This morning, 6/28/2019, TODAY brings us some good news for animal lovers but especially for nearly 400 senior dogs. Man’s best friend, the most loyal creature on the planet deserves to be spoiled in their last days. So many times they are simply discarded for simply being old, turned over to shelters because the owners are unable to care for them, or changes in lifestyles. Not, in this case.
Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, is a fairy tale land for former shelter dogs in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. Hundreds more are lounging on soft beds and soaking up affection in “forever foster homes” located within a 100-mile radius of the sanctuary. Foster families get to care for calm, content pets without ever having to worry about a single vet bill, and the once-homeless dogs get to spend the rest of their days as part of a family.
“When they come to us from the shelter, we say, ‘Today is the day that they start their new life,'” Zina Goodin, co-founder of Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, told TODAY. “We just try to help them feel better and make them healthy so they can live out the rest of their lives happily.”
Zina, 62, and her husband, Michael Goodin, 66, started the sanctuary in 2012 when they were semi-retired and on the prowl for meaningful volunteer opportunities. The couple saw a huge need to help older animals at shelters in Middle Tennessee, where euthanasia rates are high.
“People are less likely to adopt a senior dog from the shelter because they worry about the additional veterinary needs and medications,” Zina Goodin said. “Just like senior people, senior dogs have special needs … so the senior dogs need rescue more than the younger dogs do.”
Eager to prevent older dogs from dying alone and afraid in shelters, the Goodins started out by taking a posse of pooches into their own home. Their efforts gradually grew as friends and strangers heard about what they were doing and offered to foster even more senior dogs in their homes. Then, in 2014 and 2015, that gradual growth became exponential thanks to social media; people began falling madly in love with dogs featured on the Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary’s Facebook page.
“Almost like a soap opera, people would cling onto certain dogs,” Michael Goodin said. “They loved it!”
Today, Old Friends has more than 1.8 million followers on Facebook, live cams so fans can watch the dogs’ antics in real time online and about 400 rescued senior dogs in its care.
Two and a half years ago, the sanctuary relocated to 2 acres on the site of a former garden center. In their expanded digs, senior dogs can roam inside or outside as much as they want, and there’s no shortage of soft surfaces, socializing, sniffing and snoring.
The sanctuary relies on more than 300 volunteers and employs 26 people, including a full-time, on-site veterinarian to help keep the dogs’ health-care costs down.
Ref. MSN/lifestyle, today.com
Photo courtesy of Bing via dogvacay.com