For over 30 years, Sher Polvinale of Maryland and her husband Joe devoted their lives to rescuing as many unwanted cats and dogs and they could
They spent many years rescuing the pets and finding them new forever homes. But as time went on they got a bit slower, so had to find another way to help.
They came up with a plan, they turned their home into a non-profit retirement home where older pets could come and live out their final years in comfort.
Joe, unfortunately, passed away 2 years later, but Sher continued the good work, in his name.
“I miss him every day, but I know he’d be proud that we’re still taking in as many senior pets as we can and treating them with compassion in their final years,” she said speaking to ”People‘.
“In order to feel happy and fulfilled in life, everyone needs a passion. This has become mine.”
‘House With a Heart’ is funded by donations and takes in around 30 pets at a time who are over the age of 12 until their final days.
Lisa Browning brought her father’s elderly dog to home when her family could no longer care for him, she said, “It’s a wonderful place of hope and love that I’ll always hold dear to my heart”
“Sher taught Max to use a doggy door and gave him his own bed in the foyer, where he soon became the official greeter at House With a Heart.”
“What was really cool was that my dad was able to visit the sanctuary on several occasions and hang out with Max,” she says.
“He was so grateful that Sher was with his dog when he died. When my dad died soon afterward, he was content, knowing he’d be reunited with my mom and with Max.”
Sher’s home finds many of the less abled, previously abused animals a home where they can relax with full bellies and full hearts.
She is helped by 60 volunteers who regularly tend to the pets with grooming, exercise, and playtime.
“The satisfaction I get from caring for them in their golden years is priceless,” volunteer coordinator Martine Ferguson says to ‘People‘.
“Seniors are the last to get adopted in shelters and are too often overlooked — so trust me when I say that they are extra grateful for the love you provide.”
Sher even sleeps on a couch downstairs so she can help several of the pups who need help going outside in the night, “We start caring for our pets at 6 in the morning and finish at midnight,” she adds.
“They’re like old people in many ways, with some of them having cardiac issues, dental problems, incontinence, or blindness. We make a lot of trips to the vet.”
Sher makes sure to remember each of the animals that have passed, she makes casts of their paw prints and buries their ashes in the backyard.
“We’ve lost 80 so far,” Sher tells People, “and I remember them all. It’s not easy to say goodbye, but we take comfort in knowing we’ve given them a wonderful end-of-life experience. Not a single animal leaves our care without knowing they were loved.”