Last Stop Loved
Last Stop Loved
Georgia Rescue, Rehabilitation & Relocation (GRRR)
Story by Cindy Reid | Photography by Leidy Lester
There are few situations in life more heartrending than an older dog who has been brought to a shelter. No longer in the loving care of their owner, they have been left to fend for themselves at an age when they should be cherished and pampered. No more cozy nights or long walks. Often there has been no medical care as the owner could no longer provide it. They are exhausted and bewildered. Not the right end for years of devotion—not the right ending at all.
But for some senior dogs here in the coastal empire, there is a different ending. Thanks to Georgia Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Relocation (GRRR), more than 500 senior dogs have been rescued and rehomed, giving all these dogs a loving ending, truly making their Last Stop Love.
Georgia Rescue, Rehabilitation & Relocation
Founded in 2011, GRRR is a small (but mighty) 501(c)(3) rescue organization based in Savannah serving Chatham and the surrounding counties. Their mission is to help all senior dogs by finding homes and providing medical care for medically challenged senior dogs, regardless of their age or health condition.
GRRR is dedicated to rescuing senior dogs and small breed dogs from owners who are no longer able to care for them, from public shelters that lack a “no-kill” policy and from situations where a senior or small breed dog has suffered abuse or neglect.
Many senior dogs are surrendered because their owner passed away or entered a care facility, and family members are unable to make the commitment to take in the senior dog.
The Last Stop Loved program at GRRR is run entirely by volunteers who work tirelessly to find and rehome the least seen animals among us—the ones that face an almost certain death at the end of their life when they can least understand what is happening to them.
As a foster-based organization, GRRR rescues dogs and places them in foster homes before they’re adopted into their forever home.
The foster homes are warm and loving, and the forever homes are carefully screened. When dogs are rescued by GRRR, they receive complete veterinary treatment, including spaying or neutering, as well as immunizations and microchips. Sometimes the foster home is a forever foster home where GRRR supports all financial costs for the dog while they live out their remaining months or years. They believe every rescued senior dog deserves to find their last stop loved.
GRRR’s Director Perry Brandon became the director of the all-volunteer organization in 2019. A few years ago, he created a Facebook page for senior dogs in southeast Georgia and named it Last Stop Loved, specifically for senior dogs more than seven years old, especially those with medical problems or disabilities. The page highlights the dogs that need help the most as they are often overlooked as possible adoptees due to their age and potential medical costs.
“Generally, seniors are overlooked rescues in shelters. I wanted to develop a population who was also interested in senior dogs—caring people who were not averse to fostering,” says Perry.
“Many foster and adoptive homes have the heart and the ability but simply do not have the extra funds to maintain an aging dog, so we take care of the financial issues. It’s more important that they are able to be there and able to deal with senior dog issues such as incontinence and limited mobility. My goal was—and is—to create a rescue to enable all these senior dogs to have a ‘last stop love.’”
Inspired by Love
Perry says his beloved dog Jake’s end of life issues “triggered the entire thing in my head.”
Jake was adopted as a puppy, and Perry was there for him every step of the way as a senior dog.
“Being there for his end of life was profound. When a dog has issues, such as arthritis or incontinence, you really go through it with them.”
He says senior dogs are his passion and his name has become synonymous with their rescue, “if a senior winds up in a local shelter, they think ‘call Perry’!” And that is fine with him, because he wants to ensure that every animal possible finds that level of love and caring through their last days.
It’s not a one-way street because there are many benefits to fostering or adopting a senior dog or cat (they have a small cat program) with GRRR. An older animal is usually calmer, housebroken, gentle and content. The folks at GRRR say after being rehomed, the animals often “totally transform and begin to regain or discover a level of happiness that they may have only known as a young dog or perhaps they never knew.”
Meet & Greet
GRRR hosts “Meet & Greet” events at PetSmart on Victory Drive, Savannah. These are not immediate adoption events, as that is a process, but rather a way to introduce GRRR, Last Stop Love, and some of the dogs and cats who need homes to the general public.
It was at PetSmart that the cat program began, as they asked GRRR to take it on after another organization pulled out. “We said yes, and in fact many kitties have been saved,” said Perry, who says that PetSmart has been a wonderful partner in their mission.
It is also a good venue to connect with potential volunteers. “We are primarily looking for foster homes,” says Perry. Because the cost of an animal’s care is often an issue, GRRR says “you furnish love and a safe environment, we furnish all supplies and cover all medical expenses” so that every animal is in their “forever stop,” be it fostering or adopting.
Rehoming gives these sweet seniors a caring home where they are once again a family member. The organization also gratefully accepts donations of material supplies and funds. (Specific donation information can be found on their website: www.grrrsavesdogs.org.)
Hope for Every Dog
No dog is considered too far gone for adoption or fostering because GRRR has seen what can happen in a stable environment when loving care and medical treatment are provided. Withdrawn and sick animals can be brought back to a happy ‘retirement’ life, cherished and still useful, bringing devotion and joy to their human companions.
Last Stop Love is a very special program that joins together the rescue vision of GRRR with the unique—and often overlooked—needs of the senior dog population. If all dogs (and cats) go to heaven, then there will be a place reserved for the folks who work so hard day after day to give the seniors one more loved day.