When it comes to finding a dog, not everyone jumps at the chance to adopt elderly and disabled fur friends. Of course, taking care of special needs critters can be expensive and emotionally taxing, but the love of a senior pup can be especially rewarding. No one understands the payoff of caring for these animals better than Chris and Mariesa Hughes, a couple in Clifton Park, NY.
The couple has 20 dogs—all elderly and suffering from various health conditions.
Chris and Mariesa created a non-profit called The Mr. Mo Project, after they struggled to pay off a hefty vet bill when their senior pup, Mo passed. The couple realized that due to the financial strain of caring for an old dog, many were surrendered to animal shelters and abandoned just because their owners couldn’t afford to keep them.
“Senior dogs deserve the best for the rest of their lives. We believe that senior dogs deserve homes too!” reads the Mr. Mo website.
So far Chris and Mariesa have saved hundreds of dogs from euthanasia, helped get them medical treatment and adopted to loving homes. But the couple has a full house of their own, taking special care of 20 senior pups. In fact, the Hughes’ own dogs enjoy life in home specially customized for them—a $55,000 undertaking.
The couple purchased a $30,000 hydrotherapy pool, so the dogs can do some low-impact exercise. In the Hughes’ household, the dogs sleep soundly on a custom $5,000 king-sized bed alongside their owners. The entire home is made dog-friendly with ramps, floor mats, plastic sheets, and more. The space is designed to keep the dogs as comfortable as possible.
Chris and Mariesa admit that caring for 20 special needs pups isn’t always easy, but by now they’ve got it down pat. “It is crazy living with 20 dogs, but we make it work as we have a great routine,” Chris said. Each morning the couple spends 45 minutes feeding the bunch and giving them their respective medications.
The most challenging part is dealing with the significant medical costs of caring for senior dogs. “We try and raise as much money as we can, but ultimately, if one dog needs $20,000 worth of treatment, we will pay for it on credit cards and worry about it later. There’s always a vet bill to pay, but we have learnt to get on with it and although it’s stressful, it’s all worth it,” Chris said.