Chris and Mariesa Hughes live with 19 dogs and all of them are special needs. They run a very interesting and loving charity. They take dogs from rescue centres that are medically challenged and find foster homes for them but they pay all the medical bills. The people who eventually look after the dogs do not pay any medical bills. They are chosen for their loving care of the dogs but they don’t necessarily have the means financially to care for them. And they look after 19 dogs themselves!
It’s a very novel way of doing things and it allows special needs dogs to be placed in loving homes. What they’ve done is disconnect the financial aspects of caring for a medically challenged dog from the direct care provided. This opens the door to many homes that are well able to look after these dogs but would not normally be able to because they lack the financial means to do so.
As mentioned, they currently have 19 dogs themselves. And over the years they have rescued over 600 senior and special needs dogs. Their mission is to give them all the best life possible. They are clearly very good at fundraising because, as you can imagine, the veterinary bills are astronomical. They spent US$700,000 (£508,536) on veterinary care last year. I bet the local vet loves them!
Shelters reach out to Chris and Mariesa when they need someone to take a specific dog with special needs. I guess they know that nobody else would take them so they have a convenient outlet. I think this is where the work of Chris and Mariesa is so good. They are tackling a problem which exists in all shelters very effectively, namely that there are always some dogs who nobody wants because they are too old, too infirm or too medically challenged and therefore for many people it would be impractical to adopt them because of the expense of veterinary care.
Chris said that shelters call them and they take the dogs in and “give them all of the financial care, and finally find them the right foster home where they will live for the rest of their lives. But it is us that looks after that medical care for the rest of their lives.”
As you can imagine, feeding time at their home is a bit manic. Each dog has their own diet and special needs. They have a large fenced back garden (backyard) so that they can run around freely and they have their own kennels with their names on the front. They also have a hydrotherapy treadmill and a laser therapy unit to help with joint problems.
Chris said that all their dogs have special needs. They are currently looking after a 22-year-old Chihuahua and a 20-year-old Pug. Their charity is called Mr Mo Project. It is named after Chris’s dog, Moses. Chris said that “Moses was an old Pittie that was surrendered to the shelter for being too old. We ended up having him for 22 months before passing away from a spinal cord tumour.”
He realised when looking after Moses how expensive it was to care for senior and six dogs. They decided after he had passed away to take on the challenge of finding homes for senior dogs while covering all the veterinary care expenses. This, they said, opened up to these dogs many loving homes which would not have otherwise been the case because the occupants did not have the financial means to look after them.
Chris and Mariesa live in New York, America.
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