Golden oldie dogs with combined dog age of 264 seek retirement homes

An RSPCA rehoming centre in Hertfordshire is desperate to find loving retirement homes for two inseparable pairs of dogs who have a combined age of 264 in dog years!

Jack Russell terriers Gemma, 16, and Zeb, 12, were rescued in November 2021 while 12-year-old Staffie cross, Molly, and her best pal Toffee, 10, were taken in by Southridge Animal Centre, in Potters Bar, in August 2021. The centre hasn’t had a single application for either pair and believes people are being put off by their ages.

Cathie Ward, from Southridge, said: “These sweet seniors are true golden oldies and we’re desperate to get them into homes as soon as we can. We just can’t understand why no one has enquired about them and we fear people are being put off by their ages.

“While we do our best to make kennels as comfortable as possible and show all of our dogs all of the love we can give, a rescue centre is no place for old pups like Gemma, Zeb, Molly and Toffee. These gorgeous pooches deserve to spend their twilight years in warm, cosy, loving homes where they’ll be doted on.”

But it can be tricky to find new homes for older dogs as adopters favour youngsters. In fact, RSPCA data shows that it takes three times longer to rehome an older dog than a puppy.

Zeb & Gemma

Jack Russell terrier Zeb, 12 (64 in dog years), and his best friend Gemma, 16 (80 in dog years!) – pictured above – were rescued by the RSPCA in November 2021 and have been patiently waiting for a new home for three months. Their owner sadly became unwell and couldn’t care for them any longer.

Zeb

Cathie added: “It’s been a confusing time for Zeb and Gemma as they’ve lost the only home they ever knew and have suddenly found themselves in kennels.

“They can be wary of new people and it takes them some time to trust you but, once they do, they are so affectionate and loving. They really struggle around other dogs and Zeb is particularly protective over Gemma so their new owners may need to keep them on the lead when out in public.

“Despite their ages they’ve still got so much life in them and absolutely love to play, particularly in the water and sand. They’d love to go on day trips to the seaside and both travel well in the car and walk nicely on the lead.

“Gemma is happy being handled but Zeb can be nervous but both love to jump up and curl up in your lap. They’re such an adorable, loving and loyal duo who need someone who is willing to give them a chance to live out their days in comfort.”

Ideally, we’d like to find them a home that is:

  • Adult only home without young visitors
  • Calm, sensible owners who can give them time to settle and adjust
  • Somewhere they can continue with training and socialisation
  • With no other dogs as they can be reactive
  • A nice garden they can potter and play in
  • Understanding of their age and health (Zeb has a heart murmur)

Molly & Toffee

Staffie cross Molly, 12 (or 64 in dog years), and her friend Jack Russell terrier, Toffee, 10 (or 56 in dog years), were taken in by the RSPCA in August 2021, and have been waiting for six long months to find their new family.

Cathie said: “Molly is a sweet girl and absolutely loves Toffee. She can be unsure around new people and needs slow introductions.

“Toffee, on the other hand, absolutely loves people and loves to be with you all the time. He is destined for life as a lap dog and is happiest when he’s snoozing on your lap! Because he loves people so much he can find it difficult being left home alone so we’d like to find him a home where his owners will be around for most of the day.

“Despite their ages, Molly and Toffee can be lively and Molly, in particular, absolutely loves to play with her ball. They’re both absolute sweethearts, especially once they know they can trust you, but they do struggle around other dogs so they’ll need owners who understand this reactive behaviour and can help them with their socialisation.”

Ideally we’d like to find them a home that is:

  • Calm and quiet without children or other pets
  • With a large, secure garden where they can enjoy playing
  • With owners experienced managing reactive dogs
  • With two people who can walk them to help manage their reactivity
  • Somewhere they’ll receive ongoing training and positive socialisation

Golden oldies can be hard to rehome

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Sadly, many of our older and elderly dogs are overlooked. Puppies and dogs under a year of age seem to be rehomed much quicker and that is likely due to people’s perceptions that they are more adaptable and will fit into their lives more easily. There is often a common assumption that older dogs and those approaching, or in, their senior years will need more specialist care and will have health problems. But that isn’t always the case.

“Just like people, every dog is an individual and some of our senior pooches can be more active and playful than other younger dogs, while some are looking for a quiet, calm home where they can snooze on the sofa and potter around in a garden.

“The message here is that we hope potential adopters will not overlook the wonderful older dogs we have in our care. They can make excellent companions too and may be the perfect match that you’ve been looking for…”

Find out more about Zeb & Gemma or Molly & Toffee on Find A Pet or contact the team at Southridge for more information on southridge@rspca.org.uk.

Gemma