Sunday, July 26, 2015

Promise 4 Paws Senior Dog Sanctuary

By now, you've all seen the viral video about the retirement home for dogs located in Maryland.  (And I'm sure you, like me, reached for the tissues when they talked about the "Stairway to Heaven"...)  Shortly after I watched this video for the first time, my husband and I took a day trip to Omaha to celebrate my birthday.  And we stumbled upon a place very similar to the video...and basically, guys, it's where I would like to live for the rest of my life.

Whenever I go on trips, I do a lot of Googling in the weeks prior.  Usually, I search for bookstores and animal shelters, and on the Omaha trip, I struck gold!  I found an organization called "Promise 4 Paws Senior Dog Sanctuary" located near Council Bluffs, Iowa.  There wasn't much information about it online, but we hoped for the best and headed there anyway.  I'm so glad we did!

3 of the 4 dogs on this couch are blind...and all so very sweet!

This place was my version of heaven.  25 dogs, all between ages 8 and 18, with a house all to themselves.  Most of the dogs had a few health issues (many were blind, incontinent, missing teeth, etc.), but man, were those dogs happy.  You could really tell that they felt safe and comfortable in this environment.

Promise 4 Paws just opened its doors in April, and it's all because of 3 AMAZING women who had a great love for dogs and a dream.  They visited the retirement home in Maryland (of viral video fame), and it inspired them to make their own sanctuary for old dogs.  They managed to raise enough money to purchase a little house for the dogs to live in.  Now, someone is there 24/7, though each of the women have full-time jobs.  They do not get paid, and there are (usually) no adoption fees being brought in, since most of these dogs are not adoptable.  Their money comes solely from donations and fundraisers.

This sweet girl has congestive heart failure and wasn't feeling so well that day :(

I mean...if only all of us could be so selfless, right?

This guy looked just like a black bear...he was my husband's favorite!

Promise 4 Paws only takes in senior dogs that get along well with other dogs, since they are around one another all the time.  There was a bit of growling amongst the Chihuahuas and Pomeranians, but with 25 dogs, that's to be expected.  The house, a cute cottage-like home, was full of oversized couches, chairs, and dog beds, many specially fitted with ramps.  There is always daytime access to a large, fenced-in yard, and at least half of the dogs were sunbathing on a big porch when we arrived.  A long countertop was custom-built to have multiple cubbies along the bottom with dog beds in each - the Chihuahuas love to snuggle inside the cubbies when they want some alone time.  They also, using the wonderful idea from the Maryland retirement home, have a "Stairway to Heaven", putting up photos of the beloved dogs that have already crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

The Pom in the doorway was the resident greeter :)

I have never seen an organization like this before - I wish there were more around!  Visiting Promise 4 Paws was an experience I will never forget, and I hope to go back again and again.  In fact, I wanted to somehow collaborate with a professional photographer and get a piece together about the place, so if you know any photographers in the area, let me know! :)  These photos do NOT do this place justice, and I am positive some amazing moments could be captured :)

One of the residents, probably thinking, "This is the life."  (Photo from Promise 4 Paws Facebook page)


  1. Promise 4 Paws sounds like an amazing place. I always find it so heartbreaking seeing senior dogs and cats in shelters.

  2. That must have been incredible to visit there and see the dogs being well cared for and with a loving home and three wonderful ladies who managed to make it all possible. Wonderful story, thank you for visiting and sharing it with us.

  3. Looks like a cozy place. It's nice it's not too crowded or loud for the seniors too. This is such a great post, thanks for sharing.

  4. What an amazing place we are so glad you found it and shared it. Love Dolly

  5. We need so many more senior "sanctuaries". They are so often looked over at the shelters.

    Thank you for sharing this one.

  6. Oh, that sounds like an amazing place! What a great idea to partner with a photographer and get more exposure for the place. I want to go to there! :)

  7. Hi Y'all!

    How wonderful that those folks are so selfless. So great to know that an old dog can find a place if no one can take him when his owner crosses the bridge before he's ready to cross.

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    P.S. Hopefully some photographer in the area will see this post and offer his/her services.

  8. That's so sweet. I'm in Virginia, I've got to look up the one in Maryland. Thanks for sharing this heartwarming post.

  9. That is so sweet and wonderful. I'd love to see more of these senior sanctuaries around for dogs and cats, too.

  10. I volunteer at this sanctuary and it is truly amazing there! The animals are so loved and its just a great place!!!

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