Senior & Special-Needs Sanctuary Dogs

Permanent Ranch Residents, Not Available for Adoption

Dusty is a senior lab mix who was having a hard time getting adopted from the city shelter due to age and health concerns.  When we met Dusty, he was missing about half of his fur due to demodex.  Although this is not an uncommon condition in young pups with underdeveloped immune systems, when an older dog struggles with demodex it is almost always due to an underlying immune system disease, which in Dusty's case has been determined to be Cushing's disease.  Although there is currently no cure for canine Cushing's disease, it is manageable with proper ongoing care.  In addition to the demodex, Dusty arrived at the Ranch with a luxating patella (knee cap in the wrong place), and generally misshapen limbs.  He underwent two major orthopedic surgeries in early 2020 to correct the luxating patella, and has recovered nicely.  And although his limbs have been treated successfully to the extent that medical science currently allows, Dusty will unfortunately always walk a bit oddly, and the damage to his elbows is inoperable and degenerative.  But we are here to support him no matter what the future holds!

About a year after coming to the Ranch, Dusty was diagnosed with melanoma, and a large cancerous growth was surgically removed from his abdomen.  Although this surgery was successful, we must keep a close eye on him, as he is very much at risk of recurring growths. 

Despite all of these conditions, Dusty is one of the feistiest and most stubbornly determined dogs on the Ranch!  Not much can hold this sweet old fella back.  He is just full of love that just keeps on giving.  And of course, d
ue to his age and ongoing health concerns, our quirky ole' Dusty will live out his years here on the Ranch.


LeeLee is a sweet senior girl who came to us from one of the rural county shelters we work with.  She had arrived at the shelter heartworm positive, and was in need of a rescue organization to take her in and get her healthy again before helping her find her happy fur-ever family.  And with our love for the older furkids, we were more than happy to do that!  

Although LeeLee's heartworm treatment was successful, we unfortunately found out shortly after her heartworm recovery that she also had bone cancer, which had metastasized, and is terminal.  Our hearts were broken.  This kind, loving, gentle dog who we thought we were bringing back to health and who would have more years ahead of her to enjoy with her perfect adoptive family had not actually come to us for that future.  She came to us so we could be her home, a place to live her final days in comfort, surrounded by love.  And that is exactly what we are giving her.  LeeLee is on a multilayered pain management program that actually has her more active and wiggle-waggly than we have ever seen her, and is enjoying a special homemade diet that includes every cancer-fighting ingredient we can find.  We know we can't cure her.  We know that the end of her journey is here with us.  But we are doing everything we can to make that end a beautiful one, to give her all the comforts and joys that she so deserves.  And when the day comes for her to say goodbye, she will do so surrounded by nothing but LOVE.

Rocket is a Great Pyrenees / Husky mix who came to us from a high-kill county shelter, where he was completely shut down out of fear, unable to eat, drink, walk, or even lift his head.  And in the shelters this type of shutdown can be a recipe for the fast track to the euthanasia list, as they are often not deemed adoptable.  More often than not, dogs in this condition just need a little time and a lot of love to overcome their fears, process their traumas, and show us their best selves.  Unfortunately, though, Rocket is one of the few who do not heal as easily. 

Although once out of the shelter Rocket perked up and started showing us his personality, and within just a few short days grew comfortable enough to allow us to pet him, it quickly became apparent that this 120-pound puppy had likely had zero socialization prior to being surrendered to the shelter, and had definitely suffered some sort of trauma.  He simply had no idea how to function around people or other dogs, and had some very serious behavioral issues to overcome.  Due to Rocket's reactivity, his behavioral rehabilitation has been a very gradual process, carefully paced to offer him the best possible opportunity for success.  As such, we have over time been able to help Rocket learn to live successfully with certain other dogs and to function well with the Ranch family, within the Ranch environment.  Unfortunately, though, even with the support of numerous trainers and behaviorists, Rocket has remained extremely fearful of new environments and most new people, and has just not shown the progress necessary to move towards adoption.  Therefore, he will be remaining with the Ranch, continuing his behavioral rehabilitation in sanctuary care for the foreseeable future.

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The Ranch's Livestock Guardian Training Team

Permanent Ranch Residents, Not Available for Adoption

Archer, Huntress, and Diana lived with the Ranch's founders before the dog rescue portion of the program was formed, back when the Ranch was solely a horse rescue, and were actually the inspiration for the unique farm dog rescue format that exists as the Ranch's main operation today.  These days, this trio works not only as livestock guardians protecting the Ranch's horses, goats, and chickens, but they also help assess and train rescue dogs of livestock guardian breeds, so that we know how they may perform as livestock guardians in their future adoptive homes.  We at the Ranch feel very strongly about the many benefits of using dogs to help train dogs.  A skilled, confident, emotionally-balanced working livestock guardian dog can help train a new working dog in ways that humans can only imagine.  They can even help correct undesirable behaviors in livestock guardians who struggled in a former placement, offering them a second chance to be what they were born to be.  We are very blessed to have these three canine helpers as part of our rescue program, helping us provide our unique rescue and rehabilitation service to dogs of working livestock guardian breeds.

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Ella is a senior Akbash girl, who came to us from one of the high-kill rural county shelters we work with.  She arrived quite dirty, with some sort of dark tarry substance worked into her otherwise beautiful white coat.  She was underweight and had intestinal parasites, and was dealing with some pretty significant hip issues.  So we quickly got her cleaned up, to the vet, and on her way back to health.  But due to her age and degenerating joints, we decided that Ella would be best served by remaining at the Ranch in senior sanctuary care for the remainder of her years.  And we're pretty sure she agrees that this was the right decision!  Despite her age and awkward frog-like gait, this girl has no idea that she's a senior!  She runs all over the barnyard with the Ranch's LGD pack, wearing the most beautiful smile at every moment.  This girl LOVES the ranch life, has become an amazing mentor for the younger rescued livestock guardians who pass through, and we feel truly blessed to have her here with us for her golden years.

Sasha is another sweet senior girl, who came to us from our local city shelter.  She had been surrendered there by her former family due to problems she was having with her hips, which resulted in loss of balance and difficulty walking securely, accompanied by some digestive concerns, and both ear and respiratory infections. Since then, she has had all of her infections treated, has endured two major surgeries to correct her hips, and is doing fantastic!  She continues to receive physical therapy and hip massage daily (which she LOVES!), and although she will likely never have extremely strong hips and will probably always have a bit of an awkward gait, she moves around happily, runs and plays with the young'uns, and is always wearing one of the biggest smiles on the ranch!

But beyond her health challenges, the main reason that Sasha came specifically to us is, well, her breed. That is after all why most of the dogs in our rescue program are sent our way. Based on Sasha's appearance we believe she is probably a mix of Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd, and her personality is 100% that of a livestock guardian breed. So although this sweet and friendly girl was immensely adored by the foster family that cared for her during her time in the city, it quickly became apparent that she really needed a more rural environment in which to thrive and truly live her best doggie life.  She just wasn't wanting to come indoors, was being a bit vocal, and just wasn't adapting to city life very well.  So as soon as a couple of our rescue partners caught wind of Sasha's unique needs, they reached out to see if we could help, and we happily said YES!


Although Sasha has recovered as well as can be expected from her health challenges, we decided that it was in her best interest to spend the rest of her days here at the Ranch, where we can offer her the environment she desires along with the continued therapy on her hips.  As a smiling and immensely joyous senior dog, with special physical and behavioral needs, we are honored to be able to meet those needs for the remainder of her years.