tryout thing is a good idea.
Thanks again for all your help. I know I’ll have more questions soon!