Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary is an oasis where elderly dogs can live out the rest of their lives. It recently gained popularity after releasing an adorable mobile game featuring some of its memorable dogs. Now, the organization has even bigger plans!
The staff at the sanctuary are planning to create a neighborhood of nine to 11 cottages where senior dogs can live full-time. The cottages will have all the features of a real home, giving old dogs a sense of familiarity in their final days. These homes will be perfect for pets whose owners have passed away or gone to a nursing home.
Plans for the Perfect Cottages
“Happy Even After” is the dog cottage program that will take up 3.78 acres in Tennessee. It will be near Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary’s 18,700-foot structure, but it will operate separately. The sanctuary currently has about 75 employees and many volunteers, and they plan to add 15 employees for the neighborhood.
However, these plans still need to be approved by the city commission before construction can begin. The city’s planning commission seemed optimistic about the project, but it needs to pass two readings by the city to be official. Zina Goodin, the founder of the sanctuary, hopes it works out. She believes that this is exactly what rescue dogs need.
“Our goal is for the cottages to be as much like a home environment as possible,” Zina said. “Many of the dogs in our program are here because their owners have either passed away or gone into assisted living or a nursing home with no one designated to take care of their dogs.”
The organization focuses on dogs that are ten or older. They currently have about 100 dogs in their care, along with over 500 more dogs in foster care. They rescue senior dogs from shelters to free up space for more dogs to be saved. While the sanctuary is a beautiful place for canines to live out their days, they hope the cottages will add to that comfort.
Stepping Up for Senior Dogs
If the plans are approved, every dog cottage will be about 950 square feet. The structures will have all the rooms of a normal house, along with comfortable furniture for the dogs. Each cottage will house three to five dogs, and the pups will be paired together depending on their personalities. There will be a caretaker assigned to each home, along with volunteers helping out.
Each cottage will have a fenced-in yard area, and the entire neighborhood will be fenced-in too. The staff hasn’t said how families in need can apply to get their dogs in the sanctuary because they’re focusing on getting it approved first. If the cottages fill up quickly, dogs can still enter the sanctuary and foster care as needed.
“This is fantastic … this is very unique obviously,” City Commissioner and planning commission member Scott Hefner said. “And this would be a welcome addition to our community.”
Zina hopes that construction will begin within six months. After approval, she plans for the cottage to open within 12 to 18 months. Setting up a senior dog neighborhood is no easy task, but there are many old dogs out there that deserve a comfortable home for the rest of their lives.