For Lisa Letson, one pet didn’t just change her life, she changed many. When Letson adopted 12-year-old Itty in early 2014 she found herself with a new mission and passion: to save senior dogs. Letson’s husband agreed and in August of that same year TFPRM became a registered nonprofit, dedicated to rescuing unwanted, abused and neglected senior dogs across the United States. Now, Letson and her team have expanded into New York and Missouri and maintain a dedicated ranch in Venice, Florida to shelter many of her rescues. “I wanted to make a difference in the life of senior dogs,” says Letson.
Search and Rescue
Letson says many of her rescues come from Miami-Dade Animal Service (“the conveyor belt always runs on high”) but also come in via emails and calls. Some, often from puppy mills, are dropped directly to the team or surrendered by owners who can no longer take care of them. “We normally choose the worst cases and reach out to our supporters for help. It’s difficult making decisions and it’s heartbreaking,” says Letson. “For the ones that can’t be saved… it’s an everyday struggle.” Once in their care, the dogs are vetted and then either adopted out via their New York outpost or sent to the Venice ranch, a seven-acre safe haven staffed by shifts of volunteers who care for the dogs, some of whom are elderly or in hospice. All dogs are featured on their Instagram pages: @truefaithfulpetrescusmission and @truenorthrescuemission, where the Mission chronicles their daily lives.
A Network of Support
Letson and her husband own the ranch, allowing the Mission to focus on things like food, medicine and vet bills, but costs run high, especially with seniors. To properly care for the animals they save, Letson’s teams (12 volunteers across three states) rely on donations via Venmo and Paypal as well as curated Amazon lists, all of which live via links on their main website. The Amazon lists are updated regularly depending on the specific needs of the animals in their care.
Letson says it’s “extremely hard” work to see the suffering some of her elder rescues endure, but sees the positivity in the Mission’s ability to give them a happy and loving home, even if it’s only for a short time. And they are not stopping. In their first year TFPRM rescued more than 600 dogs and the numbers only continue to grow. “We cry on a regular basis and somedays I wonder if I have any more tears,” says Letson. “It’s the best and the worst working with seniors. The extreme vet debt weighs heavy on our shoulders, but we keep moving forward. One day in paradise is better than none.”
For more information on True & Faithful Pet Rescue Mission or to donate or volunteer visit trueandfaithfulpetrescuemission.org