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When people think of the holidays and pets, they think most often of puppies. However, with more and more animals being dropped off at local shelters, due to personal budget cuts, a lot of these dogs are older. They are well-trained, loving dogs but just because their puppy days are over many – like older children in the foster-care system – are often overlooked.


“We are not limiting ourselves, to older dogs,” said Peter Stanton who founded Happy Tails Dog Rescue with his wife, Stephanie Stanton. “But our specialization will be older dogs that have ended up in a kill shelter. Our primary mission is to pull them from the kill-shelters, get them cleaned up then into homes.”

For the past year, the Stantons have been making the rescue of these dogs their personal mission. For the past year they have donated 10 percent of their income from a for-profit business in which they are partners to take care of the dogs and ultimately a open new shelter in Boynton Beach, to house the dogs until they are adopted. The new location opens in January.

“Now that we have the new facility, and more visibility, we have received donations from the public,” said Peter. A chef friend of the couple, Ursula Rafer, hosted a vegan holiday baking class and donated the funds to Happy Tails Dog Rescue.

A facility to house the dogs was, of course, a chief priority this year. They want to keep things small so that they can give the dogs the best protection and assistance possible.

“We don’t want to be a large-volume site. We are trying five or seven at a time, then maybe we will try 10 to 12 at a time,” said Stephanie Stanton. So far they have rescued 14 dogs, four of whom have been adopted, while three or four are pending adoptions.

Their mission to rescue at-risk pets came when they started to volunteer at the Miami-Dade Animal Shelter, where they met Sophie.

“Sophie was 11 when we learned about her,” said Peter, after a Miami-Dade Animal Shelter coordinator sent out an email asking if anyone wanted to take the older dog who was in bad need of medical and dental care. Peter and Stephanie adopted Sophie, whom they call their “angel dog.”

“Our mission is to help these wonderful souls that are not able to help themselves,” said Stephanie.

For more information, or to make a donation please visit HappyTailsDogRescue