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redangel

Is There A Cutoff Age For Owning A Dog?

38 posts in this topic

As a breeder it is a conversation I have quite often. I will always do what is best for the dog concerned and I don't really think placing a puppy with an elderly person is in anyone's best interests not only in terms of activity but also expected life span.

I try to steer them in the direction of an older dog but even then they must have a plan. People often say oh my son will take the dog. If the son is not a doggy person he is unlikely to really do that and even if he does, will the dog live a quality life. If they have a close family that also has shelties I am far less concerned. I do really feel for people without that support as I can't imagine life without a dog so on a couple of occasions I have lent them a dog of my own. Theirs to love and look after as long as they are able but they are to come home otherwise. I keep in regular contact and the dogs often come back for holidays so still very much part of the family.

That sounds wonderful. When I rehome my dogs to elderly people I always say that I will definitely take them back and I mean it. So far it's only happened once but because the lady had dementia I was just lucky to find out as my beloved dog was booked in for euthanasia at her vet - he also knew that I would take my dog back but as he said to me (which chilled me to the core) they were his paying customers, not me, and if they paid him to euthanase the dog he would do it ... Luckily this prize a---hole has retired.

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My late mother had a rule that she didn't want to own a dog she couldn't lift. I see that as sensible guideline. I'm 63 now and can still lift my Labbies, but I've got my eye out for a smaller breed next (thinkng Boston . . . they're easier to come by in the US than in Australia). Of course it was always understood that the kids would take the dog if she passed. As it turned out, she was looking after a foster when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and the dog went back to the rescue organization.

Edited by sandgrubber

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megan_   

There seems to be a myth that old people are immobile fuddy duddies! My aunt and uncle are in their 70's and have a very active standard schnauzer. They are very active and he gets walked 3 times a day. He is visited by 20+ grandkids and has a ball, goes to coffee shops, visits friends and family etc. Because they are retired, my aunt and uncle. spend a lot of time with him. He lives a much more active and rich life than the vast majority of dogs. If something happened to them and family members couldnt step in( unlikely), then he'd go back to his breeder.

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OSoSwift   

My inlaws are in their 70's and very active people. I would see no reason not to allow them to have one of my puppies.

Having said that a plan does need to be in place and if they did get a dog (they do not have one as they are retired and travelling) it would be with the understanding that we would take the dog on. If by chance the dog did not thrive living with us, a suitably selected home would be found for the dog.

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Glen   

I am an older person,(not THAT old) and feel that the dogs I now have may be my last. However, when they have gone, I may still be fine. That being the case, I would hate to live for quite a few years without a dog because I MIGHT soon die etc. So I have been giving some thought to the RSPCA's Berevement Programme where you leave money in your will to them and they will fine the right home for your dog. I also thought that I might be able to get a dog from them as I feel that any dog in that programme most probably would have been well loved and would probably have fewer "issues" than one from a pound or similar, and I probably would not be able to deal with a dog with "issues" as well as I could now. Anyone had any experience with this programme?

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espinay2   

IMO it really is a case by case thing. Things like how mobile and active a person is, their health, the type and age of dog they are considering, their prior experience with dogs, their living situation and lifestyle and their support network. These things would factor more strongly to me than their actual age in years. I would probably talk a bit more with them about a succession plan for the dog if the person were older, get them to include it in their will if possible, and if I were the breeder, try and make sure decisions also included me in some way. I would possibly ask that the dog also be co-owned to add weight to me continuing to be involved.

On a similar vein I always find it interesting when dog show folk get to talking about their 'retirement breed'. Usually those with larger or higher maintenance dogs who know that as they get older the work may be too much for them, and they look for smaller, easier to maintain breeds to continue on with. I must admit I have wondered about this myself, but figure at least with a big dog I can use them for mobility assistance and get someone else in to do the grooming :laugh: .

Edited by espinay2

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nawnim   

I am an older person,(not THAT old) and feel that the dogs I now have may be my last. However, when they have gone, I may still be fine. That being the case, I would hate to live for quite a few years without a dog because I MIGHT soon die etc. So I have been giving some thought to the RSPCA's Berevement Programme where you leave money in your will to them and they will fine the right home for your dog. I also thought that I might be able to get a dog from them as I feel that any dog in that programme most probably would have been well loved and would probably have fewer "issues" than one from a pound or similar, and I probably would not be able to deal with a dog with "issues" as well as I could now. Anyone had any experience with this programme?

I did make enquiries about this programme and I decided against it because I was told the dog would just go to one of their foster carers, and not be adopted out. I was not happy because my dog might end up just being one of many or even in a kennel type situation. I decided instead to leave the money ($5000 is what they ask for)to whichever child that would be prepared to take it on.

ETA I was also concerned that the dog might be subjected to a temperament and health test before they decided what to do with it. ie they might just decide to euthanise anyway.

Edited by padraic

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Couple of years ago I had an offer of a fantastic home for a quiet westie with an 80 year old. We just went about it slightly differently. We talked openly with the family and made plan b and plan c. This turned out to be a fantastic dog for an elderly lady and it worked really well for 4 years.

When the time came for the lady to go into aged care, plan b was activated and the westie slipped straight into her daughters family where she had previously spent time, knew the house, knew the family. Perfect . If that hadn't been possible then plan c was to the sons family who also had a rescue westie. The last resort was back to me for re-homing.

The key for elderly folk is reliable support and back-up (in fact it's a good idea for everyone). Fix that and I've found it can work brilliantly. :)

Edited by westiemum

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Is there a cut- off age or owning a dog. IMO no there isn't. In fact some young(er) people should be barred from dog ownership for life - but that's probably another story. IMO the criteria are things like good reasons, capacity and ability to look after a dog - not age. :)

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indigirl   

IMO it really is a case by case thing. Things like how mobile and active a person is, their health, the type and age of dog they are considering, their prior experience with dogs, their living situation and lifestyle and their support network. These things would factor more strongly to me than their actual age in years. I would probably talk a bit more with them about a succession plan for the dog if the person were older, get them to include it in their will if possible, and if I were the breeder, try and make sure decisions also included me in some way. I would possibly ask that the dog also be co-owned to add weight to me continuing to be involved.

On a similar vein I always find it interesting when dog show folk get to talking about their 'retirement breed'. Usually those with larger or higher maintenance dogs who know that as they get older the work may be too much for them, and they look for smaller, easier to maintain breeds to continue on with. I must admit I have wondered about this myself, but figure at least with a big dog I can use them for mobility assistance and get someone else in to do the grooming :laugh: .

You have to remember too that a reason many show ppl downsize dogs as they get older is because you have to run them in the show ring. The larger the dog the faster you have to run. As you get older running fast gets harder. Pretty much everyone I know who has downsized breeds had done it because they found running the larger dog in the ring was just getting to be too much for them.

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gillybob   

I am 60 and have been on a list for a puppy for a while now. I have thought about my age and getting a new dog a lot.That could make me 75 given a pups lifetime average.

It does worry me a lot that I wouldnt be able to care for a dog at that age.

I reacon for me 65 would be the limit depending on the dog.

I am happy to take on old dogs because I love them so much, but a pup has to have a lot of considerations before I commit.

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I quite fancy having a beagle when I get older, but at the moment I am definitely more interested in the large and giant breeds. Don't think toy breeds would ever be my thing. I have a suspicious feeling I might be an old cat lady.

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Lollipup   

I don't have a problem with it as they can be such good company for them. But I do think there needs to be arrangements in place for what will happen to the dog in the event of the owner no longer being able to care for it before it is brought home.

A couple of examples that I thought weren't appropriate -

My in laws got a puppy from a friend's accidental litter with unknown father and gifted it to my OH's grandparents without any discussion. They are in their 80's and travel a lot. The dog is a terrier type and is a menace. Really too much for them and has serious issues, very aggressive to other dogs and rude. They love it now but I think it has been more of a hindrance to them.

I met a lady in her 80's who bought to golden retriever puppies only a few months apart. She said she bought them young because she wanted to die before her dogs this time and not have to go through losing them. The dogs are out of control and run the house. She can't walk them and the house smells horrible.

I guess both those situations are a case of choosing the wrong dog more than anything.

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espinay2   

IMO it really is a case by case thing. Things like how mobile and active a person is, their health, the type and age of dog they are considering, their prior experience with dogs, their living situation and lifestyle and their support network. These things would factor more strongly to me than their actual age in years. I would probably talk a bit more with them about a succession plan for the dog if the person were older, get them to include it in their will if possible, and if I were the breeder, try and make sure decisions also included me in some way. I would possibly ask that the dog also be co-owned to add weight to me continuing to be involved.

On a similar vein I always find it interesting when dog show folk get to talking about their 'retirement breed'. Usually those with larger or higher maintenance dogs who know that as they get older the work may be too much for them, and they look for smaller, easier to maintain breeds to continue on with. I must admit I have wondered about this myself, but figure at least with a big dog I can use them for mobility assistance and get someone else in to do the grooming :laugh: .

You have to remember too that a reason many show ppl downsize dogs as they get older is because you have to run them in the show ring. The larger the dog the faster you have to run. As you get older running fast gets harder. Pretty much everyone I know who has downsized breeds had done it because they found running the larger dog in the ring was just getting to be too much for them.

Yes, I really should have said grooming and handling ('work' = handling too) as running with the big dogs is bad enough now as it is :laugh: :dancingelephant:

Edited by espinay2

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pebbles   

I can go along with the 'age,size' thing. I started out showing Afghans, Rough Collies, Greyhound, Gordon Setters then downsized to Border Terriers, Min Pins and a Silky Terrier as the body slowed down, much easier lol.

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LizT   

Just adding - My friend had a visitor at her place with her 2 dalmatians in tow a few years ago, and this visitor died unexpectedly of a heart attack while they were wandering around the garden.

The two dogs were a huge stress to my (older) friend on an already very stressful day. Her friend was lying dead on the grass, she had to call an ambulance out to her rural property, the two dogs were running around everywhere.

And for the next week and a half, the family refused to come and collect the dogs, which had developed a taste for my friend's chickens.

Luckily, eventually, the woman's brother came to get the dogs. I don't know where he took them, but I do know he didn't want to keep them himself.

So yes, it really is important to have a plan and make sure your family knows what your plan is, and what you need them to do if the worst happens.

Agree. It's not so much about age as support and arrangements...at any age. My sister in England recently asked me if anything happened to her whether I would take her dog. Of course. It was a huge burden off her shoulders.

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Personally I think it would be an individual choice.

I do think, no matter what age, that we need to have a plan in place for our beloved pets and what will happen to them if anything should happen to us (not just death either - divorce, temporary or permanent disablement)...

I can't imagine life without a pet of some sort..

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This is something I have been really thinking about recently. Having just moved to Toowoomba away from family and now realising that my puoppy I have had over 8 years and he was a rescue.

Lately on petrescue there seems to be more and more dogs that are being put up for adoption as the owners are not able to care for them, or they are moving into a nursing home. It must be heart rending for them.

I am not sure if I could handle the heart ache.

Mind you talk about forward thinking :thumbsup: I am now looking at all the nursing homes and retirement villages around here that let you have a small dog or two.

Out of 10 here I have only so far found two and they have to be vetted.

I hope they realise soon how it changes the atmosphere of a village/home when a few pets are around.

In fact one here has gardens and also chooks that you can help look after.

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