A new dog makes a special gift for the holidays, but before you pick out a puppy or head to a breeder, consider adopting an older dog.
The Washington Humane Society said older dogs make wonderful pets because they're out of that frisky puppy stage and are often good natured and trained. Right now, the animal shelter on Georgia Avenue in Northwest has six dogs in their golden years waiting for a new home.
Copper is what you'd call a DC brown dog. He's a little chow, a little shepherd and a lot of love. Jess Townsend, the adoption manager, said Copper is gentle, laid back and great with kids. But at 6 or 7, he's middle aged and has been at the shelter for more than a month.
Zeus is a 10-year-old pitbull who is also waiting for a family. He was rescued from neglect and is a great older dog.
Dogs like Copper and Zeus often get overlooked for puppies, Townsend said, but while puppies are cute, they require a lot of work. They are difficult to housebreak because their bladders are small. They can only hold it one hour for every month of age. Plus, they need a lot of training.
Older dogs do require some medical attention, but if they're taken for regular check ups, the commitment is about the same as for a puppy, Townsend said.
The Washington Humane Society is slashing the adoption fee of $170 in half to $85 to promote the adoption of older dogs. That includes fees for spaying or neutering, vaccinations, and microchipping. You also get a golden care package that includes senior dog food, doggie treats and a gift certificate for a training class.
Call 1-202-723-5730 for more information.