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Sanctuary Dogs - What Are They, And Why Does It Matter?

A sanctuary dog is a rescue dog that doesn’t adapt well to a foster home or a new adoptive parent. They are dogs who have no severe behavioral issues, and have adapted so well to their  rescue home they make it clear…..they never want to leave!

Often, they were feral dogs who had little or no human contact until arriving at the rescue where over a long period of time they finally bonded with their saviors.

When it comes to our rescue at Dogslanding, it is a huge upgrade for some dogs, and a downgrade for others. In the case of our feral dogs who have been strays and had no interaction with people, forming a bond takes months. But the daily interaction of being fed healthy dog food and clean water, a warm blanket in a crate in an air conditioned kennel, and the daily let outs and play times creates a strong bond in a secure environment they never want to leave.

When it comes to rescue dogs who were former pets it’s quite a different experience. Going from being part of a family,  having a cushy  bed inside or even couch time with the family, the rescue bunk-houses can seem quite disappointing and even stressful. Those dogs usually respond well to foster homes and better yet, forever homes! 


When a small rescue like ours here has limited space, these rescue dogs that prove incapable of making the transition from rescue to  forever home become a financial burden that takes away from our mission to save dogs from euthanasia. Currently we have three sanctuary dogs and one elderly dog who while adaptable and adoptable requires regular heartworm treatment. We are facing the fact he too may wind up being another sanctuary dog.

Each of these dogs cost our rescue approximately $400 a month for food, heartworm treatments, incidentals, and staff to help care for them. This past year we have invested $12,000 on just these four dogs. This greatly affects our bottom line and how much help we can provide new rescues.


Currently we have three dogs that have all failed at attempted foster situations due to their inability to bond with other humans besides us. Having said that they are thriving here and bring us great joy. They have turned out to be great dog trainers for the other rescues who come and go, often acting like yard duty staff, teaching rescues the do’s and don'ts ... .showing them the ropes!


Phil and Perry are a brother and sister ferals that we got from the Lockhart shelter over two years ago. It took months before we could so much as stroke their fur. They came to love us and though they are far from cuddle buddies, they are literally thriving here. After a life on the streets they greatly appreciate the high quality dog food and a soft bed and crate inside an air-conditioned bunkhouse. They came to us with severe heartworms and we have finally turned a corner after two years of treatments and they are now in remission.  They are now a valuable part of the Dogslanding team! We just adore them.


Sugar is a timid, but playful mini-shepard. She is an absolute furball, an overly fluffy sweetheart. She is also a feral who doesn’t love human contact but has learned to trust us. Sugar also has a case of heartworms. She has been with us for over a year and like Phil and Perry she is thriving here.  Two times Sugar has gone off to foster homes and it was a disaster both times. Here she is secure, happy and we just don't have the heart to put her through the anxiety of attempting to send her off again. 


Brownie is 7 year old shepherd mix. An absolute chill buddy with heartworms that came to us in January. While Brownie probably would adjust well to a new home we have yet to have a single nibble on fostering or adopting him out. Senior dogs with health issues are a tall order to fill. We are starting to face the fact he may become another sanctuary dog.



We are seeking donors or sponsors for our sanctuary dogs. Recurring monthly donors are extremely helpful, and you don’t need to donate much to make a big impact. Click the donation link here to sign up to be a monthly donor, and select exactly how much you would like to donate to the sanctuary monthly. To sponsor a sanctuary dog, email us at 

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