Quite a few years back one of my clients asked me this question about her very old dog who was in heart failure and clearly approaching the last years of his life. After giving it some thought, my response was that perhaps this mellow old guy who spent most of his day sleeping would be happiest with just some peace and quiet, supplemented with the devoted attention of his humans. The thought of a little sharp toothed hellion using this sweet old gentleman as a chew toy and trampoline during his final days made me cringe.
Yet, as sometimes happens, my advice was disregarded and the client promptly selected and acquired a new puppy for this little old man. And, as often happens, she was completely right! He LOVED his new little friend, started wrestling and playing chase again, and bonded strongly to her. He spent his last years with her by his side and the two of them were inseparable. In fact, he probably lived a longer, happier life because of her companionship.
So while not every old dog appreciates the life changing presence of a puppy, I now share my story and counsel clients that many older dogs who enjoy interacting with other dogs may really thrive and bond when blessed with a younger companion. They can also be a great example (or not….) to the young pup as to how to behave and interact with humans and other animals, thereby leaving some of their legacy with the next generation.