Amputee Callie Mae died on Easter Sunday this year after attending church with her family, the Easterbrooks. After allowing themselves time to grieve their loss, they returned to the shelter to adopt again, this time choosing two 10-year-old Labs, one of whom, Nugget, weighs a hefty 140 pounds — which will require veterinary oversight to address a health issue that could compromise her overall well-being, not to mention her longevity.
Another way of putting it: there can be greater financial costs involved in caring for older or physically compromised dogs who may have developed health issues. But perfect health is never a given, even in the most perfect-appearing puppy.
“I think we grapple with the fact that a dog’s life is finite, and that often we outlive them,” says veterinarian Michelle Salob, DVM, MPH. “It is very common after losing an older dog to want to adopt a puppy in the hopes that they will live for a long time. But the reality is that there are no guarantees of longevity in a dog, young or old, and older dogs come with some very special and desirable traits. They tend to be much calmer than young dogs and are less likely to be destructive. Many are already housetrained, and their temperament and size are likely to remain constant. Not everyone is cut out to adopt an elderly dog, but the rewards they bring us outweigh the heartache that follows.”