The ASPCA reports that only about 25% of senior dogs get adopted from shelters. This statistic is heartbreaking. Rescue groups do all they can to find homes for shelter dogs but there is always more help needed. While volunteering at shelters, Russell Clothier noticed that senior dogs seemed to languish, and his heart told him to do something about it. Shep’s Place Senior Dog Sanctuary was born as a result.
The name was inspired by Clothier’s own senior dog, a rescue beagle named Shep. The non-profit’s website states that Shep’s gentle nature and “utter good-dogness” helped motivate his family to help others like him.
Clothier bought a house in Independence, a suburb of Kansas City and spent time renovating it for his future inhabitants. He built a walk-in shower with a hand-held nozzle perfect for scrubbing up pups. He put in 20 custom kennels that have swing-open see-through doors so everyone can see in or out of their digs. He furnished it with couches and comfy chairs for humans and pups to lounge and cozy beds for dogs to snooze. His aim? To make it look and feel like a regular home.
Russell Clothier, who has a PhD in Experimental Quantum Mechanics, teaches physics at all three high schools in Independence ISD. When the students caught wind of the plans for Shep’s Place, they were eager to lend a helping hand. A group of students in Industrial Technology at Van Horn High School built doggie pergolas that are being used on the 4 acres of outdoor space at Shep’s Place.
Shep’s Place does not take in dogs directly from the public. As a small, private non-profit they have to be hyper focused on the group of dogs they hope to help. They only take in senior dogs who have already spent time in a shelter but have not found a forever home.
Clothier says that this not only helps the dogs he takes, it supports the efforts of other rescue groups, as well. For every dog he houses, there is a space created for another rescue dog in need in the rescue network. Shep’s Place can accommodate 20 senior dogs comfortably. Willie found a friend pretty soon after settling in.
Often surrendered to shelters by those who think their dog has gotten too old or family members of a deceased loved one, senior pups find the transition to shelter life very difficult. Their age often leads to them being overlooked by potential adopters. Clothier and his group of volunteers want to give these pups a comfortable, loving space to spend their remaining days.
If you want to help out by volunteering or making a donation, Shep’s Place needs and welcomes all support. Let’s show some love for senior dogs – they’ve spent their whole lives giving it!