Sophie: graduate of the Sanctuary's first therapy dog class in 2002 at 8 years old
Francesca Solara, Sanctuary Therapy Dog
Burt, Sanctuary Therapy Dog, 2005-2007

The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs     |     home
Seniors for Seniors & Therapy Dogs
The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs is proud to offer Senior Dogs for Senior People, a program designed to bring senior dogs and senior people together, and Companions, a program that puts senior therapy dogs to work in the community sharing their joy and offering comfort where needed.

Senior Dogs for Senior People. As an important part of this program, senior dogs are available to qualified adopters 65 years of age and older for $65, rather than our usual adoption fee of $125.

Companions sponsors the use of senior dogs in the community as therapy dogs, working with people in need of the companionship only an old dog can give. Our work ranges from visiting people in nursing homes, hospitals, group homes, and assisted living communities to helping children in reading programs. The jobs an old dog can do are nearly endless.

Henry & Mary Lou
The Sanctuary's first adoption & the first Companions adoption, 2001

Sanctuary Therapy Dogs

Special thanks to The Grey Muzzle Organization for their ongoing, generous support of our expanding therapy dog program.

Our Therapy Dogs (left to right): FayFay (retired, RIP), Almonzo, J.J. (retired), and Ivy

Our past Trio of Therapy Dogs (left to right): J.J., Delilah (RIP), FayFay (RIP), each expressing her personality in her own unique way

It is with great sadness that we report that our sweet Delilah (center) left us for the Rainbow Bridge on October 29, 2014, after serving the community that she loved as a therapy dog for one year. Her passing was unexpected and quite sudden. She has left a village of people who loved her and appreciated the joy and good humor she shared with everyone she met. But no one misses her more than her caring foster family. Godspeed, Delilah. You have left huge paw prints on the hearts of everyone who was fortunate enough to have met you.

Her friend FayFay has joined her now. She left us on June 21, 2016. They trained together and were the best of friends. We know that Delilah welcomedher friend to the Bridge.


Ivy, an 8-year-old Pomeranian, came to the Sanctuary after spending six months in the Portage County Animal Protective League awaiting resolution of the court case when she and many others were seized from a hoarding/backyard breeder situation. Unlike Bernard, the other dog to come in from the same situation, Ivy is happy and well-adjusted. Her past does not seem to have affected her. As a result, she entered our therapy dog program and sailed through her training and testing to become a sweet and active therapy dog.


Almonzo, a 6-year-old Mastiff mix, came to us early in 2014 from an inner city dog pound heartworm positive and withdrawn. But it did not take long until his foster caregiver recognized his outstanding qualities and recommended him for our therapy dog program. Almonzo is now healthy and happy; he has gained an amazing 50 pounds and passed his therapy testing with flying colors. He and FayFay are often seen together in an area nursing home entertaining the residents and bringing them joy and comfort. We welcome this gentle giant to our family of therapy dogs. He and FayFay visited Broadview MultiCare together, but since FayFay's retirement, he has taken on the duties there that they shared.


FayFay, a 15-year-old Black Lab mix, successfully completed her first training class at Fortunate Fido in 2013. She learned quickly and enjoyed the training (especially the treats and praise that went along with it). The next step was her Canine Good Citizen test; then therapy dog testing with Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs through Gold Star Dog Training evaluators. She visits schools, colleges, nursing homes, and other places sharing her irrepressible spirit. We are proud of our girl and the work she has done since earning her stripes in November 2013.

Update: FayFay's health is declining. She is experiencing some serious rear leg weakness and has had a couple of seizures. She is receiving the best medical care possible at Tremont Animal Clinic, but she has retired from active therapy work. She spends her days napping, looking for treats, and enjoying outings and adventure. FayFay's friends miss her regular visits, but they appreciate the years of service to our community.

Update: FayFay crossed the Rainbow Bridge on June 21, 2016, to join all of her friends who have gone before her. We miss her silliness and her endless joy. Rest in Pece, my friend.


J.J., a 13-year-old Husky mix, found wandering by a good Samaritan and taken to an area shelter where staff quickly discovered that J.J. is entirely blind. She passed her therapy dog test with her handler Jolene in 2012 and now serves as one of the Sanctuary's therapy dog. Special thanks to the great folks at Gold Star Dog Training in Medina, Ohio, specializing in handicapped pets, who worked with J.J. through her training. J.J. participates in a children's reading program where she is clearly the star attraction. She also visits private clients in area nursing homes.

Update: J.J. is expereincing some back pain, so our vet recommended that she retire from active therapy work. She will remain a loved member of our Sanctuary family for life, staying in the home she has shared throughout her years. Thank you, J.J. and Jolene, for the fine work you have done representing senior therapy dogs over the years.



To light a candle for any of these dogs or for any of your friends who have crossed the Bridge, please visit our candle room.

Delilah, 2001-2014
In loving memory of Delilah, who left her sad past far behind,
choosing instead to share love and joy and happiness with so many.
Registered with Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, November 2013

Francesca Solara, 1998-2012
In loving memory of Francesca, who overcame illness
and abandonment to bring joy to countless people.
Registered with Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, March 2011

Cato, 2000-2010
In loving memory of Cato, a gentle giant who came to us after a life of neglect.
His unwavering good nature won him many friends. Even those who were
afraid of dogs were charmed by Cato's easy-going ways.
Registered with the Delta Society, July 2009

Vinnie, 1995-2009
In loving memory of Vinnie whose loving disposition and
strength in the face of adversity were an inspiration to all who met him.
Registered with the Delta Society, September 2008

Annie Brown, 1998-2009
In loving memory of our Annie Brown whose loving nature and comical antics
were a source of pleasure to all who met her. Her therapy service was cut tragically short.
Registered with the Delta Society, December 2008

In loving memory of Burt, 3rd Sanctuary therapy dog,
a big, furry love of a dog.
Registered with the Delta Society, March 2005
Registration renewed April 2007

Gretchen, 1994-June 2, 2004
In loving memory of Gretchen, 2nd Sanctuary therapy dog,
 known for her sense of humor and joy in living.
Certified with Therapy Dogs International, May 2003

Georgia, 1989-June 25, 2003
In loving memory of Georgia, 1st  Sanctuary therapy dog,
a devoted friend, companion, and inspiration to us all.
Certified with Therapy Dogs International, May 2001

Please donate to The Georgia Memorial Fund to help more senior dogs help people.

Copyright 2016
No part of this web site, including photographs, may be reproduced without written permission