Lap-Dog Seniors Spend Retirement in the Lap of Luxury

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Image via Tyger Williams at The Philadelphia Inquirer/AP

Stacey Herrick works daily to meet the many needs of the 19 senior citizens who live with her in Morrisville. reports Stephanie Farr for The Morning Call

Her charges have various physical and emotional ailments, which is understandable, since they range in age from their mid-60s to their mid-80s. 

But they’re dogs — not people. So that’s 11-17 in canine years. 

Herrick started rescuing man’s best friend as a sideline to her career in the insurance industry. For 12 years, she ran Happy Tails Rescue, connecting shelter dogs with willing adopters. 

But when demand for younger dog adoptions began to rise, eclipsing the oldsters, she redirected. In 2016, Happy Tails Rescue morphed into Happy Tails Rescue Retirement Home. 

Her current pack is certainly eclectic: One resident is blind, one has a brain tumor, one has a neurological condition, two have lung disease, a few have cancer and several have congestive heart failure and require regular trips to a cardiologist. Payment for care, food and supplies comes from donations. 

A variety of breeds are in residence, including Hoover, a Chinese Crested who Herrick describes as “a total weirdo.”

She demurs when praised for the work she does: “Everybody says I do a great thing, but they give me so much more than I give them. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be able to care for them.” 

Resident deaths happen, understandably. Each time one of her seniors passes, Herrick adds his or her name to the angel wings painted on a fence in her backyard. 

And she mourns. 

“Once their body is broken, the kindest thing I can do is let them free from it,” she said. “It’s sad, but I look at it as a kind and selfless act because, obviously, what I want is more time. But that’s not the right thing for them.” 

More about Herrick and her pack is available at The Morning Call. 

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