RINGWOOD, N.J. — When Beth Eliasof died, the love of her life was her 10-year-old dog, Tiki.
With open arms, the Newfoundland became part of the Southern Paws family -- where Eliasof volunteered. Tiki lived the rest of his life with the rescue's former president, Tami, until succumbing to bone cancer.
In an effort to honor Eliasof and Tiki -- and save the senior dogs in need of homes -- Southern Paws has launched a new program: The Tiki Eliasof Senior Program.
"Instead of looking at the beauty of fostering a senior, people look at possibility of loss, detachment and what can go wrong."
The rescue will cover all expenses for anyone who is open to fostering senior dogs that come in.
Anyone looking to foster must live no more than 25 minutes from Allendale Vet Hospital.
"We hear about old dogs in shelters all the time," Southern Paws Founder Ashley Gardenier of Ramsey said.
"No one wants them, and instead of looking at the beauty of fostering a senior, people look at possibility of loss, detachment and what can go wrong."
Many of the senior dogs Gardenier sees have lived a good life in homes but end up in shelters and abandoned by families once they get old.
Gardenier says there is a need particularly in this area for senior fosters, as many people looking to adopt a dog are seniors themselves.
"A lot of people are coming out of the woodwork in their later years saying they want to adopt but don't know how much longer they're going to live," Gardenier said.
"Senior dogs are so easy -- they're like couch potatoes. They just want to lay around and snuggle."
Southern Paws recently had another great senior dog experience with Simba, a 14-year-old lab mix who was barely hanging on when he came in over the summer.
He had been pulled from a hoarding situation and couldn't stand on his own.
For three months, they nursed him back to health.
Once he was ready, Southern Paws posted Simba on their website seeking a foster or adopter. Three weeks later, he got that -- and is now living his best life with a loving adopter and her other senior dog.
"The dogs may only have a couple of years left," said Gardenier, "but we want to make them the best."
INTERESTED IN FOSTERING? EMAIL ASHLEY GARDENIER AT firstname.lastname@example.org
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