This is Levi. He came out of a local kill shelter years ago. His eye was horribly swollen and his tail was hanging by a few strips of skin. He had obviously been hit by a car. But his vet work went well and he lived for many happy years here at the sanctuary.
We rescued Levi in 2003. At that time there was almost no possibility of special needs dogs finding an adoptive home. Seniors were impossible to place. Almost no one was interested in taking in a dog that would need extra vet care.
The other rescuers in our state and all across the south were in a horrible spot when they rescued a senior or special needs dog because they knew it would most likely be a permanent foster for them. This took up a spot that could be used over and over again to rescue healthy young dogs that could be placed in permanent homes. So the sanctuary took in lots of dogs from other rescuers. They would take one or more of the healthy dogs we had rescued in exchange for us taking a senior or special needs dog from them.
I remember so many times sitting in the waiting room of the vet clinic with a blind and deaf dog, or a dog missing a limb, or a dog with one, two, or three devastating ailments. People would ask me why I would spend so much time and money on an ill or disabled dog when I could rescue and re-home several healthy dogs for the same money. My answer was always the same. Their lives matter too!!
We have always loved every animal that ever stepped foot on our land. They all received the very best we had to offer, and unfortunately sometimes that was not enough. But we had to try!
Don’t misunderstand my meaning here. Every rescue group I have ever dealt with wanted desperately to help ALL the dogs they came across in need. But the financial and practical reality of the situation was that when a senior or special need dog came into their care, it prohibited them from rescuing many healthy dogs. Hard choices had to be make. And many rescuers took in those senior and special needs dogs anyway. But when we opened our doors and gave them the option to rescue those babies and not lose a foster home for several years or longer, they were as thrilled as we were.
Today, there are many sanctuaries and groups that specialize in seniors. And I’m sure there are some that take in special needs. But back in the day when we first started we were breaking new ground, in our area anyway. Everyday I have conversations with people that love the senior dogs. Many people now have disabled dogs as well. But that is a new face for rescue that was not the case back in 2001 when we first opened our doors. What a thrill that is for everyone that loves these precious babies!!!