At Old Dog House, loving them to the very end
By Sharon L. Peters, Special for USA TODAY
Updated 13h 33m ago
CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. – — Three big old guys — a bit gimpy, as old guys are — meander happily through the trees, noses to the ground, lost in thoughts of whatever creature (maybe a coyote, maybe a mountain lion) passed through here last night. Four of their pals relax on the deck, soaking up the spring sunshine. And a couple of big blonds, graying around the edges, do the joyful, full-butt-swinging thing as a visitor approaches.
They're among the 22 residents of The Old Dog House, a cabin in the woods devoted to taking in elderly canines that have found themselves homeless and were almost certain to be euthanized.
The dogs may have only limited time left, but former teacher and now part-time casino worker Pam Carr and security officer Sindy Andersen, who started the non-profit in 2004, are determined to make those final months or years the best ever.
"Three are blind, a lot don't hear well, we've got a three-legged amputee," Carr says, "but they all enjoy life here."
Carefully preserved records memorialize the more than 140 dogs they've saved and loved — they remember each by name and idiosyncrasies. The animals are usually at least 10 when Andersen and Carr get them, and, on average, they live another three years.
But many, nurtured and given the medical care they need, defy all odds. Charlie, who is afflicted with lupus, has been with them for seven years and is now 17.
And there's Roxie, a redbone hound mix, taken in by the duo at age 10 after being found in an abandoned building in Steamboat Springs, 200 miles away. They soon learned Roxie had bone cancer, had the bad leg amputated and vowed to love her for the 12 months she probably had left.
Two years later, Roxie is doing fine.