The fate of a dog in an animal shelter is an unsure one, as canines found as strays or rescued from bad situations can spend months, even years there before finding a forever home. A dog’s age can also become a factor in the adoption process, as Kristin Siarkowicz, Animal Control Officer at the Town of Babylon Animal Shelter explains that “Older dogs in our shelters often get overlooked because adopters find heartache in the short time they have to share their lives together.”
It’s much easier for puppies to find their way out, but Siarkowicz explains how to approach the concept of adopting an older pet:
“Instead, think about the quality of that time that you will give them. In the time they have left, they and we, will be relieved that they have a soft place to lay with no walls around them and comforting touch. In return, they just want to be a loyal friend to us. These dogs have no idea what being older means. They are just living for the day they are in it with you.”
Looking to adopt a pup? Here are 13 older dogs that are looking for forever homes on Long Island.
Name: Luke Shelter: Bideawee Westhampton Age: 6 1/2 Details: mixed breed; neutered ID: 24374602
A resident of the shelter since September of 2017, Luke immediately stands out as he only has three legs--but that doesn't stop him from running around the Bideawee yard. Aside from his limbs, he has since developed back arthritis and spondylosis, so the family that takes him home will have to care for him medically. He also has some guarding and handling issues, so he's best-suited to an adults-only home where he'd be the only pet--but once he's yours, he'll bond and want to be your one-and-only lap dog. Visit Bideawee Westhampton online at bideawee.org or call 631-684-0079 for more information.
Name: Cookie Shelter: Smithtown Animal Shelter and Adoption Center Age: 9 1/2 Details Pit bull mix; spayed
This mush is Cookie, a lady who shelter staffers say is not only popular with visitors but the sweetest dog in the whole facility. She arrived in June of 2019 as a surrender due to her tough time getting along with the other dog in her former home, and her issues with getting loose. Strong and healthy, she splits her time between running around with great speed and lying motionless on the couch--so while she may enjoy chasing (and destroying) tennis balls, she'll also be looking for lots of petting. An outgoing people-loving pooch, she needs to be the only pet in a home due to her dominant personality--but her caretakers say it's mainly her age and size (70 pounds) that has kept her from finding a new forever family. Visit the shelter online at townofsmithtownanimalshelter.com or call 631-360-7575 for more information.
Name: Legend Shelter: Brookhaven Animal Shelter and Adoption Center Age: 9 Details mixed breed; spayed ID: 19-3256
Found flea-bitten and emaciated as a stray back in August of 2019, Legend has had a tough beginning. Fast-forward to today, and she's much healthier--but still needs a home of her own. Silly, goofy and generally happy, she loves everyone she meets and is both energetic and affectionate. She needs to be the only animal in an adults-only home. Call the Brookhaven's Animal Shelter and Adoption Center at 631-451-6950 for more information about adoption, foster care or animal redemption.
Name: JP Shelter: Bideawee Westhampton Age: 7 Details: mixed breed; neutered ID: 24376640
JP had first arrived at the shelter in April of 2018, and was adopted two months later, until his new owner was deployed by the military in March 2019, resulting in his return. He has some arthritic issues, and is person-selective, so he needs multiple meetings with anyone who'd consider bringing him home. He also has some physical sensitivities, so the best situation for him would be a home with adults-only or older children. Visit Bideawee Westhampton online at bideawee.org or call 631-684-0079 for more information.
Name: Sadie Shelter: Town of Islip Animal Shelter Age: 6 Details: Pit Bull; spayed
Sweetheart Sadie is a fan of humans and long walks. A shelter resident for nearly two years, she was found as a stray and never reclaimed--and while she is friendly, anyone ready to bring her home must be prepared for her possessive nature. Very intense with her toys, a tennis ball in her mouth cannot be retrieved. She needs a forever family who can help her build on her training, and to relax properly as she adjusts to her new home. Contact the Town of Islip Animal Shelter at 631-224-5660 or visit isliptown-ny.gov for more information.
Name: Red Ruff House Rescue Age: 5 Details: Golden Retriever ID: RHR-A-7514
A rescue from a rural kill shelter, Red arrived at the shelter anxious and distraught, depressed and failing to thrive--but after settling in, he's proven to be good with other dogs and a great big loving pup. A fan of riding in cars, it's clear to shelter staffers he's more than ready for a new forever home. Contact Ruff House Rescue at 516-306-4998 or visit ruffhouserescue.org for more information about adoption or fostering.
Name: Ophelia Shelter: Kent Animal Shelter Age: 5-6 Details: Shepherd mix, neutered
Saved from the dog meat trade in Thailand, Ophelia is a major cuddle fan--but she needs to get to know people first, which makes her initial meetings with people difficult. A resident of the shelter for two years, she loves the staff as (unfortunately) she's had a lot of time to get to know them. Anyone interested in providing her with a forever family will need to make several visits first in order to earn her trust and dedicated friendship--and she's also best-suited to a home with adults only. Contact the Kent Animal Shelter at 631-727-5731 for more information.
Name: Adrian Shelter: Posh Pets Rescue Age: 9 Details: American Staffordshire Terrier; spayed
Adrian spent her first five years confined to a crate, she has lived her next four as a shelter resident. She remains affectionate, loves to play and enjoys time in the car and on the beach. A fan of people of all ages, she does need a forever home with a breed-experienced owner and without any other pets. Visit Posh Pets Rescue online at poshpetsrescue.org for more information.
Name: Azul Shelter: Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter and Adoption Center Age: 9 ID: 36495324 Details: Terrier mix; neutered
Azul arrived at the shelter back in 2017 after his owner passed away and his owner's family was unable to care for him. This pup spent his entire life living outside before being surrendered to the shelter, where he has since become a staff star who helps the facility's team welcoming new dogs. This is due to his love for other pooches, but while being generally laid back, he needs time to warm up to new people. Great on his leash, good with commands and cool with cats, he's best-suited for an adults-only home and a family ready to understand his guarding behavior. Contact the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter and Adoption Center at 516-785-5220 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information. The shelter is closed to the public until further notice, but is operating by appointment only for placement services.
Name: Esmerelda Shelter: Southampton Animal Shelter Age: 11 Details: Jack Russell Terrier mix; spayed ID: A015320
It's tough enough being an 11 year-old dog, but Esmerelda sadly lost her home and owner at this age. Now starting all over, the shelter staff says she's been great, even if she has a reputation for being protective over some objects and toys. She truly needs a calm home with only adults, and a new family who will work to understand her, and can give the love she needs as a senior. Contact the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation at 631-728-7387 or southamptonanimalshelter.com for more information.
Name: Finnley Shelter: Town of Babylon Animal Shelter Age: 5-6 Details: Pit Bull Terrier; neutered ID: 19-430
Meet Finnley: a dog who is in need of an especially understanding family. He's very sweet but awfully shy and nervous. Found living chained outside in a pen, his owner passed away, leaving him uncared for in his yard. The shelter came and rescued him, and now he's ready for a real home--but he requires a quiet home with children in their teens or older, and no other pets. However, once he relaxes, you'll find you have a playful, loving and affectionate pooch on your hands. Visit the Town of Babylon Animal Shelter online at townofbabylon.com or call 631-643-9270 for more information.
Name: Athena Shelter: North Hempstead Animal Shelter Age: senior Details: Pit Bull Terrier Mix; spayed
Athena has one of the sadder stories, as she was in a loving home her entire life until her owner passed away. She's been living at the shelter since 2017 yet remains a playful pup who can still chase a tennis ball like a champ; she loves people but her perfect new forever home would be without other pets. For more information and to make an appointment, call the North Hempstead Animal Shelter at 516-869-6311.
Name: Jada Shelter: Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF) Age: 11 years, nine months Details: Terrier, Pit Bull mix; spayed ID: 21044756
At close to 12 years of age, friendly Jada is a favorite among shelter staffers, an honor gained by being there for way too long. Left at ARF four years ago by an owner who could no longer care for her. She is recommended for families with kids over 12 due to her size and age. She's also been diagnosed with cancer, and despite the removal of a tumor, she'll need a family who will be there for her should her illness return (ARF will support Jada's foster or adopting family with any needed follow-up medical care). Even as a quiet senior, she's all about tennis balls and is good with other dogs her size but no small canines or cats for her. Visit the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons online at arfhamptons.org or call 631-537-0400 for more information.