All dogs may go to heaven, but when older pooches wind up in shelters, chances of them living out their final years in contentment are slim.
At Marty’s Place in Upper Freehold, New Jersey, however, the resident family of senior sanctuary dogs is getting a whole new “leash” on life.
Marty’s Place founder Doreen Jakubcak understood that older dogs have significantly less chance of getting adopted, so she made it her mission to look out for the underdogs. The focus is on rehomed canines, age 7 and up.
Amenities at the upscale doggy retirement village include generous living quarters, medical and dental care, regular exercise, and activities geared toward their capabilities and limitations.
With plenty of sofas for just hanging out—and even an in-ground pool for those inclined to take a dip—every dog here is ensured of having his or her day.
While some dogs that pass through Marty’s Place eventually find adoptive pet parents, none of them ever have to worry about being abandoned. “When we commit to a dog that comes to Marty’s Place they do have a forever home,” Jakubcak told ABC News. “That forever home can be here at the sanctuary and when we can we try to place a dog into a new adoptive home.”
Jakubcak noted that recently Marty’s Place has been catering to dogs of more advanced age, from 10 to 18. Many also have pre-existing health conditions, making finding new “furever” homes more of a challenge. Even so, Jakubcak says that prospective adopters shouldn’t rule out older dogs.
“When people hear the term senior dogs, they immediately think, ‘Ugh they’re boring,’ but some are high energy and require lots of exercise and stimulation,” Jakubcak told Good Morning America. “I do believe they know instinctively what you did for them and they are forever grateful. That bond… is nothing like you could imagine.”
“They’re so lucky that they can live out their golden years in this amazing place. We should all be that lucky, as human beings, we should be that lucky,” Volunteer Rennie Rankin added. “Every time I walk in the door, I think about that. Wow, this is how I should live out my last days.”
Jakubcak notes that Marty’s Place is more than just a sanctuary, it’s a family. “That family consists of our dogs, our staff, and our volunteers,” she said. “Everybody that’s here truly embraces the dogs and truly cares about them like they’re their own personal dogs.”
Of course, Marty’s Place isn’t alone in its appreciation for the gifts of love and companionship older dogs bring their owners. Steve Greig, heartbroken over the passing of his own pet, went on to become a serial adopter of senior pooches as part of the healing process. “They’re just wiser animals, he’s said. “These dogs know who they are and it’s easy to develop a relationship with a person or pet who knows who they are.”