Welcome to Silver Muzzle Cottage, a rescue and hospice for senior, homeless dogs.
Based in Elk Rapids, Michigan, Silver Muzzle Cottage is one of the few rescues of its kind in the country. It was founded by Kim Skarritt two years ago, a few years after she opened Bowsers by the Bay, a dog fitness and rehabilitation center that also offers cage-free boarding.
Through Bowsers by the Bay, Skarritt was in close contact with local shelters and she quickly became fed up with hearing stories about owners abandoning their pets when they enter their senior years or become ill.
She heard story after story of people dropping their senior or sick dogs at the side of the road outside shelters or even coming into the shelter and lying about how their lifelong pet was a stray they had just found. After three years of this, Skarritt knew she had to do something to help these forgotten dogs.
While Silver Muzzle Cottage does take in abandoned dogs, they also open their doors to canines from other tragic circumstances such as the sudden death of an owner.
Over the past two years, Skarritt has taken in more than 70 dogs. These are dogs that would have very little hope of adoption in a normal shelter, as many families would look over them for a younger pup.
"They don't ask for much when they're really old. They want to be loved and cared for, they want food and they just need a warm place to lay their head at night," explains Skarritt.
"At some point, they were cared for, and then when they needed it most they're not. And that's why they really need a place like ours."
Silver Muzzle Cottage defines a senior dog as any over the age of ten, but will make an exception for sick dogs - they can be brought in at any age.
Their specialization in sick and senior dogs isn't the only thing that makes Silver Muzzle Cottage stand out from other rescues - the building itself is also unique.
Committed to making it as much of a home as possible, the rescue looks like a large family home, complete with a living room full of couches, coffee tables, decorations, and even a fake fireplace.
This shelter is so much a home that these dogs aren't even caged at night. Instead, Skarritt has a small room off the dog's quarters where she herself lives.
But Skarritt doesn't do all of this work alone - there are more than 100 volunteers who help out by taking the dogs for walks or car rides, or by simply sitting on the couch and spending time with them.
Thanks to the work that Skarritt and her volunteers do to spread the word about the plight of these forgotten dogs, most of those that come into Silver Muzzle Cottage do get adopted, despite their short futures. Those that don't get find other homes spend their remaining time experiencing unconditional love and support from the Silver Muzzle Cottage family, and that is certainly something.
If you're interested in adopting a senior dog or volunteering with the rescue, you can visit them on their Facebook page.
Thank you for all of the amazing work you've done, Kim! You've made a world of difference to the countless senior dogs that have passed through your home over these past two years.
Tell us what you think about this amazing rescue in the comments below!
All images courtesy of Silver Muzzle Cottage/Facebook.
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