Senior dogs most often abandoned and forgotten

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One of the saddest sights to see after the Christmas holidays is a Christmas tree lying forlornly near the curb waiting to be picked up with the trash. The tree, once adored and revered has been stripped of all its glory and quickly forgotten as the New Year rolls in.

Sadly, some dogs also suffer this same fate along with the Christmas trees. A new puppy is loved and cuddled when they are little, young and cute. But, when they get to the age where some correcting and training needs to be instilled, the once revered puppy is carted off to the local pound, or worse, thrown to the curb.

Senior pets are most often surrendered for various reasons.  Sometimes they are not “fun” anymore and a new, younger dog is brought in to take their place. Or, sometimes they have medical needs that the owner is not financially able to deal with. Some of these health issues include arthritis, blindness or dental issues.

According to Susan Licari, the founder of St. Martin’s Animal Rescue

Senior pets are calmer and have a ‘been there, done that’ attitude. They are usually just content to have a soft place to lay their heads and enjoy a quiet environment. Oftentimes they are already house trained and do not require much other training.”

St. Marin’s Animal Rescue was founded in 2012 by Susan Licari and her husband. It gets its interesting moniker from St. Martin de Porres who was a doctor, a surgeon and an herbalist six centuries ago. He opened a hospital for animals, seeing no difference between sick people and sick animals in their suffering. His mission continues today at St. Martin’s Animal Rescue.

The rescue is small, and foster based, located in Sheridan, Oregon.  Their main mission is to help pets who find themselves homeless through no fault of their own. Many of the dogs who end up in their care are senior dogs or dogs with health and medical conditions. They are sent to high kill shelters because of these issues.

Because of the many senior dogs in their care, St. Martin’s offers a lower cost adoption fee to senior citizens on a fixed income for pets that are 8 years or older.  They will also work with the adopter to create a plan for the pet if the senior citizen finds themselves no longer able to care for the pet. St. Martin’s believes in providing a fail safe for all pets that were once under their care.

One of the dogs rescued by St. Martin’s Animal Rescue is Bridget; a 5-year-old Shih Tzu who came to them with the worst skin condition ever seen on a dog.  She has been seeing a skin specialist, and it has been determined that she has food allergies as well as environmental allergies. Her medication and specialized food costs are approximately $100.00 a month.

There is also Helena, who was an owner surrender to a high kill shelter. She was not able to use her hind legs at all. She had to drag them behind her and was very matted and dirty.  After extensive x-rays and fluid draws from her joints, Helena was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It damaged the bone and cartilage in her toes, her elbows, her knees and moved up into her hips. Helena will probably not live as long as most Shih Tzus, but in the meantime, St. Martin’s is committed to keeping her comfortable. Helena takes pain medication which is managing her pain. She has been fitted for front leg splints and a quad cart, so she can be more mobile.

St. Martin’s is able to help Bridget and Helena due to assistance from Dr. Brooks of the Homestead Veterinary Clinic and The Last Chance Club.

They also have the support of several volunteers, sister rescues and animal rights organizations along with the community.

St. Martin’s carefully considers the needs of each pet when reviewing an adoption or foster application. Every pet is an individual and has unique needs. St. Martin’s spends much time with the adoption process and offers post adoption support. They want their displaced pets to have permanent homes and to never find themselves homeless ever again.

St. Martin’s is a 501 ( C) 3 Non Profit Corporation.

Their greatest need right now is recurring monthly donations. There are links on their Instagram and Facebook pages to set this up via Paypal.  They welcome donations any time of the year! They spend quite a bit in medical on senior dogs.

Dory rescued by St. Martin’s Animal Rescue and adopted.  

If interested in pet adoption, donations, volunteer opportunities or just want to learn more about them, please contact St. Martin’s Animal Rescue at:

[email protected]

or call: 503.857.5047

You can also visit their website

They are 100% volunteer run with no paid staff. All donations go to the pets in the rescue. 

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. – Albert Pike 






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  1. You have to wonder if these owners would dump their elderly parents off on the side of the road if they could get away with it. These senior pets did not ask nor doing anything to warrant their inability to walk,etc. except due to age related issues. Senior dogs need special care but it can be done and many caring pet parents do all they can for their fur babies. We should be a country that takes care of our veterans, our elderly people as well as elderly animals. Instead many of our heartless politicians put those here illegally over the welfare of actual Americans and their extended family members-pets. We should be a country that cares for all elderly-2 legged kind as well as 4 legged kind. I can bet you that any of these politicians who have pets would take care of them to the end, but couldn’t care less about the treatment of homeless or senior animals.

  2. Once again, here are the unsung heroes–the angels that walk among us! If they start a GoFundMe page, I believe they will receive numerous donations and be able to help and save even more animals!

  3. Susan Licari and St. Marin’s Animal Rescue are to be commended for taking in the poor dogs cast off by their owners. I can think of NO good reason someone should abandon their senior pets although I know from experience when they begin to decline it can be costly to treat them. In a perfect world there would be more organizations like this to help people.


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