Rescue dogs are usually the most loving, affectionate, and devoted dogs in the world. Because they’ve often had a bad start in life, or have been torn from their "first" life, they will generally give you more love than you can ever imagine. It doesn’t mean they don’t have their 'issues'-as we all do! One of my two beagles is a rescue dog. I’ve never been showered with more love or devotion.
Beagle Rescue, Education & Welfare of Northern Virginia
In a word, housetrained
With most family members gone during the work week for 8 hours or more, housetraining a puppy and its small bladder can take a while. Puppies need a consistent schedule with frequent opportunities to eliminate where you want them to. They can't wait for the boss to finish his meeting or the kids to come home from after-school activities. An older dog can "hold it" much more reliably for longer time periods, and usually the Rescue has him/her at least partially-housebroken before s/he is adopted.
With a 'chewy' puppy, you can count on at least 10 mismatched pairs of socks and a variety of unmentionables rendered to the "rag bag" before he cuts every tooth. And don't even think about shoes! Also, you can expect holes in your carpet (along with the urine stains), pages missing from books, stuffing exposed from couches, and at least one dead remote control. No matter how well you watch them, it will happen--this is a puppy's job! An older dog can usually have the run of the house without destroying it.
A good night's sleep
Forget the alarm clocks and hot water bottles, a puppy can be very demanding at 2am and 4am and 6am. He misses his littermates, and that stuffed animal will not make a puppy pile with him. If you have children, you've been there and done that. How about a little peace and quiet? How about an adult rescue dog??
Finish the newspaper
With a puppy running amok in your house, do you think you will be able to relax when you get home from work? Do you think your kids will really feed him, clean up the messes, take him for a walk in the pouring rain every hour to get him housetrained? With an adult dog, it will only be the kids running amok, because your dog will be sitting calmly next to you, while your workday stress flows away and your blood pressure lowers as you pet him.
Easier (and cheaper) Vet Visits
Those puppies need their series of puppy shots and fecals, then their rabies shot, then a trip to be altered, maybe an emergency trip or two if they've chewed something dangerous. Those puppy visits can add up (on top of what you paid for the dog!). Your donation to the rescue when adopting an older pup should get you a dog with all shots current, already altered, heartworm negative and on preventative at the minimum.
What You See is What You Get
How big will that puppy be? What kind of temperament will he have? Will he be easily trained? Will his personality be what you were hoping for? How active will he be? When adopting an older dog from a rescue, all of those questions are easily answered. You can pick large or small; active or couch potato; goofy or brilliant; sweet or sassy. The rescue and its foster homes can guide you to pick the right match. (Rescues are full of puppies who became the wrong match as they got older!)
Unscarred Children (and Adults)
When the puppy isn't teething on your possessions, he will be teething on your children and yourself. Rescues routinely get calls from panicked parents who are sure their dog is biting the children. Since biting implies hostile intent and would be a consideration whether to accept a "give-up", Rescue Groups ask questions and usually find out the dog is being nippy. Parents are often-and understandably- too emotional to see the difference, but a growing puppy is bound to put everything from food to clothes to hands in their mouths, and as they get older and bigger it definitely hurts (and will get worse, if they aren't being corrected properly.) Most older dogs have "been there, done that, moved on."
Matchmaker, Make Me a Match
Puppy love is often no more than an attachment to a look or a color. It is not much of a basis on which to make a decision that should last 15+ years. While that puppy may have been the cutest of the litter; he may grow up to be super-active (when what you wanted was a couch buddy); s/he may be a couch potato (when what you wanted was a tireless hiking companion); s/he may want to spend every waking moment in the water (while you're a landlubber); or s/he may want to be an only child (while you are intending to have kids or more animals). Pet mis-matches are one of the top reasons Rescues get "give-up" phone calls. Good rescues do extensive evaluating of both their dogs and their applicants to be sure that both dog and family will be happy with each other until death do they part.
With an older dog, you automatically have a buddy that can go everywhere and do everything with you NOW. There's no waiting for a puppy to grow up (and then hope he will like to do what you enjoy). You will have been able to select the most compatible dog: one that travels well; one that loves to play with your friends' dogs; one with excellent house manners that you can take to your parents' new home with the new carpet and the new couch. You can come home after a long day's work and spend your time on a relaxing walk, ride or swim with your new best friend (rather than cleaning up after a small puppy.)
The Rescue-Dog Bond
Dogs who have been uprooted from their happy homes or have not had the best start in life are more likely to bond very completely and deeply with their new people. Those who have lost their families through death, divorce or lifestyle change go through a terrible mourning process. But, once attached to a new loving family, they seem to want to please as much as possible to make sure they are never homeless again. Those dogs that are just learning about the good life and good people seem to bond even more deeply; they know what life on the streets, life on the end of a chain, or worse, is all about, and they revel and blossom in a nurturing, loving environment. Most rescues make exceptionally affectionate and attentive pets and extremely loyal companions.
Reprinted by permission from Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc.
The original article may be found at http://www.lrr.org.