Misty, the 10-year-old Golden Retriever who inspired the Senior Dogs Project

The Senior Dogs Project
..........."Looking Out for Older Dogs" ...........

"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."
Sydney Jeanne Seward


Notes for Shelter and Rescue Workers Helping to Re-home Senior Dogs

Confidence in Placing a Senior Dog

It is sometimes hard to feel confident about placing an older dog. We all know that an older dog usually has fewer years left than a young dog, and also that health problems are more likely to surface. Steve Shlyer of Vizla Rescue makes an important observation about this: "If a dog placed through rescue as a senior is given another home -- a loving home -- I believe we are able to add years to that dog's life -- years she would not have had in her original home. It is like a burst of energy for the dog -- a return to youth -- that will prolong the dog's life, imbuing her with purpose and optimism. Sammy, my senior rescue, has shown me on several occasions his ability to be a youngster again, as if he wants to tell me how he was when he was young, explaining to me what he was like as a puppy."

Steve further observes: "Often, the coordinator helping to place the senior dog finds him/herself making excuses for the dog. When a family says, 'Oh, I want a dog for a long time and that dog is too old,' I say, 'It is better to give a dog quality time for whatever period he has left; you may be giving him the best years of his life.' "

Humane Education

There is a wealth of information and food for thought on the websites for Save Our Strays and for Best Friends Sanctuary. These are excellent resources for both short- and long-term goals of finding homes for dogs and for improving the conditions of animals in our society.

No Voice Unheard

No Voice Unheard No Voice Unheard is an all-volunteer, non-profit 501(c)3 organization founded and operated by former animal shelter workers with over forty combined years of experience in animal advocacy. The group is dedicated to promoting compassion and respect for all living beings and the planet we share. Their site and the books they publish are inspirational.

Guidance for Shelter/Rescue Operations

The ASPCA has published a three-ring binder book, "Keys to a Great Shelter," which has detailed information on how to incorporate, manage employees, raise funds, design a shelter, initiate adoption programs, set up veterinary guidelines, etc. It is available for $30 from:

National Shelter Outreach
424 East 92nd Street
New York, NY 10128

For more info, call (212) 876-7700, ext. 4403, or E-mail: outreach@aspca.org

Best Friends Informational Booklets

Best Friends Sanctuary has published online a series of booklets that are excellent resources for rescue workers. You may download "How to Find Homes for Homeless Pets" among many other useful publications.

The Internet as a Resource

The Internet has made an enormous impact on the rehoming of animals. Here are some suggestions for advertising and "networking" on the Internet:

All-breed Rescue

Shelters and rescue agencies listed by state on srdogs.com

The srdogs.com site lists many shelters and rescue agencies that have indicated they are willing to help senior dogs find homes. Most of the shelters are "no kill," but those that aren't will do their best to help an older dog find a home. You can use this list to see which group might have room for a dog you are trying to rehome. Although not totally inclusive, you should also check Fluffynet's list of no-kill shelters.

You can also use the google search engine for additional shelter and rescue contacts.

Breed-specific Rescue

Breed rescue listings on srdogs

If the dog you are trying to place is of a specific breed, you should always contact the appropriate breed rescue group. In addition to the breed rescue page on srdogs (linked at the left), be sure to use the google search engine for additional breed rescue contacts (use a search term such as "Pug Rescue.")

Senior-specific Rescue

There are a number or organizations dedicated specifically to the rescue and rehoming of dogs over the age of five years. A few specialize in placing senior dogs with senior citizens. Use the links at the left to access the information.

Internet Advertising

Just type in your zip code and breed of dog, and you'll get info on dogs available in your area. This is also a very good place to post a dog in need of a new home.


The Dogsnose web site is a facility, operated by dog loving volunteers, where people everywhere can register their willingness to help dogs in need and discuss issues relating to canine rescue. It is not an animal rehoming site, there are many such rescues already on the Internet. What makes Dogsnose unique and vital within the dog rescue fraternity, is its database of helpers who WILL help dog rescues and thus, in turn, dogs in need. It is a people-to-people site with the welfare of canines to the fore. Add the forum -- a medium for dialogue -- and this makes Dogsnose central to helping dogs worldwide.

Advertising with E-groups and E-mail Lists

Senior Dog Rescue E-mail List
Send an E-mail message to SeniorDogRescue-subscribe@yahoogroups.com for more information.

SENIORDOGRESCUE@egroups.com and, in New Hampshire, NHDOGRESCUE@egroups.com are also good places to post ads.

All-age rescue advertising:

Send an E-mail message to --


Leave the subject line blank. In the body of the message form, type:


Subscribers to the list may post information on dogs needing rescue.

If you wish more information before subscribing to the list, write to: dog-rescue-request@apple.ease.lsoft.com

Print advertising

Print advertising is highly effective. Check the "Pets" ad pages in your local newspaper. Many papers have a special section for dog rescue. Community or church or supermarket bulletin boards are also places to post flyers advertising a dog in need of a home. The Best Friends site has examples of the format for a flyer. Local vet hospitals may also be helpful in posting flyers and offering contacts.

Encourage Foster Care

Fostering a senior dog

The srdogs.com site has posted a motivational/informational piece about the benefits of fostering for senior dogs. Please feel free to print it out and use it to encourage people to foster a senior dog. You can access it via the link at the left.

Be Cautious

There are many things to be cautious about in placing a dog into a new home. Not all homes will qualify or be appropriate for a specific dog. Please visit the following websites for guidance:





In this Internet age, it often happens that a dog is adopted by someone who is some distance away. A number of E-groups -- all volunteers -- have organized themselves to help with transporting dogs throughout the US. See the list.


List of sanctuaries on srdogs.com

The need for an alternative to euthanasia for senior and special needs dogs has been answered by several organizations in the U.S. If you have run out of all other possibilities, these are places you should try. They are "last resort" only in the sense that you should do all you can through other means before applying to them. They are normally excellent facilities, and are often successful in rehoming older and special needs dogs where others have failed. Any dog who is not rehomed lives out his natural life at the facility. Unfortunately, space at these sanctuaries is usually quite scarce.

If you are not familiar with the operation of a sanctuary, you should request references and network to find out about it before releasing a dog to the organization. There have been cases of sanctuaries that are not well run. To this end, you can visit the website of the American Sanctuary Association. The group has been organized to provide a more efficient means by which to find and identify quality facilities in which to place homeless, abused or abandoned animals, facilitate the exchange of information among animal caregivers, and to create public awareness of the national problem of homeless native and non-native wild and domestic animals.