Eight years after Michael and Zina Goodin of Mt. Juliet couple opened their hearts to senior dogs and developed a non-profit dedicated to the canines’ sunset years, they broke ground on a $5 million sanctuary on Nonaville Road.
The Goodins were all smiles and surrounded by staff, volunteers and community members on a brisk day last Thursday. They used golden shovels to celebrate the ceremonial ground breaking of their future Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary that is slated to open by early 2021.
“We are beyond thrilled and this could not have been done without the caring hearts and open pockets of millions of people around the word,” said Michael, who is facilities manager of the non-profit. Zina is the executive director.
He credits his wife for a dogged social media campaign that has grown to 1.9 million Facebook followers dedicated to their mission.
Michael said the support and monetary contributions have gotten them to this juncture where the construction of the facility is paid for already.
“The first year we put in $80,000 of our own money,” he said. “Simply, we love dogs and especially the senior ones.”
Michael said while they do have fundraisers, they didn’t beg for donations. Most of the donations range around $25, and he said they come from not only the United States but England, Spain and Australia.
“We have support from 45 countries,” he said. “A huge part of this all is compassion for elder dogs. As you know, the population is growing older too and older folks are endeared. If they can’t foster, they just want to donate whatever they can.”
The Goodins started their non-profit at their property off Saundersville Ferry Road in Mt. Juliet and bought a former flower shop building on Lebanon Road in three years ago. Now they are looking forward to their new 18,700-square foot facility on 9.25 acres that will include a full clinic, a gift shop and more exercise room for the dogs.
Currently, there are 389 foster families for Old Friends and all medical expenses are paid by the non-profit.
“This is a blessing, when they (dogs) come here we say that’s when their new life begins, no matter how long,” Michael said.