Living Grace Canine Ranch brings new life and endless love to senior dogs

Senior dogs have a new life thanks to a Georgetown, Texas-based nonprofit.

“Living Grace Canine Ranch is a senior dog care sanctuary,” according to the Living Grace Canine Senior Ranch website. “A 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to saving, serving and enhancing the lives of displaced, unadoptable and unwanted senior dogs in Texas. Our mission of mercy celebrates all races, regardless of physical, emotional and medical challenges. From the doors of our dormitories, we shout “Come on!” Here you will find rest, security and nourishment for your weary body and soul.

Dogs from all backgrounds and needs call the ranch home after Living Grace opened in 2020. The ranch was started by Rhonda Minardi, founder of Living Grace Canine Ranch, whose personal experience prompted her to create a place where older dogs can find refuge. .

“My mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer five years ago, and I was with her when the doctor told her she had less than two months to live, maybe weeks, said Rhonda Minardi at Hello Georgetown. “She was sitting there, very stoic, and then she looked up at me and she said, ‘Well, and Lucy,’ and it took me by surprise. Lucy is her dog, and her concerns were figuring out who was going to take care of Lucy when she was gone, not on her own.. that was always on my mind, then when I moved to Texas and realized the need for senior dogs, a safe place where they can live the rest of their lives, I just focused on what can I do? What can I do to change that? And here we are a year later.

62 dogs now call Living Grace home, with 52 living on-site and 10 dogs enjoying their sunset years in the Forever Foster program. One of these Forever Foster dogs, George, found a new life and a new role after arriving at Living Grace, as the newest member of The Delaney family in Georgetown Village.

“I have many daily conversations, whether with staff, residents or residents’ families, about their willingness to help take care of George should he need anything,” said Amanda Herndon, director of memory care at the Delaney in Georgetown Village. Hello Georgetown. “He has many babysitters in our community who open their homes to him for overnight stays so he is never alone. George also gets a day at the spa once a month from an LGCR volunteer groomer, who also happens to be the sister of one of our residents! Many staff members come to spend a few minutes with George during their break. You know the saying: it takes a whole village to raise a child? Well, it takes a Delaney village to take care of George, and we love every minute of it!

The program allows George to live and love his new family at the Delaney in Georgetown Village, while remaining connected to Living Grace who still provides for all of his needs including medical, care and food. Minardi says she thinks George’s achievement can also be a role model for others.

“We think we opened the door with Delaney George by letting seniors and George have a relationship,” Minardi said. “We’ve seen the benefits on both sides for our senior residents there at the Delaney, and we also appreciate everything they bring to the love together.”

Read more: The Delaney in Georgetown Village becomes a forever foster home for senior dog

There are other ways the sanctuary helps connect its residents with love. Living Grace volunteers help in a variety of ways, including serving as “hugs” for little residents who may not be able to endure long walks.

“They come and they hold, and love, and brush our little dogs up front in the little doghouse where these dogs can’t go out or walk around much due to their health condition, but they still need the human touch and love,” Minardi said.

Love is instilled throughout the journey, even after the death of a resident. Trees are planted around the edges of the sanctuary in honor of the life and love of each resident that still surrounds those who remain at Living Grace.

Going forward, Minardi says, the sanctuary will develop part of their property into a memorial space for deceased residents, including a physical bridge to represent the “rainbow bridge,” as many dog ​​lovers call it. , which connects the sanctuary with the memorial spaces.

Throughout every dog’s journey, from their arrival to their final moments, love resides at Living Grace. This is the overriding mission of the organization and everything reflects this, down to the way the facilities are built. The sanctuary is home, to Living Grace’s knowledge, to the only dog-focused tornado shelter in the United States. Living Grace also has an on-site grooming room operated by professional groomers who come in regularly to keep dogs groomed and trimmed in a stress-free environment.

Attentive medical care is also part of how they show love to their residents. Casey’s Healing Hands, the on-site resident wellness clinic, is equipped with everything residents need to maintain their health in their final years. Wellness doesn’t just mean medicine at Living Grace, as the clinic also focuses on diagnosis and nutrition, caring for the whole dog rather than just their medical issues.

“I believe what I am doing is the work of the Lord,” Minardi said. “[Especially] dogs that have never known love, I believe that I have to show them and make them feel what love is before they leave, and for many of our dogs who come from a loving home , continue this love until the day they are no longer here with us.

Minardi invites anyone who wishes to participate in this process to come and join the Living Grace Canine Ranch.

“I wish more people enjoyed the lives of these beautiful animals,” Minardi said. “They want to be loved like this seven-month-old puppy. They need to be loved until the end. We can’t just leave. Society lets old dogs go, and that’s not acceptable. I think that’s when they need us the most… We have to step in and take care of them.

To learn more about Living Grace, volunteer at the ranch, or donate to their efforts, visit their website or Facebook page.

You can see a photo gallery of Living Grace Canine Ranch below.

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