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House With A Heart provides a loving forever home for senior cats and dogs in need

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Updated January 18, 2019 02:00 PM EST

Editor's note: This story was first published April 5, 2018. We're bringing it back today with an update from veterinarian Devon Smith, who went to House With A Heart recently and spoke with Sher Polvinale, who co-founded the nonprofit with her late husband, Joe, in 2006.

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (CIRCA) — As a veterinarian, some of the most challenging (but also rewarding) aspects of the field are quality-of-life and end-of-life care conversations with owners.

People are very attached to their four-legged companions and, not unlike people, as pets age, they can develop diseases that require extensive medical management that may also pose significant financial burdens on their owners. By no fault of their own, some of these animals end up in shelters or with rescue groups, relinquished by their owners.

In some cases, owners may pass away, which results in their pet ending up at a shelter. Unfortunately, older dogs are often harder to rehome and are often passed by in shelters. Add on a secondary medical condition and those animals are even less likely to find a home.

This is where organizations such as House With A Heart come into play ...

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (CIRCA) — House With A Heart is a senior pet sanctuary where senior dogs and cats can live out the rest of their days in a loving home.

Sher Polvinale and her late husband, Joe, started House With A Heart in 2006 and began taking in dogs and cats that had lost their families.

Since these pets are older and often plagued with various medical conditions, they have little chance of being adopted from traditional shelters.

House With A Heart
House With A Heart’s mission is to provide a “helping hand” to senior pets. (Courtesy House With A Heart)

House With A Heart’s mission is to provide a “helping hand” to senior pets. The organization provides medical care for its residents as needed, including diagnostic screenings, dental care and surgeries.

Additionally, it sponsors the “Sanctuary of Your Own” program, which encourages people to foster these animals to give them their "fur-ever" home.

House with a Heart also runs a “K-9 Medical Miracles Grants” program, which helps raise money to get dogs the medical care they need to become adoptable.

Once an animal becomes a resident, House With A Heart dedicates itself to full-time care of the animals, as well as improvements to the sanctuary. The senior pet sanctuary is a nonprofit organization and is supported by about 55 volunteers from Montgomery County, Maryland, and the surrounding metro areas.

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