A while back, I wrote a post about my new personal hero Pali Boucher, the founder and driving force behind Rocket Dog Rescue. Boucher's story inspired the hell out of me when Mark and I saw the show on Animal Planet about her work, and I've been thinking a lot about her and her rescue ever since. And Mark and I have bandied about the idea of our own rescue some day, but not here, since there are already so many rescue orgs and foster networks and we don't really have the time or the money or the space to dedicate to it.
Lately, though, both my thoughts on the matter and our discussions have become a bit more centered. What I really want to focus on, I've realized, is providing a happy, comfortable, safe "retirement" for older dogs, particularly older large breed dogs, who are often abandoned or euthanized in their old age because they are so expensive to care for. Having Leo has made me realize that there are few things in life as fantastic as a calm, gentle, wise old dog. He has been such a gift, and I am only partially joking when I say he's my canine soulmate. Just having him around, lying on his bed while I read or do housework or watch TV or whatever, petting him and taking him for slow, short walks, makes my life a much better place. And it makes his a better place as well. While the shelter/pound system is rough on all dogs, it's particulary rough, I think, on gentle old souls like Leo, who need some extra care and companionship. Particularly with the circumstances he was in, with living outside, not having quality food, etc. So as much as Leo has added to our lives, I am also really happy with what we've been able to give him--a safe, happy, comfortable place to live out the rest of his life, however long that may be. What we weren't able to do for Chance.
And thus, the idea of the Last Chance Canine Retirement Home is born.
What I want to be able to do, I think, is get to a career place where I can work freelance from home, doing business writing and grant applications and stuff. I also want Mark and I to be able to afford to live somewhere that has sufficient space and is not suburban--a rural area very close to a city, I guess, where we can buy some land with a big house. And then we'll take in as many dogs as we have time/space/capacity for, focusing on dogs in their later years that other people have given up on. Dogs on their last chance. We'll make sure they get good food, soft beds, lots of companionship, and good vet care. We'll drive a car they can easily ride in (yay for the Element!). We'll take them on short, slow walks if they are arthritic and let them get up on the furniture if they aren't. For many of them, it will be the only time in their lives people have been nice to them, and they'll be happy. And so will we.
It's a great dream, I think, and an even better goal.
And it's a goal we may be moving towards faster than I'd thought. We've become aware of an elderly Anatolian who is in a not-great shelter situation a few hours from here, and I've been in contact with the national Anatolian Rescue Network. It looks as if we may soon be fostering her through them. I hope we do. And I hope this is the beginning.