Would You Adopt This Dog?

Feb 11, 2009 6:48pm

ABC News’ Christina Caron and Barbara Friedman report:

Tonight on "World News" correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi profiled Stump, the 10-year-old Sussex spaniel who became the oldest dog to win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

"I hope it will make people realize that older dogs have such talent and skills," said Gail Buchwald,  senior vice president of the ASPCA Adoption Center. "In the short period of time that this dog was prepared for this show he just came along and aced it with the experience and confidence of an older dog."

Older dogs, often overlooked in our youth-obsessed culture, have a lot to offer — dogs, like Storm,  at left, a 5-year-old Cane Corso who currently needs a home (photo courtesy of Geoff Tischman). The ASPCA says it can be difficult to find homes for dogs older than 3 years old. Since Stump’s win, the shelter hasn’t seen any new inquiries for mature companions;  however, Buchwald says it’s important to recognize that older dogs are sometimes a much better fit for many homes.

"You couldn’t pay me enough to get a puppy," said Buchwald, who adopted a 5-year-old  Wheaten terrier from the ASPCA shelter. "Puppies need a tremendous amount of training and lots of exercise."

It’s also worth noting that young puppies don’t have the best bladder control. Two-month-old puppies need to be taken out to relieve themselves every  two to three  hours.

Despite the maintenance involved, puppies 1 to 2 years old tend to be the most-requested dogs at the New York ASPCA shelter. "We live in a youth-centric culture," she said. "We worship youth and we do that for humans as well as pets."

Oftentimes, those looking to adopt fear that an older pet will die quickly, but Buchwald said you have that risk with younger pets, too.

"Dogs can live 10 to 15 years depending on the breed and size," she said. It’s more important, she explained, to worry about finding a dog with the right disposition and personality for your household.

Click HERE to learn more about aging pets and HERE to read The Humane Society’s Web page about the "unique joys of older pets."

Looking to adopt? Here’s how to find an ASPCA shelter in your area: http://www.aspca.org/adoption/shelters/

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