Russell Clothier, a former high school physics teacher, set out to create Shep’s Haven to provide a nice place for older, unadopted dogs to live out their final years somewhere they can be happy.
It would be an added advantage if they were adopted.
Since its inception, the non-profit dog sanctuary has taken in roughly 30 canines, with the 21st being adopted out this week.
Suzie, a 12-year-old pointer mix who stayed with a lady who had to transfer into a nursing home, was adopted after only a week.
“It has really taken off,” Clothier said about the adoptions. “I didn’t expect there would be this turnover.
“Even with the lockdown, we’ve actually seen an increase in dog adoptions. We’re very gratified that there’s so many that like the older dogs.”
Shep’s Place is named after Clothier and his wife’s 11-year-old beagle, who joined a slew of other dogs at their home last year.
He doesn’t spend much time at the dog sanctuary next door since he finds it difficult to adjust to the constant influx of dogs.
Clothier said the longest a dog has been at the sanctuary was almost a year, but most only stay for a few months, and there are currently five dogs under sanctuary care (one of which is in a foster home).
They’ve had up to ten on hand, but six or seven would be great. Volunteers were on hand practically every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. before the covid struck.
Last spring it just rained and rained and rained. For the volunteers, it was hard to take the dogs out,” Clothier said. “In the winter, it’s just brown and muddy and crunchy.”
A new surface with a gravel foundation below the fake grass would absorb rain (and dog pee) and save cleanup time. Shep’s Place is on track to raise $15,000 for the project, and they’re nearly halfway there.
“It should be nice for them all year long,” Clothier said.