Dogs give us all plenty to be grateful for, from offering us joy and companionship to even bettering our health. But a sad reality is that not all owners are able to care for their pets, whether it's due to financial hardships or simply a lack of devotion to what a domesticated animal needs. This inability to care for pets with greater needs often leads to elderly and disabled pups being deemed less desirable or even facing abandonment. Luckily, one couple in Clifton Park, New York is addressing this issue head-on through an organization they call The Mr. Mo Project.
Started by Chris and Mariesa Hughes, The Mr. Mo Project is a rescue retirement community for elderly and disabled canines. The couple earnestly believes that “senior dogs deserve the best for the rest of their lives.” To make sure they fulfill this, “The Mr. Mo Project saves senior dogs nationwide from living in shelters, or worse, [euthanasia],” they explain. “We believe that senior dogs deserve homes too!” As a result, the Hughes have dedicated themselves and their home to this ambitious endeavor, all for the sake of helping dogs in need of care.
The project started after the couple lost their beloved tail-wagging family member Moses. “Moses was not a typical dog,” Mariesa explains. “I’ve never met another dog like him. He had this incredible spirit.” When Moses was ill, the Hughes sold items (like their hot tub) to pay for his care, which was expensive. It also sparked empathy in the couple for others who shared similar circumstances and financial challenges. “After Moses passed, I said to my wife we should save senior dogs and pay for all their medical expenses,” Chris recalls. “[The project] made sense to me because of what we had to do to save Moses. I imagine a lot of people go through that same issue when you just don’t have the money to cover the treatments or even figure out what’s wrong.”
The Hughes take in a range of shelter dogs. Each canine, from very old to those with numerous health conditions, get the best care. They offer rehabilitation for many disabled dogs and guarantee a loving and caring home for life—something not always guaranteed in a shelter setting. The Hughes' website proudly states: “[The] Mr. Mo Project coordinates the transport of senior dogs from all over the United States, recruits foster families for the dogs, and provides ongoing support by being a partner in the dogs’ care, including paying the medical and vet bills for the duration of their lives.”
So how does this couple afford to accommodate so many dogs and their needs? The Mr. Mo Project is an official nonprofit that raises funds via donations (directly through their website), Venmo (username: @mrmoproject), and Amazon's SMILE program. They even have wishlists on Amazon for the dogs that people can purchase and gift. The couple’s commitment to caring for dogs in need has also led them to spend over $55,000 in home renovations, to accommodate the canines they care for. The couple currently has dozens of dogs in their care. Their Instagram attests to the sheer elation each dog feels in the setting and shows that man’s best friend is appreciative of the love and gratitude this couple is giving back.