Kim Gruebner, along with her dog Stella, is the founder of the New Zealand-wide Senior Dog Club.
A new website has been set up to help find new homes for old dogs.
The Senior Dog Club was started by Auckland veterinary nurse Kim Gruebner, where people can house a “retired” dog, sponsor one or donate to the cause.
The national club is in its second week with eight people keen to adopt a dog and two already in their new homes.
When 17-year-old Jack Russell Max, whom she walked to find a job, was looking for a new home, Gruebner had the idea for the Senior Dog Club and he was her very first client.
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“There was a big gap in the dog industry for people to be able to rehom their dog before they go to a nursing home or die, with peace of mind. [about their dog’s future].”
Max lived with his new family until he was 18½.
Anyone interested in adopting a senior dog can join the club but must submit to police checks and Gruebner chooses to interview them at home or by Zoom meeting to make sure they are a good fit.
If no one in the same town or city as the dog was available, it could be transported to a club member in another part of the country, Gruebner said.
“I will have a network of people who will be happy to welcome senior dogs into their homes.
“But, I’m not going to give dogs to someone I’m not in a trusting relationship with.”
Gruebner believed that many breeders sold dogs and knew nothing about the environment the animal was going to.
While studying to be a veterinary nurse in 2016, she discovered that there was a lack of knowledge in the community about animal care.
“I found out that a lot of pet owners don’t know how to take care of their pets.
“Animal welfare is my greatest passion.”
A report published by NZ Companion Animal Trust in October 2020, showed that 34% of New Zealand households had at least one dog and 78% of survey respondents considered their dog to be a member of the family.
With the launch of the Senior Dog Club, Gruebner wants to raise awareness in the New Zealand community of the importance of caring for senior dogs.
Gruebner has been a professional dog walker for six years.
To register to rehom your dog or offer to adopt, go to dearhumans.co.nz/senior-dog-club/.