In Elk Rapids, Michigan, homeless dogs who are in the twilight of their life may be fortunate enough to wind up in the care of the Silver Muzzle Cottage – the only dog hospice care facility in the state, and one of the few in the nation. Two years ago Kim Skarritt founded the rescue and hospice program after encountering too many aging dogs who had been abandoned, for one reason or another, by their owners.
Skarritt’s hospice program is home to dogs who lost their home because an owner died, moved to a nursing home, or even because someone decided that they no longer wanted to care for their aging pet. She explained to the Detroit Free Press, “I kept seeing these 14-year-old dogs and 13-year-old dogs in shelters and needing homes, and I’m going, ‘What is that? Who does that?'” She added, “At some point they were cared for, and then when they needed it most they’re not. And that’s why they really need a place like ours.”
The Silver Muzzle Cottage is located inside of a large warehouse space next door to Bowsers by the Bay, a premiere cage-free fitness and social rehabilitation center for dogs, which is also owned by Skarritt. When Skarritt created the canine hospice center, she aimed to make it feel like a home – from couches and end tables, to throw pillows and decorations – the intent is for the dogs to feel as if they are living in a real house. Dogs at the hospice center receive care and attention from Skarritt, as well as from dozens of kind-hearted volunteers who not only tend to their needs but also spend quality time snuggling.
Dogs who reside at the Silver Muzzle Cottage do not live in cages, even at night…and they are never alone because Skarritt calls the hospice cottage home herself. She has her own specially designed area to sleep in; she told the Detroit Free Press, “I’ve got everything I need here.”
Despite the advanced age of the dogs, many are actually adopted from the hospice center into new homes, thanks in large part to the social media networking efforts on the Silver Muzzle Cottage Facebook page. For those who don’t get adopted, there is no shortage of unconditional love for each and every resident of the hospice center. Skarritt and her volunteers have one mission – to ensure that each Silver Muzzle Cottage dog enjoys an amazing life – whether it is for two days, two weeks, or two years.
Find the Silver Muzzle Cottage on Facebook here.
(Images via Silver Muzzle Cottage Facebook page)
Watch a heartwarming video, a Poem To My Foster Dog, here.
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