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We want our elderly folks to live their twilight years taking it easy. Whether they’re sitting on the front porch or playing golf, we want them to enjoy the time they have left and be unburdened by the buzz of daily life. After a lifetime of caring for their families and friends, they’re finally cared for by other people for once.
Shouldn’t elderly dogs have the same opportunity?
A new shelter near Kansas City, Missouri, is dedicated to providing a comfortable, loving environment for homeless shelter dogs at the end of their life. Called Shep’s Place Senior Dog Sanctuary, the shelter opened in April 2019 and you can check out all their current canine residents on their website.
Founder Dr. Russell Clothier created this retirement home for senior dogs after he noticed that many of them were living out their days in traditional shelters and not being adopted.
“Why are you still here?” He told FOX 59. “We need to get you out of here. You need to be spending your golden days in retirement.”
Clothier purchased a home to put the shelter in, and received an animal shelter license from the state of Missouri. The house contains a yard for where the dogs can roam. It also has kennels inside where the dogs sleep.
Living at Shep’s Place is not meant to be a stopover on the way to their “fur-ever home,” nor do they anticipate creating a fostering program. Yes, the dogs are available for adoption, but they can also live out their twilight years there if a suitable home is not found. Instead, Shep’s Place is truly meant to be their retirement home.
This photo posted to the Shep’s Place Facebook page shows one volunteer giving “the greatest gift” of all — love and attention — to a sweet older dog named Lady.
“Unlike a shelter, we are not primarily concerned with finding new homes for our dogs,” the FAQ page explains. “They are free to stay at Shep’s forever, if they want.”
Shep’s Place is also adamant that it will not euthanize dogs unless their health is causing them great suffering. “We will NEVER euthanize a dog merely because we need space, or don’t believe they can be adopted,” according to the site.
Potential adopters of elderly dogs from Shep’s Place must fill out an application and submit to a home visit. Adopters should also understand the pros and cons of welcoming a senior dog into the home.
What To Know About Senior Dogs
Senior dogs are beloved by those who adopt them for their mellow personalities. They tend to move a little more slowly, and don’t require the same intensity of physical exercise as a younger dog. Plus, no teething puppies chewing up your furniture here! You may not need to invest in things like an invisible fence or an electronic training collar, either.
Just look at this video of senior sweeties enjoying some social time outside:
Bada** Brooklyn Animal Rescue noted that senior dogs are often in good health when they are surrendered, and any existing health issues are likely already known.
“Seniors have tremendous advantages,” added the Big Fluffy Dog Rescue (where I adopted a senior dog from!). “What you see is what you get. There is no mystery about what they will be when they grow up.”
Additionally, if your senior dog had already been homed, he or she likely is already potty-trained.
How To Help
Shep’s Place is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, which means it accepts donations in order to care for the elderly dogs. As this Facebook post explains, donations can help the center provide crucial healthcare for the dogs.