Golden Oldies

The cutest dog-related page on the Internet isn’t a page dedicated to puppies, or Pugs, or even to dogs reacting to snow for the first time—it’s the Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary’s Facebook page. BuzzFeed called it “the best Facebook page that exists,” and in our book, that’s not hyperbole.

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary is a Tennessee dog sanctuary for senior dogs, particularly those with medical problems or disabilities, and we at Modern Dog have been fans for years. Their photos of elegant Ms. Gertrude, a Lab-mix mutt, opinionated Pug Mildred, and troublemaking senior duo Jake and Jeff, brighten up our Facebook feed everyday. We reached out to Zina Goodin, co-founder of Senior Dog Sanctuary, to chat about her wonderful dogs and the non-profit organization they started in 2012.

“We started off as a breed specific rescue of Golden Retrievers,” recalls Zina. However, it wasn't long before she started to notice that senior dogs were being dumped in shelters, and that these seniors often faced euthanasia. For Zina, this simply just wouldn’t do. They changed their focus to saving old dogs and the rest, as they say, is history.

Investing in senior dogs is neither cheap nor easy, but Zina and her husband are deeply dedicated to their charges at Old Friends. Theirs is a for-life program, meaning that Zina and Michael ensure all of their rescues are in a loving home for the duration of their days. 20 of the dogs currently live with Zina and Michael, another 30 senior rescues call the Sanctuary's new, nearby five-acre location home, and others are placed with local fosters (within 100 miles of Juliet, Tennessee) that volunteer with the Sanctuary.

Interested in adopting a sweet senior yourself and giving a deserving dog a loving home to spend his final years? The rewards are many, but Zina notes that you do need to be prepared for mobility issues and incontinence, along with possible blindness or deafness and resultant communication issues. For example, Captain Ron, one of Old Friends’ celebrity seniors and a favourite on Facebook, is deaf and often gets confused when other dogs bark at him. Zina also advises people to give these older rescues time to settle in. Many have been passed from shelter to shelter and often need to get used to a new home. That said, Zina would urge you to take a chance on an old dog. The sweet photos that Senior Dog Sanctuary shares of their happy seniors doing their thing certainly show that, given the chance, old dogs can shine. Follow their Facebook page for daily heartwarming updates as to what these golden oldies are up to (napping!) and a reminder that although the Internet may be full of cat people, dogs really do get their share of love.

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