Explore is a philanthropic media organization

Sophie, at 17, probably our oldest Old Friend

OFSDS: Love Us As We Are

Our Old Friends aren’t perfect – we love them for who they are….

Often we will get comments that are curious or critical of the look of one of our Old Friends…. Too fat, too skinny, bad hair, cloudy eyes, eye gunk, bad skin, you name it.

Remember, we are a senior dog rescue, not a breeder trying to spiff up their dogs to sell or dog show. We show our Old Friends as they are, and we love them for who they are.  There are skin problems, illnesses that leave them thin, problems that make them fat, lots of things. Is Grandma perfect? No. Do we point out her problems when we see her? Of course not. It is a part of growing older. Models are in their twenties, not senior citizens.

And, just like Grandpa gets a little crotchety as he gets older, so do our Old Friends. They don’t want to be told what to do, they don’t want Junior bouncing off the side of them and they have their aches and pains that they are dealing with. They want to take a nap.

Many of the Old Friends that you see at the Sanctuary are here because they have particularly severe needs or problems. Those that go to Forever Foster Homes are, in general, those with fewer, or less annoying, issues. If their problems are too annoying, they will often end up back here with us, at the Sanctuary. Fortunately, we do have some very special, and senior experienced, Forever Foster Families who are able to help us with the more difficult dogs. We do not dwell on our Old Friend’s problems, we celebrate them for who they are.


Triscuit, a slow-moving ol’ guy with a little dementia

In addition, many of our old friends have only been with us for a few days or months. They will often become healthier once they get whatever it is they need; warmth, rest, good food, medication, companionship, whatever….

When you watch our Old Friends walk, they may be slow and a little wobbly. That’s part of the aging process. You should see some of us who work and volunteer at the sanctuary some mornings (or afternoons and evenings for that matter).


Tinker, doing great on three legs.

There are many problems, similar to those of their senior human companions, that senior dogs face. Here is a list of some, but not all of what we deal with every day, both here and in our Forever Foster homes. A few of these issues can be moderated with medication and/or vetting.
Mobility problems, mostly due to arthritis or back problems.

Heart problems


Kidney problems

Thyroid problems

Incontinence or inability to “hold it” long enough to get out the door or make it through the night.

Skin Problems

Blindness, or reduced vision

Deafness, or reduced hearing

Diabetes or Cushings Disease

Crabbiness, especially when they are being asked to do something they don’t want to do

Few or no teeth



Lots of lumps and irregularities that are “just there”

Missing legs

Don’t worry, every senior doesn’t have all of these problems, and some don’t have any of them, but most have one or two. Within our group of over 130 dogs here at the Sanctuary, we have all of these problems in one, or many of our Old Friends. Our Old Friends live in the moment. As long as they are able to live with a predominantly good quality of life now, they do not worry about their ailments.

The reason that these dogs have ended up homeless and the reason that they don’t readily find a new home is often their “quirks”.  They are in shelters, noisy, cramped environments they are not used to.


Howard (Front left) eats like a horse and is gaining weight slowly. Florence (front right) eating healthy on thyroid meds and is slowly losing weight. Francis, now perfect, used to be thin like Howard.

Some of them have just lost their lifetime owners. They are stressed, they are susceptible to skin and mobility problems that show them in a less than desirable light. They often remain in shelters while the younger, more resilient, ‘’prettier” dogs go home with new families.

Senior Dogs are not for everyone and often are best understood by Senior Humans or those who are familiar with senior problems. OFSDS takes away some of the worries of having a senior dog through our Forever Foster Program, where vetting and preventatives are covered for the rest of the Old Friend’s life and where there is a network of folks to help in case of problems. We also provide a safety net for the dog and take them back to find a better fit for them if a placement doesn’t work out.

These Old Friends are very special and, if given a chance, can profoundly enhance the lives of those around them, both human and four-legged. If you are interested in adding a senior dog to your family and live within our Foster Area, fill out an application so that we can work with you to find the right Old Friend for your family. If not, visit your local rescues and shelters. There are senior dogs everywhere who would love to be a part of your family.


Tune in here every week for more updates from Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary!