There’s a saying among dog lovers about pooches with a few more years under their paws: “Everyone loves puppies, but old dogs love everyone.”
There are few statements simpler or more powerful about the unfair challenges older dogs face, especially when they’re on the hunt for their forever home.
It’s absolutely undeniable that shelter puppies — like this sweet abandoned baby — need homes, too, but the sad truth is that they’re far more likely to be adopted than their older counterparts.
Potential adopters often think an older dog will be too set in his or her ways to go to a new family, but, as a matter of fact, older dogs often (though not always) tend to be better-trained than puppies, friendlier toward new people, and easier to manage for first-time adopters.
There are lots of misconceptions about older animals that lead to them being abandoned or passed over for adoption in droves. Fortunately, there are some great organizations doing everything they can to help support those lovely senior pooches.
Leading the charge is a truly remarkable shelter in Tennessee called the Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary.
Old Friends is located in Mt. Juliet, TN, a bucolic suburb of Nashville.
There, they provide a happy and loving home to 45 sweet and affectionate senior dogs, with 90 more lovely pooches living in their network of forever foster homes within a 100-mile radius of the sanctuary.
Each and every one of these pooches has a different story.
Some outlived their owners, some were surrendered when their owners could no longer care for them, and many were rescued from high-kill shelters where dogs that are elderly, ill, or handicapped often have very little chance of surviving and finding a loving family.
Old Friends provides a safe haven and a happy place for dogs who have seen too little happiness.
On its Facebook page, OFSDS describes the shelter as a “lifetime home for elderly dogs.” They add, “We do not concern ourselves with the quantity of time that they have left, rather the quality of the life that we can provide them for that time.”
In many ways, they bill themselves as a retirement home for dogs who have earned the right to a bit of rest and relaxation. Needless to say, these sweeties are happy to take them up on that offer!
Within the shelter, they make a concerted effort to help dogs find their niche with their favorite activities.
Some of the pooches, like Jeff and Jake, pictured above, love nothing more than being with their bonded companion, and snuggling up inside.
Others, despite being 10 or more years old, still think they’re puppies and want to run around outside all day! OFSDS goes above and beyond to accommodate each and every special senior.
Lots of the resident pooches spend their time hanging out in the comfortable outdoors space, where they can run and play, relax alone or with their buddies, and, of course, mob the shelter employees and volunteers with all kinds of love and kisses!
While there are certainly exceptions, many older dogs are well-socialized from years of experience and love meeting new people and seeing old friends.
The 45 permanent residents form their own special friend groups, and are well known for their personalities in the house!
Smiley, perched on the back of the chair, is the sanctuary’s most highly regarded bird and squirrel watcher, while Harley and Ginger relax and lounge in the chair, partaking in a favorite relaxing activity for the shelter’s pooches.
Of course, with 45 dogs in the house, there are lots of wonderful personalities in this doggy retirement home.
Ultimately, though, OFSDS isn’t generally looking to make too many new additions.
For many of the dogs that make their way to OFSDS, it’s a temporary stopover until they can be placed in the sanctuary’s forever foster network.
Lots of dogs would be happier to live out their years with just one special family to call their own, especially if that’s what they’re used to from their previous home.
At any given time, the sanctuary could be looking for a foster home for any one of its pooches.
Essentially, they try to foster out dogs that are in relatively good health, and that they know would be happier overall in a foster home.
Currently, they’re looking to place eight adorable senior dogs, including a couple of mellow beagles, and two bonded pairs that want to go home together.
They look to foster dogs within 100 miles of the sanctuary and are always seeking to expand their network!
In the meantime, the permanent residents of the OFSDS are perfectly content to be where they are!
They’re very happy to enjoy the slower pace of senior life, and will happily spend their days relaxing in big groups that stretch all the way across the dog run!
Dogs, as we all know, are very social creatures, so it’s not hard to imagine them hunkering down to spend the day dozing with their buddies!
And naturally enough, we’re starting to wonder if they need more volunteers!
That many dogs is a lot to handle (even if they’re a bunch of dozy sweethearts), and we sure wouldn’t mind spending our days hanging out with a couple of cuties like these guys.
If you agree that this has to be one of the happiest places on Earth, make sure to Rasplove with the dog lovers in your life, especially anyone living in the Nashville area!