ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Almost three and a half million dogs are dropped off in shelters each year. Nearly a million of them will never make it out, euthanized when a permanent home can’t be found. Many of those dogs will be the older, injured, and sick ones. One woman is on a mission to save them, one old dog at a time, and let them live their golden years with the love they deserve.
Blind, sick, injured, old—really old─paralyzed!
Dogs like little Maverick, who was found paralyzed alongside of the road, have been dropped off, left to die, or disposed of. Heidi Hardman’s life passion is to help these underdogs of the dog world. A typical rescue spends 12 weeks waiting in a shelter to be adopted, and special needs and seniors spend nearly four times as long.
“The older they are, the less chance they’re going to have at getting out,” Heidi Hardman, founder of Polka Dogz, told Ivanhoe.
Heidi’s Polka Dogz is one of a handful of rescues in the U.S. that takes in special needs and super senior dogs.
“She was a hot mess, and we couldn’t resist her,” Melissa Albright, who adopted a super senior dog, exclaimed.
Lori Sullivan and Melissa Albright adopted a toothless, blind, and deaf chihuahua.
“We got Blue two years ago,” Albright shared. “They estimated that she was 19-years-old at the time.”
Add on 11-year-old Hannah and her pal Bruiser. The upside to adopting an older or special needs dog: their personality is already developed and most are calmer, and they will likely know basic commands.
Quieter homes without kids are usually best. There can be extra costs that come with growing older.
“Do you really want that dog to suffer and leave it to live its last days in a shelter with nobody around, no family to love it?” Hardman said.
For many, the answer is simple.
“They deserve that second chance of getting that. They could have a lot of life left in them,” Hardman said.
For every dog rescued by Polka Dogz, they lose at least $85 after adoption fees. They get all of their funding through donations. Last year, vet bills and medical expenses cost the center well over $100,000. They have adopted out more than eleven hundred senior and special needs dogs so far. If you would like to know more, you can find Polka Dogz on Facebook.
If you’re interested in helping a senior or special needs dog, you can always foster or volunteer at a shelter to make sure you have what it takes to give the dog the love and attention it deserves.