A reader is hesitant to adopt a dog because she’s over 60. Will her dog outlive her? These tips for women over 60 will help you decide if adopting a dog is right for you.
You can never learn too much about dogs! In The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs Patricia B. McConnell combines true stories about people and dogs with a new, accessible scientific perspective on how dogs and owners should behave around each other. In this book, you’ll learn how even the slightest change in your voice and the way you stand can help your dog understand what you want. Once you start to think about your own behavior from the perspective of your dog, you’ll understand why much of what appears to be doggy-disobedience is simply a case of miscommunication.
Here’s my reader’s question about adopting a dog: “I will turn 62 in December and would love to get a small dog. Not to take anyone’s place, but I feel so lost and alone. Is it fair to adopt a dog when you might not outlive the pet? I would do anything to have Lupe by my side again. She was a small dog with the biggest heart and the best Chihuahua ever. Love you forever Lupe. I’ve lost other pets but the death of Lupe has been the hardest!” – from How to Cope With Your Pet’s Death – A Veterinarian’s Help.
Adopting a Dog – Tips for Women Over 60
I adopted my scrappy little dog (a teeny weeny 7 pound white poodle called Tiffy), when she was three years old. She spent the first three years of her life with an elderly woman who got cancer and had to give her up. Tiffy brought tons of love, life, and laughter (and lots of barks!) to that woman’s life. I think adopting a dog – even for women over 60 – is one of the healthiest, most life-giving things you could do!
That said, however, I realize that different health issues can affect the decision to adopt a dog. I don’t think women over 60 are too old to think about adopting dogs…but every woman’s situation is different.
Here are a few things to think about, especially for women over 60 who want to get a dog…
Decide that 60 is NOT too old!
If you’re a woman over 90 or 100 years old, then perhaps you might think twice about adopting a dog. But women over 60 aren’t in immediate danger of dying within the next two or even three decades.
Can you imagine living until age 97 and realizing you could have outlived four dogs in that 40 years? I’m not saying you will live to be 97, nor am I saying all women over 60 should be adopting dogs. I’m just encouraging you to stop thinking of your death, and start thinking about how you’ll live life fully and happily.
One of the best signs you’re ready to adopt a dog is your simple willingness to love and care for him.
Live in the present
I’m 45 years old, and I bet I have the same chances of not outliving my two dogs and one cat as you do. I have ulcerative colitis (which isn’t usually life-threatening these days, but it is a serious chronic disease), bunions (again, not life-threatening but they do make it difficult to run sometimes), and a weird condition in both my arms. It’s like my skin is ripping, and it feels numb at the same time. Like it’s been burned. I’m thinking it be some degenerative disease, like MS or Lou Gehrig’s.
What is my point? Any of us could die at any minute. We could be diagnosed with cancer or lupus. My friend’s 11 year old daughter just had a bone marrow transplant because of childhood leukemia.
Don’t let your fears stop you from adopting a dog. Women over 60 aren’t too old or too frail to live in the present.
Trust your dog’s survival skills
If your health issues are more serious than mine, you may very well have one, five, or 10 years left to live. Personally, I wouldn’t let this stop me from adopting a dog. I know how resilient and adaptable dogs are. I very sadly had to give up a dog once, and I adopted both my dogs from families who had to give them away.
In How to Cope After Rehoming a Dog, I describe how I adopted Tiffy – and how easily and quickly she adapted to life with us. I know she remembers the woman she was with for the first three years of her life because she pays extra special attention to elderly people. But I also know how much she loves me, and how much she loves whoever spends time alone with her!
Dogs are survivors. They remember their past owners, but they don’t let their loyalty stop them from adapting to new homes and owners. If you’re a woman over 60 worried about adopting a dog because of your health issues, trust that your dog will survive without you.
Write your thoughts about adopting a dog for women over 60
I’m learning how to take all my decisions to God. He loves me, He knows me, and He will protect me. Jesus is my light, my love, my passion. I pray in writing about the decisions I have to make. I ask God questions and write down whatever comes to my mind. This helps me decide what to do.
If I was thinking about adopting a dog, for instance, I might ask these questions:
- What do dogs bring to my life? Why do I want to get a dog?
- How will I handle the responsibilities of owning a dog?
- Who can help me with my dog if something happens to me?
- What’s my worst fear or concern about adopting a dog?
- If I thought I had one year to live, would I get a dog?
Write down your own thoughts to those questions – and remember there are no right or wrong answers! Just free flow, don’t worry about what your writing is like. After you’ve written all you can, sleep on it. Maybe you already know if you should get a dog, or maybe you still need time to think about it. Give yourself time.
The most important tip for women over 60 is to NOT make decisions out of fear. If you’re scared about adopting a dog, then maybe it’s the best decision to make. Why? Because taking risks will make you feel alive and strong!
Have faith in God. He created you, He loves you, and He will take care of you. He loves your dog, and He will work together all things for your good. He created animals for us to love and care for. He created us to bond with our pets, to connect with them in ways we can’t connect with other people. Give God your life, and let Him help you decide what to do.
May you find peace with whatever decision you make. If you’re a woman over 60 with health issues, I pray for strength and wisdom to make a good decision. May you find support and resources, and may you allow love and light to enter your life – whether or not it’s by adopting a dog. If you’re adopting a dog, I pray you find the right one quickly and easily. May you be filled with excitement and joy, and may even the difficult moments be wonderful.
What type of dog will you adopt? Read What Your Favorite Dog Breed Reveals About Your Personality.
I welcome your thoughts on adopting a dog for women over 60. I can’t offer advice, but it’s often helpful to write about what you’re experiencing. You know more than you think, and you’re stronger than you realize.