Dog Inspires New Rescue Group to Help Seniors and Terminally Ill

By PetcoFoundation on Mar. 23, 2017


Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Carie Broecker Peace of Mind Dog Rescue in Pacific Grove, California a 2016 Holiday Wishes award. 

“I am dying of emphysema, and I don’t know what will happen to my dog, Savannah. I have been thinking that it might be best to have her put down before I die. Will you help me?”

I had known Alice and her little seven-year-old spaniel mix for six years. After Alice was diagnosed with emphysema, I occasionally took care of Savannah when Alice was hospitalized. Now the doctor said Alice might only live another few weeks. Alice worried Savannah would end up back in a shelter. She didn’t want to leave her to an unknown fate, which might include stressful time in a shelter or dying scared and alone.

“Don’t worry about Savannah,” I said. “I will take care of her and find her a new home. I’ll make sure she is safe.”


Alice relaxed in her hospital bed and breathed a sigh of relief. Tears welled up in her eyes. “Thank you. That is what I needed to hear.”

After our visit to the hospice facility, Savannah and I walked to my car and suddenly I had an idea – Peace of Mind Dog Rescue! We would take in dogs from seniors and terminally ill people who could no longer care for them. There was no such organization in our community.

Alice died two weeks later with Savannah on her bed by her side, gently kissing her cheek. A family member called and said it was time to come get Savannah. Three months later, Peace of Mind Dog Rescue (POMDR) became a reality, and Savannah became one of our first dogs to go up for adoption.

My husband and I fostered Savannah, took her to adoption events and met a couple of potential adopters. But Savannah was shy, sometimes nipping people she didn’t know who tried to pet her. Finding her a home for her wasn’t going to be easy.


After two months fostering her, we realized she was already home. She fit in perfectly. She loved our other dogs and was respectful of our kitty. We knew Alice would be smiling down upon us if we added Savannah to our family permanently.

That was seven years ago. Savannah is now 14-years-old, and POMDR has rescued more than 1,100 senior dogs. My husband and I have fostered close to 60 dogs, and each dog that comes into our home is comforted by Savannah. Savannah changed our lives. She inspired us to create POMDR and devote our lives to dogs in need, which has given our lives more meaning than we thought possible.

As I write this, she is snoozing at my feet nestled next to our newest foster dog, Bear. It's his first night, and he is a little nervous. She has no idea what she started. She is our special angel.

This story is a finalist for the 2016 Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes campaign. The organization where this pet was adopted from has the chance to receive a grant award ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. Want to help this organization win big? Head over to the Petco Foundation Facebook page to vote for the People's Choice Award. By voting, you give the finalist organizations the opportunity to win an additional grant of up to $25,000!

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