Kind man establishes a sanctuary for elderly dogs that were left behind because of their advanced age

Russell Clothier, previously a high school physics instructor, started Shep’s Haven with the goal of providing a comfortable home for senior dogs that have not been adopted to enjoy their remaining years happily. While it would be ideal for the dogs to be adopted, it is not necessary.

The non-profit canine sanctuary has welcomed approximately 30 dogs since its establishment, with the latest being adopted this week, making it the 21st adoption. Within only one week, Suzie, a 12-year-old pointer mix, who was under the care of a woman who had to relocate to a nursing home, was adopted.

Clothier expressed his surprise at the rate of adoptions, saying, “It’s really taken off. I never expected such a high turnover. Even with the lockdown, we’ve seen a rise in dog adoptions. It’s very gratifying to know that so many people appreciate senior dogs.”

Named after their 11-year-old beagle, Shep’s Haven was founded by Clothier and his wife last year. Although their home hosts a number of dogs, he spends less time at the sanctuary because he finds it challenging to adapt to the frequent arrival of dogs.

Clothier mentioned that the dog sanctuary has had a maximum of ten dogs under their care, but they currently have five dogs, with one being in a foster home. The longest stay for a dog at the sanctuary was nearly a year, but most dogs stay for a few months. Before the pandemic, volunteers were available almost every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., which was great to have six or seven dogs under their care.

The volunteers found it difficult to take the dogs out during the rainy spring season. During winter, the ground is covered in mud and is crunchy underfoot.

Shep’s Place has launched a project to install a new surface with a gravel foundation underneath the synthetic grass, which will help absorb rain and urine from dogs, making cleaning easier. The project has a budget of $15,000, and the sanctuary has raised almost half of the required funds.

Clothier expressed that the new surface would be pleasant for the dogs throughout the year.

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