Where It All Began: Fostering Saves Lives
Wendy Johnson and her husband Pete grew up in Syracuse, NY and adopted their first dog Lily from a local rescue in 2005. Shortly after adopting Lily, they received a plea from the rescue begging for their help. They needed someone to pick up and help foster a litter of puppies that were living outside in freezing cold temperatures. They jumped in the car and met a woman who handed over a cardboard box full of puppies. One of those puppies needed immediate medical attention to survive. It was at that moment when Wendy realized fostering truly does save lives. Since that day, they have fostered well over 100 dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds. One of those early foster dogs was Tucker who was ultimately adopted by them.
Wendy and her pack moved to Florida in 2015. Tucker and Lily were getting older, and much less tolerant of the high energy dogs she would often bring home to foster. Shortly after moving to Florida, Wendy started volunteering at her local shelter, and saw firsthand how many senior dogs were homeless. She started bringing home older dogs to foster and these senior dogs rocked! They didn’t dig up the yard, try to eat through windows, jump fences, or dash out the door like some of her previous foster dogs. Most were content with a nice bed, a short walk, and a little attention, and got along great with her older pack. Wendy’s desire to find additional foster homes and raise funds specifically geared towards getting more senior dogs out of shelters led her to start Touch of Grey Rescue in February of 2019, using her dog Tucker as the inspiration for the logo.
Touch of Grey Evolution:
As Wendy started sharing some of early stories and dogs saved through social media, supporters came out of the woodworks. Turns out Wendy wasn’t the only one who loved the seniors! With all this newfound support, Touch of Grey Rescue was able to save 86 dogs their very first year and they’ve been growing ever since.
As Touch of Grey Rescue grew, they became more connected with regional shelters and rescue communities. They realized that most dogs in danger of euthanasia were older dogs with medical issues or younger dogs with special needs or medical emergencies shelters couldn’t address. Touch of Grey Rescue expanded to include their Doug’s Dogs Program and Fospice Program to address these needs and started taking more medically complicated dogs into rescue. Dogs aboard the “Hot Mess Express” train headed to Touch of Grey Rescue, and their vets and fosters worked miracles. Dogs who were seemingly on deaths door learned how to be a dog again and gained a whole new leash on life. Touch of Grey Rescue saves over 100 dogs every year, many of whom otherwise would have been euthanized, and spends $1500 on average for each dog coming into rescue.
The Future of Touch of Grey:
We envision a World where dogs no longer must suffer or be euthanized because of age, medical issues, or special needs. And we will continue to save one dog at a time until that World exists. And although Touch of Grey Rescue does not have intentions on ever having a shelter, we are looking into building a sanctuary of sorts.
Touch of Grey Rescue’s long-term goal is to acquire land and build “Tucker’’s Rainbow Bridge and Memorial Garden” as a place where visitors can come and walk their dogs, spread ashes of their beloved pets, and reflect. We hope to have a Welcome Center, along with an intake and adoption center as part of that land and are considering using the land to provide sanctuary to other homeless animals as well. If you are interested in being part of this planning committee to help us save more senior and special needs dogs in addition to other homeless animals, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog, for their time with us is more important than our time with them."
~ Sidney Jean Seward ~