Many people believe they cannot have a dog because of a certain element of their life, whether it’s work or a health concern. I believe that there is a dog out there for most people, even those who cannot be highly active themselves. Low maintenance dogs are a great solution for those who cannot expend a lot of time or activity with their dogs, and these dogs are very happy in life without all that activity. Senior dogs may have more health maintenance, but can be low maintenance dogs when it comes to activity level.
As long as a person has love and the resources to meet a dog’s needs (love, food, health, warmth), then there is a dog out there with the right temperament and energy level for them. The trick is being able to find that dog, and with the number of dogs in shelters that meet most descriptions, it’s pretty likely that a search will unearth a good match.
I’m not as active as I have been for reason of weak kidneys. At times I haven’t much energy or strength to go out for walks like I used to but I miss companionship with a dog.
I’ve been thinking about a rescue older dog that has hair instead of fur. Why rescue? Well most of their dogs are house trained already and the grooming of hair is easier for me that having extra labor of cleaning shedding fur.
What type of older dog would you recommend for me or should just drop the whole idea and just go to the pound and try my luck/fate? Or forget the idea entirely?
Bless you for considering an older rescue dog. We went out for an older rescue dog as our first “grown up” dog because we also weren’t sure how much we could do with the responsibility of having one – we were nervous about our schedules, so thought a less-active dog who is senior would be perfect. And it’s true, they do need less exercise. Our first guy was perfectly content with a short walk around the block. Heck, I bet he would have been happy with sniffing our back yard. He was a shelter-find. I had a shortlist of dogs, and he happened to be the first we found. Mikey’s story is here.
And there are actually many indoor activities that can entertain, and tire out, a dog that does not involve going for a walk. Any training activity will provide mental exercise that is often just as exhausting as a walk. But honestly, my two are young and if I’m sick they know that today they’ll be couch surfing – and dogs can manage that too if they’re well cared for and understand they need to roll with the punches.
So I think that you can definitely find a dog that fits your lifestyle, and provides wonderful companionship. Type? There are so many that could fit the bill. Many mutts, retired greyhounds, “family” labs (that is, not a working line of labs where are very high energy), pits, you name it. Mix any of those with a dog with hair (ie: a lab/poodle mix), and you’ll get your grooming needs. Some dogs have fur that’s so short, like velvet, shedding wouldn’t be a concern for them either. You might want to seek a senior dog rescue, and simply chat to them with your set-up and they will be happy to match you with a low-drive, low/no shed dog. You could even do foster-to-adopt to make sure it works out.
My say is definitely don’t forget the idea. It can be done. And it can be the most rewarding, wonderful thing – for you, and the rescue dog. Why? Well this is what I learned about life when Mikey died.
And finally, and this goes for anyone with a dog regardless of activity level, always make sure you have a plan for someone to care for your dog in the event of an emergency or some reason you can’t get them out to do their business and so on. Emergencies can happen to anyone, and we should all have a plan for our dogs in the event of one.
This question and answer originally appeared in a Yabbly AMA that I hosted.