Sher Polvinale is giving old dogs (and cats) a new “forever” home.
Polvinale started House With a Heart Senior Pet Sanctuary in 2006 with her late husband, Joe. They created the sanctuary with one purpose in mind: to give loving homes to aging dogs. Now, the mission has grown.
Most of the dogs and cats are very old, sick, or dying. Due to their issues, these animals face significant loneliness in their last years or months. The sanctuary provides them with comfort, love, and compassion while they are in their twilight years.
The Sanctuary With Heart
Located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, the sanctuary is staffed with volunteers and staff. Every morning at 6am, Polvinale checks on her animals. She also prepares meal for each pet before volunteers arrive daily at 11am. According to the non-profit’s website, Polvinale is helped by at least 55 volunteers.
The animals are bathed, walked, fed, and given medical care as they need until they die. The organization is able to provide top notch medical care to even the most needy animal. This includes breathing treatments and a set of wheels for animals that have trouble walking.
The animals are residents of the pet sanctuary until their death. In fact, the Vice President of the organization, Harriette Sackler, stays right by the side of the animals as they go.
Once the animals pass away, a fitting tribute is made for each animal. There is a wall at the sanctuary with all the pictures of the animals in adorable little frames with their names on it.
Volunteers call the wall and staircase, the “Stairway to Heaven”.
The sanctuary, or retirement home as many are calling it, survives off donations of money, food, and time. The sanctuary houses both dogs and cats, though most of the animals are of the canine variety. They even have “short term stay” program for temporary placement while the owner is not able to take care of them.