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CaroleC
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Location: Stoke on Trent, UK
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19-03-2014, 04:23 PM

At What Age Should You Get Your Last Dog?

I have noticed that many contributors to Dogsey are, like myself, well into their Third Age, and my question is this, at what age do you think you are too old to get another dog? When I got Eddie I fully intended him to be my last dog, and that was the reason for his KC name Final Edition at H. Now, as Tweed approaches thirteen, I'm starting to wonder whether I've got enough years left for another competition dog, or should I just rehome a cuddly middle-aged dog next time, and give up all ideas of clubs and competitions?

This is a touchy subject for people who would find their lives empty without a dog, and involves a lot of soul - searching as there are so many variables. For example, would there be family who would be prepared (or suitable) to give your last dog a home if necessary, would you be physically able to cope with all of the dog's needs, or, could you even be reasonably sure of even being able to remain living in your own home? Some of my friends are prepared to become dogless in their later years, and some will carry on as they always have, saying that a well trained dog will always find a good home.

I'd love to know how others make their decisions - however unsettling, it's one we all have to face sooner or later.
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tawneywolf
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19-03-2014, 04:41 PM
Yeah, going through all that soul searching now as a matter of fact. I did give a lot of thought as to whether to keep Keshi from Cariad's final litter, but decided to do it, however she will be my last LARGE breed dog, but I am going to get another one albeit smaller in a couple of years time when I've got through my To Do List without adding to it.
One of my friends who is younger than me and has a good set up, has promised me that if anything unexpected happens she'll take whoever I've got left here. My son says to me if I take after MY mother (92 when she passed away) I've got years yet, and he was beginning to wonder if my mother would outlive HIM!!!
But, you never know what life has in store for you do you
There's a couple in their 80's over the road from me and he said he wasn't getting another when their old girl went, but he is fostering older dogs for a rescue now, so he still has his dog and gets out with him, but no worries about the dog if anything happens, which I think is a good idea.
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Malka
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19-03-2014, 04:47 PM
I am 72 and know that Pereg is the last dog who will ever share my life. If I outlive her I will never be able to have another dog, and if I pre-decease her arrangements have been put in place for her future.
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Tang
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19-03-2014, 04:53 PM
This has been discussed before on here. Some think older people should not own dogs at all! Of course you don't have to be 'old' to become infirm, disabled or even die! Not everyone sees out the average lifespan and some go way beyond it.

You also do not have to be young to be a good and responsible dog owner.

I wouldn't have a dog at all if I didn't have reliable plan for the dog should anything happen to me. All my kids and trusted friends have my 'pats stuff' list and it includes who to contact re my dog (Lady who owns the excellent boarding I use) and she will come and collect her if necessary and also export her to the UK (as she also exports animals). All three of my kids argue about who would get Bella (I do have to AHEM - remind them I am not dead yet lol!)

The adjustment I made that was age dependent was what sort of dog I got. No more big dogs for me as a bit of arthritis crept in. And especially now that I live in apartments.

I actually think whether you can 'afford' to continue to own a dog into your dotage and afford to make provision for them should you be unable to cope is more important than just wondering or worrying whether your dog will outlive you!

Most of us have suffered the heartache of losing beloved dogs because their lifespan isn't very long. As we age I suppose it turns the problem round. But I do think it is a bit irresponsible to get a dog at ANY age if you haven't considered what you would do if say, the dog didn't fit into your family, turned out to be too much for you, family split up, all sorts of things.

I did once start a debate about whether enough 'new owners' really take on board the long term expense of owning a dog (i.e. not just purchase and feed) but the cost of medical care for it should it become necessary and all that. However it didn't go down very well with some and was seen by some as a personal attack on people who can't afford to insure their dogs or waddever!

I've never insured a dog or a cat or any other animal. But if I couldn't cover the cost of an expensive operation from my bank balance - I would have to do so.

The only time I ever insured a domestic appliance was decades ago when I knew that if my old Hoover W/M died I couldn't afford to buy another one! It's sad really that those with the least disposable income have to try to find the additional outlay of insurance for pets.

Taking on an older dog when you are old yourself seems, on the face of it, to be a great idea. Giving an older dog a good home in their twilight years. However, again, cost is a consideration, older dogs are more likely to require expensive medical care and maybe ongoing treatment for chronic conditions such as arthritis.

I was told by the Rescue I helped in the UK that they were seeing more and more old dogs being left with them just because owners could not afford the medical cost when they were ailing and sick. Very sad. I can't imagine just having to abandon your faithful canine friend at the time when they rely on you most.

Last time I swore I'd never get another dog was not on account of my senility. It was because I was SO heartbroken over losing the last one. I lasted two years without one. Kids were on at me all the time 'mum you just don't seem like our mum without a dog - we can't remember you ever not having a dog!'

But I lead a simple life and a lot of it revolves around walking my dog and exploring places with her. (We had a picnic today!) So it did leave a big hole - and my newly found 'freedom to globetrot more often and stay out longer without rushing back for the dog did not make up for not having a four legged friend.
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Jenny
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19-03-2014, 05:10 PM
A great question.

I think it totally depends on whether there is someone standing on the side lines ready to step in if and when needed.

I'm in my mid fifties and decided that my current two dogs who are now three will be my last two puppies. If in latter years I remain fit and healthy I would certainly consider giving a home to a rescue dog in its 'golden years'.

My aunt in USA has done just that. She has bred Golden Retrievers for over 40 years as well as shown them, done obedience and agility. She is now 77 and still successfully does agility with the younger one of her two remaining dogs. She has always had a minimum of three dogs so that when she off doing agility one isn't left on its own. She has just given a forever home to an 9 year old Golden who's owner had to go in to a nursing home.

So life with dogs in to our latter years is still 'doable'.
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cava14una
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19-03-2014, 05:15 PM
I have decided that the two dogs I have at the moment wil be my last they are 11 and 13 and I am 58.

I feel I am often not well enough to walk them and have been taken into hospital a few times when a friend has looked after them and as I don't vaccinate kennels are not an option.

She is getting more and more work abroad so not fair to expect her to take them plus she is 2 hours away and I don't drive so have to rely on her good nature for transport.

I have had this decision made for 6 months and to be honest I feel fine with it. I'm no longer in a position to give a dog the care it needs which wouldn't be fair.

I have gone back to my first love cats and really can't believe that I have done without them for so long so it'll be cats for me from now on

Only difficult bit is convincing people I mean it
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Trouble
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19-03-2014, 05:24 PM
I dunno if it's about age or more about health and that can change in the blink of an eye. I would love another Dobermann or two but it's not going to happen. I've decided to downsize my dogs to ones that the OH could easily cope with should I pop my clogs. As the bigger dogs go there will be no more big dogs. My younger son would readily take on the smaller ones if my OH was to fall off his perch too. I'm not going to say no more puppies yet, I'm not 60 till August but recently diagnosed with an auto immune disease which at least explains the cause of my 2 strokes, just not sure at this stage where it leaves me. I will evaluate it as I learn more. So far it's had no impact on my ability to care for my dogs or go on long walks but who knows what might happen tomorrow.
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Tang
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19-03-2014, 05:45 PM
Originally Posted by Trouble View Post
I dunno if it's about age or more about health and that can change in the blink of an eye. I would love another Dobermann or two but it's not going to happen. I've decided to downsize my dogs to ones that the OH could easily cope with should I pop my clogs. As the bigger dogs go there will be no more big dogs. My younger son would readily take on the smaller ones if my OH was to fall off his perch too. I'm not going to say no more puppies yet, I'm not 60 till August but recently diagnosed with an auto immune disease which at least explains the cause of my 2 strokes, just not sure at this stage where it leaves me. I will evaluate it as I learn more. So far it's had no impact on my ability to care for my dogs or go on long walks but who knows what might happen tomorrow.
None of us know what might happen tomorrow. I think you are sensible to consider stuff like this.

Lots of dogs end up in rescues after couples divorce - so it isn't always the case obviously that the 'other partner' will continue to care for the dog. Work commitments might not allow it. I know one person who just couldn't BEAR to look at her husband's dog after he died (in his early 40s) it had been very much 'his' dog. I couldn't understand that as, for me, it would have been a comfort to still have and care for his dog after he'd gone.

Hey lots of women manage to look after their men into their dotage. Now I'd find that a lot more difficult than caring for a dog!

It's a shame not enough people take these sort of considerations on board when they get a dog or get their first dog. Whether they can manage the breed they 'fancied having', what will happen to the dog if a couple split up, or they move to somewhere dogs aren't allowed or, indeed, find themselves in circumstances where they can no longer afford the upkeep of the dog.

Wouldn't be so many dogs in Rescues if everyone sat and considered it as you are doing.
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Trouble
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19-03-2014, 05:53 PM
Also thing is if push comes to shove some dogs are definitely easier to rehome than others.
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Jen
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19-03-2014, 07:03 PM
Having rehomed dogs in rescue to a variety of older people I would say it depends on the person involved and the support network they have.

If you are older yet physically capable why not take on an older dog out of the puppy stage but still with a bit of get up and go.

If you are older and slightly less able why not get an older dog who needs less exercise and who just wants to sleep the day away with someone around.

We have rehomed dogs to people who are unable to walk them, all that the rescue has asked for is proof of a support network so the dog will get out for as long as it needs (which is the crucial bit!). In some cases this may be an able bodied and willing family member, in others in may be with the help of the cinnamon trust.

At the end of the day it's about finding one to suit your needs and vice versa.
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