Inspired By Her Rescue Pup, Woman Creates a Sanctuary for Hundreds of Senior Dogs

Back in December 2009, Doreen Jakubcak felt her heartstrings tug as she read an email about a senior dog named Marty. No one knew his whole story, but he’d spent six months in a shelter. The day before he was to be euthanized, a rescue organization took him in and over the next 18 months, he bounced between foster homes while in rapidly declining health.

It hadn’t been long since Doreen had lost both of her beloved furry family members ­— adopting a new pet wasn’t in her plans. But Marty’s story moved her deeply. And she and her husband agreed: Their home would be Marty’s last stop.

Doreen is thrilled Marty’s loving spirit lives on through Marty's Place
Doreen is thrilled Marty’s loving spirit lives on through Marty's Place

It was a decision that filled their lives with joy from the second Marty came into their lives. Although Marty lost his ability to walk by spring, it didn’t stop their brown-eyed boy from enjoying each day to the fullest. Sadly, about 10 months later, it was Marty’s time to cross the rainbow bridge.

"His time with us may have been too short, but he’s left a permanent mark on my heart," Doreen told Woman's World.

And she knew just how to honor his loving spirit: "I decided to create a sanctuary where senior dogs can thrive and get the love they long for and deserve!"

MUST READ: This ‘Pupcasso’ Raises Thousands of Dollars For Charity — With Her Own Paintings!

A loving mission forms through Marty's Place

Doreen found property in Allentown, New Jersey, and got to work making “Marty’s Place” ( a true sanctuary for senior dogs.

Having playmates at Marty's Place lifts the dogs’ spirits and boosts their energy. These three buddies are always out for fun!
Having playmates at Marty's Place lifts the dogs’ spirits and boosts their energy. These three buddies are always out for fun!

Each furry senior — up to 40 dogs at a time — would have their own room, veterinary care and access to activities; there was even an indoor saltwater pool. Doreen hired a small team and was touched by the way the entire community rallied around Marty’s Place — by opening day in 2015, she had a steady stream of eager, dedicated volunteers.

"I knew there was a demand for a place like this, but I had no idea how many people would want to help," Doreen marveled.

<span><span>Marty's Place</span></span>
Marty's Place

A safe haven for senior dogs

Dogs come to the sanctuary for a variety of reasons. Some have been neglected or abandoned, but many are placed by loving owners who desperately want to do right by their pets when faced with adverse circumstances, like financial hardship and health issues.

Doreen is always compassionate, assuring them that their beloved pets will be well cared for. Every time a new resident arrives, the staff and volunteers wrap the dogs in love. Dogs that come in withdrawn or sickly often blossom into free spirits after a few days or weeks at Marty’s Place.

Besties Bentley and Sadie love to snuggle together
Marty's Place gives senior pups hope and friendship—Besties Bentley and Sadie love to snuggle together

Like little Sasha, a miniature husky who had been left alone for 20 to 22 hours a day. She was extremely timid. But in no time, she was thriving, dancing all around the place, even flirting with a very large dog named Buddy.

“She was so funny, and watching her just warmed my heart,” Doreen muses.

As the demand continued to grow, Doreen started a small adoption program, followed by a forever foster program. As much as she loves having the dogs at Marty’s Place, it’s equally gratifying when she finds people willing to welcome older dogs into their homes.

<span><span>Marty's Place</span></span>
Marty's Place

She also started a Seniors for Seniors outreach program, where residents from long-term care facilities visit with the dogs. After one visit, a resident’s daughter reached out with a message that touched Doreen deeply.

I want to thank you for the time you spent with my mom today, the letter read. She has been very withdrawn lately, but after her visit, she opened up for the first time in so long and couldn’t stop talking about all the wonderful dogs she met.

<span><span>"The dogs give back as much love as they receive,” says Doreen, with senior pup Brandi</span></span>
"The dogs give back as much love as they receive,” says Doreen, with senior pup Brandi

“If you touch just one person like that, you know you’ve made a difference,” says Doreen. “It makes me happy and proud to help uplift our seniors — humans and animals alike. And we get so much in return. The love that these senior dogs give back for what you’re doing for them is priceless. They are truly grateful. Being at Marty’s Place isn’t about existing, it’s about a dog thriving in their golden years and having a loving home for life!"

MUST READ: Circle of Love: This Hero Dog Alerted His Family to a Fire and Saved Lives — And Then Students’ Donation Saved His Life

Marty’s Place shares tips to help senior dogs:

1. Adopt or foster!
“While senior dogs are often overlooked, adopting an older dog comes with advantages and rewards,” Doreen says. “Many are already house-trained, require less exercise and adjust more quickly to their new homes. Their years are limited, but the love and loyalty you will receive is immeasurable!”

2. Volunteer!
“Some seniors are content to cuddle on your lap, while others still welcome playtime,” says Doreen. “Volunteers are essential at most shelters and sanctuaries to take the dogs on walks or go for an outing to improve their health and behavior, which then increases their chances of getting adopted.”

3. Sponsor!
“Organize a large or small fundraiser to raise money to sponsor a dog’s care,” Doreen suggests. “Or fundraise to donate much-needed resources to their caretakers.” Visit, click “Get Involved,” then click “Wish List” to donate all the supplies needed for their care.

For more sweet and heartwarming stories about the amazing impact of animals, keep reading…

Mom and Daughter Saved By A Four-Legged Friend: “God Sent An Angel!”

‘Koda the Fluff’: This Convertible-Driving Pup Is Changing Lives One Smile at a Time

3 Scientifically-Proven Ways Animals Improve Our Mental Health