ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Lucky the TurfMutt is a former street dog turned superhero who got a new “leash” on life when he was saved from a busy Indiana roadway by Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). Now, TurfMutt “paws it forward” as the official spokesdog for OPEI’s environmental education and stewardship program for kids in grades K-5 and their families. Not only does TurfMutt tout the benefits of living landscapes , he also supports rescue organizations like Petfinder, which is sponsoring “Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month” in November.
“I know first paw how cool it is to add a senior pet to the pack,” says Lucky. “My human friend, Kris adopted my sister Dottie from a tough LA neighborhood shelter when she was 12 years old. I want to encourage anyone looking to add a furry friend to their family to consider a senior dog.”
Senior pets (those about seven years and up, depending on their size) end up at the shelter for many heartbreaking reasons, including an owner’s death, a move, or changes to the family dynamic.
“I know from my involvement with the hit TV show Lucky Dog that older dogs are often overlooked by prospective pet parents, which means longer stays at the shelter or worse,” says Kiser. “But I can tell you from our experience rescuing Dottie – the oldest dog ever adopted in the history of Lucky Dog – that there are many great reasons to consider bringing an older pet into your family.”
Here are the top five reasons Lucky and Kiser say senior pets like Dottie are top dogs.
Sure, puppies are cute, but they are also a ton of work! Older dogs have already outgrown their exhausting puppy phases and have shed their bad habits like chewing on furniture, accidents in the house and 3 a.m. wake-up calls.
Unlike with a puppy, an older dog has already developed her personality, so it’s easier to tell if she will make a good fit for your family. No surprises about size, coat length or energy level – what you see is what you get!
Most dogs are highly adaptable – especially older ones. Contrary to the popular saying, older dogs can learn new behaviors and will want to acclimate to your way of doing things.
Most know basic commands. Most older dogs already know basic commands like sit and how to walk politely on a leash. Also, potty training has already been mastered by dogs in their twilight years, meaning you can focus on the fun stuff like walks in the park and road trips.
Older dogs are just as lovable as puppies, they just need someone to give them a chance. By adopting a senior pet, you are literally saving a life. Older dogs seem to sense that and repay you with tons of love and gratitude.
Kiser says even if you’re not in the market for a new pet, you can support Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month. “Speak up for senior pets on social media and in person to make sure your friends and family who might be adopting soon know the benefits of rescuing an older dog that makes a great companion,” says Kiser. “Share your personal experience with your older dog and help shine a spotlight on these seniors who need our help.”
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation and has reached more than 68 million children, educators and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat also is featured in the 2017 and the upcoming 2018 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the development of safety and performance standards. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show, and the creative force behind the environmental education program, TurfMutt.com. OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces. For more information, visit www.OPEI.org