Adopting a Senior Dog? Here’s 100 Rescues & Sanctuaries That Specialize in Seniors.
Did you know that many senior dogs die in animal shelters or rescues without receiving the love, attention, or comfort they deserve—or worse, euthanized due to overcrowding at shelters Senior dogs are often overlooked at animal shelters in favor of younger dogs.
But senior canines are still dogs and also deserve a second chance. That’s why adopting a senior dog is such a wonderful thing to do. Think about it; they serve their owners with love and devotion for years, but find themselves in shelters or rescues due to uncertainties such as the death of an owner, natural disasters, or financial difficulties.
Adopting an older rescue dog comes with more benefits than drawbacks. These dogs are often calmer and more mellow than younger ones, and better understand how to interact with humans and other animals than the average pup. In addition, because they don’t need to exercise and have less energy, they’re less likely to be destructive or bark excessively.
So, here are 100 rescue organizations that can assist you in finding you the perfect senior dog:
1. Forever Loved Pet Sanctuary (Scottsdale, AZ)
Forever Loved Pet Sanctuary (FLPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that rescues abandoned, neglected, and surrendered senior dogs in Arizona. Since its inception in 2012, the organization has rescued and put many senior dogs (age 7 and older) into loving homes.
Because it’s located in a region with one of the worst rates of pet euthanasia in the country, the group focuses on reducing overcrowding at local animal shelters and rescues. Forever Loved also strives to raise awareness about the importance of adopting older dogs among the general public.
The sanctuary is run entirely by volunteers passionate about finding aging dogs their new forever homes. The volunteers also perform such tasks as cleaning, walking, feeding, and providing socialization opportunities for the dogs. Apart from adoption services, the group also offers foster homes, dog training, medical or financial assistance to fosters and adopters, animal caregiver education, and a hospice foster program.
Each dog in the sanctuary is spayed or neutered, medically inspected, vaccinated, microchipped, and given lots of love and care before it’s put up for adoption. To adopt an older dog from Forever Loved, you must:
- Complete an online adoption application form
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a home that can accommodate an older dog
- Provide an identification showing your current address
The organization is solely dependent on generous donations to keep it afloat, therefore, you’ll need to donate about $100–$200 when adopting.
2. The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs (Cleveland, OH)
The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs is a Cleveland, Ohio-based non-profit organization that provides a haven for elderly dogs who have been abandoned at pounds and shelters. For over 20 years, the Sanctuary has offered a temporary home, veterinary care, love, and all the attention that dogs need in their golden years.
Moreover, senior dogs that are too ill or emotionally delicate to be adopted can stay in the Sanctuary hospice foster home indefinitely. When the organization’s foster homes are full, the senior dogs are placed in a short-term boarding facility until new foster families become available.
The group not only gives retired dogs a home but also educates the public about the importance of spaying and neutering pets. It also works to raise awareness about animal abuse. All dogs at the Sanctuary are medically evaluated, treated, and spayed or neutered before placement. If you’re thinking about adopting a senior dog from the Sanctuary, here’s how:
- Request an adoption application form.
- Fill it out.
- Submit it to the Sanctuary.
The team in charge of adoption will look over your application, verify your references, and then contact you for an interview if you’re a good candidate for adopting a senior dog. If you’re a first-time owner, they can assist you in finding a veterinarian who is experienced with senior dogs. After the interview, you get to choose the dog you want, and your application is approved. You are then allowed to meet your dog at the Sanctuary’s Adoption & Education Center in Cleveland.
Following the meeting with your dog, the adoption team will schedule a home visit to ensure that the dog will be safe and comfortable. If your home is approved, you’ll be able to pick up your new cuddly companion. Keep in mind, you’ll be required to pay an adoption fee of $125 for each senior dog. Also, all adopters must follow the organization’s policies prohibiting the use of invisible fences, shock collars, and prong collars on dogs.
Extra Tip: You can apply for their Senior Dogs for Senior People program if you’re a senior (65 years or older). This program has a $65 adoption fee—cheaper than the standard rate. A member of the public had the following to say about the Sanctuary:
3. Muttville Senior Dog Rescue (San Francisco, CA)
Founded in 2007, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue is a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and caring for senior dogs from the bay area and other parts of California.
The organization focuses on finding permanent homes for older dogs that have been abandoned, need medical attention, or left at shelters by their owners. To achieve its goals, Muttville works directly with local rescue groups, shelters, animal hospitals, and other organizations to help senior dogs find new homes where they may enjoy a happy retirement.
The facility is run by volunteers responsible for providing veterinary care, socialization, and training to the dogs in their care. Generally, Muttville relies on donations from the community to keep its doors open. To adopt a dog from this rescue group, you’ll be required to:
- Check out the available mutts.
- Fill out an adoption questionnaire.
- Wait for Muttville to contact you to schedule a meeting with the dogs, which can be done by video chat or in-person.
You’ll finalize the adoption by completing an agreement form and paying an adoption fee of $250, or sign up for their monthly sustaining Mutt Guardian Program. You can pick up your dog once this process is completed.
The organization also offers a senior-to-senior program for adults over the age of 62. The initiative waives the $250 adoption fee and provides supplies such as a dog’s harness, leash, collar, bed, bowls, food, and medication to help seniors welcome their new old friends. Here is a review on Muttville from one of their volunteers:
4. St. Louis Senior Dog Project (House Springs, MO)
St. Louis Senior Dog Project is a 501(c)(3) all-volunteer, non-profit organization that rescues and cares for dogs of all ages, with greater emphasis on dogs aged 5 years and over.
At St. Louis, dogs are often spayed or neutered, tested for heartworm, dewormed, vaccinated, and microchipped. They’re also treated for heartworms, pneumonia, kennel cough, urinary tract infection, intestinal parasites, and fleas and ticks. T
he organization hosts regular adoption events every weekend at Kirkwood Petco between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. If you’re interested in adopting from St. Louis, you must first fill out an adoption application which an adoption coordinator will then review, and give you a response within 72 hours.
After that, you’ll be scheduled for a phone interview to discuss your application. The interviewer will enquire about your living environment and dog preferences, after which they report to an adoption team. The adoption team will then verify your references, conduct additional screening, contact your veterinarian and determine whether your home is dog-safe. If the team accepts your application after the screening, you can pick up your new friend.
Note: The adoption fee at St. Louis varies based on the age of the canines, but is normally about $225. However, if older individuals adopt a senior dog, the charge will be significantly reduced.
5. Senior Dog Haven and Hospice (Wilmington, DE)
The Senior Dog Haven and Hospice is a non-profit organization dedicated to rehoming senior dogs (7 years or older) and offer hospice care for dogs that are terminally ill. Senior Dog Haven also provides a permanent foster home for dogs too old or frail to be adopted.
The organization is run by a small group of fosters and volunteers that strives to improve the lives of senior dogs by living with the dogs in their homes as family. Each senior dog is usually medically cleared before put up for adoption. To adopt a dog from Senior Haven, you must go through their screening process:
- Fill out an adoption application form.
- The team in charge of adoption reviews your application by contacting your references and organizing a home visit to ensure the environment is conducive and suitable for the dog.
- If the intake committee approves your application, your new pup is delivered to your home.
- After that, you’ll get a week to engage and bond with the dog to ensure you’re a perfect match.
- Following the one-week trial, you’ll be asked to pay an adoption fee of $125 and offered a signed adoption contract.
6. Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary (Mount Juliet, TN)
Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that specializes in providing high-quality vet care, food, and finding permanent homes for senior dogs (ages 8 and over). The sanctuary houses and cares for approximately 120 senior dogs and has placed over 500 dogs in temporary and forever foster homes with medical care provided. Old Friends welcomes all types of dogs, including those with medical concerns such as blindness, mobility issues, and dementia.
They also have dogs that are dog-selective, meaning they prefer being an only pet and bonded pairs (dogs that can’t be separated). The organization works with other dog rescues and shelters to promote the benefits of adopting a senior dog.
They also educate the general public, fosters, and adopters about the benefits and difficulties of caring for these dogs. The sanctuary is run by volunteers who help to enrich the lives of senior dogs through such services as:
- Spending time with the senior dogs, especially dog-selective or aggressive
- Assist with laundry work or related tasks
- Walking the dogs around the park, and spending time with those with limited mobility
- Assist in keeping the administrative and other areas clean
Old Friends is unique because they also have a program where members of the public can tour their state-of-the-art facility and meet the elderly canines. If you’re looking to provide a home for a senior dog for the rest of its life, you’ll have to become a Geezer Guardian and reside within 100 travel miles of Mt. Juliet, TN.
Once you apply to be a Geezer Guardian, a program manager from Old Friends will contact you to discuss the application and the dog you’re looking for. After the interview, you’ll be given a virtual home tour, followed by a meeting with the Forever Foster Committee to discuss your application. If the committee approves your application, they’ll help you find the most appropriate dog for your home.
Extra Tip: Old Friends does not charge an adoption fee or other fees.
7. Classic Canines, Inc (Austin, TX)
Classic Canine is a 501(c)(3) volunteer-based organization dedicated to advocating, teaching, and promoting the adoption and fostering of senior dogs. The organization was founded in 2012 and has since helped hundreds of senior dogs find loving fosters and permanent homes.
The organization’s primary goal is to reduce the number of days older dogs spend in shelters and rescues. To achieve this, they host over 25 outreach and adoption events each year to raise public awareness about the importance of senior dog adoption. Classic Canines has a program that helps qualifying adopters overcome medical hurdles to elderly dog adoption by providing reduced veterinary treatment and supplies.
It also has a medical sponsorship program for all rescued dogs with both treatable or untreatable medical problems. Below is a table showing the number and percentage of senior dogs Classic Canines has rescued over the last 3 years.
|Year of Intake||Number of Senior Dog Intake||Percentage of Senior Dog Intake (%)|
To adopt a senior dog from Classic Canines, visit their website and look at their available senior dogs. Then, click on the “adopt me” button and you’ll be prompted to fill out an adoption questionnaire. After filling out the questionnaire, you’ll receive an email with additional adoption information. Classic Canines doesn’t charge a fee for senior dogs (7 years and older). Here is a testimonial about adopting a senior dog. senior dogs (7 years and older). Here is a testimonial about adopting a senior dog.
8. Camp Golden Years (Dewey, AZ)
Camp Golden Years, operated by a veteran, specializes in senior dogs. Their website says: Veteran operated base of old rescue dogs looking to complete their final mission of finding a forever family for their golden years.
They want each senior recruit to live out their final days with dignity and respect. If they don’t find a forever home then Camp Golden Years will become their forever home. I went at Camp Golden Years and we hosted a senior dog pie eating contest, because, well. Why not? Watch the video below.
Many rescues and shelters across the country are brimming with beautiful, healthy senior dogs just waiting for you to adopt them. Many people opt for younger dogs because they’re not aware of the benefits of these senior dogs. So, here are some positives of adopting a senior dog:
- They are already trained and may be more receptive to new training.
- They can still enjoy an active lifestyle.
- Older dogs tend to be calmer.
- They have already been housebroken.
- Senior dogs can form a deep bond with you.
- They are well-behaved than younger pups.
Before adopting a senior dog, bear in mind that their care requirements may differ from younger dogs’. As a dog ages, it may become less mobile, develop hearing or sight problems, or become more prone to various diseases. So, to keep your senior pup healthy and happy, feed them a well-balanced diet, give them exercise, maintain their oral health, get them regular vet treatment, groom them regularly, and spend lots of time with them.
More Senior Dog Shelters & Sanctuaries In USA
- Peace of Mind Dog Rescue,
- Lily’s Legacy Senor Dog Sanctuary, Petaluma, CA
- Lionel’s Legacy
- Live Love, Long Beach, CA
- Leave No Paws Behind,
- Tails of Gray, Clayton, CA
- Grand-Paws Senior Sanctuary, Acton, CA
- Daisy Lu Ranch Senior Dog Sanctuary. Camarillo, CA
- Frosted Faces Foundation, Ramona, CA
- C.A.P.E. –Center for Animal Protection and Education, Scott’s Valley, CA
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon (SDRO)
- Wapwallopen, PA
- Gray Paws Sanctuary, Greater Pittsburgh and Southwestern PA
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
1. At what age does a dog become senior?
– Large breeds: 6 to 7 years old
– Mid-sized breeds: 8 to 9 years old
– Small breeds: 10 to 12 years old
2. Adopting a senior dog pros and cons
– Probably already trained (potty etc)
– More mellow. Doesn’t require as much exercise
– You’d be helping out an old soul who needs a forever home to live out their golden years
– You wouldn’t have as much time with a senior dog as you would with a puppy
– May incur vet bills if the dog becomes sick (but this would be the case eventually even if you adopted a puppy)
3. I’m thinking about adopting a senior dog near me. Where can I find one
-Forever Loved Pet Sanctuary (Scottsdale, AZ)
-The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs (Cleveland, OH)
-Muttville Senior Dog Rescue (San Francisco, CA)
-St. Louis Senior Dog Project (House Springs, MO)
-Senior Dog Haven and Hospice (Wilmington, DE)
-Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary (Mount Juliet, TN)
-Classic Canines, Inc (Austin, TX)
-Camp Golden Years, (AZ)
You can also check the chart above where we link to about 200 rescues specializing in senior dog adoption.
If you still don’t find anything simply type this into Google: Senior dog adoption near me
4. What are some tips for adopting a senior dog
1. Prepare a safe space for your senior dog so they can hide away if they get overwhelmed. A dog bed or a crate would be perfect.
2. If you have other pets, be sure to ease your new dog into the household.
3. Does your senior dog have any disabilities or limitations? If so you’ll need to adjust your home. For example, you might need a ramp or stairs so your dog can get on the couch or bed.
4. Just because your pet is “over the hill” doesn’t mean they should be a couch potato either. Still plan on walking your pet and adjust accordingly based on their ability and enthusiasm.
5. Make sure you have some of the same food at home they were feeding at the shelter. Then, you can transition to a higher quality food prepared for seniors.
5. When is Adopt a Senior Pet month?
It is in November.
7. How long does it take for an older dog to adjust to a new home?
About 3 weeks
8. Why do people NOT adopt older dogs? Is adopting an older dog a good idea?
People don’t adopt senior dogs because they prefer puppies, and spend the maximum amount of time with the dog. Also, puppies are so cute, people become enamored with that puppy spirit. That being said, adopting an older dog is an excellent idea, especially for older adults.
9. Should I adopt a senior dog?
Yes of course! Fostering a senior dog is a wonderful thing to do. If you’re not sure if you’re ready to foster, take our foster dog quiz. You’ll answer 11 questions to determine if fostering is for you. If it is, interested simply contact your local shelter or any that we have mentioned in this article and tell them you’d like to foster a senior dog. The good thing about fostering is that the rescue group still pays the vet bills. So you get to live with the dog, but wouldn’t have to pay for major expenses like surgeries. On the other hand, you’d be responsible to take the senior dog to adoption events to try to get them a forever home. So attending the adoption events is a big commitment.