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Nonprofit gives old dogs a new home

Posted: June 1, 2014 10:43 p.m.
Updated: June 1, 2014 10:43 p.m.

An attendee pets a dog up for adoption during the Grand-Paws Senior Sanctuary's fundraiser on Sunday in Canyon Country. Signal photo by Jim Holt.

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Everyone wants a puppy, no one wants an old dog — unless you happen to be Nancy Koch.

Since 2009 when she first came across an aging Mastiff named Maggie, Koch has been rescuing dogs on their way to being euthanized through her Acton-based nonprofit called Grand-Paws Senior Sanctuary.

And on Sunday, others had a chance to help Koch in her efforts to care for dogs in their golden years when the Grand-Paws Senior Sanctuary held a fundraiser in Canyon Country.

Between 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday, people young and old who love dogs — even when they’re old dogs — turned out to support her efforts in caring for them.

In a shaded courtyard in the corner of a strip mall on Soledad Canyon Road, half a dozen apparently contented old dogs in cages were visited by those who care about their plight.

In the last five years, Koch has rescued 200 dogs on their way to being humanely killed and has watched scores of them grow old and die, but she gets comfort knowing that she’s help extend their lives.

“There was one day I walked into the shelter at the exact time a dog was being taken out of the shelter to be brought to the vet to be euthanized,” Koch said.

The mission of her nonprofit is to rescue primarily large breed senior dogs who’ve been abandoned. Koch described her mission on her website as: “We rescue from local high-kill shelters and let them live out their lives in our sanctuary or in one of our wonderful foster homes: happy, safe, and loved.”

More than a third of the dogs pulled from the precipice of death have found homes, she said.

“I tell myself that I give them something,” Koch told The Signal Sunday. “Even if I give that dog one extra day in the sunshine.”

The fundraiser was hosted by Joan Darlene, who works with the people at Balance Point Spa at the strip mall.
“What she does is so amazing that I just wanted to help,” Darlene said. “The minute I shared what I was doing, everybody was so giving.”

There was food, wine and a live band playing music, plus balloon-artistry and face-painting for kids. But the main attraction was the dogs.

Sixth-graders at James Foster Elementary School decorated dog bowls for the fundraiser.

Joy Lange of Whitening Lightning provided giveaway some items for the fundraiser.

“We just have a heart for dogs,” she said Sunday. “It’s a shame that everyone just wants a puppy and not an old dog.”
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