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On the Clock: What it takes to care for senior canines at Bob’s House for Dogs

Eau Claire (WQOW) – New dog owners may be excited to bring a new puppy into their lives, but what about an often-overlooked older dog? Our own Shannon Hoyt clocked in with Nikki Heck from Bob’s House for Dogs to find out.

“I feel like I’ve always understood animals more,” said Nikki Heck, adoption and intake coordinator. “Growing up I was kind of awkward a little bit.”

When Heck was young, she bonded with beings that stood a little closer to the ground.

“It was just easy with them,” said Heck. “I just felt like I belonged with them ever since I was young.”

Dogs were there for Heck when she was a pup, and now, she’s returning the favor at Bob’s House for Dogs.

“I just became very passionate about being the person who loves these dogs who don’t have anybody else,” Heck said.

Heck is making that mission a reality at the shelter, a solace for senior canines.

“We try to keep it a very home-like environment, where they can be themselves and just relax and feel at home with everybody,” Heck said.

While some furry residents find their forever homes, others finish their journey with Heck at the shelter.

“We do see a lot of deaths here, which is really hard,” Heck said. “We also find a different way to look at it. We just are so glad to give them a happy ending here. It may be short, but our goal is to make sure everybody here knows that they’re loved and that they have family at the end.”

Emma (pictured below) is just one example. She is about 12 or 13 years old. Some time was taken from her due to a tumor, but Emma still has some love left to live. Heck said she can finish her days with dignity.

“Dying with Dignity is one of the programs we offer for intake dogs,” Heck said. “Basically it’s dogs that still have quality of life, but don’t have very long where they could be adopted out necessarily.”

While some spend the rest of their doggy days at Bob’s, Heck said about 60 to 70 of their residents bring joy to homes every year.

“We have a very low return rate because we get to know every dog here and we know what they need,” Heck said.

For those who overlook an older dog, Heck had this to say: “Go into thinking you know I may not have you long, but we are going to enjoy every day together. Then when you move on, I can help someone else.”

If you are interested in adopting a furry friend from Bob’s House for Dogs, visit their website for more information.

Shannon Hoyt

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