Senior Dogs for Senior Citizens

The best place to find senior dogs for senior citizens is at an animal shelter.

There are many non-profit organizations and animal shelters located throughout the U.S. that have programs specially designed to aid senior citizens in adopting senior dogs as pets. Some also sponsor adoption programs for dogs who can no longer be cared for by their owners who may have become too ill to care for their pet or are forced to give up their loving companion for other reasons.

Whether you are a senior looking for a pet dog to be a loving companion for life, or you need to find a good home for a pet you can no longer care for, listed below are some sources to contact for assistance.

The Berkeley East Bay Humane Society is a private non-profit located in Berkeley, California devoted to finding homes for dogs of all ages. A ‘Golden Paws Program’ promotes awareness and adoption of senior animals. Through the Golden Paws Program, senior people can adopt senior pets for half-price. All senior pets receive 20% off vaccines at the Society’s hospital for life, among other perks and freebies. You can reach them by telephone at (510) 845-7735 or write them at 2700 – 9th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710.

H.A.R.T. (Humane Animal Rescue Team) is a non-profit organization devoted to rescuing senior dogs from senior individuals who have become too ill to take care of their dog, have to go into a retirement home, or have passed away. The H.A.R.T. sanctuary can take in 50 dogs at a time, and has an 80% success rate in adopting out dogs to loving families. Their adoption policy is strict, screening prospective adopters very carefully, performing a house check, and carefully matching the right dog to the right family. H.A.R.T. takes on the very tough cases, and depends on donations as well as people to adopt and foster their seniors and special needs dogs. If you are interested in adoption of a senior dog or a long-term foster arrangement, H.A.R.T. may be able to absorb all associated veterinarian costs during the dog’s lifetime. You can reach them by telephone at (310) 204-4350 or write them at P.O. Box 5465, Chatsworth, CA 91313.

Muttville, in San Francisco, CA, is dedicated to improving the lives of senior dogs. On a local level, Muttville rescues senior dogs and finds them foster homes or gives them hospice. On a global level, Muttville provides information about caring for older dogs and support for people who do. Through associations with shelters and other animal organizations, Muttville finds senior dogs that have been given up and are not likely to find adopted homes. Through outreach and networking, Muttville finds suitable foster homes for these dogs. You can reach them by telephone at (415) 272-4172 or write them at Muttville, P.O. Box 410207, San Francisco, CA 94141

Nike Animal Rescue Foundation is a northern California-based program that matches seniors (over 62 years of age) with senior dogs (over 6 years). You can reach them by telephone at (408) 224-6273 or write them at P.O. Box 26587, San Jose, CA 95159.

Senior Mutt Match, San Diego, CA. The mission of Senior Mutt Match is to help promote the adoption of senior dogs (ages five and older) from shelters and rescue groups in the San Diego community. Their focus is to educate the San Diego community in general, and senior citizens specifically, about the wonderful benefits of adopting a senior mutt. Their objective is a life-time match between a senior dog and his or her new forever family. This is a win-win situation since many senior dogs will have their lives spared and just as many citizens, young and old, will have their lives enhanced by animal companionship. All dogs in shelters are lovingly referred to as “mutts” whether they are a purebred or a mix of breeds. You can reach them by telephone at (847) 529-2025.

Peace of Mind Dog Rescue in Pacific Grove, CA is a nonprofit organization founded in October 2009. Peace of Mind is dedicated to finding new loving homes for dogs whose guardians can no longer care for them due to illness, death, or other challenging circumstances, and to finding homes for senior dogs in animal shelters. Peace of Mind has a lifetime commitment to all the dogs that come into their care. They will either live out their lives in one of their foster homes or will be adopted into a wonderful, permanent home. You can reach them by telephone at (831) 718-9122 or write them at P.O. Box 51554, Pacific Grove, CA 93950. Their email address is .

Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends (AARF) is located in Atlanta, GA. Their “Silver Paws” program matches older dogs with senior citizens. They pay for all medical care and offer to board the dogs when needed. You can reach them by telephone at (678) 318-1886.

Young At Heart Pet Rescue, Palatine, Illinois, aids in rescue and finding new homes for older dogs in the Chicago area. 100% of the animals rescued come from municipal pounds with high euthanasia rates for older animals. Young at Heart’s goal is to find a new home for every adoptable older animal that comes through their door, to educate the public on the benefits of adopting older pets, and to decrease the euthanasia rate for older, adoptable dogs (and cats) in Illinois. Each dog or cat rescued receives the best veterinary care; animals are not turned away if they need a little extra medical attention. All are vaccinated, tested for infectious diseases, are micro chipped, spayed or neutered, and the majority receive a geriatric screening and a dental. Young At Heart Pet Rescue is a non-profit organization with an all-volunteer staff, so all donations go directly to the care of the animals. The generosity of pet-lovers supports the mission of this organization and the rescued animals. You can reach them by telephone at (847) 529-2025 or write them at PO Box 1293, Palatine, IL 60078. Their email address is

Pets for Seniors, Peoria, IL was organized in late 1999, and their group of volunteers specializes in matching senior humans (age 62 and older) with senior pets. You can reach them by telephone at (309) 446-9721 or email them at

The Hinsdale Humane Society, Hinsdale, IL, is a 53-year-old non-profit agency dedicated to the care and adoption of unwanted and abandoned animals and the offering of humane education programs to prevent suffering and neglect. A “Friends for Life” Program places animals six years of age or older with seniors 65 years of age or older at no charge. Hinsdale Humane Society, Hinsdale, IL. You can reach them by telephone (630) 323-5630 or write them at 22 N. Elm, Hinsdale, IL 60521. Their email address is

Ohio Petite Paws Rescue Angels, Inc., rescues toy dogs from Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. They focus on the rescue of the Yorkshire Terrier, but no paw is too small. Offering a “seniors for seniors” program. Volunteers and members are available statewide. Petite Paws is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization. You can reach them by telephone at (800) 325-7297 or write them at P.O. Box 3025, Elide, Ohio 45807.

House with a Heart – Pet Sanctuary in Laytonsville, MD has as their mission the care of senior dogs that have been turned over to shelters, either by owners or as strays, and to give them a loving and safe place to live out the rest of their lives. Additionally, House with a Heart provides care for dogs whose owners are unable to give their pets the time and attention they may need at the end of their life. You can reach them by telephone at (240) 631-1743.

The St. Louis Senior Dogs Project, in St. Louis, Missouri, rescues and places more than 500 dogs a year, most of them over the age of 5. The St. Louis Senior Dog Project is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that rescues dogs of all ages, but especially dogs five years of age and older, actively promoting their adoption. They spay or neuter all dogs, bring them up to date with shots, microchip them and test for heartworms. They provide all necessary veterinary care, including treatment for heartworm disease, kennel cough, pneumonia, intestinal parasites, urinary tract infections, fleas and ticks. You can write them at 7488 Rivermont Trail, House Springs, MO 63051.

7 Bells Sanctuary, Cole Camp, MO is a senior dog rescue that operates a program called “Senior Pets for Senior Homes.” The program sends senior dogs out into the field to visit senior care centers. The senior adults in the care centers become acquainted with the dogs, and the dogs become familiar with medical equipment and not fearful of it. The group’s goal is to encourage permanent adoption of the pets into senior homes or homes with a low-energy lifestyle. You can reach them by telephone at (660) 668-3567 or write them at 26152 Donkey Lane, Cole Camp, Missouri 65325. Their email address is

Senior Dog House & Rescue, Bigfork, Montana is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to rescuing, living with and adopting senior dogs. Though the focus is on older dogs, they also care for special needs, abused and neglected animals of all ages. The ages may vary but the need is the same; they all need great, loving homes of their own. Volunteers house, love and provide medical attention in a safe, healthy home environment to as many seniors as resources allow. All animals taken in will remain there for the rest of their lives if the right home for each animal does not appear. Animals come from statewide shelters and occasionally from shelters in other states. Also accepted are strays from the local area; every attempt is made to return lost animals to their guardians. You can write them at P.O. Box 2216. Bigfork, Montana 59911 or email

Posh Pets Rescue, New York City, NY, is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and placement of homeless animals, many of whom are rescued at the very last moment from euthanasia at the city shelters. Safe haven is provided to all those who find their way to Posh Pets through whatever circumstance; whether abandoned, injured or neglected. No matter the breed, health or age, Posh Pets believes that all should live secure, healthy lives and the group works tirelessly to find the right homes with people who will love their pets for a lifetime. You can reach them by telephone at (917) 319-4304.

North Shore Animal League, Port Washington, NY is a special services and fee-free adoption agency run by the North Shore Animal League via their “Seniors for Seniors” program. You can reach them by telephone at (516) 883-7900.

S.A.I.N.T. Program of the Goshen, NY, Humane Society offers a “Senior Animals In Need of Thee” which matches senior citizens with senior companion animals carefully and with concern for the well-being of all. They can be reached via e-mail at

Warwick Valley Humane Society, Warwick, NY helps senior citizens over the age of 60 adopt a designated senior dog. All adoption fees including spay and neuter costs are waived with the exception of the dog license fee, which is required by New York State Law. You can reach them by telephone at (845) 986-2473 or write them at P.O. Box 61, Warwick, NY 10990.

Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon rescues, rehabilitates, and finds new homes for senior dogs. Each day animal shelters take in unwanted and homeless older companion pets, most of whom face certain death. Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon takes in these unfortunate dogs and places them into new, loving homes. You can reach them by telephone at (541) 929-4100 or write them at PO Box 1051, Philomath, OR 97370.

South East Dallas Humane Society, Dallas, TX runs a “seniors for seniors” program that waives their customary adoption fee and all veterinary fees. Once an approved application is accepted and there is an appropriate dog available, the adoption can be completed. Spaying and neutering, heartworm testing, de-worming, vaccinations, and any necessary veterinary medical attention are all included for free. You can reach them by telephone at (469) 831-7833.

Old Dog Haven, Arlington, WA, is a non-profit, no-kill rescue organization dedicated to placing senior dogs in foster or adoptive homes. The goal of Old Dog Haven is to ensure that the last years of unwanted senior dogs are happy and that they live their last days in safety and at peace, knowing they are loved. You can reach them by telephone at (360) 653-0311 or write them at PMB A4, 621 SR9 NE, Lake Stevens WA 98258-8525. Their email address is office @

The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County is the largest shelter in the state of Washington. Their mission is to protect and promote the well-being of animals and to nurture the relationship between people and animals. You can reach them by telephone at (253) 383-2733 or write them at 2608 Center Street, Tacoma, WA 98409.

If you live in an area not listed above and are a senior who would be interested in adopting a senior dog, or you have a senior dog you can no longer care for, call your local animal shelter and explain what you are searching for. They should be able to help you and there will be no cost to you either to adopt a senior dog or to find a new, loving home for one.

Dogs Help Seniors Stay Fit

Dogs are a favorite pet for senior citizens and there is plenty of research showing that dogs help seniors stay fit by urging them to exercise. The way the dog does this is by insisting that it be walked every day or be joined in a game of catch the ball or frisbee. Dogs also encourage seniors to participate in other activities with them.

Walking is by far the favorite way for seniors to exercise with their dog. According to a poll by AARP, sixty one percent of people aged 65 or older who own a dog, exercise by walking their dog. What may surprise a few people is another statistic from the same poll: fifty four percent of people between the ages of 50 and 64 who have a dog also exercise by walking with their pet.

Of this same group of 50-64 year olds, forty two percent also play catch or toss a Frisbee with their dog as a fitness routine, while twenty six percent of the seniors aged 65 or older who own a dog, exercise with their dog in the same way. Other favorite ways of exercising that both age groups regularly do is jogging and wrestling. Yes, wrestling with their dog. Respondents said that they love to wrestle at home with their dog and also when they go to a park for exercise.

The frequency that dog owners exercise with their dogs varies substantially between the age groups. Twenty two percent of people aged 50 to 64 regularly exercise with their dog, while thirty three percent of the seniors 65 and older exercise with their dogs more than once a day.

The difference between the regularity of exercising with their dog may possibly be attributed to work responsibilities or more active social lives. Of those who don’t exercise every day with their dog, about seventeen percent exercise with their best canine friend two to three times per week. As for the slackers, fifteen percent say they never exercise with their dog.

Research seems to indicate that people who exercise with their pets are more likely to stay on a regular fitness program. Walking, jogging, or playing catch with their dog provides the same exercise benefits for both the person and the dog, helping keep muscles and joints flexible and aiding in controlling weight gain for both.

Companionship is the primary reason that people aged 65 and older decided to get a pet. Companionship was also the major reason people aged 50-64 chose to adopt a pet.

Taking care of a dog is not something everyone can do or is willing to do every day of their lives. Dogs come with a lot of responsibility for the owner. A dog must be fed regularly and always have access to fresh water. Dogs need a fenced in yard to play in or they must be taken for a walk at least twice a day to take care of their biological needs.

The cost of buying pet food, regular checkups by a veterinarian, and necessary vaccinations can place a heavy burden on seniors dependent upon Social Security for their retirement income. Sixty percent of people 65 and older and thirty seven percent of those between the ages of 50 and 64, say they don’t own a pet for these very reasons.

Dogs Help Keep Seniors Healthy

Dogs are among the favorite pets of senior citizens and studies have shown that dogs can help keep seniors healthy by encouraging their owners to exercise and join in other activities with them.

One-third of all dog owners polled say they exercise with their four-legged friends, according to an AARP Bulletin survey.

Walking is by far the preferred way to exercise with a dog. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of people age 65-plus and 54 percent of those ages 50 to 64 stroll with their dog for fitness. The poll, which surveyed 1,062 people age 50 and older.

Playing catch, ball or Frisbee with their dog is the fitness routine for 42 percent of those age 50 to 64 and for 26 percent of respondents age 65-plus. Other favorite ways to exercise with their dog are jogging and wrestling.

How often pet owners work out with their dogs varies considerably. Perhaps work or other responsibilities get in the way, but people ages 50 to 64 (22 percent) are less likely than the older adults (33 percent) to exercise with their dogs more than once a day. About 17 percent of those polled say they exercise with their best canine friend two to three times per week; 15 percent say they never exercise with their dog.

A majority of people (59 percent) say they get about the same amount of exercise as they did before they got their dog; 29 percent say they work out more.

Research suggests that dogs can help keep seniors healthy when their owner exercises with them. Seniors are also more likely to stick to a fitness program if they have a pet dog that is active. Exercise provides the same benefits for both creatures: It helps to keep muscles and joints flexible and to control weight.

Companionship was the major reason 71 percent of respondents age 65-plus decided to get a pet. The same was true for 56 percent of those ages 50 to 64. About one in 10 took in a pet for security purposes or as a child’s playmate.

Caring for a pet dog is not for everyone. Dogs entail a lot of responsibility. They must be fed regularly and always have access to fresh water. They need to be let out in a fenced yard or taken for a walk at least twice a day to take care of their biological functions. Besides the cost of daily food, regular checkups by a vet and vaccinations can overburden someone who is dependent upon Social Security for retirement. For these reasons, sixty percent of people 65-plus, and 37 percent of those 50 to 64, say they don’t own a pet.