Monday, July 26, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog

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?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Old Dogs are the Best Pets to Have.

I will tell you this. Old dogs are the best pets to have. They want nothing more than to lay around your house, eat some food, and be around you when you’re doing something very relaxing. I know. I’ve got one.

I’ve adopted puppies. They’re a complete pain in the ass. They want to run around constantly. They’ll try to tell you they are the boss once they get a little feel for themselves. Once they realize that they can make a demand or two. If you have any sense you’ll let them know, they aren’t the boss. They don’t own the couch nor do you jump up at their command. Otherwise you’re constantly on call.

Yup, old dogs know the score. That or they just don’t care to call the shots anymore. They’re content to relax and let the young dogs run to the window to see if the mailman really is daring to approach the front door.

Don’t get me wrong. They might act like they care, but they really don’t. They’re just barking to let you know that there may be something you have to handle here very soon. You can tell. When they bark and look at you…it’s your problem to deal with. They’re just sounding the alarm.

If they can still hear you’ll do ok to tell them “Enough! I’ve got this one.” They understand a commanding tone. They might bark a few more times but that’s just the fading shadow of youth. Their way of telling you “Ok, you handle this one but I don’t like the look of him. Not one bit.” All of you have been there.

The true joy of having an older dog is knowing that lounging around is their highest aspiration. The other aspiration is one more walk on a sunny day. Hell, one more walk is often all their asking for. The sun is optional.

That’s the joy of owning an older dog. The bright shining example that true contentment comes from being with people who love you and enjoying the times that you have together. Whether they’re sunny days, cloudy ones, rainy crap days, or even snowy cold ones. The truth is that having those days is the blessing. A day with the knowledge that you’ll be taken care of, eat good food, and have a pleasant spot to lay down when you’re a bit tired. Those are truly the good things that get over looked when you’re too young or busy to know their true worth.

Old dogs know this. Some of them have been places where all of that were in question. They might be animals but they remember. They remember the uncertainty of being around people who by necessity can’t look you in the eye or offer you kindness. They know, things can be much worse than now.

It’s good to have an old dog around. They don’t ask for much and let you know that any day where you are loved, cared for, warm, and fed are glorious ones.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Signs of a Bad Breeder

Let it be known I will be a rescue mom and advocate for life.

However, if you must, absolutely must, have a puppy, or a "breed" dog, and for some unknown reason cannot find a rescue with the dog you want (even those obnoxious "designer" dogs [read MUTTS] have their own rescues now too) here are some tips to follow.

Keep in mind while it says Charleston SC, there are AKC chapters all over the US.

Taken from: Signs of a Bad Breeder | Lowcountry Dog.

Signs of a Bad Breeder
by svilardo2 on Thursday, July 8th, 2010 at 8:00am | filed in Health and Wellness

The best part of waking up, is puppy hair in your cup. Ok, so that isn't quite how the original jingle went, but no one can deny that waking up to that cute little puppy face is one of the best things ever! While many people choose to adopt a dog or puppy from a shelter, many people also choose to purchase their puppy from a breeder.

There are numerous red flags that are signs you are about to enter into a potentially dangerous and expensive situation. Let's take a quick look at some of the signs of a bad breeder.

Very rarely do top quality breeders put ads in their local newspaper or advertise litters for sale via signs on street corners. Quality breeders often have waiting lists for their litters because of customer satisfaction and word of mouth referrals. Advertising is not needed.

No Knowledge
Bad breeders have little to no knowledge of the breed of dog they are selling or the genealogy of the parents. Without proper knowledge of the lines of descent, your new puppy may be prone to genetic diseases, blindness, hip displaysia and many other physical and psychological issues. If the breeder can not show you paperwork of the puppy's parents, provide you with health information from the pup's linage, offer health guarantees or answer basic questions about the breed, go elsewhere.

Good breeders will not only offer up a wealth of information about their dogs and litters, but will want to know about you as well! If a breeder doesn't ask you any questions about you and your family at all, they are not truly interested in their pup's welfare. Good breeders are so invested in their breed and their dogs that they want assurances their litters all go to good homes.

Many backyard breeders have a filthy, large pen or over-crowded crates where the puppies and, at times, the parents are kept. Some bad breeders won't even allow you to come to the puppies' home, offering instead to come to you. This is a huge red flag. Bad breeders often claim the dogs are "raised in a home" when they are not. It is so important to view the pup's home environment, and you must be prepared to walk away if you don't feel good about what you see. At all times, resist the urge to buy a cute pup from a pen in a parking lot.

Both the Publisher of Lowcountry Dog, Leah England, and I have fallen desperately for the poor conditions in which backyard breeders can keep their pups. It's easy to feel you are rescuing a dog from a horrible place when you buy from such a breeder. More than 6 years ago, before beginning Lowcountry Dog, Leah and her family fell in love when they spotted their puppy and couldn't say "No" though their brains told them otherwise. "It was totally an emotional choice. Once I saw her, I knew I couldn't leave her there. Though I loved my dog fiercely, I see now it was the wrong choice. I provided funds to a breeder who continued her sloppy breeding practices, and helped her to continue producing litters with countless genetic issues" says England. My flat-coated retriever ended up with thousands in vet bills because she was wounded by the mother and malnourished, while Leah's pup struggled with genetic temperament issues that despite years of expensive training and lots of love, she was never able to overcome.

Contrast this with quality breeders who will not only show you clean dog runs and outdoor exercise areas, but will show you the dogs' sleeping places, even where the dogs play in the home and with whom they play (children, friends, etc.). You should also be able to meet at least one of the pup's parents (usually the mother) and get contact information for the owners of the litter's sire. Meeting the parents is a wonderful way to see what your pup will be like when full grown.

Another sign of a bad breeder is over-breeding. Most good breeders limit themselves to one or two litters each breeding season. Beware the breeder who is not only breeding multiple types of dogs, but breeding upwards of 5 litters at a time. You don't want a breeder who is cranking out litters for profit at the expensive of good breeding practices.

Presence and Recommendations
Bad breeders usually don't have much presence anywhere except the newspaper classifieds, events that allow the sale of dogs and street corner signage. Because of the costs and the ability to track the poor conditions and abusive treatment to puppies, many bad breeders will not set up websites or be involved in local groups like the Charleston AKC and breed specific clubs. If the breeder is not an active part in his or her community and does not provide you a with a lengthy list of referrals from people happy with their puppies, don't purchase from them.

So those are a few things to watch out for when trying to avoid picking a bad breeder. Make sure you ask plenty of questions and be prepared to walk away and say "No." When my wife and I bought our first full blood puppy (from a good breeder), we spent over a year talking with the breeder before making any decisions. We did plenty of research and even called around for other satisfied customers. Finally, we studied up and put our breeder's knowledge to the test. The Charleston Kennel Club is a good source if information on quality breeders.