This article can also be found in the April 2018 issue of Queen Anne Living Magazine.
Just when it seems like there’s no hope for an older dog without a human family, Old Dog Haven steps in to provide healing and comfort. The organization, which was started 14 years ago by Judith and Lee Piper, gives older dogs a safe, loving place to call home for their final years.
The organization takes in shelter dogs in Western Washington that are eight years or older, many of whom are at risk of being euthanized. Old Dog Haven is intent on making sure that every single dog that comes into its care gets placed into a foster home.
Many of the dogs come to the organization with health complications, including diabetes, epilepsy or cancer. However, every dog is guaranteed to get the medical care they need, no matter the cost. Unfortunately, those costs can reach a staggering $80,000 per month for all of the foster dogs combined, making donations and sponsorships incredibly important to the organization.
Letting go of an old friend is never easy. “It’s like a dark cloud over our house when the time is getting near,” said the organization’s Events Coordinator Aaron Davis, who is currently fostering two dogs. But at the end of the day, those who foster can take comfort in knowing that their canine friends were given a loving home in their final days. “There isn’t anything in this world I’d rather do,” Davis added.
Davis, who has been fostering dogs through Old Dog Haven since 2008, has been overjoyed to see each dog’s transformation throughout the years. “They all come in with their own personal stories and they change when they’re here,” he said. “Every single one of them has been special in their own way.”
Those interested in fostering must go through screening in order to determine a good fit. Potential foster parents can specify their preferred breeds and whether there are children or other pets living in the home. First-time foster homes won’t be given sick dogs – that comes with time and experience. “We want to make sure that the dog fits their home,” said Davis.
When fostering isn’t an option, those who would like to help out can donate to the organization.
You can also attend one of Old Dog Haven’s many events that occur all over Western Washington. The Walk for Old Dogs at Cromwell Park in Shoreline has been the organization’s biggest event, raising $150,000 last year. All of the proceeds from the events go directly toward the dogs’ care.
When in doubt about how to get in touch, just attend nearly any dog-related event in Western Washington, says Davis. “Anywhere there’s going to be dogs, there’ll be Old Dog Haven.”
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to see if there are any foster openings.