As it has for many rescues and shelters, 2020 has been a year of challenges and surprises for Carolina Poodle Rescue (CPR). COVID and the changes it imposed on normal operations at our rescue is something that we would gladly have by passed. There is however, one surprise that has been a welcome blessing.
There isn't a city or county in the nation where dogs don't need help -- where they don't wind up on the street or neglected on chains in backyards, don't get dumped at municipal shelters out of ignorance or mere convenience, don't outlive their owners and find themselves among strangers who don't know what to do with them. It is why animal rescues exist. It is what animates volunteers to take up the cause and advocate for the welfare of companion animals. And it's what drives the diverse organizations who have been awarded Grey Muzzle grants.
The Loneliness Epidemic. Is Loneliness a Bigger Public Health Threat than Obesity? Feeling Lonely Can be as Deadly as Smoking. These are just a few recent headlines about social isolation and loneliness, which appear to be increasing in all segments of the population but disproportionately impact seniors, who are more likely to live alone and lack social support.
Like candy, organizations that help senior dogs come in different colors and flavors. Some operate on a shoestring, while some have six-figure budgets. Some are foster based, while others have shelter facilities. And some coalesced recently, while others have built their organizations over decades. These programs' commonalities, however, are greater than their differences, and their shared goal, as succinctly expressed by Kelly Wolfe, is "to keep animals with people."
“Senior dogs have always spoken to me.” It’s Friday morning and Dawn Kemper, co-founder of Young at Heart Senior Pet Adoptions in suburban Chicago, is running a mile a minute, multitasking, seeing to every detail as she readies the rollout of the rescue’s new program, Club Grand Paw, the latest embodiment of the organization’s mission “to rescue and rehome senior dogs and cats, to educate the public on the benefits of adopting older pets and their care, and to reduce the euthanasia rate for adoptable senior pets.”
Many dog owners fear what will happen if their dogs outlive them, and sometimes even plans made with the best intentions don't work out. Nikki, an 8 year-old Kuvasz, and the family member who inherited her faced insurmountable issues that made her long-term care untenable.
At Grey Muzzle, we believe that connections and collaboration will always help more senior dogs in need, so we work hard to provide our grantees with unique opportunities to support their missions. Recently, we were able to connect Stella & Chewy’s with the Thulani Program, run by German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California.
Foster Pet Outreach is a Peoria, Illinois-based rescue focused on promoting the well-being of animals in their community. In their grant application to Grey Muzzle, they wrote, “Our problem is that we don’t adopt out enough senior dogs!” A grant from Grey Muzzle will change that. With Grey Muzzle’s support, Foster Pet Outreach has created a Senior Dog Program dedicated to finding forever homes for a greater number of senior dogs.