It was a jovial sight when a parade of some 90 “sunset doggies” caravanned from their temporary home on Lebanon Road to their new multi-million-dollar PawVilions respite at Old Friends Dog Sanctuary on Nonaville Road in Mt. Juliet last Saturday.
This “coming home” for these dogs of a “certain age” finally happened when they arrived at their new 20,000 square foot facility. It’s located just blocks from their temporary sanctuary at the former Moss’ garden center building. They were cared for and housed there while the new sanctuary was constructed, all from donations.
The parade had seven floats and nearly 90 dogs, many of them pushed in grocery carts by employees and volunteers. The crowd went wild and waved and whistled at the senior doggies on their way to a new home that provides shelter and care while they wait to be fostered or adopted.
Co-owner Michael Goodin and his wife, Zina, have dedicated many years to provide a retreat for elder fur babies that might not otherwise live out their sunset years. Saturday was a culmination of a decade of providing a unique place for dogs up for adoption, complete with free vet care for those who adopt or foster them.
The parade happened after a grand opening and open house of the new facility on June 4 where the Goodins, their employees and volunteers cut the ribbon for a crowd of over 100 people.
“In 2010, we started a rescue of golden retrievers and realized senior dogs were over looked,” Goodin said.
At first their home was the sanctuary and by the end of 2012 three dogs were placed in forever homes. By 2014 that jumped to 63. They moved their sanctuary to Moss’ facility in February of 2017.
“Today, we have 100 dogs in the sanctuary and 400 in foster homes,” Goodin said. “Today we celebrate the evolution of Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary. And while it’s been a roller coaster ride, look what we have here today from donations from across the globe.”
He said the average donation is $25.
“Michael and Zina’s goal is to help old and rehabilitated dogs,” said Dr. Christine Puskaric, the facility’s medical director and head veterinarian who has been working there for three years. “They not only rescue them, but provide care. They have accomplished so much in the last few years. My focus is first and foremost on the dogs. It’s amazing to be part of this journey.”
What the senior doggies came to last Saturday is a high-tech facility on 9.25 acres. It includes a clinic, full-scale operating room, a physical therapy lounge with water treadmills, 10 individual spaces, five huge rooms for group living and feeding areas.
“Central Bark” is an indoor play yard, but there are two massive outside play yards covered in green turf with splash pads and shaded areas created by huge umbrellas.
Prospective foster parents are encouraged to make an appointment to meet the dogs. The facility takes large dogs 8 years and older and small dogs 12 years or older.