Why Adopt a Senior Dog

Senior dog on the beach who needs to be adopted.

Senior dogs can be wonderful pets and companions. As with humans, some of the best canine years are their golden years. They are settled, house-broken, and just want to relax at home with their family. With a senior dog, you see what you get which is a great reason to adopt an older dog.

Sadly, many senior dogs end up in shelters or need to be rescued for a variety of reasons. Often their owner died and another home was not available. Some people surrender senior dogs to shelters due to health issues as they age, and may even ask the shelter to euthanize them rather than provide medical care. And worse yet, older dogs are sometimes just abandoned and left to fend for themselves.

When you adopt a senior dog, you can save his life, and allow him to live out his final years in a loving, caring environment. Probably the best reason to adopt a senior dog is for the warm companionship you will both have when opening your home to an older dog.

Benefits of Adopting A Senior Dog

Senior dogs are wonderful companions. They are usually much more mellow than younger dogs. In addition, they are often trained and housebroken, and they really appreciate just hanging out with you.

A dog is usually considered to be a senior anywhere from around 7 to 10 years old depending upon how long his or her breed is expected to live. Small breeds like Chihuahuas live to be 16 or 18 years. But a Golden Retriever may only live to be 10.

When you adopt an older dog, his personality will be fully developed and there will be no surprises. He is not going to get any bigger and he will not change much as he continues to age.

And finally, you can feel good about providing an aging dog with a loving home as he lives out his final years.


Of course, the downside is that senior dogs have more health issues as they age. Health care may become more expensive and an older dog may need a little more support. See my article about how to keep your senior dog healthy for more guidance on how you can help your older dog stay fit.

The only other issues may be bad habits your older dog learned in his prior life. He may need some re-training or a gentle correction for doing things like trying to eat off of the table or jumping on you. But these things can all be dealt with.

Where to Adopt

Rescue Groups, Shelters, Online

I have listed some reputable rescue groups that I have researched or become familiar with. But I also urge you to check with your local shelter, as they may have the type of dog you are looking for. And, you may save a dog’s life. Some shelters have a “kill” policy after long stays or when their facility reaches capacity.

You may also be surprised who you fall in love with or feel drawn toward the most. Be sure to see my post Everything You Need to Know About Adopting a Rescue Dog for a comprehensive guide to adoption.

My links to organizations are just a sampling. There are many additional organizations that you may also want to work with. Make sure they are a reputable organization registered as a 301(c)3 nonprofit. You can check their status on Guidestar.org which often includes 3 years of tax returns.

One additional note, you should steer away from private groups, especially those online, since they may be puppy mills in disguise. Also, buying a dog from a pet store probably saves that dog’s life. But just know that pet stores usually get their dogs from puppy mills. So, in the long run, don’t support retailers who sell dogs by buying their products.

Two very reputable online services include Petfinders.com and AKC Rescue Network. They can help you find breed-specific dogs of various ages, including puppies and seniors.

Lily’s Legacy

This nonprofit organization rescues, fosters, and facilitates the adoption of older large dogs. They have a large facility in Petaluma, California where rescued senior dogs can run and bark and play and rest. Lily’s Legacy also advocates for no-kill shelters.

Lily’s Legacy is listed on Guidestar and is highly rated on Greatnonprofits.org.


Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization based in Petaluma, CA.  Our mission is to provide a safe and loving home for large breed senior dogs (50+ pounds, 7 years or older) who have been displaced from their homes and/or abandoned for any reason, until they are adopted or to remain at the sanctuary until they pass on.

Contact Info:

website: https://www.lilyslegacy.org/available.html

Phone:  707-787-7010
Mailing Address:
PO Box 751002
Petaluma, CA  94975
Email: lilyslegacysds@gmail.com

Muttville — Senior Dog Rescue

This inspiring organization has rescued over 10,000 senior dogs of all sizes and breeds. They have a cage-free shelter which is a model for shelters around the world. They have the highest ratings on Guidestar and Charity Navigator and have been featured by various news organizations. Senior citizens can adopt free and get a welcome package to get started. They advocate for no-kill shelters.


Muttville (www.muttville.org) has grown from a small local rescue into an organization with international impact. We have rescued almost 10,000 dogs, our founder has been named a CNN Hero, and our organization has been lauded by the animal welfare community and the public. Our innovations, including our cage-free shelter, are being emulated around the world.

Contact Info:

Website: www.muttville.org

255 Alabama Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 272-4172

Scroll to Top