In Loving Memory of Matilda, a Cinderella story if there ever was one, and a promise to every dog or cat who longs for a Home for Life.

If only we had known of Matilda’s years of loneliness at the end of a chain, outside in all weather, having one litter of puppies after another... we would have intervened long ago. How could a dog suffer such maltreatment and neglect just a few miles away from Home for Life® sanctuary, a beacon of caring and kindness to animals. But we didn’t know how Matilda suffered until one of our employees found her one day on the way to work. How many dogs and cats spend lives of quiet desperation without notice or help? Animal rescue organizations don’t have to travel far to find animals in need. Often the one who needs our attention and help the most is right nearby.

Matilda's story is featured in our holiday mailing, 2020 



Matilda’s Story

About three years ago, one of our employees found a stray dog running at large not far from Home for Life.® The dog had no tags, collar, or other identification. She was filthy with matted fur, and looked frightened and starving. The Home for Life® employee coaxed the forlorn dog off the highway and into her car, and brought her to the sanctuary for, if nothing else, a meal and some water. 

Matilda upon arriving at Home for Life
Matilda the day our employee found her on her way to work


No one had ever seen this dog before. Over the years, people have thrown animals over our fence or tied them to our front gate. They’ve left their dogs or cats in boxes at our entrance or just let them loose near our property to face their fate, hoping we will find and catch them before they are struck by a car and killed. Given the lost dog’s condition, we believed someone had driven out “to the country” and abandoned her. However, some digging revealed that she had actually spent most of her life chained outside at a property just a few miles away from the sanctuary! She had had multiple litters of puppies in that time. She had reportedly gotten loose when the homeowners were raided and arrested for cockfighting a week prior. After a lot of heartache and tribulation, and even a legal battle, Home for Life® became Matilda’s official guardian. She was now part of the sanctuary family! She could finally enjoy the love, care, and companionship that she deserved.

Matilda was groomed and her filthy coat came off like a pelt

Everything we went through to protect her during this time was worth it. And it would have been no matter what happened to Matilda, whether she just became one of the happy dogs of Home for Life,® or as fate had planned for her, a new chapter that amounted to a true renaissance for this special dog. Matilda blossomed at Home for Life® sanctuary. She had friends, a clean environment, warm soft beds to rest on, and freedom of movement. She was spayed and her vaccinations updated. Matilda was so grateful to be groomed at last, and she regained her health and strength with a high-quality diet and veterinary care. All this would have been enough, but Matilda’s horizons were about to get wider. From living a lonely, hard life, chained outside, Matilda became one of Home for Life’s Peace Creatures® therapy dog team members.

 Matilda in her WonderWoman costume with  Home for Life volunteer Debra Peterfeso

Along with Home for Life® volunteer Debra, she was certified for pet therapy, helping the vulnerable, seriously ill children at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. She also worked with other Home for Life® volunteers to help the lonely and fragile elderly in nursing homes and memory care centers. In the spring of 2018, Matilda even got to walk in the Home for Life® dog parade at our gala where our special guest was Dr. Jane Goodall! Matilda was such a hit that she made an encore appearance in the dog parade in 2019 at Home for Life’s® gala with special guest Ashley Judd!
 

Matilda was an integral part of our Home for Life’s Peace Creatures® initiative, providing
pet therapy to at-risk people of all ages, a program that was on track to reach over
8,000 kids and adults in 2020 before Covid-19 hit.

Matilda had a special affinity for the lonely and vulnerable elderly people who are a huge part of the Peace Creatures® pet therapy outreach. With her soft coat, tall stature and gentle demeanor, the patients and residents of the hospice, memory care and nursing home facilities gravitated toward Matilda and could easily pet her from their wheelchairs or hospital beds.

What does it mean to truly save an animal?

Matilda at  the Linden Nursing Home, Stillwater, MN at a Peace Creatures visit

Matilda found love, family, and loyalty at Home for Life,® and she reflected those gifts back into the wider community through her pet therapy services. When an animal comes to our care-for-life sanctuary, our commitment is for the long haul. We take in the hard cases who have faced intense or prolonged suffering and cannot risk one more rejection or major disappointment. They’re fragile and need love and security to heal in body and spirit. But with our care they do mend. And many, like Matilda, share their renewed joy with others through our Peace Creatures® programs. A true home for an animal, and truly being saved, means more than four walls around them. It took more than good intentions and mercy to help Matilda. It required a major commitment of our resources—time, patient loving care, and money—to give her a home for life.

Loving care, a place to belong, a home for life, for all
seasons of life

This summer, our groomer found another lump on Matilda’s chest. She had a tumor in the area removed a few months before and now there was a recurrence. As frequently happens with female dogs, left
unspayed, who have one litter of puppies after another, Matilda had developed mammary cancer. Although Matilda had been spayed by Home for Life® within weeks of her rescue, she was already more susceptible to developing cancer because of the maltreatment she suffered at her previous “home.” Now, two and a half years after becoming part of Home for Life®, she was fighting for her life. After all she had survived and all she had gone on to accomplish, we felt devastated by her diagnosis. It seemed so unfair. We removed the second tumor but x-ray scans showed inoperable metastases (spread of the tumors) to the lungs. Matilda was on borrowed time.

Matilda at nursing home - the inspiration for the illustration by British watercolorist Iain Welch, above

The oncologists at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical center thought that very intensive chemotherapy would not stop the cancer and might cause her a lot of suffering. We decided on a conservative, non-invasive course of care for Matilda to maximize her quality of life and give her as much pain-free time as possible. By the time we had received this grim news and the guarded prognosis, COVID had shut down all the outreach visits that Matilda participated in.

Matilda took the opportunity of the hiatus to rest. She was on a medicine called piroxicam to help with pain and for the secondary benefits it provides as a chemotherapy. For months, she did very well, although she slept more than normal. The cancer did not seem to advance aggressively, and she continued to eat well. She was able to walk, and could breathe normally, and was comfortable, which was all we could hope for.

A true and loving home, for all seasons of life

A care-for-life sanctuary like Home for Life® is a home for all seasons of the life of our precious cats and dogs. We make a huge commitment to each animal at our sanctuary—of time, money and resources—sometimes for 10 years and more. A sanctuary is not a transition chute nor a short term holding facility for animals at risk. Instead, a sanctuary is a safe and stable base to imagine an array of new possibilities for cats and dogs like Matilda who may have been so easily dismissed, overlooked and discarded.

As a sanctuary, from the time we first took Matilda in without question, to the ordeal we went through to protect her from being returned to her chained-up life, to her days as a cherished therapy dog, to the last chapter of her life when she needed safety, comfort, understanding, and finally help to ensure a gentle passing when the tumors spread again—this time to her spine—and she could no longer walk, Home for Life® was there for Matilda. She was never forsaken when it might have been easier because of time, expense, and hassle to do exactly that.

What we did for Matilda, we do for all the animals that are part of Home for Life®

The life we were able to give Matilda in her last 3 years would not be possible without our sanctuary. All that we accomplish starts with the belief that led to the founding of Home for Life® 23 years ago: Animals who need us are not a problem to be solved but an untapped treasure.  We believe in the significance of every life we care for, and that the life of each cat and dog counts. And it counts always, no matter what twists and turns may happen, for the life of the animal.

That perspective is transformative, a premise that creates miracles—from establishing and taking new ground for the most vulnerable cats and dogs, to creating a safer world for all animals by showing what’s possible, to reaching out to the community through our animals, like Matilda, who serve as ambassadors for our mission and conviction that all life is valuable.

Matilda  at the Masonic Children's Hospital with HFL volunteer Debra during a Peace Creatures visit

From a lonely and neglected dog who had lived life to that point outside on a chain, so close yet so far from the loving embrace and protection of our sanctuary, to a beloved member of Home for Life® and of our Peace Creatures® pet therapy programs, Matilda’s journey shows how Home for Life® opens a door to animals in need who have overcome a terrible start in life and who go on to not only thrive but also to pay it forward to the community who make their new life possible.

Matilda, we love you and miss you. It never mattered to us what you had suffered before we found you, so forlorn and alone. What you grew to be will live in our hearts forever. Your story is a promise to all the animals, whether near or far, who long for a Home for Life.

Above illustration by Ian Welch Art and Design

2020 Year-end and holiday card featuring Matilda








What's the Matter with Caden?

This is a guest post written by Amy Fink, one of  Home for Life's board members and offers a unique perspective from someone who was there at the beginning, when the idea of our sanctuary was first created. There was much hope 20 years ago that No Kill might someday be an achieveable goal and, we were so impressed with the vision of Richard Avanzino, the then director of the San Francisco SPCA who had many innovative ideas  that inspired a whole new approach to help animals most in need.

As Amy writes, though, what we have seen through our work at Home for Life is that 20 years later, animal welfare and "rescue" has lost sight of many of the guiding principles which informed Avanzion's vision .with the result that still, today, many dogs and cats in need are left at risk with their lives in peril.    

This is the text of the presentation Amy gave to her Toastmaster's Group in November, 2020.  

_______________________________________________________________________________

I'll give you the answer  to the question the title asks: nothing is the matter with Caden. 

But this title forces people who care about the fate of dogs and cats like him to recognize the  lens thru which rescue organizations are valuing animals, a warped marketing framework that is proving counter to their purported missions.


The mission of rescue is not supposed to be finding more marketable animals. Rescues are supposed to be making the animals they have more marketable by insisting that people stop disposing of their pets like last season's fashion, by doing a better job of " selling " people on the real appeal of each and every cat and dog that falls  into their care.  Not so that the greatest risk to the life of an animal  is to end up in "rescue" or to have "rescues" abandoning their adopters if they run into a challenge with a cat or dog they have bought from the organization.   


But the market model has also put alot of rescues in competition with one another financially, and so they take a short cut and just go for the animals who will sell themselves. 

As a care for life sanctuary,Home for Life stands outside that competition because we don't have to "sell" the public on our residents. 


About 20 years ago I helped my sister found a sanctuary for unadoptable dogs and cats. This was at the point when the No Kill Movement was REALLY gaining steam


We went to a big No Kill conference in San Francisco to talk with other rescue workers and get ideas. Everyone in animal rescue is about reducing animal suffering mostly through spay/neuter or adoption into forever homes.


A sanctuary IS a forever home for animals who don't get adopted.  

But when we told people  at the conference we were focused around lifetime care ONLY and not adoption, they said:  

       "OOOh, you will have a hard time funding yourself!"

   Because most animal rescue organizationss raise a good part of their operating costs through adoption.  


Adoption RULES the animal rescue world. Most groups gauge their success around how many animals move through their doors into "fur"ever homes.


San Francisco Humane Society, our conference host, was a model of what could be accomplished along these lines!


Their director, Richard Avanzino, recognized that we are a market-driven culture, and so he harnessed that market instinct.

  INCREASE ANIMAL DESIRABILITY 

  -- pretty up the adoption rooms to give the animals greater curb appeal

  -- get on local tv to showcase animals

  -- give animals a name and tell their backstory


  REDUCE NUMBERS OF HOMELESS ANIMALS

  -- pay people to spay/neuter


  INCREASE NUMBERS OF HOMES THAT COULD TAKE ANIMALS

  -- work with landlords in a city with a very high renter population to have them allow pets 


The program was so successful that  the San Francisco SPCA had a contract with the city pound to take all of their animals and find them  homes.


It was truly inspiring!  No-kills sprang up around the country and everyone redoubled their efforts to end euthanasia and animal homelessness following the market approach 


So...living in a market driven culture, we all have a feel for markets 

We have an instinct for what sells and what doesn't sell.  Right?


Let's try it.  Which of these animals do you think is more adoptable?


1)   "Caden" a  three year old hound mix - neutered,  sweet and kind boy, originally from Alabama and a shelter there, then was transported to Chicago's Anti Cruelty Society to try his luck to find an adoptive home. Heartworm positive with a limp due to previous car accident.  





2)   "Papaya", an eight year old  English bulldog - neutered  not awesome with kids,  breathing problems, bad knees, obesity, arthritis ( also at the Animal Cruelty Society during the same time frame  because his owner had surrendered him )



I'll ask another way:  

  Which one has better curb appeal?  Which would you bring onto a local news show?  

It turns out most rescues wanted the bulldog.  In fact they competed for him even though objectively, he would not make a better pet:  he was older, had health problems, and didn't like children


Meanwhile, none of the rescues would go to bat for Caden.  Why?  Because he is a dime a dozen.  

And this is the problem! 


Rescues are caught in a trap because they need homes for the animals they are rescuing, which means they need to sell the public on adopting an animal. 

Some rescues try to stock their cages with animals they believe will be more adoptable 

   -- purebreds   cool looks    interesting or dramatic story.  


Dogs like Caden get overlooked and left behind.  


In a market-driven world, success is measured by moving your product.  

Every adoption/sale "proves" the rescue is fulfilling its mission.  Right?

But animals are not commodities and unlike a store with hard goods, a rescue can't just order up inventory to match market demand.  

The LAST thing rescue organizations want to do- or should want to do- is manufacture more copies of a popular model.  

It goes completely against the ethic of animal welfare.  , 


The adoption-as-success metric also hides a sad story.  People are flaky and casual about the lives of their animals

  Many animals move in and out of the system for years, with each adopting group claiming success, 

and meanwhile the animal's health and spirit are slowly destroyed through each transition

Caden already had 4 homes in his short life!  He never found a "fur"ever home and he was about to be euthanized until our sanctuary, HFL, stepped in. ( Read more about Caden close call  here: Home for Life Animal Sanctuary: Rescue Remedy (homeforlifesanctuary.blogspot.com)

                                Caden in the pool, Home for Life, Summer, 2020


There are millions of suffering, lonely and unwanted animals across our country  

Whenever we disregard or devalue one of them, we place all animals in jeopardy, 

Because any dog or cat can lose their home, become old, injured, or ill and unwanted. 


But in a system designed to handle problems on a mass scale, individuals DO get overlooked. 

We can't let ourselves forget that, behind every data point, is an individual like Caden, with their own story and the need for someone to recognize all that makes them special.


____________________________________________________________

I feel that the lesson of San Francisco's great success was lost in all the mania to increase adoption numbers. 

San Francisco, under Avanzino's leadership, was practical and market savvy, and those ARE necessary qualities in a well-run rescue

BUT remember:   San Francisco did NOT pick and choose the animals they would help.  They took on the WHOLE city's animal population! 


After all, what keeps animals safe and cherished is our attitude towards them, and our capacity to care .

Whenever we step up to save one animal, we take a stand for all animals in similar situations,  and we make visible and practical what is truly possible



The REAL lesson from that conference was that we have a duty to recognize the individual light in every one  of the dogs and cats we help.

and to do all we can to give them a safe landing.


This is the mission of our sanctuary, Home for Life.



                                       Below, Caden running in the meadow                                                                          Home for Life, November,2020                                                          











 

Home for Life's Two Legged Dogs

2 legs: Nino who lost his hind legs thru abuse; Cesar who was born without front legs


Home for Life cares for many two legged dogs at our sanctuary,and if the paraplegics- those dogs who have all four of their legs,but who use a  cart, are included 10 % of our canine population is two legged!

Two legged dogs draw attention, and especially if  the circumstances underlying the loss of their legs are remarkable as with Nino and Cesar above.  Nino born in Mexico, in a village outside of Cancun lost his hind legs thru shocking abuse as a mere three week puppy, when his litter mates were slaughtered and his hind legs amputated by a gang of youths wielding machetes. Nino's life was saved by his street dog mother, the only survivor of his litter, when she grabbed him in her mouth and ran but not before the boys had cut his hind legs off. She brought Nino to a taco stand vendor who often gave her scraps and dropped the mutilated puppy at the taco guy's feet  The compassionate and quick action by the man and his wife no doubt saved Nino's life: they applied sliced onion to the ends of the stumps which stopped the bleeding and also acted as a disinfectant They then brought Nino to a small rescue in Cancun and from there he came to Home for Life - But not before he met Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale on his way to us via Los Angeles: the musicians and celebrities were very touched by Nino's tragic story and were happy to pose for a photo with him, preserved for posterity below! As an adult dog Nino is cheery and always seems to be smiling.  He seems unaffected by the trauma  he suffered with  no memory of the abuse. He is the strong spirit and the survivor to carry on the legacy of his family and of his sibling puppies who were so tragically and brutally killed: he's not going to waste a second being glum.
Nino ,a puppy from Mexico on his way to Home for Life, in a photo with
 Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, taken in Los Angeles, CA






Cesar is a Chihuahua born in Minnesota, but his mother rejected him when he was only a few weeks old as he was born with no front legs. He came to Home for Life at only 2 weeks old, and was bottle fed every couple of hours until he could eat on his own. And that's the story of how he happened to be along on the photo shoot when Cesar Millan was in town for one of our galas; Cesar ( Millan) posed for a few promotional photos for our gala with some of our other Home for Life dogs but then spied the little Chihuahua puppy in the box, awaiting his next hourly feeding. Although Cesar Millan is known for his ability to manage the biggest and toughest dogs, one of his favorite breeds is the Chihuahua and he was delighted to meet the little puppy, and immediately picked him up . You can see his authentic delight to meet this tiny puppy in this photo by Mark Luinenburg, spontaneously obtained after a long day and photo shoot.  At that point the pup did not have a name- we were just focusing on making sure he was getting enough to eat and would survive. Millan right there and then christened him Little Cesar after the Dog Whisperer himself!  That's quite a legacy to live up to but Cesar has grown into his name and is now 13 years old , Missing front legs is much more challenging since most of the weight of a dog is carried on the front. Cesar has a cart but prefers to hop or be carried like a little emperor from one location to the other. What is remarkable for the other dogs is Cesar's strong and determined spirit: it's those characteristis that they respect and respond to rather than the physical deformity.            




Little Cesar, tiny puppy, with Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer & Christopher Robin
the Wirehair  Fox Terrier : photo by Mark Luinenburg

Two legged dogs need more care and are more vulnerable. If they have lost their legs or become paraplegic  due to abuse or injury especially to the spine, many are incontinent. For bigger dogs this issue becomes almost impossible to handle in a typical home setting. Additional challenges involve the heavy lifting needed to get a disabled dog in the tub for a bath and   in and out of a cart  multiple times a day: it's very tiring for a dog to be in a cart for an entire day with all their weight on their front end At Home for Life, our dogs are in their carts two hours, and then rest of two hours out of the cart and so on throughout the day.  They are cleaned and checked at each cart change and receive full on "para care" and cleaning involving a bath twice a day.

The care for two legged dogs is laborius but a care for life sanctuary is ideally set up for this daily attention. And with this specialized care our two legged dogs live their lives like any dog. Once the hurdle of the daily care is taken into consideration, the disability is just not the first thing  that comes to mind about any of our two legged dogs.

It would be easy to weep over dogs at Home for Life like Nino and Cesar and to pity them for what they lack or lost often under tragic circumstances. And it would have been tempting, once we had taken dogs like these in at Home for Life® to always portray then as  pathetic two-legged dogs, almost like circus sideshows to engender sympathy or shock.
 In the age of social media, often it is the tragic and startling animals’ stories that draw the most attention and support. But we wanted Home for Life® to represent something different in animal welfare and for animals like Nino,  Cesar, Poppy whose story is below and for all our two legged dogs.

There’s a place in the world for everyone, a place that can be called home. It is a place where even when life seems at a dead end, two legged dogs who might be considered victims or oddities can find a home to provide the stability and safety for a new beginning.

Our summer mail appeal is about another of our two legged dogs, the Shetland Sheepdog Poppy. She had such a hard life before she was only a year old losing both her legs and her life, nearly. When you read her story and see her photos, the fact that she has only two legs might be the first thing you notice  but, her lack of legs won't be what you remember about her.


Illustration of Poppy by Iain Welch Art and Design


"Any fool can be happy, It takes someone with a real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes  us weep.” - Clive Barker


Home has never meant more than in this time of uncertainty amidst a deadly pandemic sweeping the world -- a place of safety and protection.  Having a home, a place to belong, provides a foothold amid chaos, the stable base to imagine a new and better future despite the challenges that surround us.


We know the miraculous power of having  a home for life and  have seen again and again what  having a place to belong means for animals who come to Home for Life  longing for the safety, security and acceptance that our sanctuary provides.     There's no place like Home for Life for dogs and cats like 2-legged Sheltie Poppy where   we make sure the trauma and rejection of their prior years will neither define them nor be the end of their story. 
'




There's No Place Like Home

Flowers and new spring grass carpet the low prairie hills around Home for Life sanctuary. Poppy, a Shetland sheepdog, stands in her outdoor enclosure, eyes bright with excitement. She is clean, nicely groomed, and ready for action! She perks her ears and looks back toward her living quarters for Frank and Frosty, her canine housemates. A Home for Life caregiver brings them out, opens the gate, and the three dogs race out across the fresh green hills.

Poppy’s days are filled with fun, loving care, companionship, and some serious work as well! Poppy  is a therapy in dog Home for Life’s Peace Creatures® program, which last year reached over 7,000 vulnerable kids and adults in our community and provided nearly $1 million in valuable services to those in nursing homes, mental health wards, battered women’s shelters, pediatric oncology wards, and prisons. Poppy is a great ambassador for the sanctuary, extending the vision of Home for Life and the healing she has benefited from to  ease the loneliness and distress of the most fragile people, living in obscurity on the fringes of our society, and her important work helps draw these people back into the embrace of the community. 
It is hard to believe that, just 4 years ago, Poppy herself was homeless, in pain, and struggling for her very life. She had been living in the streets of a village in a third world country, and was one day struck by a car and left for dead. She dragged herself to a hiding spot and remained out of sight for over a week until a man found  her and brought her to the Vafa Animal Shelter for help. The picture taken of Poppy at the time of her rescue shows a fragile, shy puppy, about 3-4 months old and lucky to be alive.   '



Poppy the puppy after her resccue

The accident damaged her pelvis and caused her knees to turn at a 180◦ angle. Two of her vertebrae were apart and seemed dislocated. The vets in her home country did an MRI. The scan revealed severe injury to her spine. They performed a surgery to fix her vertebrae, and later amputated both back legs which were beyond repair.
Poppy suffered greatly nearly bleeding to death after her first amputation suegery

Poppy recovery from her amputation surgeries now a two legged dog
Poppy faced a bleak future as a 2-legged dog in a third world country, where even strong and mobile dogs often suffer from maltreatment and neglect.  Home for Life supports the work of international organizations like Vafa Shelter that are helping to change perceptions about dogs and animal welfare in their societies.  Our sanctuary has taken several dogs from other countries, dogs whose needs were more involved than rescues were set up to handle long term.  Poppy certainly fit that category!  She was welcomed to Home for Life and made the long journey here in the fall of 2016.

Poppy's injury left her very vulnerable, with only two legs, but the main issue with dogs who lose the use of their back legs is not mobility but incontinence. That's why these dogs are often overlooked for adoption, and why they need specialized care to keep them healthy. With her long fur, amputations and incontinence, constant vigilance would be needed to keep her clean and healthy and prevent infections. She also needed to build up the strength in her front legs since, even in a cart, they would need to bear all her weight, and that can become tiring. 
Poppy and  Soosan another of our two legged dogs demonstrate the locomotion.
 Did you know? in 2019 Home for Life was named one of the 10 Most Amazing Sanctuaries in the country by  USA Today! 
This photo taken by Mark Luinenburg was used to in the article by the newspaper

The initial impression, to see a dog with only two legs is sometimes shocking and frankly disturbing. But with the attentive care she receives from Home for Life's® staff, Poppy has thrived and never gives her missing legs a second thought, focusing instead on all she can do.  Poppy's determination to make the most of her life touches the heart of anyone she meets. Poppy work to become one of our  therapy dogs in our Peace Creatures® program began with visits to Como Park Senior high school in the spring of 2018 to help students there during the stressful period of  final exams and has continued to include visits to  many area nursing homes.


At Home for Life®, Poppy's traumatic start and missing legs have not stopped her from living a full life, with friends, the opportunity to run, to swim and even to give back through Home for Life's® outreach programs.  Fate must have had a plan for Poppy when she so miraculously survived her injury, alone for nearly 2 weeks without care, the amputation of both legs and surgery on her back and then the long journey to Home for Life®. It turned out that Poppy had much to live for and  much to give though her start seemed so bleak and filled with despair before she was even a year old. Her sweet nature and her determination to live life to the fullest inspires those she encounters who are often facing their own  challenges. 

 HOME IS WHERE THE HEART Is 




Poppy resting after a swim in the Apple River which runs on  Home for Life's property 
Poppy at an oureach session with the students of Como Park High Shool
Brush with fame! Poppy meets Ashley Judd at Home for Life's
2019 Fall Gala



 It would be easy to weep over Poppy and to pity her when her life was forever changed by the loss of her two back legs when only a puppy.  And it would have been tempting, once we had taken her in at Home for Life to always portray her as a pathetic two-legged dog, forever marked by the tragedy of her first year.  In the age of social media, often it is the tragic and shocking animals' stories that draw the most attention and support.  But we wanted Home for Life to represent something different in animal welfare and for animals like Poppy. 
On a Peace Creatures pet therapy visit Poppy brings a smile to a resident of Woodbury Senior Living, Woodbury, MN
Poppy with Matilda, another of Home for Life's Peace Creatures therapy dogs: illustration by
Iain Welch Art and Design




There’s a place in the world for everyone, a place that can be called home, . It is a place where even when life seems at a dead end, a dog like Poppy can find the stability and safety for a new beginning..  Home for Life@  provided  that for Poppy, and that’s what we can do for other animals with your help. 
Poppy is an ardent swimmer and a master of the dog paddle !                                                 


I  Wish I could give them all a home - Now you Can!

As uncertainty, fear, and chaos continue to rattle our world, the loving security of home means more than ever -- especially for vulnerable animals like Poppy .  



 We know what it has meant to Poppy to have  the steady care and healing  Home for Life provides- the opportunity to  have a life that no one could imagine was possible when she  was alone, a two legged disabled dog  in a third world country.  Your support has made the difference for her- as it can for so many animals like her who need a someone to care about them too. 






An internationally recognized care for life sanctuary, Home for Life®, offers a service to animals in need like no comparative organization. Many shelters and rescue organizations aspire to find a home for every animal and dream of the day when there will be no homeless animals. At Home for Life®, that's what we want too -- and that's what we provide -- for cats and dogs like Poppy who are overlooked for placement. Home for Life® has created a new idea, the care for life sanctuary -- a life-saving and life-affirming alternative for dogs and cats who have not been able to find a home or keep the home they had and for animals who have lifelong special care needs that most adopters cannot provide. We call our idea the "Third Door" in animal welfare, which gives at risk dogs and cats, animals who might have been passed over for adoption, a third chance and an alternative to an undeserved death.


The dream of a home should be an opportunity that is available for all dogs and cats, and now with Home for Life®, and the innovative model we have created at our prototype sanctuary in Star Prairie, WI, it can be!