It could be a case of teaching new tricks about old dogs.
That’s because one St. Vital-based animal lover says older dogs that are surrendered and rescued shouldn’t be always be overlooked for younger pups by potential adopters.
"Older dogs are often overlooked, as everyone seems to be looking to start from scratch with a puppy," said Kim Gibson, head pet stylist at Vada’s Club K9 (628 St. Anne’s Rd.), who is also a fundraising committee member of the Professional Pet Groomers Association of Manitoba.
"Older dogs need just as much love, but are often less work, and it’s a chance for baby boomers to pick up a friend for life. Plus, older dogs are often quieter and house-trained," she added.
The PPGAM will hold an upcoming fundraiser in support of Before the Bridge Senior K9 Rescue — a volunteer-run, non-profit based in Stony Mountain which began operating last year, which rescues senior dogs that have been surrendered, neglected or abandoned and finds them loving homes to live out their days.
The bingo bowling event will be held at Windsor Bowling Lanes (678 Elizabeth Rd.) on Sat., April 27 at 7 p.m. There will be "tons of donated raffle prizes," Gibson said, noting the fundraiser will also be a chance for groomers, rescuers, friends, family members and potential adopters to mingle and have fun.
Judy Smith, executive director of BTBSKR, started the organization last year and said there are numerous reasons older dogs suddenly become available for adoption, and believes there are several benefits to adopting senior pooches.
"Some are strays and lots are owner-relinquished because their owners move, get divorced or develop health problems. It can be heartbreaking," said Smith, noting one of her dogs can be in foster care on average between two days and six months being placed in its "forever home" and that all families are thoroughly evaluated and vetted.
"Our home visits have a stringent criterion. We’re looking for dog-friendly homes and sometimes it’s better if the homes are bit untidy, so you know the owners won’t have a stroke if the dog makes a bit of mess," Smith said.
"I’m not one to judge. It’s about the dogs and my job is to find them a good home," she said, adding she recently had a 14-year-old dog in her care that was adopted within a week.
She stressed, however, that senior dogs are more likely to already know about the dynamics of living with families: "Older dogs don’t tend to chew the furniture or rip up the carpet."
"Some people want younger dogs, but many older individuals might want a dog for five or six years and want to give it a good life for the time it has left. It’s awesome when people are up front and say that," Smith said.
"The bottom line is that you should enjoy your dog for every second of every day, as they don’t live forever."
For more information about Vada’s Club K9, visit vadasclubk9.ca. To learn more about Before the Bridge Senior K9 Rescue, go to beforethebridge.ca.