Underdogs benefit from Front Street Animal Shelter’s hospice adoption program

While puppies at Front Street Animal Shelter are typically adopted the day they become available, some animals struggle to get adopted for weeks or even months.


Laurence, a large black lab mix, was one of those dogs. He is 11 years old with significant osteoarthritis and a fatty mass the size of a grapefruit called a lipoma on his chest.

Nearly a month went by with very little interest. Laurence watched many other dogs leave the shelter while he waited for his special person to choose him.

“It can be hard to get senior dogs adopted, especially if they have medical issues,” said ​Brooke Baumback, an animal care technician who does adoption counseling with the public. “Many people want a dog who can fit into an active lifestyle, and the cost to treat a medical condition can also be a limiting factor.”

Enter AdoptUs, a unique hospice adoption program offered by the shelter in collaboration with Friends of Front Street Shelter, a nonprofit partner. For cases where an animal is nearing the end of their life, this program covers medical care related to the animal’s condition to keep them comfortable in their final months or years, and also provides end-of-life services when the time comes to say goodbye.

The shelter maintains an email list of hundreds of people interested in AdoptUs animals, and within hours of sending an email about Laurence, he was on his way home.

He was adopted by Madeline, who has always wanted a senior dog. “I just love the old souls, and who wouldn’t want this?” she said, gesturing to Laurence. In an update several days later, Madeline said there was an extra-thick memory foam mattress on the way for Laurence and that he was thoroughly enjoying his slow walks, even though it takes him over an hour to make his way around the block.

“We’ve had a tremendous response to this program,” said shelter manager Phillip Zimmerman. “There are many kind people in our community willing to go through the heartbreak of adopting a hospice pet, and we’re so grateful to them for allowing these deserving animals to live out their lives in happiness and dignity.”

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