10 Pet Sanctuaries Where You Can Adopt a Senior Dog

Posted by Scott Tunstall

This article was updated in October 2020.

At animal shelters and rescue facilities across the country, senior pets are often the last to be adopted. Even though older dogs and cats are usually housetrained, well socialized and don’t require the same amount of supervision as puppies and kittens, they are sadly overlooked in the adoption process. To help bring awareness that older pets deserve to live out their golden years in peace and harmony, November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month. If you’re thinking about welcoming a four-legged member into your family, the following 10 sanctuaries and rescue groups specialize in finding loving homes for elderly pets.

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

San Francisco, CA
Poodle strikes a pose. Photo by BringFido/Tiffany Bernhardt

What began in 2007 as one animal advocate working from her home has blossomed into a nationally renowned rescue that saves nearly 1,000 senior dogs per year. Muttville Senior Dog Rescue opens its collective arms to strays and abandoned pups from the Bay Area and other regions of California. They also offer a Seniors for Seniors program for adults over the age of 62 that waives the adoption fee and supplies them with a complimentary harness, leash, collar, comfy bed, bowls and some food and medication.

Go to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue to see the currently available mutts and fill out an application questionnaire. The $200 adoption fee helps pay for spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations and other medical care. You can also become a Mutt Guardian sustaining donor instead.

The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs

Cleveland, OH
A face to bring home. Photo by Facebook.com/Sr.Dogs

Operating in the Cleveland area for 20 years, The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs specializes in rescuing and adopting older dogs. They are dedicated to finding forever homes for aged pups either abandoned in a shelter after an owner’s passing or forced to spend their lives on the streets as strays. All dogs at the sanctuary are spayed or neutered, given proper medical care and housed in a foster home before being adopted.

A veterinary reference and phone interview are required during the application process. If your application is approved, a meeting with your prospective pooch will be arranged as well as a home visit. You can view the adoptable pups and request an application by visiting The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs website. The adoption fee is $125.

Forever Loved Pet Sanctuary

Scottsdale, AZ
“Could you hand me the remote?” Photo by Facebook.com/ForeverLovedPetSanctuary

As one of the only rescues for senior pets in Maricopa County, Forever Loved Pet Sanctuary strives to give forgotten and abandoned dogs a second chance. The sanctuary endeavors to educate the public about the value of aging pets by focusing on pups 7 years or older. It’s responsible for uniting numerous elder canines with loving families since being founded in 2012, saving lives in a region with one of the highest pet euthanasia rates in the U.S.

You can see the dogs available for adoption and fill out an application form on the Forever Loved Pet Sanctuary website. A donation of $100 to $200 is requested for every adoption. You can also become a Forever Hero by making a recurring monthly donation to help care for senior pups year-round.

St. Louis Senior Dog Project

House Springs, MO
Cuddle buddies. Photo by Facebook.com/St.LouisSeniorDogProject

An all-volunteer non-profit organization, the St. Louis Senior Dog Project rescues dogs of all ages but focuses its adoption efforts on pups 5 years or older. Every senior pooch is spayed/neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, microchipped and provided with regular veterinary and dental care. Once you select a furry friend in need, the Project will review your application and conduct a phone interview within 72 hours. They also check references and contact your vet to ensure you can provide an environment suitable for a senior pet. Next, a meet-and-greet home visit is scheduled so you and your pooch of choice can spend some quality cuddle time together and go over any potential issues that need to be addressed. If your family is a match, your elderly bundle of joy will be delivered.

Adoptable dogs and online applications are viewable at St. Louis Senior Dog Project. Adoption fees vary based on the age of the dog.

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary

Mount Juliet, TN
Dreaming of a forever home. Photo by Facebook.com/OldFriendsSeniorDogSanctuary

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization committed to finding forever foster homes for senior dogs. More than 100 aged pups are housed in the sanctuary, and numerous others reside in temporary and permanent foster homes. Canines of all sizes are accepted, including those with impaired vision or dementia, “dog selective” dogs who prefer to be an only pet and “bonded pair” pooches that can’t be separated from one another.

If you’re interested in becoming a foster, a phone interview will be conducted, followed by an informal home visit. Your vet will also be contacted for a reference. If approved, the sanctuary will find a match, or you can view the furry friends on their website and message them to schedule a meet-and-greet with a sweet senior eager to join a nurturing family. All foster families must live within 100 miles of Mount Juliet.

Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon

Corvallis, OR
Loves short walks, grassy beds and belly rubs. Photo by Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon

Over the last 20 years, the Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon has helped save and find forever homes for more than 1,000 elderly pups. Specializing in canines 6 years and older, the rescue brings in dogs dropped at shelters and those left homeless due to a traumatic event and places them in foster care prior to adoption. Every pooch is examined by a vet, immunized and microchipped.

All adoption applications are reviewed within 10 days, and meet-and-greets will be scheduled if a match is made. After a preliminary adoption form is signed, you will begin a two-week trial period. They even provide a certified dog trainer to advise you at no additional cost. Adoptable pups and online applications can be found here. The standard adoption fee is $150 and $135 for senior citizens.

Senior Dog Haven and Hospice

Wilmington, DE
“Stay off my lawn!” Photo by Facebook.com/SeniorDogHaven

The Senior Dog Haven and Hospice is where “grey muzzles are nuzzled.” This nonprofit all-volunteer organization re-homes dogs 7 years or older and also provides hospice care for terminally ill pups. Their thorough adoption screening process includes contacting references, a scheduled home visit and a one-week trial period to ensure pups and prospective owners are a perfect match. Go to Senior Dog Haven and Hospice to see the adoptable pups and download the application form. The fee is $125.

Home for Life Animal Sanctuary

Stillwater, MN
Out for a leisurely stroll. Photo by Facebook.com/homeforlifeorg

Home for Life Animal Sanctuary houses more than 200 dogs and cats, including retired working canines, pets with special needs and animals surrendered by owners who are no longer able to provide the care they need to survive. The sanctuary’s doggy townhouses and cattery apartments are supplied with comfy beds, heated floors and plenty of windows so senior pets can snooze in the sunlight. However, these four-legged guests are eager to find permanent homes with loving families.

Peruse the gallery of adorable pups and kitties and apply for adoption at the sanctuary’s website. You can also sponsor an animal through monthly and yearly donations.

Vintage Paws Sanctuary

Sarasota, FL
Nap time is the best time. Photo by Facebook.com/vintagepaws

The motto at Vintage Paws Sanctuary is “Silver linings for silver paws.” Its mission is to transition senior dogs and those with terminal illnesses into welcoming homes to live out the rest of their lives surrounded by caring individuals and families. In addition to finding safe havens for Fido, Vintage Paws also allows you to sponsor aged pups through its Senior Buddy program. Monthly donations help pay for nutritious food, warm sweaters, much-needed vaccinations and doggy denture cleanings. To view the adoptable canines and fill out an application, visit Vintage Paws Sanctuary. The adoption fee if $125.

The Grey Muzzle Organization

Raleigh, NC
Even old boys love new toys. Photo by Facebook.com/GreyMuzzle

Sustained funding is one of the most critical factors in caring for senior dogs, and The Grey Muzzle Organization is dedicated to assisting in the process. Grey Muzzle provides money and resources to sanctuaries, shelters and rescues across the country that specialize in adopting senior dogs. Since 2008, it has raised close to $2 million dollars for dozens of nonprofit animal welfare organizations, and helped save the lives of thousands of elder pups. All funds are collected through public donations and distributed annually via grants. The monies raised by Grey Muzzle pay for medical assistance and dental care, support hospice programs and benefit Senior-for-Senior adoptions.

Would you consider adopting a senior dog? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by Facebook.com/vintagepaws.