How We Determine Which Dog Will Become A Sanctuary Resident

Often I am asked, "How do you get all the dogs to get along?" And recently another person looking to surrender their senior German Shepherd said, "It's harder to get my dog into Woody's Place than it is to get into Harvard." And there's probably some truth to that, because not only are space and finances limited, the bottom line is that we can't take every senior German Shepherd, because not every senior German Shepherd will be a good fit for our program. Woody's Place Senior German Shepherd Sanctuary is a true sanctuary meaning that it's not just a word in our name. We actually provide sanctuary for abandoned senior German Shepherds for the rest of their lives. In fact, our catchphrase is, "We are that place in the country where old dogs come to retire." Therefore, because the senior German Shepherds remain with us for the rest of their lives, we have to pick who is a good match for us and would not be. So how do we go about determining who is a good fit for the sanctuary?

#1 Must be human and dog friendly

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, they must be human and dog friendly with having no bite history. The reason for this is because we are a cage-free, communal type living environment, which means once we agree to take an abandoned senior German Shepherd, and after the first few days of integration with the rest of the residents, there are no boundaries between the dogs, with the exception of gates to separate some residents for feeding purposes. go along, they have to get along here at the sanctuary. And of course, human friendly goes without saying.

Therefore, we can only accept senior German Shepherds who are completely human and dog friendly.

Getting along is paramount, but another part of accepting a newbie is, of course, their age. We are a "senior" German Shepherd sanctuary.

To us, a German Shepherd is a senior at 8 years of age, with geriatric being 10 and older. Now, we understand that other people may feel senior is 6 or 7 for a German Shepherd, and that's fine, but we are not going to split hairs over it. For us, the magic number is 8.

#2 Must be 8 years and older

(Whippersnappers need not apply)

Of course, there's plenty of senior German Shepherds out there that are 8 years and older in need of a home, but some don't know they are seniors and act more like a 3 or 4-year-old German Shepherd because they have lots and lots of stamina and energy.

And while we have taken high-energy seniors from time to time, we actually try to adopt a senior like that out before leaving us no option but to bring them into the sanctuary for the simple fact that his energy level may not be a good match with residents who may find his energy upsetting. Plain and simple. It would be like having a rambunctious toddler live in a nursing home, and we all know that won't fly.

#3 Must be on the "slower" side of life.

(Seriously. We don't wanna tick of the queen)


So that's a lot to cover, right? It is, but there's more to our formula for successful doggie cohabitation than that.

Since all the residents can come and go as they please here at the sanctuary, and we have lots and lots of toys, treats, beds, and other things a dog would consider a possession, we can't accept senior German Shepherds who are possessive.

Of course, that's not to say there won't be times when two residents are both clamoring for the same bed or ball even though we have 5 more beds and 10 more of the exact same ball.....ahem....Prince and Atticus.

That happens from time to time, and we deal with it. But I'm not talking about a little tiff. I'm referring to a dog who is REALLY possessive and will fight for what he deems as his, which is typically everything.

#4 No Uber Possessive Dogs

Ok. So we have all that covered. If we have enough $$$ and space, and they have to get along with people and all other dogs, are 8 years and older, and on the slower side of life, and not be uber possessive.... that leaves the last part of our secret sauce when determining who will be a good fit for Woody's Place.

#5 Take local first

We have pulled dogs from all over the country....seriously, as far away as California, but we always try to take in locally first. That means if there is a senior German Shepherd in need right here in the Pocono Mountains (where the sanctuary is located), and that dog is a good fit for our program, we take him.

Outside of the area, our next priority is from surrounding counties in Eastern PA with many coming from the Philadelphia area. Seriously. I don't know what the deal is in Philly, but about 80% of our residents have come from there over the years.

We also try to be available for northern New Jersey, and New York, since we are located in a tri-state area.