Something I have discovered with adoptable senior dogs is the incredible feeling I get reminding these pups that people love them. That they are worthy of love, just give us humans a chance to show them.
What I love about dogs is their ability to “let it go” as Elsa would sing. Who else do you know that can do this, at any age? Physically, you haven’t lived until you’ve had a big hefty dog “trust fall” over onto you for some belly rubs! My human family has to say their peace, and talk a blue streak, before they can come close to letting anything go. Our family dogs on the other hand, how fast can you say, “want to go for a walk?”
There is something extra special about older dogs who are in need of love. It’s heartbreaking to see any older adoptable dog shut down. If I see an oldster in the doggy loft of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue with body language that says their love tank is on empty, then it will be my mission to take steps to lift their spirits before my volunteer shift is over.
Trust me, I’m a professional
My approach to wary dogs is to start from the top, of their butt. Approaching from the side if they are standing, and a quick little butt scratch works at an initial greeting nine out of ten times! If the dog is lying down on a bed, then I will sit down nearby and initiate a conversation. Of course, there are dogs who have only slightly forgotten what it is to be loved by humans, and they approach me most of the time.
It’s amazing to watch an older dog blossom. When you see them uncoil and let their heart feel your affection, it’s infectious! Taking a dog to a place where they actually sigh out loud, and contentedly close their eyes next to you is an incredible experience. Each time one of these dogs not only offers me their tummy, but afterwards stands near me and leans in to my side, I can’t help but feel like I won their lottery.
Being on the receiving end of a dog’s trust, and restoring their ability to take in the love and companionship a human is offering to them, is amazing. Consider adopting an older dog, or volunteering, and experience for yourself what it’s like to remind a dog they are loved.