Why you may want a golden dog in your golden years

These days, my average Tuesday evening consists of hiding treats around the house for the dogs to find and falling asleep to reruns of the Golden Girls.

I know. I’m a wild man.

Last Tuesday though, I shook things up and partied like a rockstar when we partnered with the LA Kings and the Belmont Senior Living Community in Burbank to host a free adoption event for seniors as part of the Pets for the Elderly program.

Animal welfare is a cause that many Kings players and their wives have become heavily involved with, and the Kings wanted to give the residents at Belmont the opportunity to find a pet that will give them unconditional love.

So we packed up our 35-foot shelter on wheels, the Wiggle Waggle Wagon, and headed to Burbank with a gaggle of fabulous volunteers and 6 equally fabulous adoptable senior dogs.

When we arrived at Belmont Senior Living Community, we found the entire lobby of the complex had been converted into a nightclub. A hockey themed nightclub. I know that sounds weird, but in a quirky way, it totally worked.

And let me tell you, these folks really know how to throw a party! There was a DJ, a margarita bar, lots of food, and the place was packed with animal lovers. It was an awesome evening – and by the end, four of our senior dogs found fur-ever homes.

The Pets for the Elderly Foundation have been very good friends of ours for many years. Because of their support, we’re able to provide Our Seniors for Seniors program which enables people age 60 and up to adopt pets age 5 and up free of charge – every day of the week, all year long.

If you’re approaching your AARP years (or even if you’re far from it), you’ve probably read about the many health benefits of pet ownership. Study after study has shown that blood pressure goes down, cholesterol levels improve and even heart attack risk declines. Companion animals may be the anti-aging medicine that you really should “ask your doctor about.” Having a pet also encourages you to get out and exercise, even if it’s just a gentle daily walk. And statistics don’t count the warmth, companionship and pure love that a mature canine can bring into a household.

Adult dogs are settled into their personalities, so you know what you’re getting more than you would with a puppy or yearling. They are usually house-trained, and may already know basic commands like “sit” and “stay.” Contrary to the old adage, you can teach these dogs new tricks—with adolescence out of their systems, they tend to focus pretty well on teaching moments. Their desire to please their people is very well ingrained.

And I can’t prove it, but I’ve seen it too many times to discount the notion that adult adoptees are just plain grateful—they’ve seen the world’s harsher side and seem particularly appreciative of the new lease on life they’ve been given.

Like any relationship, finding the right pet companion is all about chemistry. When folks come to us looking for a pet, we sit down with them to talk about lifestyle. We learn about your interests and the types of activities and experiences you’re hoping to share with a pet, and then match you with a dog, cat or critter best suited for you and your home life. Age is just one of the factors we consider in the process.

Speaking of perfect matches, if you’re the low-key, subdued type who enjoys quiet days or evenings reading or watching TV, I’ve got the perfect chillax partner for you. Anze, a 9-year old Tibetan Terrier mix (we named after LA Kings captain, Anze Kopitar) has been hanging out in our office for the past week. Frankly, he’s just a little too good at his job as a lap dog – and it’s starting to cause problems. Co-workers are fighting over whose lap he gets to sit on, so he’s being bounced from lap to lap all day long.

He’s two tons of cuddle in an eight pound box – and he doesn’t seem to mind that everyone is fighting over him. In fact, he seems to relish in all the attention. His chill temperament and low-key energy would be great for someone who isn’t super active, since he’s pretty happy just relaxing. He’s up for adoption – so come check him out. If he’s not in his kennel though, just swing by my office because he’s probably on my lap.

Photo Caption: Brownie (A471384), an 8-year-old brown Chihuahua cuddles with a resident of the Belmont Senior Living Community at a free senior pet adoption event hosted by the LA Kings. Brownie loves giving kisses and is currently learning his “sit” command. He is available for adoption now!