They say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks — and that may be true — but they can teach us a thing or two on how to become better humans. Here are a couple of heartwarming stories celebrating and appreciating senior dogs that the world forgot.
Chris and Mariesa Hughes from New York have made it a mission to give all animals the best life possible. This dog-loving couple has rescued over 600 senior and special needs dogs. They go out of their way to improve the lives of dogs that are surrendered, left without a chance, and will fund the medical bills even if they are rehomed.
They currently live with 19 of those dogs and are living a happy and comfortable life at their home in Clifton Park, New York.
Photo from mirror.co.uk
Their passion for these unfortunate senior dogs has led them to co-found a nonprofit called ‘Mr. Mo Project.’ This organization’s goal is to help find loving dogs forever homes and pay for their medical costs.
Even before knowing each other, Chris and Mariesa had each developed a love and compassion for animals at an early age. When they first met, Chris was already taking care of six dogs while Mariesa had two, bringing the family to a big number of eight straight away, but they didn’t stop there.
Photo from mirror.co.uk
“I’ve always wanted to rescue dogs since I was a child. I had my first rescue dog off the streets when I was nine. Chris has been the same way,” Mariesa said. “Now we take in specialist dogs with the hope to rehome them.” Despite being busy with their own lives and working full-time jobs, the couple knows that sick and old dogs don’t stand a chance, and so they decided to save them instead.
The Mr. Mo Project, turns out, was inspired by Chris’ old dog Moses who unfortunately passed away. “Moses was an old Pittie that was surrendered to the shelter for being too old. We ended up having him for 22 months before passing away from a spinal cord tumor,” he recounted.
“During the last few months with him, we realized how expensive it was to care for a senior and sick dog and decided after he passed away to take on that challenge of finding homes for senior dogs by covering all of the veterinary care and opening up great homes that have all the love but not the additional income.”
Nowadays, many animal shelters reach out to Chris and Mariesa because they take a very specific dog. They adopt sick and medically challenged dogs that most people don’t want to take because of medical costs. The Mr. Mo Project does a lot of fundraising to take care of the dogs. Last year, they spent $700,000 on vet care alone.
“Shelters call us and we take the dogs in and give them all of the financial care, and finally find them the right foster home where they will live for the rest of their lives. But it is us that looks after that medical care for the rest of their lives,” Chris said.
The couple’s home has everything these dogs require to live comfortable lives. There’s a large yard with a fence where they can run around, as well as their separate kennels. They also have a hydrotherapy treadmill and a laser therapy unit in their house to work on the senior dog’s joints and wounds. “All of our dogs have special needs and it’s a lot cheaper having it all in our house,” he continued.
Mariesa: “Feeding time is crazy and it takes about 30 minutes. We have dogs that are hand-fed because they don’t have teeth, or they don’t have bottom jaws. Some dogs can get a little aggressive, and we have dogs with all different diets. We have some insanely old dogs here too. We have a 22-year-old Chihuahua and a 20-year-old Pug.”
The couple admits that caring for 19 dogs of different ages, breeds, and disabilities can get especially challenging.
“It’s bittersweet because it’s not always such a dream, it can be very chaotic but it’s great to see all of the work that you’ve done and seeing all of these wonderful dogs loved, that are all deserving of a second chance,” she said.
“But the lows are low when there are dogs you can’t save, it affects you. It’s also very messy all of the time.
“I would like to say ‘no we won’t get any more dogs, but I also didn’t think that we would get two new ones quite recently.
“Seeing their transformations makes all of the stress and heartache so worth it. It’s really hard but this is truly our life’s passion.”