(WIVB) – They may be a little gray in the muzzle- but older dogs still make great companions.
Unfortunately, many senior pups end up in shelters- and often have a hard time getting adopted.
Polla Milligan, founder and president of White Whiskers Senior Dog Sanctuary, recently retired from the SPCA Niagara.
“I saw how many old dogs end up in shelters for various reasons, and often they don’t get adopted because people are afraid to create that bond with an older dog who’s not going to be around long,” Milligan said. “I understand that, but they have to go somewhere.”
White Whiskers received its 501c3 status last December. Since then, they’ve raised about $100,000.
Milligan’s vision for the sanctuary is to have a property between Erie and Niagara counties, with a large, barn-like structure with sofas and beds- no kennels- and wheelchair accessible.
“I want a big kitchen so people can stash their lunch and then lie on a sofa with nine dogs on their lap,” Milligan said.
She also wants the sanctuary to be a good community partner, making dog visits available for people who need them.
“I know the therapeutic power of dogs,” Milligan said.
To raise money for the sanctuary, White Whiskers is hosting a “Wags to Wellness” photo contest, encouraging people to snap a pic while they’re out walking with their furry friends.
Prizes for the winners include a vintage diamond heart necklace, a pair of bicycles, and an air fryer.
Submissions are open now through 8 p.m. Feb. 13, and the cost to enter is a $10 donation.
Voting will open on Feb. 14, and closes at midnight on Feb. 28.
Winners will be announced March 1.
“I had reached out to him and said, ‘Know what a fitness thing is? Walking your dog!’,” Milligan said. “You can do it during COVID-19- it’s something that can be done in all weather, and it’s a great bonding experience.”
White Whiskers Senior Dog Sanctuary currently helps out other local shelters find homes for older dogs by sharing posts on its Facebook page.
“We’ve probably gotten about 70 dogs adopted, even some really difficult to adopt dogs,” Milligan recalled. “I’m very committed to helping the local rescues, and we’ll continue to do so when we get our own space.”
Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.