AARP members Judith and Lee Piper have a special place in their heart and home for older dogs who may be sick, struggling at a shelter, or without a place to stay because their human companions are having difficulty. After several years of welcoming older dogs to their 5-acre property in Arlington, they stumbled onto an idea. Let’s recruit loving families that are willing and able to care for elder canines over 8 years old AND we’ll start a non-profit, Old Dog Haven, to raise money to help pay for any medical costs that might be needed.
That was more than a decade ago and Old Dog Haven is going strong. They currently have more than 220 foster homes caring for 310 dogs. Limited to older dogs in Western Washington, the organization has a dedicated group who will permanently foster dogs who are in their “final refuge” stage, what Judith has described as assisted living for pups. While amazed at the number of willing participants who want to offer a comfortable environment for dogs to live out their days, she also knows that the work is incredibly rewarding.
Over the years, they have helped thousands of dogs find a new home through adoption or final stages. “These dogs are at a great stage in their lives. They love you, and get along pretty well once they adapt to their environment”, said Judith. “The need is gigantic and incredibly rewarding.”