Our Senior and Special Needs Sanctuary
It began simply enough – with a dream.
After operating our rescue for 10 years, our dream was to create a sanctuary for the special needs and senior greyhounds in our care. Those greyhounds who, in all likelihood, would never be adopted because of their advanced age or their extreme medical or behavioral issues. And for those younger greyhounds with treatable medical or behavioral issues who, once cured or corrected, could ultimately be adopted into carefully selected homes.
Why a Sanctuary? Because seniors and special needs dogs have always held our hearts in their paws. Because we learned early that they gave more to us than we could ever give back to them. Because they taught us about patience, kindness, and unconditional love. Because they taught us about grace and courage in the face of injury and illness, aging and agony. Because they taught us that no obstacle is insurmountable with applied effort and attitude adjustment, knowledge, insight and creativity.
In 2013, our dream came true. Thanks to retirement and savings accounts, a large, custom-designed home was built in the calm and seclusion of the countryside to accommodate both humans and dogs. Some of the unique features of the Sanctuary include non-slip rubber flooring (this is easy on the joints, waterproof, and warm during the winter), non-toxic paint and cleaning supplies, oversized bathing facilities, a reverse osmosis water purifier for the dogs’ water, orthopedic beds, blankets and pillows, few steps and ramps, and vast open spaces for freedom of movement.
Someone is with the dogs almost all day, every day, to tend to their varying needs. Most of them require extensive and costly veterinary care, including medications, and special diets, and the unadoptable dogs will spend the rest of their lives with us, in comfort and security, receiving all the love and attention they deserve.
As a non-profit, tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, our sole source of funding is through grants and private donations, all of which pay for the health and wellbeing of our dogs and for the general maintenance and upkeep of the Sanctuary itself.
Please view our Sanctuary dogs below. If you could contribute to their care, please consider making a donation in any amount. They, and we, would be most grateful.
Capturing center stage and collecting hearts wherever she goes, sweet, speckle-nosed Snowball percolates with puppy energy, growing daily into the most endearing of beauties. Curious and bright, she loves exploring her environment, playing with balls and squeaky toys and gleefully running “zoomies”. Born in November 2018 as part of a litter to a mother who had been abused and dumped in the mountains of Spain, she’s safe now and forever in our care, and seems happily oblivious to the fact that she’s deaf. Nicknamed “Lamby” due to her resemblance to a lamb, she’s extremely affectionate and is learning to navigate her soundless world through hand signs and the vibrations from floor stomping and fence rattling. Currently being treated for severe urinary problems that have yet to be resolved and may require ongoing care, she lets nothing – even discomfort – keep her from exuberantly celebrating her life every day.
If you would like to help with Snowball’s medical expenses, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
All wide eyes and wider ears make Eva the most endearing of dogs, eliciting effusive smiles and sighs everywhere she goes. The senior Podenco, once used as a breeder for hunters in Spain, was plucked from a kill shelter by the rescue group, Hope for Podencos, then flown by Royal Sighthound Connection to Chicago and driven to Indiana, where we took the tenderhearted now 12-year-old into our care.
Blessed with the sweetest of dispositions despite the hardships and humiliations she was forced to endure, elegant Eva is 42 pounds of pure LOVING who loves, loves, loves people, loves to snuggle and sleeps closer than close to us on our bed! Still fairly active for her age despite some muscle atrophy in her hind end, gentle exercises have been helping her and Reiki sessions have been relaxing and rejuvenating her. To say she enjoys and “sings for” her supper is an understatement, while her various grunts and snores are guaranteed to produce giggles all around!
Eva has had more than her share of health problems, and has bounced back repeatedly from severe allergies, to lump removals, to autoimmune diseases. Her greatest challenge is glaucoma and she lost her left eye to the disease when the medications were no longer effective. If ever a dog deserved to live a long, loved and loving life, that dog is Eva.
If you would like to help with Eva’s medical expenses, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Sweet and softhearted Sandy soaks up love and attention like a “greyt” thirsty sponge. Warmly welcomed here when her owners could no longer care for her, she gives new meaning to the term “velcro dog”, following us wherever we go and watching intently while the food bowls and medications are prepared for her newfound, four-legged friends. Quiet and charming, she enjoys playing with the other dogs, is especially fond of Snowball, likes chewing on Nylabones, and has finally found her place on our bed! Due to the excess weight on her fine-boned frame, she gets winded very easily, is now dieting and exercising, and will soon have some of her worrisome lab results re-tested.
If you would like to help with Sandy’s medical expenses, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Raring to go only ten days after serious dental surgery, resilient Ruby was grinning at everyone as she played the part of lapdog at her first meet and greet! The tenderhearted 10-year-old who was both a racer and a momma to several litters of puppies, may have lost 30 teeth but thanks to the tasty smoothness of her canned food, has begun filling out her resplendent ruby red form. The elegant epitome of a “velcro” dog, she attaches herself to our sides, follows us everywhere we go with a perpetually wagging tail, and absolutely adores snuggling.
If you would like to help with Ruby’s medical expenses, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Little Truman came into our Sanctuary in early August of 2017 at 22 months of age. Already showing signs of advanced Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), we knew that this boy needed to be in special care and took him into the Sanctuary as quickly as we could. What we didn’t know, at first, was that Truman also had sky high blood pressure. In his first 6 weeks at the Sanctuary, he has seen 3 different veterinarians – his general practice vet, the ophthalmology vet, and the cardiology vet.
There isn’t much we can do to reverse the effects of PRA, as it’s a genetic disorder. It hits most dog breeds in mid-age, but for greyhounds, it appears sometime around the age of one. PRA destroys the retina and night vision is the first to be lost, with total blindness coming within a year or two. There are some highly potent (and expensive) antioxidant supplements that may stave off the vision loss for a little while, and Truman is tolerating those supplements well.
Truman’s hypertension is more of a mystery. All traditional causes of high blood pressure in greyhounds have been ruled out but without his medications, his blood pressure was well into the high 200s. After six weeks of repeated testing, adjusting dosages and adding additional medications, Truman had his first normal reading since his arrival at the Sanctuary! We are keeping our fingers crossed that these medications will do the trick.
Interestingly, while hypertension can cause blindness, it’s not a cause of PRA and these two abnormalities are not related. Little Truman is truly a special guy, as sweet as can be, a true Velcro dog and wonderful companion.
In his first few weeks, he’s found his courage to explore, to love and to be loved. Everyday brings smiles as Truman adjusts to his handicap and thrives. He is truly an inspiration to us all.
As you can imagine, Truman’s vet and medication bills are quite high. If you would like to help contribute to his care, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Radiant in rainbow hues, caramel-colored Firefly is as sweet as her coat and lights up any place she puts her paws.
The 8-year-old retired racer broke her right rear leg three years ago, causing a good deal of tendon damage, and never properly healing. Fortunately, the bone is stable for the moment, but the leg itself remains fragile. Given the secure nature of the Sanctuary, we can minimize the risk of her re-injuring that leg and facing its possible amputation. Here she benefits greatly from the non-slip rubber flooring inside and out, low incline ramps and orthopedic bedding, while she receives joint supplements, continual monitoring and regular vet check ups. In spite of her impediment, Firefly is managing well, with a liveliness of spirit that’s truly inspirational. Friendly and outgoing, she thrives on the attention she garners at our meet and greets, and although her slender frame could benefit from another pound or two, she has a hearty appetite, and is a most delightful addition to our Sanctuary pack. As if to prove she’s happily at home here, she recently started “roaching” in her sleep!
If you would like to help with Firefly’s medical expenses, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Do you believe in destiny? We do.
Aptly named for the fates that brought her here, dear Destiny rates a rave 15 on the sweetness scale, topping the high of 10 by 5! The striking 7-year-old brindle with the graying muzzle and easy smile loves life, people and the cozy company of the other greyhounds. Always happy, always ready for a ride or an adventure, she excels as a “Meet and Greet” dog, leaning into everyone she meets for attention and pets. And although she likes her doggy crate, she also likes hopping onto our “human” bed for cuddles and snuggles. Wary of new environments, she warms up once she feels comfortable, while her fear of loud noises and thunderstorms has her seeking out our affection, reassurance and protection. Having had seizures in the past, she’s currently on anti-seizure medication, taking it like the good sport she is. And being prone to gum and teeth problems, we regularly brush and scale her teeth and rub her gums with special gels to keep the plaque, tartar and inflammation at bay – and her grin as engaging as ever.
If you would like to help with Destiny’s medical expenses, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Her gentle amber eyes speak volumes as Momma Razz gazes round her dazzling new world.
At 10 1/2 years of age, this sweet and shapely senior has just weaned her fourth litter of puppies, and is now enjoying the perks of retirement. Kindness and wisdom, friendliness and affection define her unique personality, and despite being quite lame due to arthritis in her right wrist and a large corn on her right paw pad, she’s endowed with a spirit that’s younger than springtime. Calm, quiet and patient, she has a penchant for chewing on Nylabones and cuddling up in blankets, while a slight, polite whimper is her signal to potty! She’s both a hearty eater and a good sport when downing the various medications designed to ease her pain and improve her quality of life, and she’s as enamored of her people as they are of her. Razzle recently developed a cancerous lump on her leg. It was removed and she’s been doing well. In so many ways, this old lady is a survivor!
If you would like to help contribute to her care, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
One look into her luminous eyes and you are in love! Toot-toot-Tootie, with her golden gaze and beautiful brindle coat, may be small in size at 51 pounds but her heart is large. Sweeter than sweet, extremely friendly, affectionate and funny, with a “ROOOOOO” that’s the envy of littermates Truman and Taffy, this 4 ½ year old is one happy honey who never stops wiggling and whose long tail never stops wagging. She’s also happy to lend her voice to her siblings’ for a rousing “ROOO” chorus at the drop of the proverbial hat. Blessed with a hearty appetite, she loves feasting on canned food and treats, likes chewing on Nylabones, and isn’t shy about letting us know when she’s hungry. Like Truman, she suffers from hypertension which, thankfully, is now being controlled with medications and close, consistent monitoring with our newly purchased and highly sensitive blood pressure monitor.
If you would like to help with Tootie’s ongoing medical expenses, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
With her white coat, tan and brindle markings, and warm, dark eyes, 5-year-old MacKenzie was born to love and be loved. Having entered our care physically and emotionally scarred, this young retired racer needed time to decide where her future lay: in an adoptive home or here with us, as a permanent member of our Sanctuary. And so we allowed her that time. While still wary and watchful and most secure inside her crate, where she can easily nap the day away, she’s happiest now when attached, like doggy velcro, to a human hip. As for nighttime, this cuddliest of couch potatoes either sleeps beside us or on top of us. In fact, we often wake up with all 65 pounds of her draped across our bodies or two of her paws in our faces! Often fussy at meet and greets, whether it’s shifting into reverse or standing still, once she’s settled on “her” spot and grown comfortable, she simply oozes charm. Just as she knows which spot is hers, she’s let us know, in more ways than we can count, that where she wants to be is precisely where she is. Forever safe, forever loved, within the protective circle of our Sanctuary family. Welcome home, MacKenzie.
If you would like to help with MacKenzie’s day-to-day care, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Momma Minnie Me
This fine, fawn beauty endearingly named Minnie Me is a nimble 9-year-old with an endearingly unique gait. Due to some mobility problems, this former doggy momma seems to move sideways as well as forward, giving her a sassy “swish in her get-along”. Once a candidate for adoption, she developed a severe infection, and while it’s long since healed, she’s become another of the Sanctuary’s permanent residents. Particular about the weather she prefers, this roman-nosed beauty loves, loves, loves snow and absolutely hates the heat and humidity and thunderstorms. She’s also particular about her space, preferring solitude to being crowded by the other dogs. While her joints are better than they were, she still develops painful corns on her front paw pads that require periodic hulling, and sadly, she’s now showing signs of cognitive decline where she gets confused, especially at night.
If you would like to help with Momma Minnie Me’s medical expenses, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Fabulous in fawn, bright, beaming Benjamin, once a highly successful therapy dog, adores the attention of everyone he meets and is a cheerful chaser of squirrels.
He also helps the freshly retired dogs adjust to their new lives and patiently prepares them for their first meet and greets. Turning 7 in November, the sweet-natured softy was recently found to have a high-grade heart murmur, a prolapsed mitral valve, and an enlargement on the right side of his heart. He’s now officially joined the Sanctuary since he needs frequent blood pressure checks as well as close monitoring for any signs of congestive heart failure. Then there’s the bulging disc in his neck that sometimes flares up, causing nerve pain in his front legs. Whenever he feels well enough, we take him to a meet and greet, ensuring he remains calm, doesn’t injure his neck, and simply basks in the attention he loves.
If you would like to help with Benjamin’s medical expenses, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Sweet, sensitive Joey has two favorite pastimes: meeting and greeting the public and hanging with his best buddy, Blind Truman. After retiring from racing at the ripe old age of 5 1/2, gentle Joey found that life’s path didn’t always lead to a fairytale ending. Luckily for the dark brindle beauty and for us, he’s found his happy ending here, as a cherished member of the Sanctuary, where he’s receiving all the TLC and medical care he’ll ever need. At 7 years old, this deeply spiritual soul, so uncannily aware of everything around him, warms our hearts and touches our own souls each and every day.
If you would like to help with Joey’s medical expenses, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Momma Lena came to us when she was 8 1/2 years old, after her racing and breeding career was over. We had every intention of adopting her out, as she was healthy and oh, so sweet. We nicknamed her “Little Butterball” because she was petite but a bit overweight and loved her treats. After many, many months on our adoptable list, and with no potential homes lined up that were right for her, we realized that Momma Lena was meant to stay. Her very high prey drive makes it difficult to bring her to most pet store meet and greets, as she’s quite reactive to small dogs, cats, and pocket pets. But, she’s such a hard worker at events where no little animals are present and she touches everyone with her charm and charisma. Now, at almost 12 years of age, Momma Lena is our constant companion, always at our side, ready for snuggles and affection. Lena started to experience pain in her hind end and shoulder and is currently undergoing chiropractic treatments along with essential oils and pain medications.
To donate toward Momma Lena’s ongoing care, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Gentle eyes bright, mouth open in welcome, 6-year-old Tommyknocker is as famous for his ticking (white coat with brindle patches and small brown and black spots) as he is for his kookiness! Coming into our care in the spring of 2017, we quickly discovered that he’s incontinent, and despite various tests and numerous treatments, a belly band coupled with a thick pad works best, and he sports it at all times like the good sport he is. Oddly attracted to anything cloth and easily fixated by something he sees – be it a toy or a ball, a scarf or a piece of paper – he’ll gamely attempt to steal it. Not only that, but he stomps on his toys with unbridled gusto, determination and delight. Medications, the severity of his condition, coupled with the frequent changing of his soiled pads make traveling in the car difficult and adopting him virtually impossible at this point. But, on the bright side, and for tender Tommyknocker there is a bright side because he LOVES his food, treats and Nylabones, LOVES his crate, and best of all, he LOVES his solitude.
Tommyknocker recently developed a grade 4 heart murmur. Thankfully his echocardiogram showed that his heart is still functioning well and his check-ups with the cardiology vet show that he’s stable at this time.
To donate toward Tommyknocker’s ongoing care, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Jilly came to us with a resistant strain of heartworm in April of 2014. After a year of treatments, we finally were able to rid her of these horrible parasites. Jilly was our first heartworm positive dog and we learned so much from her. Her medical condition was challenging, but so was finding her the right forever home. Jilly is very shy and very particular about who she will approach and interact with. She also has a bit of a temper around other dogs, so that limited her possibilities quite a bit. After being on the adoptable list for over two years, we felt it best to keep Jilly in our Sanctuary and make her a permanent member of the pack. “Miss Beans” as she is affectionately called, is thriving here. We love her and she loves us, and that is really all that matters.
After almost three years, Jilly Beans is starting to show off her playful side, every once in a while. She’s a beauty, inside and out.
To donate toward Jilly Bean’s ongoing care, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
Eleven-and-a-half-year-old Mulberry has been with us for over 9 years, and because of chronic incontinence she wears diapers at all times. This sweet and plucky miss doesn’t even seem to mind, and we’ve settled into a routine that seems as normal to us as dealing with a dog without this issue. We use human adult incontinence pads to line her panties (we have to sew them ourselves because commercial panties don’t fit her) and we buy cases of pads at a time. Mulberry has taught us that “poop happens”, but what matters is how you deal with it. Due to her condition, this amiable and affectionate dog will spend the rest of her life with us in the safety and comfort of the Sanctuary.
To donate toward Mulberry’s ongoing care, please use the DONATE button on the right side of this page.
*** Special Thanks going out to Nomi Berger, who was instrumental in helping us put together a sponsorship program and writing the text and biographies on this page.