Most people who are considering getting a dog think about adopting puppies. Puppies are cute, adorable and cuddly. Who can resist a puppy? However, there are many adult and senior dogs hoping to be adopted. Puppies need patience, energy and training to become great family members. Older dogs are often just as cute and huggable as a puppy and come with desirable qualities that puppies don’t gain until they are adults.

If you adopt a senior dog, your time with him will be shorter than if you had gotten him as a puppy, but as you and your dog grow into a close companionship you will know that it is stronger because you have given this wonderful old dog a second chance. This is stronger than the sadness of eventual separation. While it is true that an older dog won’t be with you as long as a puppy would, it is the quality of the time together that is important.

There are many good reasons to adopt a senior dog. With older dogs what you see is what you get. You know immediately how big he will be, his personality and grooming needs. This makes it easier to find the dog that is right for you. You won’t have any surprises later

Older dogs have already learned a great deal. They don’t require the constant supervision that puppies do. They are probably already housebroken. If they aren’t, they have the maturity to learn very quickly, unlike puppies. Since they are past the teething years, they are not likely to chew up your shoes or books. They know how to get along with people and other animals and how to fit in with your family.

Senior dogs are easy to train. They are good at focusing on you and the task being required of them because they are calmer than puppies and have had years of living with people to make them experienced at figuring out what you want them to do. They have a longer attention span than puppies.

Senior dogs do need exercise, but they do not need or want to have a long vigorous walk every day. They may enjoy a brisk walk, but their favorite part of their day is probably nap time, especially if you join them.

Older dogs may have health problems that a younger dog might not have, but there is no guarantee that a younger dog is free from health issues. However, the cost of veterinary care needs to be considered when adopting an older dog.

When your senior dog comes home with you, there will be a period of adjustment as he gets used to his new family and surroundings. Be patient with him while he learns what you expect. Older dogs don’t ask for much other than a warm place to sleep, regular meals and lots of love. They are sweet, loving and will fit right into their new homes. Senior dogs and senior people are good for each other. Adopting a senior dog can be a wonderful experience.

If you would like to adopt an older dog contact the Pittsburg County Animal Shelter at 1206 N. West Street in McAlester. The hours are Tuesday-Friday from 10:00 until 5:00 and Saturday from 10:00 until 2:00. The phone number is 918-423-7803. The adoption fee for dogs is $20. All have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.