A nonprofit dog sanctuary has opened in Mt. Juliet. Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary opened on February 15, and is located at 12110 Lebanon Road, in Mt. Juliet. The 7,200 square foot facility is on two acres of land and includes two greenhouses.
Co-founders Zina and Michael Goodin recently purchased the property in order to expand their business that had been running out of two residential homes.
The Goodins got their start in animal rescue in 2010, when they began volunteering with the Middle Tennessee Golden Retriever Rescue. “Michael and I were at a point in our lives where we wanted to start helping out with something, we wanted to start volunteering,” Zina Goodin said. They worked with the company for two years before starting their own facility and receiving their nonprofit status in 2012.
They chose to work with the senior dog population because often times, they are the ones who have the most difficulty finding permanent homes, moving between shelters and foster care. “For the last part of their life, they had no consistency and no home,” Zina Goodin said.
During their two years with the Golden Retriever Rescue, where Zina was on the board of directors, the Goodins learned a lot about what it takes to operate a facility of its kind. “There is a lot to it, compared to what most people think,” Michael Goodin said.
The Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary works with animal shelters in Middle Tennessee to find the dogs that need their help the most. The dogs that are most at risk are those that are aged 10 years and older, have mobility problems, health issues and that require medications and consistent veterinary care. “One of the reasons people don’t take on senior dogs is that they are afraid of the costs of adopting senior dogs, and we take that worry away from them,” Zina Goodin said.
The facility is designed to feel home-like for the animals. The rooms are airy with wooden doors instead of cages. They are decorated with couches, chandeliers and animal themed artwork. The doors leading to the outdoor area stay open during business hours so that the dogs are able to access both the inside and outside of the facility at their leisure. “Everything that we do here is bottom line – for the dogs,” Michael Goodin said.
The organization currently has 150 dogs placed in foster homes in Middle Tennessee and 65 dogs living on the property. They have 11 employees and many volunteers who help with the daily care of the animals. They provide classes for their staff so that they are fully prepared for the special needs of the senior dogs. “It is imperative that when we get a dog out of a shelter, that dog never goes back to the shelter,” Michael Goodin said, “they stay in our program for life.”
The company is not-for-profit and relies on donations, fundraisers and profits from a small retail shop located inside the facility to provide food, medications, and veterinary care for the animals.
The organization is planning many community events, beginning with an open house on April 22, 2017. “The community has been so supportive, we are so excited to be a part of the community now,” Zina Goodin said. Other future events planned are brunch with singer/songwriter, Jerry Vandiver and a documentary film that is in production, featuring their resident superstar, Leo.