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Disabled senior dog standing with wheelchair in a senior pet sanctuary

House With A Heart: Senior Pet Sanctuary For Dogs And Cats

Check out this heartwarming video from National Geographic about an amazing woman named Sher Polvinale and the wonderful sanctuary she runs for older dogs who have lost their owners and/or homes. House with a Heart Senior Pet Sanctuary in Maryland provides tender loving care for senior dogs (and cats, too!).

No expense is spared for the medication, veterinary treatment, or mobility equipment of these special residents. They are able to live out their final years in comfort and security thanks to the dedication of Sher and her great volunteers. An inspiring story indeed!

House With A Heart: Senior Pet Sanctuary Since 2006

Sher Polvinale has been a long-time rescuer, having started the hobby with her late husband Joe. Upon reaching old age herself, however, she realized that there were a lot more old dogs needing medical care and shelter than there were young ones. This inspired her to make a nonprofit senior dog sanctuary where she'll be able to love and care for these precious rescues to the end of their lives.

Apparently, the whole idea started out of receiving calls from various people about dogs who needed help. As Sher received more and more calls, her happy furry family began to grow as well until she officially established herself as the official director of her own nonprofit organization.

Sher Polvinale's Mission

Many of the pets being cared for by the sanctuary have many complex medical conditions, as plenty of them have been rescued from bad or abusive situations. The majority of volunteers are from around the local area of Gaithersburg. Ultimately, the organization's mission is to provide a comfortable forever home for these elderly furballs as they get to live their golden years.

While the organization also allows for fostering and adoption, it is often not feasible due to the complications of the pets, many of which are health-related. Some may require constant supervision or expensive yet necessary medical care. Sher's dedication to her residents is such that she would only ever go out of her house four times a year, having pledged to spend her life caring for these pups and kitties.

Why Do Senior Dogs And Cats Get Abandoned?

There are a number of reasons why people may not like old pets. Firstly, older animals often require more medical attention and care, which can be costly and time-consuming. Secondly, they may not be as energetic or playful as younger animals, which can make them less appealing as companions. Additionally, senior dog behavior changes are quite common, along with health problems and other special needs that make them more difficult to care for.

Finally, some people simply prefer to have a pet that they can watch grow and develop over time rather than one that is already fully grown and near the end of its life. While these reasons are understandable, it's important to remember that older pets still have a lot of love and affection to offer and can make wonderful companions for those willing to take on the extra responsibilities that come with caring for them.

Give Love And Care To All Rescues

Senior dogs in a cage

The discrimination against pets of advanced age when it comes to the adoption process is a very real thing and is a problem in many non-profit shelters. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has stated in their statistics that only about 25% of senior dogs get adopted, as opposed to the 60% adoption rate for younger dogs.

While providing long-term care for older dogs is an admittedly hard task, it is also important to know that they can also provide benefits that aren't found among younger dogs. For example, many elderly dogs have already outgrown destructive behaviors found in puppies, such as teething or indiscriminate scratching. They may also come with basic training and are far easier to settle, especially if they've had experience with previous homes.

There are plenty of reasons to adopt a shelter animal regardless of their age. If you are interested in providing rescue beyond that of cats and dogs, this article may be a good starting point for ideas. Alternatively, you can buy some of our dog shirts for humans, with 25% of the proceed going to no-kill shelters for both dogs and cats.


Why do pets end up in shelters?

Financial difficulties or personal circumstances such as illness or relocation are both plausible reasons why some owners may give up their pets to shelters. Behavioral problems such as aggression or excessive barking may also move an owner to give up these furballs. Abandoned and lost animals are also picked up by animal control officers who bring them to shelters.

Unfortunately, some of these darlings may be victims of abuse and neglect, and they end up in shelters seeking rescue and rehabilitation. In any case, shelters play an important role in providing temporary shelter and care for these pets until they can find new loving homes.

Are pets allowed in emergency shelters?

Most emergency shelters disallow pets due to sanitary and safety measures, although service animals may be overlooked. 

Are pets allowed in care homes?

While some care homes may not allow residents to bring their furry friends, there are many other alternatives that may provide leeway to this practice. It is important to be in touch with the management regarding these questions.

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