Laurie Dorr of North Yarmouth has started Finally Home Senior Dog Rescue and Retirement Home to provide a loving and supportive home to older canines who need it. Along with the dogs her family already has – Toby, left, and Sierra, right – 11-year-old Jewels is the first dog adopted by her program. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

NORTH YARMOUTH — Laurie Dorr hopes one day soon to see as many as 15 dogs romping around her backyard, enjoying life to its fullest in their final years.

She and her daughter, Samantha Dorr, started the Finally Home Senior Dog Rescue and Retirement Home earlier this year after adopting Jewels, an 11-year-old canine who came from Mississippi before arriving at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.

Laurie Dorr, who had already fostered animals for the league, did the same with Jewels in February “and then kind of fell in love with her,” she said June 13 at her forested 616 New Gloucester Road home, the headquarters of Finally Home.

“I have a hard time giving the animals back” after caring for them, Dorr said. “So we just decided that we wanted to adopt her and make her the first Finally Home dog.”

The home is intended to be a permanent and loving haven for dogs about 7 or 8 years or older who have spent a long time in a shelter, are possibly in a “kill shelter” and facing euthanization, have special needs, or haven’t yet found their “furever” home, Dorr said.

They will live indoors; enjoy a grassy, 800-square-foot fenced-in area, and have the veterinary care, food, toys and socialization they need for the time remaining in their lives. The dogs will receive veterinary care through the Gray-New Gloucester Animal Hospital, although Dorr’s daughter is taking classes to become a veterinary technician.

The animal hospital is giving Dorr a discount for her Finally Home dogs, she said. Funding she receives will mostly pay for that care.

Dorr, who grew up in Falmouth, always had dogs growing up. “I always wanted to have a farm,” she said.

Jewels in March joined what was already a lush animal kingdom, with two other dogs, a cat, horse, guinea pig and mouse. And, of course, Dorr’s husband, who not only didn’t mind sacrificing the den for the pups, but built the pen, too.

Having just turned 55, “I’ve got about 10 more years or so to work,” Dorr said. “I just decided I really want to do something to help animals, especially dogs. And I always wanted to bring in senior dogs.”

As a visit supervisor with Home Counselors, a nonprofit organization, she is able to spend some time each morning and evening and the hours in between back at home with her furry residents.

Dorr recently received nonprofit tax status from the federal government, and is registered with the state, too. She said she welcomes donations of dog food and treats, beds, toys, flea and tick preventive treatments, financial support, and volunteers. A$500 fundraiser at gofundme.com/finallly-home-senior-dog-rescue-amp-retirement-home raised $290 as of last week.

Although she’s been relying mostly on word of mouth, Dorr said she hopes to spread the word through various events and venues – for example, an informational table and donation jar at the Pet Pantry in Freeport.

Finally Home can also be followed at facebook.com/olddoggies and on Instagram at @finally_home_dogs.

The town has set no limit on how many dogs Dorr can have, but “definitely 20 would be a lot,” she said with a laugh. Her ideal would be “maybe 10-15. It depends; if I’m getting a lot of older dogs, they’re going to be passing away. As they pass away I’ll bring in one or two more.”

Dorr said she has approached her neighbors about the endeavor, and one responded with dog biscuits and a donation.

Finally Home’s next resident will likely be a 10-year-old golden retriever, owned by a man who is going into an assisted living facility. His family reached out to Dorr, and she plans to welcome the canine into her home this summer.

She said she expects that becoming attached to dogs who may not have much longer to live, and providing them a loving home during that time, will be a bittersweet experience. She reflected on Jake, a dog her family had all of his 14 years, and how fortunate they were to have had that time.

“(I) consider myself lucky to have the animals I have today, and the ones I will have in the future,” Dorr said. “They all have their own personalities and characteristics, and they will all be very missed when it is time for them to pass, and afterwards.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 780-9085 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.


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