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About Us

History

In 2010, our co-founders, Zina & Michael Goodin, were inspired to create a sanctuary for senior dogs after volunteering with a local golden retriever rescue. When they saw that seniors of the most popular breed in America were having trouble finding homes and receiving the love and care they so deserved, they realized there was a desperate need for a place dedicated to senior dogs of all breeds.

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary began its journey in the Goodin’s home and received official nonprofit status on April 26, 2012. Even though they were each still working full-time jobs outside of starting a non-profit, Zina & Michael made their mission their priority and were solely responsible for rescuing and caring for the senior dogs in their home. What is now known as the Home Gang was originally split into two different gangs: The Calm Gang (who resided downstairs) and The Wild Gang (who resided upstairs). There was even a group lovingly referred to as The Peanut Gallery; a select few members of The Calm Gang who would circumvent the downstairs gate, climb the stairs, and hangout at the landing while wistfully watching The Wild Gang from behind the upstairs gate. Bentley, who is still with us at The PAWvillions, was a member of said Gallery!

In 2014, two years after the inception of OFSDS, the cabin next door to Zina & Michael’s home went up for sale. Knowing that this was additional space they would need in order to help more senior dogs, they purchased the property and made extensive renovations to ensure it was dog-safe. Lucy-Lu’s Lookout, as it was officially dubbed, welcomed its first residents in 2015. About 15 dogs lived there simultaneously. This was also when Zina & Michael hired OFSDS’s first three employees: two to care for The Calm Gang and Lucy-Lu’s Lookout and one to help with the foster program and transports. This location was the organization’s first expansion (of a handful to come). It has since returned to being a residential dwelling, where one of our longtime staff resides with her crew of Old Friends.

It was late 2016 when Zina & Michael faced what was, at the time, one of their biggest challenges: neighbors didn’t want the sanctuary in the neighborhood and they were given just three months’ notice from the city that they had to move the organization out of their home. They found a location that would work for them but, as time approached to sign the lease, the building owner suddenly changed their mind. Thankfully, Zina & Michael had recently held a fundraiser for their move and the donations from that event were enough to put a down-payment on a local garden center that had just come on the market. The entire building had to be converted and all the electrical had to be replaced to make it suitable for the needs of senior dogs. This was a challenge in and of itself, not to mention that OFSDS was not well-funded or financially stable at the time. This building was affectionately named Grandpaw’s Gardens and officially became the home of OFSDS in February 2017. It provided true sanctuary to our residents for just over four years and proved to be what many would call a “blessing in disguise,” as it provided an avenue for our organization to grow quickly and save more seniors.

In 2019, OFSDS started to show signs of rapid growth. Zina & Michael realized that, while Grandpaw’s Gardens was a truly great space for their needs at the time, it would not be long before OFSDS outgrew it. With that in mind, they began planning a brand-new building, customized for the needs of senior dogs (plus a few extra fun things, like a Splash Pad!). With sincere thanks to all of our donors, The PAWvillions came to life. We officially made the move on June 12, 2021 and, with the help of volunteers and community members, transported over 70 dogs just under a mile down the road via a celebratory Senior Dog Parade, and it. was. awesome. Life for our Old Friends at The PAWvillions is truly wonderful: everyone has more indoor space, more outdoor space, a real walking trail to enjoy, and – of course – a complete veterinary wing and on-site physical therapy! We offer tours and have a wonderful volunteer program, and are always looking for Geezer Guardians for our Old Friends!

Since 2012, Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary has welcomed more than 1,400 senior dogs into its program. We currently have 125 Old Friends living at the sanctuary and over 400 living in forever homes with Geezer Guardians. We provide high-quality care to these 500+ seniors for life.

 

Mission 

  • To provide a loving home, good food, high quality vet care, compassion, and comfort to senior dogs for the remainder of their lives.
  • To build a Forever Foster Home network to enable us to place more senior dogs in loving home settings for the duration of their lives.
  • To provide education on the joys and challenges of caring for aging dogs.
  • To work with other dog rescue groups to promote the adoption of senior dogs.

 

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary is a Forever Foster Home based Sanctuary in beautiful Mount Juliet, Tennessee, generally housing approximately 120 senior dogs at the Sanctuary and others in temporary and Forever Foster Homes. While providing lifetime homes for senior dogs, OFSDS strives to raise awareness of the joys and challenges of living with older dogs. We are a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. We do not concern ourselves with the quantity of time that they have left, rather the quality of the life that we can provide them for that time.
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