I literally fall in love with every dog we take and it’s so hard to lose them.
I literally fall in love with every dog we take and it’s so hard to lose them.
Her journey began in July 2020 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Toward the end of treatment, I realized that life is too short to waste and decided to follow my true passion of rescuing senior dogs,” she said. “My first rescue was a dog from Mexico, Navi, that I picked up after completion of chemotherapy while I was on the waiting list for my surgery. The next two, Huckleberry and Emelia, were after surgery and before radiation. I spent six nights in the garage with them in quarantine away from the other dogs trying to keep them both alive. It worked and they lived about another year happy and healthy for the first time.
“Huckleberry had calluses around his neck from being chained up most of his life. He was finally free at Dogtree Pines.”
Lamont and her significant other, Bill Nicholas, discovered their talent for caring for older dogs with their first dog, Chester, a yellow lab.
“We did everything within our power to keep him feeling his best as long as possible. Along the way, we learned so very much about the care of seniors, and we loved it,” she said.
Lamont believes mature dogs are the sweetest and most appreciative dogs.
“Almost all the dogs we rescue have been rescued from horrible circumstances. Most were once somebody’s dog and knew a better life, but for circumstances we will never know or understand, have ended up homeless, lost, sick, injured, neglected, ignored or on the euthanasia list with no hope of rescue. They deserve better than that and they know better,” she said. “No dog deserves to die alone in a cage on a cold, concrete floor, certainly not seniors that have given their entire lives to us.”
Lamont says Dogtree Pines is important because the older dogs are being dropped off at shelters, dumped and euthanized in record numbers.
“Seniors are especially hard to adopt out because they have limited time left and unusually large vet bills. Very few people go to a shelter looking to adopt an old, broken dog that they will only have for a very short time. In addition, rescues face the same challenges. Seniors cost more, require more time and effort and they cannot recoup an adoption fee in most cases. These old guys usually sit at the shelter, uncomfortable and in pain, until eventually they are euthanized. Dogtree Pines gives these dogs the joy, love and health that they deserve, and when it comes time, a loving passing,” she said.
Dogtree Pines Senior Dog Sanctuary is a non-profit located on five-and-a-half acres in Prescott. Their mission is to rescue and provide medical care, nutritious, homemade food and superior love and care in an amazing sanctuary setting to hospice and senior large dogs that are located in Arizona and surrounding areas.
They are dedicated to senior dogs in need of a forever home, medical treatment and end of life care. They primarily intake large dogs who are 10 years and older, most of which have been dumped or surrendered because of their age and/or medical conditions.
The senior dogs live in a sanctuary setting and have full run of the house, a two-and-a-half acre fenced yard and a wrap-around front deck for deer and javelina viewing. Dogtree has taken in more than 40 senior dogs from various rescues and humane societies. Most of the animals are considered high risk because of age, health or mental state. The shelter has adopted out a few but the majority that make it to the Pines are there to stay.
Here is what the Dogtree provides:
Food: the sanctuary feeds the residents based on their needs, but most of the dogs are fed a homemade diet. This involves buying chicken and beef in bulk, grinding with an industrial grinder, freezing and feeding. They also eat a “veggie glop” that they make from pureed raw vegetables and freeze monthly. Canned pumpkin, green beans, green peas and treats are used in volume.
Warm Water Therapy: When Lamont could not find a source for water therapy, she decided to build a 16-foot round by 4-foot deep heated therapy pool, with a series of ramps and steps allowing easy ingress and egress for senior dogs that have trouble walking. It’s heated with an industrial heater up to 87-90 degrees for the benefit of their joints. Lamont and Nicholas allow other senior “dog friends” to come use the pool as well.
Medical: Medical care is the No. 1 cost, as they rescue health compromised seniors. They utilize both Eastern and Western medicine when treating the dogs. Aside from standard care, the residents receive chiropractic, laser and acupuncture treatments.
End of Life: When the time comes, veterinarians make a house call so that the dogs can remain in their home, calm and comfortable.
“We choose a peaceful location in the pines in which to lay them to rest, a place that they enjoyed spending time. They are surrounded by love and their pack when it is time to say goodbye. It’s always the hardest part, but part of what we do,” she said.
Dogtree Pines currently has 16 dogs and has acquired at least eight of those in the past four months. Fifteen of the dogs reside at the sanctuary, one is in a foster home.
“We have a large turnover because of age and the condition of the dogs we rescue, so we put many more dogs through the sanctuary than that number reflects. We usually reserve our space for dogs 10+ years of age or with special needs and they are all medium-large breeds, with the exception of one little dog.”
Lamont funds Dogtree Pines personally. She said her mother taught her to work hard, save money and live beneath her means. She said they have started fundraising and applying for grants.
“As people hear about us and our mission, our support has grown, but it’s nowhere near what our current expenses are to feed and provide medical for these senior dogs. I currently work in real estate to support the rescue. Bill is retired and stays home while I am working so that the dogs are never left alone. It’s like working three full-time jobs but it’s oh-so-worth it. When I come home and see those sweet faces that would not be here otherwise, it’s worth all the crazy days and sleepless nights,” she said.
Dogtree Pines does not have volunteers because the sanctuary is also the couple’s home.
“It is an amazing amount of work to manage for two people. We make all home-cooked food for 15 dogs and go back and forth to vet appointments two or three times per week,” she said. “We could use help giving the dogs one-on-one attention, brushing, transporting, walking, cleaning. Although we live on a large property, there are dogs that would benefit from getting out for some new scenery.”
Lamont said her health is great, but it took some time to get her energy back. Now she has NED, No Evidence of Disease. “I responded very well to chemotherapy.”
And everyone she meets loves what they do at the Pines.
“Most people don’t know how we can do it, with all the emotional loss on a regular basis. I literally fall in love with every dog we take and it’s so hard to lose them. However, somebody has to do it or nobody would. I try hard to look at the love that we give them for their last time on Earth, but I won’t kid you, it’s heartbreaking. As soon as one passes, another appears that needs help just as much and it just keeps going on.”
Nicholas and Lamont are both certified in Canine Hydrotherapy. In the therapy pool they can stretch and exercise the senior dogs as their legs, hips, knees and backs start to give out.
“It’s amazing for them as they become almost weightless in the warm water and aches and pains dissipate,” she said. FBN
By Stan Bindell, FBN
Donations of any size are always welcome and will be used to cover vet bills and food.
You can reach Dogtree Pines at 928-273-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.For more information, visit www.dogtreepines.com or follow them on Facebook.