Old Souls Animal Rescue & Retirement Home

Story and Photos contributed by Executive Director, Paula Rivadeneira
Old Souls is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that takes in geriatric, special needs, and hospice animals of all kinds, including dogs, cats, tortoises, and farm animals. The animals come primarily from municipal animal shelters, but in some special cases, Old Souls takes in animals from owners who themselves are going into nursing homes or hospice care and have no family or friends to care for their pets. Old Souls also provides assistance to pet owners in need who have aging or hospice animals that require vet care, medication, or supplies that their owners cannot afford to provide. Old Souls believes that keeping pets and their people together should always take priority over removing an animal from a loving home just because of financial stressors.

Animals who do come to live at Old Souls are provided with nutritious food, soft beds, pain management, and all the love and care they need in their final chapter of life. They are welcome to stay at Old Souls until they leave us for the Rainbow Bridge, but in some cases, animals have recovered and we adopt them out to loving homes.

Old Souls was founded in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2010, a few years after owners Paula and Isaac Rivadeneira opened a petsitting business in Opelika Alabama. Clients began asking them to take care of their aging pets even when they were not going out of town because the animals simply felt better in Paula and Isaac’s care. They soon realized they had a knack for caring for these older animals, and they started rescuing geriatric, special needs, and hospice animals from shelters so they would not die alone, afraid, and unloved.

After moving to Yuma, Arizona in 2015, the rescue expanded exponentially because of the intense need for Old Souls’ services, and the incredible support they received from the Yuma community.

The Executive Director, Paula Rivadeneira, feels there is nothing more beautiful than being the last person to take care of an animal, so no matter how sad and difficult it can be, she would never want to do anything else.

Old Souls moved to Tucson in 2022 and the organization decided that this will be the rescue’s permanent location in Picture Rocks.

Old Souls’ programs include:

  • Palliative and end of life care for geriatric and hospice animals
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy for special needs animals
  • Veterinary care for senior pets whose owners are not able to cover the cost of care and
  • Together Forever Planned Giving Program

Currently, Old Souls is home to dogs ranging in size from 2 to 120 pounds, 3 cats, 6 potbelly pigs, 8 tortoises, 3 turkeys, 11 goats, 2 cows, and lots of chickens! They depend heavily on volunteers to help feed, water, medicate, and cuddle the animals to ensure the animals receive lots of love and the dignity they deserve in their final days. Old Souls does not allow the animals in their care to suffer so they rely on quality of life assessments to let them know when it’s time. Then a veterinarian visits the rescue so the animal can be put to sleep surrounded by the other animals and humans who love them.

Old Souls spends about $4000 per month on animal food, medications, and vet visits, depending on the needs of the animals. They accept donations in many ways, including through their Amazon and Chewy Wishlists, but one of the easiest ways is through www.givebutter.com/oldsoulsfeelgoodfund where supporters can set up a monthly donation with just a couple of clicks.

Old Souls is not open to the public regularly, but they will have open house days in the fall. If you would like to volunteer, visit, or donate, you can learn more about Old Souls on their webpage www.oldsouls.org, and social media. You can also stay at their Airbnb (airbnb.com/h/old-souls-animal-rescue-farm-retreat), which includes a one-hour hands-on personal tour of the rescue!



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