Courtesy Elfie's Refuge
Every year, milions of pets enter the shelter system hoping to find a forever home. Unfortunately, older pets, especially those with mobility issues, can find it difficult to get adopted.
In hopes of providing these shelter pets with a better quality of life and a forever home, dog supplement company YuMove, has been donating their joint supplement to shelter across America as part of their nationwide Get Moving campaign.
Elfie’s Refuge in Tampa, Florida, is one of the shelters that has received free supplements from YuMove, and it has already seen big results. The shelter, run by devoted animal lover Elfie Rodriguez, was an ideal candidate for the campaign since Rodriguez goes out of her way to rescue and find homes for senior dogs.
"I started out in rescue fostering for several groups. But while the younger, adoptable dogs were quickly finding new homes, my heart was drawn to the sweet grey faces that were being left behind. And so Elfie’s Refuge was born," Rodriguez, the shelter's managing director, tells PEOPLE. "We take not just seniors but also dogs with disabilities and those with serious illnesses. Some do get adopted, others spend their last days here being spoiled and loved."
Rodriguez says she gave YuMove to one of her shelter pups, 12-year-old Lizzo, because the little dog could only move with great difficulty. According to the animal lover, Lizzo "swiftly" went from a "stiff, deliberate and limping gait" to a "much more free-moving walk" and is acting like a puppy again after taking the joint supplement for several weeks. Ginger, another 12-year-old dog living at Elfie’s Refuge, has seen similar results.
"She was reluctant to go up the one small step from the patio to the house and would wait to be helped inside. After Yumove, I was amazed to see her running and frolicking in happiness. It really warmed my heart," Rodriguez says, adding that she is hopeful that the supplement will have the same effect on some of the other canines under her care.
Courtesy Elfie's Refuge
"I think it’s so important to make a senior dog’s time one that is filled with joy and love. This is very hard to do if simply standing or walking brings pain. Both my dogs appear much happier. Lizzo, in particular, was very grumpy when she came to me but much of that was probably pain and now she is happy to be touched and bathed and cared for. She’s a different dog."
Elfie’s Refuge is one of 260 shelters that are taking part in YuMove's Get Moving campaign, which hopefully means hundreds of older and/or less mobile dogs will be enjoying a newly-found friskiness, and forever homes, soon.