Old dogs find new homes
SOUTH PORTLAND — South Portland-based Island Dog Brewing and Ampion Renewable Energy, a solar company, recently teamed up to raise money for Old Dogs New Digs.
Old Dogs New Digs is a non-profit organization made up of volunteers dedicated to helping senior dogs who have become homeless and displaced.
“We are now advocating for all senior dogs and cats who are ready for adoption in the state of Maine and Colorado,” said Tammy Merrill, fundraiser and event coordinator. “Our founder Mandy moved to Colorado about four years ago and she was able to settle there. Basically, local shelters and rescuers contact us to help them adopt senior dogs and cats. These are the most difficult to place, most people want a puppy or a younger dog for various reasons, so seniors are tough.
“We have 10,000 followers on Facebook and these people are looking to adopt senior dogs and help them out as well. We also welcome guard dogs. We post the dogs on social media and we are able to find them homes fairly quickly.
Old Dogs New Digs partners with shelters everywhere, including Maine, Colorado, New Mexico and Costa Rica. The organization rescues senior and special needs dogs where they help them enter into a loving foster family or their forever home. The organization is not a refuge; they keep dogs out of a shelter environment. It can be an incredibly stressful environment for a senior dog to be in a shelter, Merrill said.
Foster families assess the dog, get to know its personality, and provide medical help if needed. This helps the organization find a good match for the dog and find him a home that suits his needs.
All proceeds raised support dog health with medical bills or veterinary care. The organization also helps support people who have fallen on hard times who cannot afford proper food for their aging dog or veterinary care. This way their dog doesn’t have to leave their house.
Most senior dog rescues are dogs that have been abandoned due to the death of the owner or an older resident who has moved into a care facility, but other times it’s because the owners don’t. can’t afford a dog that needs a little extra help or medical attention. Those looking to foster or provide hospice for a senior dog should complete a fostering survey which can be found at https://www.olddogsnewdigs.com/.
Once approved, participants can choose the dog they wish to foster and connect to a shelter or shelter. Old Dogs New Digs continues to offer support and assistance while the dog is home.
“Most dogs come to us with medical issues, so I’m constantly working to raise money to pay for the medical issues that come with them,” Merrill said.
Merrill reached out to many local breweries to host fundraisers like a Yappy Hour or Ales for Old Tails to help raise funds. Jim and Jody Denz, owners of Island Dog Brewing, contacted Merrill and organized a Yappy Hour and other events over the years. Island Dog was founded by Jim and son with Jody Denz in 2017 and is located in South Portland near the Maine Mall.
“When we came up with our name, Island Dog Brewing, my wife grew up living on Mount Dessert Island…and we have two rescue dogs, one from Costa Rica and one from Puerto Rico, that’s how we developed our name,” said Jim Denz, Founder and Owner. “We knew early on that we wanted to work with dog rescue organisations.
“My wife and I really liked their model of caring for slightly older dogs than people who gave up and couldn’t find homes and they took in all the dogs. They are not all in a big kennel, they’re all somewhere until they’re adopted.
The brewery and Old Dogs New Digs have worked together on several occasions since then. The brewery created a beer called Silver Hound Pale Ale sold in four packs. In one weekend, Island Dog raised over $6,000 for Old Dogs New Digs.
“We started doing little fundraisers with them, then during COVID we couldn’t do anything, so last spring we wanted to do something a little bigger, we hurt ourselves doing one where we brewed cans of beer especially for them with pictures of dogs they were adopted or recently adopted,” Denz said.
Ampion, a community solar company, approached Island Dog to partner up and raise funds for Old Dogs New Digs. The partnership allowed consumers to subscribe to a local community solar farm, saving them 15% on their electricity bills.
“Ampion is a national organization,” said Katie Rooney, Community Partnerships Manager. “We are doing a lot of work in Maine right now because there are so many opportunities and many community solar farms being built across the state. I joined a team to help build community partnerships with small business nonprofits to really get the word out to people in Maine about the opportunities available to them.
“I contacted Island Dog because they had signed up to subscribe their buildings to Community Solar. I asked them if they would like to start this sponsorship campaign and spread the word to your customers. I think Jim has saw this opportunity to help attract more people to his business and I know he had worked with Old Dogs New Digs before, he was really excited about the opportunity to fundraise for them.
Once a participant has registered, Ampion will donate $100 to Old Dogs New Digs on behalf of the subscriber. New subscribers would also receive a $100 gift card to Island Dog Brewing. The campaign raised $1,100 and hopes to reach a goal of $2,500 in the coming weeks. New customers wishing to sign up and help the cause can sign up at https://ampion.net/islanddog?utm_source=pr&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=islanddog.
Those looking to help or volunteer should visit the Old Dogs New Digs website or Facebook page or subscribe to Community Solar. Island Dog will host an Old Dogs New Digs event from April 30 through May. 1. Silver Hound Pale Ale will be available in six packs. The cans will be available at Island Dog Brewing, located on John Roberts Road in South Portland.
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