Samantha David is a freelance journalist and writes for various publications including BBC Online, the Sunday Times, the FT, Living France, everything France, and France Magazine

Samantha David, writer

Telling Tales - articles by Samantha David


The Joys of Older Dogs 

      Sandy was ten when I rescued her, so when tell people that Dolly was already eight, they ask why I always have such old dogs.

      Old?  Dolly?  She's not old, are you, precious?  No... No-one with such a taste for waf-woof-wigs (sausages!) could really be described as old.  Anyway, little breeds like Bichons live longer than large ones like Dulux Dogs.

      But I do know what they mean.  They wonder why I didn't get a sweet little puppy.  Well, I'll tell you.  Apart from chewing things, dashing all over the house, and pulling on their leads, puppies leak.  Everywhere, all the time.  When you come home they leak all over the kitchen floor; they leak when visitors arrive, when they're happy, when they're full, when they're bored.  They leak.  And they go on doing it for years.

      Older dogs have out-grown all that.  They walk to heel, they sleep all night, they know that children are to be humoured, they know there's no point in demanding walkies at 9am on Sunday morning.

      Within days of taking on a more mature canine, she'll have understood your house routines.  She'll be telling you when it's time to go to bed, she'll be wagging at the postman and bringing you her lead when she's thinking about walkies.

      If you take on a puppy, it could take years to achieve this.  Puppies need constant attention, they have to be trained from scratch - and I'm not just talking collar and lead here - and if you leave a puppy in the house alone, it'll probably tear the place to shreds.

      Adult dogs however, are already socialised, already

house-trained and know at least a few commands.  Yes,

I admit that you may have to accept some pre-conceived

ideas, like Dolly and her sausages, but honestly this

is a small price to pay for having a dog which already

knows the ropes.

      Now I know what you're going to say - you never

really know with a rescue dog.  Not true.  You just

have to chose your woofer carefully.  Don't just chose

the first pathetic thing you see, or something merely


      Go for a breed which suits your lifestyle and

accommodation and then, unless you're a total dog

expert, chose a calm dog which sits still and looks you

in the eye.  Chose one which will allow you to touch it

all over (round the tail, in the ears, inside the

mouth).  Chose a dog which doesn't shrink away or offer

to bite.  And don't hesitate about choosing an older

dog.  You won't regret it. 

      Sorry, Dolly.  What did you say?  Oh!  Time for

biccies, is it?  Okay, I'm coming! 



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