Shared from the 10/24/2022 Mon Valley Independent eEdition

Adoptions encouraged during Saving Senior Dogs Week

Gray Paws Sanctuary in White Oak is participating in the effort.


Submitted From left, Harley, Frank and Scrappy are senior dogs at White Oak’s Gray Paws Sanctuary.

You may not be able to “teach an old dog new tricks,” but you can certainly love and cuddle them as their coats turn to gray and white. This week, Oct. 24-30, is Saving Senior Dogs Week.

Senior Dogs USA is partnering with around 30 animal rescue and fostering organizations across the country for the fourth annual National Senior Dog Awareness Educational and Fundraising Campaign to Benefit Senior Dogs and Senior Dog Rescues.

Locally, Gray Paws Sanctuary in White Oak is a member of Senior Dogs USA and is participating in the effort.

“Our mission at Saving Senior Dogs USA through our collaborative and individual efforts is to save homeless senior dogs and educate the public on the joys of adopting them,” the organization said in a release. “We are doing everything possible to sustain daily operations so we can continue our mission to rescue needy senior dogs and find loving forever homes for the dogs in our care.

“Now, more than ever, senior dogs need us.”

The organization says senior dogs are least likely to be rescued or adopted and are most at risk of being euthanized in shelters.

Of the estimated 14,000 rescue groups nationwide, fewer than 50 are dedicated exclusively to rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming senior dogs, according to Senior Dogs USA, which said it is “working diligently to change all that.”

Saving Senior Dogs Week was founded in 2019 by Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary, a nonprofit in the state of California, with the purpose of raising public awareness of the plight of senior dogs and the rewards of adopting them, and to support existing senior dog rescues in the United States with collaborative resources and much-needed funding to carry out their missions. Through a week-long national social media campaign, partnering

SENIOR DOGS • A2 FROM A1 senior dog rescues share hundreds of rescue and adoption stories on their social media sites to highlight the important work they do.

These dogs are called Saving Senior Dogs Week “Ambassadogs,” according to spokesperson Clara Franco.

“We regularly get phone calls from people all over the country asking for help with their senior dogs, and because Lily’s Legacy isn’t in their area, we aren’t able to help them,” said Alice Mayn, Lily’s Legacy executive director and founder. “Because of the growth of our network over the years through Saving Senior Dogs Week, we now have Saving Senior Dogs USA, which spans the country and is available 24/7/365.”

Senior Dogs USA estimates that approximately 390,000 shelter dogs are euthanized each year in the United States. Although there are an estimated 4,400 animal rescue organizations nationwide, fewer than 1.5% of them are dedicated exclusively to rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming senior dogs, according to Franco.

The COVID-19 pandemic and now the global effects of inflation have presented a new set of problems for homeless senior dogs.

“For a variety of pandemic reasons, and/ or the rising cost of caring for pets, shelters across the country are filled to capacity and beyond and rescues are seeing requests from owners needing to surrender their dogs up significantly from 2021,” Mayn said.

To learn more or to find out how to make a difference in the lives of senior dogs, go to

Gray Paws in White Oak has five dogs in its sanctuary on Jack’s Run Road (Route 48). The White Oak organization also has 78 senior dogs in local foster homes.

“We are also supporting 22 dogs in our ‘LOYAL’ program,” said Darla Poole, the organization’s founder. “These are families that contacted us to keep their senior dog with our financial support. This successfully diverted their surrender to shelters.”

Poole said Gray Paws focuses on senior dogs “because they are often overlooked in shelters.”

“It is heartbreaking to think of a loving, faithful dog being in a home with a family for 10 or 12 years and then they are homeless,” she said. “Sometimes it is because of heartless people that just don’t consider the needs of their dog. But more often, it is due to an elderly person passing away or going into a care facility.

“The situation is heartbreaking when there are no family members to step in, or the family members have limitations themselves. That is where Gray Paws comes in to help.”

Poole is encouraging local residents to spread awareness about Senior Dogs Week and to do their part to bring love to a senior dog if they can.

Highlighting a couple of dogs that are being cared for by Gray Paws, Poole talked about Scrappy and Harley, whom she said are a bonded pair.

“Sadly their human mom passed away and family members are not able to keep them,” Poole said of the dogs. “They love other dogs, cats and kids.”

Another Gray Paws senior dog is Frank. “Frank’s human dad passed away,” Poole said. “He loves cats and kids, but hasn’t been around dogs a lot. We will test to make sure.”

Poole said those interested in making Frank or Scrappy and Harley a part of their family can send an email to for an application.

To learn more about how to help support the dogs at Gray Paws, go to or follow Gray Paws Sanctuary on Face-book.

Poole is also asking people to save the date for the Gray Paws ninth anniversary celebration cash bash scheduled for April 22 at the White Oak Athletic Association.

“It is heartbreaking to think of a loving, faithful dog being in a home with a family for 10 or 12 years and then they are homeless.”

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