In a recent PetFinder study, “less-adoptable” pets stay in animal shelter four times as long as other pets. Sadly, 24% Animal Rescues say senior pets are the number one looked over animal in shelters. (source) BestBullySticks knows that many people are missing out on great companions, but there is one rescue in Virginia making a difference in the lives of senior pets—Paws for Seniors.
We recently spoke to Brenda Scamoredella, co-founder of Paws for Seniors about how this great rescue got it’s start and stories of some very inspiring dogs.
When & Why did you start?
Paws For Seniors formed in the fall of 2011 following the collapse of a rescue group in the area that the founders were fostering 3 senior dogs for. Daiquiri, Artie and Princess were transferred to the care of Paws For Seniors. In January 2012, Paws For Seniors was incorporated in the state of Virginia as a non-profit organization focused on caring for and finding homes for senior dogs and cats, aged seven years and older where they can live out their golden years with dignity and love through rescue, foster, adoption, and hospice.
Like Daiquiri, who after 19 years of dedication and love to her family, Senior Dogs and Cats become homeless every day for any number of reasons; we knew we had to help by bringing awareness that Senior Pets are not to be overlooked! They deserve a chance to thrive and prove that they can live as active, loving, dedicated family members. Every day we work to give Senior Pets a chance to LIVE out their GOLDEN years with dignity and love.
As a puppy, Daiquiri found herself lost in the woods, dumped and forgotten. Luckily a family walking in the woods found her, where she remained for the next 19 years. Daiquiri's life has not always been easy. She fought cancer twice, the last time 10 years ago. Two years ago, Daiquiri began to lose her hearing; today, she is deaf. In March, 2011 at the age of 19 years old, Daiquiri was displaced from the only family she knew. Daiquiri became a foster of Brenda & Jim, founders of Paws For Seniors, her nails were so long they were embedded in the pads of her feet. She constantly shook her head because her ears were infected and full of ear wax as a result she was deaf. We trimmed her nails, got the infected ears under control and started her on a high quality food diet.
For the next 2 years and 4 months Daiquiri spent a life of happiness and love. AND stood proud as the Paws For Seniors Poster Child. On July 3, 2013 at the young age of 21 years old we bid farewell to our dear sweet Daiquiri. We know she will be waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge. RIP Daiquiri your legacy will live on!
Artie and Princess came to us when their family sadly could not keep them through circumstances out of their control. The family had saved them both as seniors from a local shelter 1 year apart and loved them dearly. It took 9 months of work to find a forever home for them where they became loving family members. Sadly we recently received news that Artie, at the age of 14 years old, had gone to the rainbow bridge. Princess, 14 years old, continues to be a loving active family member.
What's different about your rescue?
We don’t think of ourselves as different however here are some of our philosophies.
We do not believe that we are “in competition” with rescue groups and shelters but “in concert”. We all have the same goal of helping animals in distress, caring for them, and finding “furever” homes.
We believe that pet companionship is key to keeping our aging society young at heart! We will work to match senior dogs & cats with senior citizens, while considering the needs of both.
We will work with rescues/shelters to network and cross-post Senior Dogs and Cats in their care to aid in finding a permanent home.
Although we will never know Brownie’s entire past from his manners we feel that at one time he was a loving family member. Brownie came to us in the Spring of 2012 while helping a rescue group with some of their senior dogs. He had been rescued from a dog-fighting ring where he was used as a bait dog. As a result his body was riddled with scars and he lost one of his eyes. He appeared to be an old man but his spirit remained high and he did not harbor any ill feelings for humans or other dogs for that matter. Because of his appearance we thought that he would be with us for his remaining years. However, we are pleased to say that he was adopted in the fall of 2012 by a loving family where he has a farm to roam, other dogs to play with and a warm bed to rest at the end of the day. Despite his rough time with the dogfight ring, he remains the loving carefree chocolate lab that he was born to be. Each and every day he amazes his family with his resilience and love.
Mello lost his home when his owner could no longer care for him due to health. He was transferred to us with 2 other dogs from the same family. His kennel card was marked “Don’t mess with face, WILL BITE.” This did not deter us as we worked to help him understand that we were there to help and love him. Yes he didn’t like his face being messed with at first but as he learned to trust us his true personality began to shine. He constantly had a smile on his face and would run and play.
When we were contacted by his new family that they wanted to adopt him, we processed the application and set up a meet and greet. On the first visit his new mom picked him up and kissed him right on the lips. Meanwhile we held our breath, praying that Mello didn’t revert to his old ways and bite her! When he didn’t we knew that they were a match made in heaven.
Mello now spends his days traveling with his family from their home in DC to their home in California. He has his own passport and gets to ride in the cabin with his mom. We receive many reports of how well he is doing and how much they adore him. His Mom and Dad report that Mello is the ambassador for Paws For Seniors wherever they go.
What's the most rewarding thing about working at your rescue?
Many dogs and cats when they lose the only home they have ever known go into a depression which we call “rescue shock”; they recede into themselves and do not want to deal with any one human or animal. Each and every volunteer with our group plays an important role in helping rehabilitate, train, and showcase our pets in need. The reward at the end of the day is knowing that we have done everything humanly possible to help a senior pet come back to optimal health both mentally and physically.
What can people do to help your rescue?
We are an all-volunteer group in need of like-minded volunteers to help with promoting the pets in our care. We are currently seeking individuals that can help us by taking charge of organizing fundraising events, outreach to active senior communities, and foster care. http://www.pawsforseniors.org/volunteer.html
We are always in need of responsible foster families that can house pets that need a place to rest their head and in some cases help with training until we can find them a new home. http://www.pawsforseniors.org/fostering.html
We rely on the public at large for donations to help us fund the vet care that the pets need. This includes, routine checkups, blood work, and dental care and in some cases more serious surgeries. Therefore monetary donations may be sent by check to Paws For Seniors PO Box 738 Bealeton, VA 22712 or online by visiting http://www.pawsforseniors.org/donate.html.
Thank you to Brenda for speaking with us and to Paw for Seniors and all the amazing work they do for such wonderful four-legged companions!