Adult Adoption: Worth Serious Consideration

If you have decided that you want to acquire a rescue dog… congratulations! A very commendable decision on so many levels. Next decision is what breed/kind , sex and then age. Not everyone should adopt a Jack, but if you are one of those people who love what these dogs are all about then you will never regret having a Jack in your life.

Who doesn’t love a puppy? So cute and adorable. Irresistible. Mother nature sure knew what she was doing when creating newborns of any species. Naturally, people think that if they are going to bring a dog into their lives, then of course a puppy is a great way to start.

Natural instincts point you in the direction of a younger dog. They last longer, still have puppiness in them and will probably adapt to your home and lifestyle more readily with some training. All very probable. And quite reasonable expectations.

However, there is the option of adult dogs. In this case I am referencing Jack Russell Terriers. Rather than lecture you on the benefits of adopting a senior/adult dog, I will tell you the story of my boy “Spencer”.


Spencer when he first arrived in Canada as “Tinkleberry”

We aren’t sure how old Spencer is because he was found in a “drop box” in Kentucky. Apparently these are common in this state and a viable alternative for people who cannot afford to relinquish their dog. It doesn’t however, save them from being euthanized.

Spencer was one such dog and based on his grey whiskers he is somewhere between the ages of 8-10. He came to me complete with battle scars and still underweight, although recovering. His teeth have been filed…self induced or man made we will never know. Was he a bait dog? Don’t know. Was he a hunter… absolutely. He hates squirrels with a passion and will tree him at every opportunity. Once done, he looks to me as if to say ’Come on. Shoot him!’

Adult dogs come with a very troubled history in most cases. The sadness in their eyes tells you of deep hurt and betrayal by their humans. Many are given up because their owners can no longer care for them as, lets face it, older dogs will start to develop health issues…. just like we humans. At this phase in their lives their puppy cuteness has worn off.

But what people don’t realize is that senior/adult dogs have so much more then puppiness going for them. A good analogy would be to compare buying a new home versus an existing home. These dogs come with charm already built in. They so deeply want to be loved again and have learned that if you treat your human with love and attention it will be returned to them. And the cycle will continue to revolve and generate deep long lasting affection and devotion.

I chose to adopt Spencer. He was initially my second choice. I had chosen a juvenile who was much smaller, having being crossed with a Chihuahua. I thought I wanted a very small dog. Spencer was my second choice. An older dog did appeal to me. His needs could be greater and I wanted to be able to rescue a dog that really needed a second chance and provide him with a loving quiet environment where he could live out the rest of his life in peace and tranquility. I was told that older dogs take longer to place. People prefer younger dogs.

I jumped at the chance to adopt Spencer. And I consider myself to be so lucky to have him now. Every day with Spencer is such a journey of discovery. He is so full of surprises. I had purchased toys, balls and pull toys. It was over a week before he showed any interest. Imagine my surprise one day when he snitched the balls from atop his kennel and brought one to me. He dropped it at my feet. Okay I thought, let’s see what this boy wants to do. I threw it across the room. He bound into action retrieving the object of his interest with lightening speed. ‘Maybe he’s not that old after all’ I thought to myself. He immediately brought it back to me and dropped it at my feet, looking at me as if to say “AGAIN!!” What a bonus. Someone had taught this dog to fetch, retrieve and drop. All I have to do is throw. For hours and hours if I want to.

‘Jacks’ are known for their undying loyalty. My Spencer is no exception. He is my shadow and my new bff. When he accidentally gets off his leash he doesn’t run. He stops and looks at me as if to say, ‘I’m not going anywhere without you.’ If these dogs were lost or abandoned they do not want to experience that again…I am convinced. They are smart enough to have learned that lesson. And let’s face it…a senior dog that has been rescued was probably lost or abandoned. Younger dogs are usually relinquished for incompatible reasons, or life changes such as moving, new babies, allergies, too much time required to train and exercise them, etc.

If an older Jack was given up due to medical issues, then JRTRO is a good way to go. These dogs are all vetted and their needs attended to. Any medical issues or conditions are reported to perspective owners. So you will be making a well informed decision. They are not put up for adoption until they are well on their way to recovery.


Surveying his new domain

And did I mention…they come at a reduced rate. They are usually house broken, and know how to walk on leash. Hardly any training involved and my Spencer walks like a dream, doesn’t bark at other dogs. ‘What’s the point?’ he thinks. His mature wisdom has kicked in. He is so thankful to lie in a warm comfy bed, eat wholesome consistent meals and get plenty of exercise every day, combined with gentle touches, peace and quiet, kisses and lots of love. The loyalty and love I receive in return cannot be matched by a youngster…only because these dogs are experienced in the ways of the world and interacting with humans. They are so eager to please and to show you just what good dogs they really are. He still knows how to play but more importantly he really knows how to love.

Rescuing a dog is incredibly rewarding. Rescuing a senior is even more rewarding. And so much easier!! Adopt an adult Jack and Poof!! Instant love and happiness already built in. Little training/adapting required. These guys/gals know the rules and get it. They will never stop thanking you every day.

Ann Liebeck. Human to Spencer, a.k.a. Simon, Tickleberry from Kentucky.

P.S. Changing their names is easy. It’s the sound of your voice their learn to respond to.


6 responses to “Adult Adoption: Worth Serious Consideration

  1. Denise Petrovic ---- Foster Parent Coordinator ---- JRTRO October 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Wow, Ann!! That is a fabulous description of how it feels to foster ( or adopt ) a senior dog. At the moment we are fostering JACK, the Jack — an owner relinquishment who is 9 years old ( or young ). Everything you have said about Spencer is so true about Jack! I hope he finds another family to love him for his next (9?) years….. Denise

    • Ann Liebeck October 12, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you Denise for your kind comments. I am so lucky to have Spencer and I hope all our Seniors will find loving, forever homes. Good luck to Jack your foster dog. My foster dog Lucas is also a senior and about to move on, He too is an incredibly good boy!!

  2. Marilyn Meyer October 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I adopted Beautiful Bea in May 2011 from JRTRO and I can’t tell you what a wonderful companion she’s been to Alex and I. She’s at least 13 years now but still energetic and absolutely filled with joy living in the moment. She’s well-behaved and the perfect traveller. Cathy Chambers thank you very much. We couldn’t imagine our lives without her!

  3. Gerda Veltkamp October 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Love your story…I have an older Jack, hoping she makes 16 years. She is the queen, nothing phases her and she still has that “Jack” attitude I love. She has been there, done that and is a tough old girl. Still eats like there is no tomorrow and she does obedience training everyday and loves it. If one was thinking of adopting a Jack, an older one is the way to go. They never lose their puppy like behaviour and are extremely loyal to their people. They are a very healthy breed of dog also.

  4. Nichole brown October 1, 2014 at 1:32 am

    I am looking for help.feb 2014, my x husband passed away and left behind Alley, she is a parsons jack russell,she is quite well behaved but I am on disability and cannot afford her or give her what she deserves no could he. She came to me exstreamly I’ll, she’d been suffering with ear infection and seems to have allergies, I unfortunately going hungry myself, doing everything possible to help this poor dog. I can’t even manage her yearly shot,but have done everything other wise she has been to vets had flea tic drops. Something has to help her. I love her, love her enough that she needs someone who can afford her. She is a calm dog for a Russell not that she doesn’t act like one because she does. Please help me someone I feel so so upset for her

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