Contributor Carie Broecker is Executive Director and Co-Founder of Peace of Mind Dog Rescue (POMDR) in Pacific Grove, CA. POMDR has received grants from The Grey Muzzle Organization to help with veterinary care for homeless senior dogs and for their program to keep dogs with their guardians.In 2009, I was taking care of a 7-year-old Spaniel mix named Savannah whose guardian, Alice, was in the hospital battling emphysema. She had been in and out of the hospital, and the doctors had just told her she was dying. She only had weeks to live. They moved her to a hospice facility, where I took Savannah to visit her dying guardian.
Alice's number one concern was what was going to happen to Savannah. She told me that she thought it might be best for Savannah to be euthanized so she wouldn't end up in a shelter. I assured Alice that I would take care of Savannah until she found a loving new home.
In that moment, the idea for Peace of Mind Dog Rescue (POMDR) came to me. I had been doing rescue work for 12 years and knew there was an unending stream of dogs in shelters needing help. Dogs like Savannah whose guardians were dying or going into nursing homes could likely end up in animal shelters and be at risk of euthanasia, but there were no rescue groups dedicated to taking in dogs whose guardians could no longer care for them due to sickness or death.
I contacted my close friend, Monica Rua, and suggested we start a rescue group dedicated to taking in dogs from sick or dying guardians. Monica loved the idea, but also wanted to help senior dogs who ended up in shelters and were at the greatest risk of euthanasia. That became our dual mission at POMDR—taking in dogs from senior citizens and terminally ill dog guardians, and taking in senior dogs from animal shelters.
Since 2009, we have rescued close to 750 dogs with the majority of them being senior dogs. We take in dogs from guardians and shelters in our tri-county area—Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties on California's Central Coast. The first two dogs we rescued were Wyatt and Sassy. Wyatt, a 10-year-old Dachshund, and Sassy, a 10-year-old Chihuahua mix, came from the Monterey County Animal Shelter. They had lived most of their lives in an 8x8 pen. Their guardian had lost his home and surrendered them to the shelter. Wyatt and Sassy spent 3 months in POMDR foster care before finding loving homes. They both received thorough veterinary exams, blood work, heartworm tests, vaccines, microchips, dental cleanings with multiple extractions and arthritis medication before adoption.
Among the dogs we have rescued before they ended up in a shelter are Fox, a 13-year-old Shepherd/Chow/Samoyed mix, and her sister Lucy. In 2012, they had been living in a shed and fenced-in area for almost six years. They had received very little attention or social interaction since their first guardian had passed away six years prior. When the second guardian passed away, they were headed to the shelter. Fortunately, the realtor for the property contacted POMDR for help.
At POMDR, Lucy was treated for a urinary tract infection and pancreatitis. A fist-sized clump of Bermuda grass had to be removed from her stomach. The vet believed the grass had been in her stomach causing digestive issues for months. Fox also had a urinary tract infection and had four teeth that were so worn down that she had to have four root canals. Fox and Lucy were in foster care for four months before being adopted together to a loving family.
One of our most recent shelter rescues is Archie, a 10-year-old Dachshund mix. He came to POMDR from Salinas Animal Services after being picked up as a stray. After his veterinary exam and blood work, he had to have all of his teeth removed, was neutered, and started on treatment for glaucoma. Archie has been with POMDR for two weeks and is still currently up for adoption.
In addition to rescuing dogs in need, we also have a Helping Paw Program that strives to keep senior people and their pets together as long as possible. We provide dog walking, temporary foster care for people in the hospital or recovering from surgery or illness, and financial assistance for low income pet guardians who need help paying for veterinary care. We have helped over 200 people and their pets stay together with this program.Through our Helping Paw Program, POMDR volunteers helped 90-year-old Mimi by walking her dog Bella daily for 18 months when she no longer could. Eventually, Mimi was able to move closer to her daughter who could help care for her and Bella.
Our third program is our Perpetual Care Program. Through our Perpetual Care Program, we educate and encourage dog guardians to consider what would happen to their dogs if they were no longer able to care for them and to make arrangements for the care of their dogs by setting up a pet trust. They can name a friend or family member as the new guardian of their dog, but if they do not have a friend or family member able or willing to care for their dog, they can name POMDR as the new guardian. We will take in their dog and find them a new loving home. We currently have 27 people signed up for our perpetual care program giving them peace of mind that their dog will be cared for in the event of them predeceasing their pet.
With the support of over 400 volunteers and 3500 supporters, we are proud to be a resource and advocate for senior dogs and senior people on California's Central Coast. This support enables us to find loving homes for dogs whose guardians can no longer care for them and for senior dogs in shelters. Since 2011, The Grey Muzzle Organization has supported POMDR programs by providing grants to help with medical care and our Helping Paw Program. Thank you Grey Muzzle for helping POMDR rescue dogs like Wyatt, Sassy, Fox, Lucy, and Archie.
For information about all of the wonderful organizations that Grey Muzzle supports, see Who We Help.
The Grey Muzzle Organization improves the lives of at-risk senior dogs by providing funding and resources to animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries, and other nonprofit groups nationwide.