The Spayed/Neutered Adult Dog

Submitted by Anne & Jack Westin  

PupServeral years ago we made the decision to find a good home for Dallas, our 5½ year-old spayed bitch. We have never regretted that decision nor has her present owner. A few weeks ago our client sent us the following letter, and I want to share this with others who may be contemplating either the purchase or the placement of an adult dog.  

My reason for wanting to share this is twofold; first, to reach breeders or "show homes" that have a kennel full of dogs that are no longer being bred or shown; and, second, to reach potential owners who may be reluctant to purchase an adult dog. There is a myth-an erroneous fear-that only puppies can bond easily with a new owner. This is simply NOT true. Here is one story that attests to the fact that older animals bond to new owners very nicely.  

Old Friend  
I was given the gift of total and unconditional love in February 1992. My husband was ill and wanted to provide me with that extra measure of safety and protection that he no longer could. The answer was to get a dog. I had owned Great Danes for twenty years but, under the circumstances , we felt that they did not answer our needs. Many years ago I had owned a marvelous German Shepherd Dog who had impressed all who met him with his intelligence and sweet temperament.  

Dallas and her first litter We thought that was the perfect breed for us now. We checked the Sunday pet want ads for several weeks until we found one that piqued our interest. I called the owner and the dog she described seemed tailor- made for us. When I asked if the dog had been quard trained, the answer was a very sharp No! I told her that was perfect because it has always been my belief that if one cares for and loves one's dog, that dog would move heaven and earth to care for his master.  

A couple of days later we went to meet the dog and her owners. When we arrived, we were presented to a gracious lady who happened to be a dog! Within fifteen minutes, Jerry and I had fallen in love and Dallas indicated a well-bred tolerance for us. She was, and is, utterly beautiful, well-mannered, and displayed a reserved friendliness. She was also five years old and had never had owners other than her present ones. I had successfully adopted adult dogs before, but thoughts of possible difficulties were inevitable, however fleeting.  

We took her home that day. Dallas could not have been more pleasant with us, but she was obviously confused. That evening, she seemed to tell us that while the visit had been nice, she was ready to go home please. That attitude of distant good manners to us and our friends continued for about three days until a stranger knocked on our door and she let him know that he was entering her turf. I think that is when she realized that our home was her new home now. I t was at this point that she began to accept us as hers.  

I noticed that as the months went by and the more frail my husband got, the more Dallas stayed by his side. By July, when Jerry was too weak to get out of bed by himself, she lay next to him quietly for hours at a time. She seemed to understand that movement caused him pain. When he had to be transferred to a hospital bed in our bedroom with a nurse in attendance. Dallas moved under the head of his bed. The nurse and visiting friends treated Dallas an me the same - with deference, kindness, and loving support in our impending loss. In the presence of her unstinting devotion, it was hard for all of us to remember that we had owned her only a few short months.  

After Jerry died, Dallas turned to me as her sole source and recipient of love. She has provided me with laughter , devotion, a negligible amount of aggravation, and protection She is ever the grand and gracious hostess when family and friends come to visit, and, when the stay as house guests, she is beside herself with pleasure. On the other hand, she has run off potential intruders and cornered one man who had climbed the locked gate onto my patio trying to get away from our neighbor whose garage he had just robbed. She kept him there until the police arrived!  

The moral of this story is that with patience and understanding, an older dog can be the most rewarding experience that one can have-and all it costs is a little love. Placing an older dog necessitates finding the proper home - matching the right dog to the needs of the new owner. This can be done if enough questions are asked about the new owner and about the character of the animal being placed.  

Needless to say, it is a wonderful felling to know Dallas * is serving a purpose; she is loving and protective of her beloved new owner, and undoubtedly is receiving much more individual loving attention from her new owner than she would have if we had kept her here in our kennel. We are proud of Dallas and so glad we placed her with th perfect owner. *Dallas is a Sel. Ch. Peddacres Regla Ruler daughter out of our very first German Shepherd we purchase from Bob and Nancy Jenkins 15 years ago.