PETALUMA, Calif. (KRON) – It’s a special week for some pet lovers.

Monday, Oct. 26th is the start of “Saving Senior Dogs Week,” a social media campaign to spread awareness about older dogs.

Even though more than a million dogs are adopted from U.S. animal shelters every year, many senior dogs are often left behind.

Rich and Juliette are ready to meet their potential new family member: Hank.

“Our daughter in New York forwarded us the picture of him from the internet and said you have to check out this dog, and so here we are,” said Juliette Jones.

 Hank is 11-years-old and was given up by his family in Washington State.

While some surrenders are unavoidable, often over COVID related finances, there are plenty of older dogs that are given up because… they’re just old.

“A lot of people just get to a point where they think the older dog can’t keep up with the family, and so they trade them in for a new one, and that’s really hard to deal with,” said Alice Mayne.

She founded “Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary” in Sonoma County about twelve years ago to give these senior dogs a second chance.

“Would you treat your grandmother that way? Would you kick her out because she can’t keep up, can’t go on hikes anymore? No. I mean hopefully, you wouldn’t do that,” Alice said.

There are thousands of animal rescue organizations across the country, but only a small fraction of them focus on senior dogs.

“There probably aren’t more than 40 or 50 in the United States, and there are like 14-thousand rescues. So it’s a very small percentage. a very small percentage,” Alice added.

“Saving Senior Dogs Week” is a national campaign to raise awareness about homeless senior dogs in the U.S.

It’s estimated about 670,000 dogs are euthanized each year in this country. And with senior dogs, often the last choice for adoption, they can be the first to be put down.

Senior dogs are perceived to be very difficult to adopt out, which in fact they’re not.

Alice has a stable of dogs who are living happy lives, despite some with medical conditions, even life-threatening illnesses. She says that shouldn’t be a reason to give up on them, referencing a dog named Faraday that was adopted out.

“The vet said he would probably live for maybe 2 or 3 months. That was a year ago September. And he’s in a phenomenal hospice home. He’s getting fabulous medical treatment. And he’s just a happy boy,” said Alice.

The proceeds from “Saving Senior Dogs Week” will be divided among participating rescue organizations to support their efforts and to help establish new senior rescues.

“They’re just wonderful animals. They’re easy to incorporate into your household. They are incredibly grateful. I think the thing that i have learned the most from these dogs over the years is gratitude. every single one of them exhibits incredible gratitude,” Alice said.

Which brings us back to Hank…

“He looks like he’s strong and healthy and in good shape, and we’re happy to take care of him in his later years,” said Rich.

Hank wasted no time in getting in the car to start the next chapter of his life.

Latest Stories: