Mariesa and Chris Hughes have always loved dogs. They set up a service to rescue them. One day, Mariesa was looking at pictures on the website of an animal shelter in Seminole County, Florida, USA. In one of them she saw an old dog, Moses. He had been living at the shelter for a long time and was about to be put to sleep.
“In the picture he was on a white background wearing a tie. The dog looked like a real little gentleman and I knew we had to save him,” Mariesa recalls.
The couple took Moses away, hoping to find him an owner. The dog quickly became friends with the other dogs. He seemed to have lived in the house for many years. “After a few weeks I knew he would stay with us. He was a special dog, he liked all the people he met,” Mariesa said.
Two years later, Moses fell ill and could no longer stand on his legs. The dog was diagnosed with an inoperable tumour on his spinal cord. The couple tried different treatments, but after a month the dog died.
After the dog died, Chris wanted to rescue the old dogs and pay for the medical costs of treating them. Mariesa doubted that she and her husband had enough money, remembering how much they had spent on Moses’ treatment.
But there are quite a few people willing to help aging dogs. The Mr Mo project is funded entirely by donations. “The main thing for us is to improve the quality of life of the old dogs. We try to treat sick animals, not just keep them alive. I think people over 70 will agree with me: age is not an illness. So let’s stop treating it as an illness. Treat a 16-year-old dog the same way you would treat a 6-year-old. Older animals deserve just as much love and care as younger ones,” says Mariesa.
The couple said they not only shelter older dogs and pay medical expenses but also try to make sure the dogs stay with their owners.
“If a dog owner calls and says he cannot pay the medical costs and needs to give the dog to a shelter, we try to help. It is better for the dog to stay in a home where it is loved. It’s the best option,” the couple says.
Thanks to the Mr Mo project, the couple have rescued more than 300 aging dogs.