About the Safe Haven Sanctuary


While our main goal is to find forever homes for our dogs, some dogs need to stay in our care for the rest of their lives. The Safe Haven Sanctuary was designed to provide a refuge for dogs who:

  • ​​are of advanced age and/or have multiple health issues

  • have serious physical disabilities

  • have serious behavioral problems like a history of multiple bites


Dogs such as these often don’t make it out of shelters alive. Senior dogs, particularly those with multiple chronic health issues, are among the first to be surrendered by their owners due to the cost and challenge of caring for them. Dogs with significant special needs are also more likely to be rehomed or put to sleep. And dogs with severe behavioral problems—such as a tendency to snap or bite—are often euthanized by their owners or turned in to a shelter which then euthanizes them if a rescue won’t take them. 


All of our Sanctuary dogs receive the following:

  • a trusted, experienced, and loving “forever foster” home 

  • comprehensive medical and dental care, including all required treatments, whether minor or major (we don’t skimp on health care!)

  • high-quality human-grade commercial dog food, homemade dog food, and supplements (and we also don’t skimp on good food!)

  • regular grooming by one of our volunteer groomers

How you can help


If, like us, you believe that every life is precious, you can make a real difference in a dog’s life by opening your arms—and home—to a sanctuary dog, or by supporting a dog as a “virtual” foster parent.

Become a forever foster parent

Foster one of our Sanctuary dogs in your home for several months or years. We will pay all health care costs for your foster dog, and provide you with dog food, supplies, training, and emotional support. 

We promise you that being a forever foster for a homeless dog who would otherwise be euthanized will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life!


Contact us at chr-foster@caringheartsrescue.org to learn more about fostering a sanctuary dog.

Become a “virtual” foster parent

Even if there's no space in your home for another furry friend, sponsoring one of our sanctuary dogs is a great way to make a huge difference in a dog’s life.

Virtual fosters can help our rescue by helping us pay for medical and routine care for sanctuary dogs. Please read the dog bios below and see if you can find it in your heart to sponsor a dog. In return, you will receive periodic updates (emails and photos) from the foster parent of the dog you choose to sponsor. 


                                                                 To make a one time donation CLICK HERE



Safe Haven

Senior and Special Needs Sanctuary


Sasha came to us several years ago from a Maryland partner shelter. We knew from the beginning that something was not totally right with Sasha. She had issues standing straight and would often lean or fall over. After diagnostic tests were completed, she was diagnosed with late-stage distemper. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, only 20 percent of dogs survive distemper. Dogs who survive have permanent, irreparable nervous system damage. That is the case with Sasha.


Sasha still has issues maintaining her balance, and her current care is much more challenging than that of a normal dog. Potty accidents are a regular occurence, and she is often confused about almost everything. The damage from the disease has definitely left it's mark, but she continues to thrive in her patient, loving forever foster home.

We hope to see seven-year-old Sasha live a long life but, sadly, most dogs with this condition end up having seizures and dying before they reach old age. 



Gizmo was transferred to Caring Hearts Rescue from a Maryland shelter. He was considered unadoptable due to his bite history. Gizmo is 14 years old.  Gizmo's foster parent—who happens to be a dog trainer—has been working patiently with him to correct his behavior.


Even though he has made huge improvements, his forever foster is very careful to make sure visitors that come to the house are safe. Recently he took his foster parent by surprise by snapping at a guest, even after several years with us. Aggression that stems from fear can take years—or a lifetime—to change.  Despite his tendency to bite strangers, Gizmo is a sweet—if a bit grumpy—boy who will always have a home with us.


Please donate to support Gizmo so CHR can continue to care for dogs like him with severe behavioral issues. 


Quinn is 18 years old. We rescued him right before he was going to be euthanized by a shelter for being a biter. He was literally in the euthanasia room when a call from the rescue halted the procedure that would have taken his life. Once he was home with us, it took three months before his foster mom could even touch him without being bitten. 


After three attempts to place him in a new home, he was quickly returned due his aggressive behavior. Over time, we saw so much fear aggression in Quinn that we concluded it was never going to be safe enough to place him in an adoptive home without risking a serious bite.

Luckily, we found an experienced forever foster parent who continues to work with Quinn on his behavior and avoids any situation that could cause him to hurt a stranger. He has made amazing improvements in his behavior over the years but will always require humans to be cautious around him. Dogs like Quinn are often euthanized in the rescue world because of the risk to humans and other animals. Once CHR commits to taking a dog, we are in it for the long haul—even if the dog is a biter. Every life is precious. 


Please donate to support Quinn so we can continue to care for dogs like him who have severe behavioral issues. 



Teddy came to CHR from a backyard breeder. He was so fearful initially that he would run and hide behind anything he could fit behind. On top of his fearfullness, Teddy had horrible allergies and skin lesions all over his body. Our vet did allergy tests and found that Teddy was allergic to 90 percent of the trees and grasses in our area, and to grains, mold, and many foods. Allergy shots and medicines were a necessity for his ongoing care, at a cost of over $70 a month. He also required two medicated baths a week and a special prescription diet.  

We tried to find Teddy a forever home that we were sure could handle his special fear behavior, diet and skin care needs, and the cost of his monthly medicines but the years passed with no adopter willing to take on Teddy's many needs. We finally placed Teddy in our sanctuary program to live out the rest of his life.


Teddy is now nine years old and very loved by our rescue. We took Teddy to a canine behaviorist and he was placed on medicines to help with his extreme fear of pretty much everything in the world. Over the years, Teddy has made remarkable improvement with the help of his experienced forever foster mom. Patience was key in helping Teddy build his confidence and feel comfortable in the world around him. We are committed to making sure this sweet boy, who was initially almost broken by his former home, continues to thrive with the love and kindness he deserves.  



Isabella entered Caring Hearts Rescue in August of 2017. She came from a partner shelter were she was deemed unadoptable due to several bite incidents, including biting one of the vet techs in the face.

Isabella is extremely fearful of being groomed, so much so that she becomes extremely agitated (think Kujo!) and will bite when groomed. Because of this, she can only be groomed by a CHR volunteer who is experienced in grooming fearful dogs. The grooming has to be done in stages and over several visits so as not to push Isabella over threshold. Most professional groomers will not put up with the threat of being bitten so this is a major obstacle to getting Isabella groomed. The only other altenative is to have a vet sedate her and have her groomed under sedation. Given the cost and potential dangers of sedation, this solution is not very practical for Isabella.

After several failed attempts to place her in a new home, CHR has decided to keep Isabella in our sanctuary where we can handle her grooming needs and keep potential owners and groomers safe.




Bodhi entered Caring Hearts Rescue in January of 2018. Even though Bodhi is only a few years old, his fear of people dominates his life. His is a very complicated behavioral case that will take years of behavioral training to change. Although we have him listed on our sanctuary page, we think that a home without males is the best setting for him. Bodhi's foster family is committed to forever fostering Bodhi but is hopeful that—one day—an all-female home with an experienced dog owner or owners will be found.  


We don’t know what happened to this little guy in the past but when he encounters strangers—particularly men—he sometimes exhibits snappy behavior. Dogs like Bodhi are often euthanized at shelters or by owners due to the fear that they may bite. 


​Bodhi was seen by a canine behaviorist and placed on several drugs to help him combat his fear of strangers. Over the past few months, his foster parents have seen improvement in his behavior but he still needs more time and continued support to begin trusting new people. 


​Once we commit to a dog, we're in it for the long haul. Finding a family willing to take on Bodhi's behavioral needs could take years so we have placed him in our Sanctuary. Bodhi's prescription medications and food cost us $60.00 a month. Please consider donating on a one-time or monthly basis to help us pay for Bodhi’s expenses.



Caring Hearts Rescue
P.O. Box 6592
Springfield, VA.  22150
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