Laurie Dorr of Finally Home says senior dogs, like these at her North Yarmouth shelter, can run up big medical costs and she wants to help needy owners statewide with those bills. Contributed / Laurie Dorr

The Finally Home Senior Dog Rescue and Retirement Home in North Yarmouth is expanding its reach with the launch of two new financial assistance programs to help eligible owners of elderly dogs statewide.

“I feel really fortunate that Finally Home has gotten to a point where we can help other animals and other Mainers,” said Laurie Dorr, who started the nonprofit shelter at her home in 2019 to allow homeless senior dogs to live out the rest of the lives in a loving environment. 

A fundraising event to launch the new Sierra Fund and The Teddy’s Friends Fund will be held will be held from 8 to 10 p.m. March 2 at Trudy Bird’s Ølbar in town and will include hors d’oeuvres and beverages, as well as giveaways and raffles.

Laurie Dorr and The Sierra Fund’s namesake. Sierra died in December. Contributed / Laurie Dorr.

The Sierra Fund will provide financial support for elder dogs’ medical care. It is named in honor of Dorr’s own loyal canine companion of 16 years who died in December.

Pets can incur high medical costs that many people are unable to cover, Dorr said.

“Some people can’t even afford to take their animals to the vet,” she said.


The Sierra Fund money will go directly to veterinarians for care of the animal in need. For now, it will apply only to standard vet visits, medications, shots and travel to appointments, but not surgeries, which are far more expensive, Dorr said.

Ideally, she would like to raise $10,000 for The Sierra Fund and $10,000 for The Teddy’s Friends Fund, which will support end of life costs such as euthanasia.

Euthanasia in a vet’s office costs about $150 to $200 dollars, Dorr said, and many dog owners don’t consider the fee involved until the moment arrives. Vet-administered in-home euthanasia is more suitable for some dogs, but that costs closer to $450 and the price can hold some owners back.

“We want to help as many people as we can,” Dorr said.

The Teddy fund is named in honor of a dog who spent only a few months at Dorr’s rescue before he died, just a month before Sierra. He was euthanized at the shelter.

Laurie Dorr and Teddy at their North Yarmouth home. Contributed / Laurie Dorr

Lauren Kennedy, an end of life pet photographer and secretary of Finally Home’s board of directors, said the need for financial assistance for medical care for senior pets is prevalent.


“Costs can accrue really easily, and animals need more care as they get older,” Kennedy said.

“It’s so exciting (to have) these two funds, specifically geared toward senior animals and end of life care, which is something that hasn’t really been available to Mainers,” she said.

To be eligible to apply for the Finally Home financial assistance, Maine dog owners must be at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, which would be an annual income of $20,385 or less for a single person household, for example.

Finally Home takes in dogs surrendered by owners who are physically unable to continue caring for them and from senior owners who can’t take their pets with them when they move to retirement or assisted living facilities. It also accepts senior dogs from traditional animal shelters where they have been long-term residents.

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