After my 14 year old Aussie named Bear passed away I was very sad and missed my constant buddy. I wasn't ready for another dog yet but I needed that senior dog energy that is simply the best! My work put an ad on the volunteer board about Lily's Legacy Senior Dog Rescue. I sent in a volunteer application and was contacted for a tour. The people were so nice; Alice was great and so devoted to these old pups, they were every where when I arrived, all looking for a quick pet or smile and loving!! I quickly became a certified volunteer who walked old dogs, scooped poops and cuddled with them to give them they attention they so needed to adjust to their new pre-home. Lily's is what I call 'pre-heaven' for dogs. They come from all stories and are lost and confused but as the days go by all the loving they get transforms them back to assured unconditional pups that they always were. The adopters are amazing wonderful people too. I work 50+ hours at a fast paced company and my Saturday gig at Lily's is the highlight of my week, where I relax and get centered and receive 10 fold the love I put out! Honored to be a volunteer, honored to help an old dog in need any day!!
My passion is helping shelter pets, having volunteered in municipal shelters and with a national charity helping both shelter pets and veterans - and having adopted a number of shelter pets in my adult life of course. Last year I was looking for another volunteer opportunity and discovered Lily's Legacy. Rescuing senior dogs is the founder's passion. She is amazing! And she is supported by an impressive number of volunteers all of whom share her passion. And the dogs we save. Oh my! I can't tell you how much I feel like I'm making a difference to those dogs. Animals give so much to us and it is my pleasure to give back by volunteering my time at Lily's. It is an amazing place to spend time, whether you're a dog or a human.
Giving Senior Dogs a Second Chance and Finding Our Family
Shortly after moving from New Jersey to California last July, I was at the farmers' market wandering the many tables of local organizations. It was 'Nonprofits Day,' and many organizations were out tabling for volunteers and donations. I've never been able to resist a puppy when I see one, and Lulu's sweet face was just calling out to me from across the way. This beautiful eight year old Newfoundland-Sharpei mix laid in the shade quietly with a green bandana around her neck next to this table filled with pictures of happy dogs and signs saying 'Adopt Me.'
When I first began volunteering for Lily's Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary, Lulu's body was still patchy, missing large amounts of hair all over. She had medicated wipes and ointments in her eyes every day, and was on a strict diet, but her demeanor was happy as ever. When she had first come to Lily's Legacy, her stomach was like leather, just completely hairless. Over the months, I watched as she went from completely uninterested in walks or exercising to waiting by the door for her chance to get outside and explore. I watched as she began to regrow hair and as her eyes slowly got better. 5 months later, I watched as her new mom took her to her new forever home.
Lulu had lost out on many potential adopters because she was a senior large breed dog; her food and medicine were not cheap and she still needed someone to give her the wipes and ointments every day to keep her in the healthy shape she had grown into since being taken in at the sanctuary. Senior large breed dogs are perceived to be the most unadoptable kind of dog. Large breed dogs require more financial investment than smaller breed dogs; older dogs don't have as much play in them; a puppy will be around for longer; the reasons go on.
Lily's Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization located in Northern California that is dedicated to helping senior large breed dogs. Lily's Legacy was founded by executive director Alice Mayn in memory of Lily, a 14-year-old golden retriever she had fostered. Lily was found wandering the streets of Santa Rosa and brought to the Sonoma County Animal Shelter in November 2007. She had a host of health problems, including a very bad nasal infection and a tumor on her eyelid. Over the next four months, Lily and Alice together battled and survived the tumor removal, the infection, canine bloat, and even a seizure. When she passed away after developing a blood disorder in February 2008, Alice saw the sanctuary as a mission from Lily; a place where many of the senior dogs who are lost, abandoned, or otherwise find themselves homeless, will have a safe haven in which to live out their days, or stay until a loving adoptive home is found, and where they will receive the love and care they so richly deserve.
Some of our dogs are owner-surrenders; others are last-minute rescues from shelters who don't have room and don't think the dog is adoptable - we take in these dogs before they are put down by the shelter. Aside from daily care and TLC, Lily's Legacy provides regular veterinary care and anything else needed to nurse a dog back into health.
Cruz, the border collie in the photo, was also at the sanctuary when I started volunteering at Lily's Legacy. He was friendly, playful, and so smart. The volunteers were warned not to pull him or grab him by the collar, as he had issues with people touching his neck. His last owner had also been warned of this, but neglected to keep this in mind when handling him, and ended up returning him after Cruz got tired of it. One too many times and Cruz scraped his arm a little bit. But we didn't mind. We were always mindful of Cruz's reactions to us and his interactions with us.
Cruz was the dog that convinced my husband to get allergy shots, but we were not able to adopt him because our lease did not allow pets. When we went back to New Jersey for Christmas, Cruz was adopted again. We were sad we did not get to say goodbye to him, but things happen for a reason and we were happy for Cruz. When Cruz’s adopter passed away this spring, we jumped at the chance to adopt him ourselves. We moved to a bigger house, but by this point, Cruz had two more almost-bite run-ins - all 3 were circumstances because someone was trying to pull him by the collar off a bed or couch - and was about to be put down.
We simply could not let this happen. We asked Lily's Legacy to put a hold on everything while we convinced them and our new landlord to let us adopt Cruz. One of the stipulations of the adoption was that we work with him and a trainer on his issues. To this day, Cruz has been nothing but amazing with us. We never yell at him for barking or growling, because that's how he tells us he's uncomfortable or scared. And we never yell at him for playing with us or giving us kisses, because that's how he tells us he loves us and trusts us. He just doesn't get couch or bed privileges.
Cruz has become such a big part of our family; we can’t imagine our lives without him. He is the sweetest dog and is always ready to cuddle or play ball with us. Cruz fit into our hearts like a missing puzzle piece. More than that, the Lily's Legacy group has become the family and community we needed after moving 3000 miles across the country. They provided the support and courage for us to step up to the plate and take Cruz in. We are truly thankful that we have found such a wonderful organization that cares so much and inspires us to be the people our dog thinks we are.
Review from #MyGivingStory
I found Lily's Legacy when I first moved into the area at a local event and fell in love with one of the dogs. Once I heard their mission and what they do, I couldn't help but want to be involved in some way. In the few months I have been volunteering at this nonprofit, I have seen amazing dogs come in from various situations and receive the basic and medical care they were in need of and, of course, the love they all deserve. I've had the pleasure of witnessing several of the dogs find their forever home as well as their effects on the other volunteers. I am proud to volunteer for such a great organization, and am continually inspired by the work of Alice and all the volunteers every day.
I live in a small, rural Northern California community. I have volunteered and worked at the local animal shelter for many years. Placing large, senior dogs has always been particularly challenging. My heart has been broken, many times, watching a perfectly good dog euthanized because it could not be placed - or have the opportunity to spend it's final days in a hospice setting. Lily's Legacy has helped me out at times when there was no space available anywhere else. Alice Mayn somehow found space! The facility is incredibly clean, peaceful and abundantly staffed with friendly, dedicated, knowledgable volunteers. If I ever move back to Sonoma County, I will spend my time volunteering at Lily's Legacy.
I was blessed the day I found Lily's Legacy, I found what I was searching for when looking for the right fit for volunteering. The dogs who land here have hit the jackpot, just as I have. If you are looking for a wonderful dog to share your life with, consider a senior "pup", they are the best, and will appreciate and love you unconditionally.
I originally discovered Lily's Legacy while searching for a possible rescue dog. I was so enamored with the sanctuary that I almost immediately began volunteering there a couple of days a week. It fills a mutual need for both Lily's Legacy and myself. My time and my heart are filled with wagging tails and dog hair, and I help out in whatever way I can. Sometimes it's helping in the office, sometimes it's walking or cuddling with the dogs, and sometimes it's helping with the occasional fundraiser. I admire Alice Mayn, the Executive Director of Lily's Legacy for her dedication to the "old dogs" and her vision for giving them a place to be cared for until they find their forever home or in some cases, to live out the rest of their lives. I am lucky to have found Lily's Legacy, I feel appreciated and I often get as much out of spending my time there as I am giving.
I love volunteering with Lily's Legacy and have grown to love working with the organization and with the dogs and other volunteer's. It's great to be part of an organization that helps senior dogs thrive in new forever homes or foster homes.
Lily's Legacy gives dogs a second chance at life. These dogs have been abandoned, surrendered, or forgotten. Lily's gives them another chance to give and to receive love. Just proves you're never too old to find happiness. Thank goodness for Lily's Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary.
Lily's Legacy is awesome! It is so sad that our society sees older animals as disposable. Often being dumped like yesterday's trash by the only humans they have ever known, left to die alone on a cold concrete shelter floor,with little hope of ever making it out, these sweet souls wait and pray for angels like Lily's Legacy to come to their rescue. This is exactly the case of the two beautiful senior boxers that are in my care on behalf of Lily's. A small village of boxer lovers came together and enlisted the help of Alice and her angels and these beautiful souls were literally snatched from the jaws of death. Lily's has been instrumental in taking care of the medical needs, which have been quite costly but necessary for quality of life of this mother/daughter pair, as well as all of the other pups in their care. Without the awesome community support, Lily's would not be able to do all that they do, and my sweet girls would not be living the good life today. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts Alice! Gina Heitkamp Mills, foster to Macy and Gigi ♡
I love Lily's Legacy! I have had the pleasure of both being a foster home for Lily's dogs as well as adopting one of their sweet old boys (who is currently getting a belly rub courtesy of my feet). I have never worked with an organization full of such wonderfully caring people. The passion for old dogs truly runs deep at Lily's Legacy and it's wonderful to see a sanctuary for these old animals that makes them genuinely feel at home despite the turbulence they may have experienced. The volunteers are very supportive to their foster and adoptive families and love each dog that comes through the doors of the sanctuary. With Lily's Legacy, you find dog-people and people-people all rolled into one (a combination that's sometimes difficult to find). We need more places like Lily's Legacy!
I have been blessed to have been able to volunteer for Lily's Legacy for the past several years and also to have adopted three of Lily's "angels," Sunny, Cooper, and Phoebe. On the volunteer side, words truly can't adequately express what a fabulous organization Lily's is. The love and care that Lily's founder, Alice, and all the other wonderful volunteers provide these old pups is simply unparalleled. One look at all the wagging tails of the sanctuary dogs, and it's apparent that "happy" runs rampant!
Having been on the adoption side, I can honestly say that Lily's does a fabulous job of matching dogs with their perfect forever homes. Our three made their transition with us and our other dog and kitty seamlessly. Lily's does a very thorough job of screening their dogs medically and for temperament, and then matching them with just the right home. They take the time to get it right for the pups and their new people.
Big kudos to Alice and all the volunteers for all the love and care you give these most deserving pups......you rock!
Lily's Legacy is an amazing nonprofit organization! My husband and I first became acquainted with Lily's and the wonderful work it does for these most deserving senior citizens through adoption in 2011 of one of their fabulous "pups", Sunny, a happy, goofy, gorgeous yellow Lab. Fast forward to the present: We have since expanded our Lily's family to include two more fantastic dogs, Cooper and Phoebe. What a fabulous group of happy, fun-loving, and grateful doggies, and what joy they bring us!
We can't say enough about the incredibly great and important work Lily's does on behalf of neglected and/or abandoned senior large breed dogs. They are such a deserving and underserved segment of the canine world, but thanks to Lily's Legacy, that's changing....one dog at a time....with the incredible compassion and dedication of its founder, Alice Mayn, and her amazing team of other volunteers.
Speaking for my husband and myself, our volunteerism at the sanctuary has been deeply enriching and most gratifying as we've seen firsthand the amazing transformation these dogs undergo: They find their way (thankfully) to Lily's through various channels, often as unsettled and unsure, and in the skilled and ultra-caring hands of Alice, her fabulous team, and their new and carefully matched home, they blossom into secure and happy-once-again citizens. What a joy to witness!
Lily's Senior Dog Sanctuary is a treasure and an incredible cause worth supporting. You can support Lily's through cash donations, needed items, volunteering or any combination thereof. Any assistance you can provide will help ensure these dogs continue to have a voice, advocates, and angels on their side. They ask nothing from us yet give us so much in return. Please help!
Sahar and Joel Bartlett
Santa Rosa, CA
I love Lilys! Being a dog lover for many years and also involved in rescue nothing makes me happier than to see a senior being saved and going to Lilys. I was lucky enough to get a great tour of the beautiful property and to get to meet the dogs! These people are truly angels. The dogs are living in a home and the volunteers love them.
The beginning of this year I was looking around for a place to volunteer. Being a dog lover, I found my home at Lily's Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary. I have found a wonderful and tireless group of volunteers who will stop at nothing to provide the love and care of these wonderful old pups. I have participated in several functions here and have met some wonderful people. The Board of Directors are incredible individuals who support the foundation, as well as the many fund-raising events throughout the year.
We are committed to the vision and dream our tireless leader. She treats everyone as an integral part of the team, no one is less important than another. I am honored to be a part of this team of volunteers and this organization. Who can't love being greeted with wagging tails and wet kisses !
Lily's Legacy is such a fantastic organization! There is so much attention and love given to dogs in their elder years. Something that is greatly need. And from the care they offer everyone benefits, the volunteers, the dogs, the foster homes and the adoptive parents.
I am honored to have Lizzie, a Lily's Legacy Senior Dog Rescue alumni, become a recent member of my family. After my extra-large rescue shepherd crossed the rainbow bridge, I was at a loss. Recently retired, everyone advised me to get a small dog. I just wasn't able to get my head and heart around a five pound lap dog, though I met many. In the process of researching local rescue groups, I discovered Lily's Legacy, and thought why not, senior with senior! The process to adopt was thorough, the people involved phenomenal, and the sanctuary, a little piece of heaven for these dear large breed dogs! Lizzie and I couldn't be happier!! She is a gentle love bug who doesn't know a stranger and appreciates all her new life has to offer. I highly recommend this group to anyone who is looking for that special companion.
I have had the privilege of working with generous Lily's Legacy volunteers and Board Members who work tirelessly to rescue, care for, love, and find forever homes for dogs in need with particular focus on senior dogs. I have been amazed by the exhaustive efforts they put forward to save abandoned or desperate dogs and the steps taken to do whatever is necessary to help them recover, trust again, and thrive in a loving environment suitable to their physical and emotional needs. Lily's Legacy is obviously a labor of love and the heart wrenching situations they face daily are rewarded by the lives they save and nurture back to joy! As someone with an appreciation for the wisdom and love of older dogs, I am in awe of the amazing work done by Lily Legacy for the love of dogs. They are a truly admirable and deserving organization for donations toward saving the gracious souls who need us most. Lily's utilizes all their resources toward saving dogs in need, bless them for their tireless efforts.
I can't say enough great things about Lily's Legacy. They fill an underserved niche and they do it with integrity and compassion that is rivaled by no other. I love and appreciate everything senior dogs are, and when I visited the sanctuary and was greeted by big dog after big dog after big dog, I was hooked! They treat dogs and people with the respect that they deserve, making it easy to support, volunteer, and adopt from this wonderful organization. Thank you Alice, for your dedication and love for the big old dogs, and to Lily, for being the inspiration for such a noble cause.
Lily's Legacy is a rescue for large breed senior dogs. When you visit, that's exactly what you'll see - big, old, happy dogs smelling the grass, sleeping in the sun, getting groomed by loving volunteers, all in a "group home" setting in the beautiful countryside of Sonoma County. Here, they'll live their lives filled with care and comfort while they wait for their own, very carefully selected forever families. Lily's is a true sanctuary.
I am a happy adopter and volunteer with Lily's Legacy Senior Dog Rescue. As a veterinary technician, I work with rescue organizations on a daily basis and am in awe of the care these senior pups receive. Senior dogs can be an undertaking-both financially and emotionally, and Alice Mayne is happy to do it. This rescue is truly dedicated to educating people on the benefits of adopting a senior dog and destroying the stigma that comes along with it.
We adopted our sweet boy Tux from Lily's in 2012 and will be forever grateful to Alice for taking him in so that he would find us.
I was also very lucky to be part of rescuing a sweet, yellow lab boy in 2013. Most senior dogs that are relinquished to county shelters are euthanized(so sad, but so true) due to their "un-adoptability"and unfortunately, "Banshee", was facing the same fate. As soon as Lily's heard of him, they were at the shelter doing everything they could to bust this boy out! That goofy lab has a special place in my heart and is happily living out his days with a forever family. If it hadn't been for Lily's Legacy I am sad to say that is most likely NOT the future he would've been graced with.
I am proud to have adopted a dog from Lily's Legacy and will continue to volunteer and do what I can to help spread the word on these amazing pups!
Jordan Sanchez and Kyle Elliott
I have to say that Lily's Legacy Senior Dog Rescue is the best I've seen. I work with dogs as a trainer and have been involved in many other rescue organizations. Alice Mayn is the most dedicated and compassionate rescue person I have ever known and it shows all the way from the beautiful sanctuary that these lucky dogs live in right down to the wags of all the tails there.