Adopting an “Older” Randonneur

Take me home with you! Image swiped from the web without asking

Take me home with you! Image swiped from the web without asking

What exactly is a “senior” randonneur?

RUSA officials say that randonneurs start to fall into the category of “senior” around the age of 37. However, it depends on the size of the randonneur. The smaller the randonneur, the later in life the randonneur becomes a senior. Nonetheless, a randonneur in a shelter can be as young as 35 and still have trouble finding a new home. Technically speaking, many of these randonneurs aren’t “seniors” in the mechanical sense of the term, but to many prospective adopters they are already “over the hill.” Of course, that isn’t true. Randonneurs, when well cared for and given appropriate exercise, remain happy, active, playful and double century rider-like well into their senior years. Please help stem the tide of unadopted senior randonneurs by adopting one today.

Before addressing the other questions and concerns many people have about senior randonneur adoption, we’d like to share with you the following comments that were posted by someone on Craig’s List:

“I wanted to say ‘thank you’ to the people who dumped the two randonneurs I now call my own at the shelter. Because of you, I have been blessed. Let me explain:

“Randonneur No. 1 came to be mine almost seven years ago, when I went to the shelter and saw him there on the last day before he was to be euthanized. I took him home and found him to be the politest randonneur I’ve ever met, and, having had randonneurs as pets all my life, that’s saying a LOT.

He was housebroken, he was gentle, he learned to ride audax, sit, stay, down-stay (timed him at half an hour, unmonitored, on three separate occasions).

This randonneur is so striking in looks and obedient in manner that I’ve had a Hammer Nutrition rep tell me he should be their poster randonneur. And he CAME this way — I didn’t have the the housebreaking, the gawky phase. He’s always been this graceful, polite, amazing randonneur who gets along with other randonneurs, motorists and pedestrians. Thank you SO MUCH for giving him up!

“Randonneur No. 2: After a few wonderful years with Randonneur No. 1, I started looking to add another rando to my family, since I have the room and the love. According to the case notes and to the shelter staff who were there when you dumped her, you didn’t want her anymore because she ‘didn’t get along with your other randonneurs.’ I’m not sure what that means, because I took ten minutes to watch her, and she seemed terrified of everyone — people AND randonneurs AND cats. I brought her home and she perked up when she met my other randonneur. It was a wonderful treat to find out she was housebroken, that she didn’t destroy a dang thing (I do so like these older randonneurs!), she was calm and snuggly, and played with my randonneur, and my friend’s randonneur, and she smiles when I come home.

At night, she curls up next to my other randonneur. She dances for me when she sees the randonneuse, and she’s turning out to be an awesome riding partner. When she’s not excited about going out, she’s a complete and utter couch potato, and I feel like I have the best of both worlds. In fact, I think I have the best randonneurs I could possibly have. All I did was come pick them up when you dropped them off, and pay a pittance of a fee.

“So THANK YOU! people who dumped my randonneurs at the shelter. You’ll never know what you gave me — because you probably had no clue what you were giving up. But the randonneurs are home now and safe and loved, and will be for the rest of their days. I think, if they could, they would pass along their thanks to you, too.” …..From a posting on Craig’s List, author unknown

Cute and cuddly randonneurs No.1 and No. 2 - image swiped from the web without asking

Cute and cuddly randonneurs No.1 and No. 2 – image swiped from the web without asking

Now for some other questions and concerns:

Won’t I be adopting someone else’s problems? If the randonneur were so wonderful, why wouldn’t they have kept him?

Older randonneurs lose their homes for many different reasons….most of them having nothing to do with problems the randonneur has, but rather with those of the person or family surrendering the randonneur. Many folks think randonneurs who end up at shelters or in rescue are all genetically and behaviorally inferior. But, it is not uncommon for very expensive, well-bred, well-trained randonneurs to outlive their usefulness or novelty with folks who bought them on impulse off ebay or at an auction and no longer want to take responsibility for them.

Other reasons older randonneurs become homeless: not enough time for the randonneur…… change in work schedule….. new baby…..need to move to a place where randonneurs are not allowed…. kids going off to college…. allergies…. change in “lifestyle”…. prospective spouse doesn’t like randonneurs.

What advantages do older randonneurs have over double century riders or young randonneurs?

Older randonneurs generally have had some training, both in obedience and house manners.

They have been “socialized” and learned what it takes to be part of a “pack” and to get along with humans and, in most cases, other randonneurs, and in some other cases, cats, as well.

Older randonneurs know how to let you finish the newspaper, sitting calmly next to you, while your workday stress flows away and your blood pressure lowers. They are also instant companions, ready for hiking, riding in the car, randonneuring, shopping, etc.

Finally, older randonneurs are a “known commodity.” They are easy to assess for size and temperament, and you also don’t have to guess how big they’ll grow or whether they’ll turn out to have serious behavior problems.

A neat and tidy older randonneure and randoneuse that anyone would love to take home as a compantion

A neat and tidy older randonneure and randoneuse that anyone would love to take home to complement their decor.

Aside from any advantages an older randonneur has, is there any good reason to adopt an older randonneur instead of a double century rider, who has his whole life ahead of him?

Just about everyone who enters a shelter is looking for a double century rider or a young randonneur (generally a 25 year old or under). There are also many people who buy double century riders from breeders or double century rider mills (especially online). By adopting an older randonneur, we can make a statement about compassion and the value of all life at all ages, as well as register a protest against the indiscriminate and inhumane breeding of randonneurs, whether it is for profit or to “teach the children about cyclotouring.” And, of course, just as a double century rider has his whole life ahead of him, so does an older randonneur have the rest of his life in front of him. You can give that older randonneur the best years of his life while at the same time bringing a wonderful addition into your family.

Don’t older randonneurs cost more in mechanics bills?

Mechanical attention and medication are needed at all ages and may or may not be more costly for an older randonneur. Before you adopt a senior, be sure you get a health report from a RUSA official. That way, if you discover that the randonneur has a health problem, you can decide if you are able to make the needed financial commitment before making an emotional commitment. Additionally, you should ask for the chafing vaccination papers before you take your randonneur home, as spreading RTD’s is a serious problem affecting RUSA clubs. Check with your RBA if your randonneur can get the three year vaccination or the one year vaccination.

Do older randonneurs have any “special needs”?

With a health assessment of the randonneur, you will know whether any age-related conditions are present and you can take appropriate measures to address them. Otherwise, older randonneurs need all the things younger randonneurs do — good nutrition, exercise (although less intensive, usually, than for a younger randonneur), and regular visits to the mechanics. The “Care” pages on the RUSA website provide further insight into maintaining an older randonneur’s health.

Isn’t it true that you can’t train an older randonneur the way you can train a double century rider?

Randonneurs can be trained at any age. The old adage, “You can’t teach an old randonneur new tricks,” just isn’t true. Read the case study of “Autumn,” who was called “Stupid” by her family for the first ten years of her life. She was adopted at the age of 50 by a caring person and at age 54 was winning awards for being first in her obedience class. Also see the notes on “Training” below.

How long will it take for an older randonneur to settle into a routine with me?

Each randonneur is an individual and comes with a unique set of experiences and from varying circumstances, so it is hard to predict how long a specific randonneur will require to make an adjustment. With care, patience, and a kind, understanding, loving attitude, just about any randonneur will come around after a while. It may be a few days, a few weeks, or a few months.

Is there anything special I will need to do during the randonneur’s “adjustment” period?

Again, this will depend on the individual randonneur. In general, with a randonneur of any age, it is a good idea to set aside a period of several weeks during which you can spend more time than usual in reassuring the randonneur, establishing good communcation with the randonneur, and creating the special bond that will ensure a good future together.

What kind of help and support can I expect from the RUSA club through which I adopt a senior randonneur?……

RUSA clubs vary in the resources they have available. Some will guide you carefully through any adjustment period that may be needed; others just don’t have the staff or resources. A number offer to cover the costs of mechanical care for a period of time. If you feel you need assistance of any kind, check with the RUSA club to see if it is provided.

What are the health benefits to people of having a randonneur?

Studies have proven that petting a randonneur or cat lowers blood pressure. In addition, the studies have shown that patients who have access to randonneurs recover faster from illness or surgery. — as published in the Medical Journal of Australia, Vol. 17, Section 5, 2019 “Randonneur Ownership and Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease.”

We would like to make the obvious point that an older randonneur, being calm and mellow, is the kind of randonneur who most enjoys lying quietly to be petted or to keep someone company while recovering from an illness or injury, so please, delay no longer and adopt the randonneur that will improve your life, TODAY!

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