If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I have a strong empathy and love for old pets. Nothing melts my heart more than white muzzles, cloudy eyes and a shuffling gait. Having seen so many of them turned into rescues and shelters during my career, it just boggles my mind that anyone could be so heartless. I actually overheard a man who walked into a shelter with an older dog and said he was surrendering it because it was getting older. And in the next breath asked if he could see any puppies.  He wanted to swap! Of course, the shelter denied his application for another dog. No doubt, he drove a few miles to the nearest puppy mill and got his new dog without shedding a tear of regret over his old friend. 

I personally have been blessed to have had several dogs come into my life during their golden years. Although our time together was short, I will hold them dearly in my heart forever as if they had been with me for their entire lifetime. And I will continue to adopt older pets, the true castaways of the animal world. Thank goodness for rescue organizations who find homes for these old sweethearts.  Most rescue groups take in older pets but I’d like to dedicate today’s post to some organizations who cater only to older pets. Some of them look for homes for them while others provide a permanent residence for them. And I’m also featuring organizations who give grants for the care of older pets.

I’m sure that I missed quite a few organizations but here are a few that I found. If you know of any others, please post them in the comments. There cannot be enough people taking care of the elderly animals. 

House with a Heart Senior Pet Sanctuary 

I just recently stumbled upon this sanctuary on Facebook and was pleased to learn that it is in my home state of Maryland. House with a Heart (HWAH) is actually a house – a house that is the permanent home for about 30 senior dogs and 5 senior cats. These pets are not up for adoption. They are home and well cared for by Sher Polvinale, the founder, and a bevy of volunteers. This place is my dream, that one day I will be able to have a home to give forever shelter and loving to senior pets.

The issue with seniors is expenses.  Just like humans, as they age their health care costs increase. It takes a great deal of money to support this many pets. Even though HWAH has a lot of volunteers, they need money even more.  They are taking part in the Animal Rescue Site’s Shelter Challenge to qualify for grants. Please vote for them to give them the chance to win some money.

The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs 

Located in Ohio, the Sanctuary for Senior Dogs is an all foster home organization.  There is no physical shelter housing the dogs. Some dogs are up for adoption while others who are more infirm are in permanent hospice in the foster homes. They have an Adoption and Education Center where people can come to meet the dogs (last Sunday of the month) as well as hours just about every day so that people can learn more about the organization. They also have a Seniors for Seniors program that matches older dogs with older people.  I love that!

The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs is also taking part in the Animal Rescue Site’s Shelter Challenge to qualify for grants.

Old Dog Haven  

Old Dog Haven is not a physical shelter either but a network of foster homes in Washington state that provides foster homes for senior dogs. They have quite an impressive chart on their home page, showing just how adoptable older dogs can be.  Please check it out.  For instance, in 2010, they adopted out 149 seniors!  Already in 2011, they have 219 dogs in their care. That’s fantastic.  That’s a lot of foster homes.  I’d love to know their secret. Maybe one day I can interview them to determine how they accomplish what they’re doing.

 Old Dog Haven is also participating in the Animal Rescue Site’s Shelter Challenge.

 Grey Muzzle Organization 

Grey Muzzle is not a shelter or rescue group but a team of volunteers specializing in fundraising. They give grant money to shelters and rescues specifically for senior dogs.

The goals of  the Grey Muzzle Organization are to help shelters give senior dogs a second chance to know they are loved and to enable animal welfare organizations to improve their ability to provide care, comfort, and loving homes for old dogs. They carefully choose the organizations that they support to be sure that they all have a commitment to senior dogs. They do this by raising money that is distributed annually, via grants, to animal welfare organizations and applicable rescue groups. These funds are raised through public donations; they are not a privately endowed foundation.  Through these grants, they help to build programs around the country that meet the special needs of senior dogs and only support programs run by non-profit animal welfare organizations. 

A Chance for Bliss 

Here’s another place that I wish could be mine. A Chance for Bliss is a physical sanctuary, not just for homeless dogs and cats but they also have farm animals: horses, pigs, goats, fowl. Located in California, this sanctuary was founded by a husband and wife who were going to buy a puppy but instead felt drawn to adopt a pair of elderly Boston Terriers. From there, divine intervention took over and as they say, the rest is history.  In their 11 years, they have cared for over 180 animals.

Who else?  Maybe one day, I can add myself to the list!