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8 Heartwarming Animal Retirement Homes

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Among the many animals who need homes are those that are considered "unadoptable" due to old age, illness, or disability. While many would-be pet parents looking for a long-term companion may pass them by, other folks relish the opportunity to care for these animals in need. Those are the founders, volunteers, and donors of specialized shelters that offer a home for the rest of these pets' lives. We highlighted a few of them in an earlier post; here are eight more animal retirement homes you should know about.

1. TABBY'S PLACE // RINGOES, NEW JERSEY

In 1999, upon learning that his beloved 15-year-old cat Tabby had terminal cancer, Jonathan Rosenberg decided to quit his day job and create Tabby's Place, a cat sanctuary in honor of his beloved pet. Currently, the Ringoes, New Jersey-based organization operates out of a single building with room for up to 95 cats. Rosenberg's long-term goal is to erect two more buildings on the sanctuary's eight-acre property—creating enough space to provide forever homes for up to 400 cats that are elderly, disabled, chronically or terminally ill, or in danger of being euthanized at another shelter. A staff of volunteers cares for the cats, some of which are available for adoption.

2. RYERSS FARM FOR AGED EQUINES // POTTSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, cares for aged, abused, and injured horses. Some are rescued from abusive situations, while others are given over after they reach age 20. However, there is a waiting list for horses that are not in emergency situations. The farm is open for public tours, and also offers internships, volunteer opportunities, and lessons in horse care and horsemanship. To learn more, you can watch this video about Ryerss Farm.

3. WOLFGANG 2242 // DENVER, COLORADO

Wolfgang2242 is not a charitable organization, but the Instagram account of Steve Greig, a Denver, Colorado man who opened his home to elderly animals and who promotes senior dog adoption. He has nine elderly dogs in his home, plus a pig, a rabbit, a chicken, and other animals who deserve love during their golden years. More than 600,000 Instagram followers love Wolfgang2242, too.

4. KINDRED SPIRITS ANIMAL SANCTUARY // SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO

Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary/Facebook

Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a hospice for senior dogs, horses, and poultry. They're currently home to 20 dogs, three horses, and a variety of poultry, from the chickens Fred and Ethel to a peacock named Verdito. The sanctuary offers classes on all aspects of senior pet care.

5. VALLEY OF THE KINGS SANCTUARY AND RETREAT // SHARON, WISCONSIN

Valley of the Kings Sanctuary and Retreat/Facebook

Valley of the Kings Sanctuary and Retreat in Sharon, Wisconsin takes in abused, abandoned, or elderly exotic animals such as lions, tigers, bears, and wolves. The sanctuary is not open to the public, but you can become a member or sponsor an animal to help support the organization, which comes with visiting privileges.

6. OLD FRIENDS SENIOR DOG SANCTUARY // MOUNT JULIET, TENNESSEE

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary in Mount Juliet, Tennessee provides guaranteed loving care to senior dogs for the remainder their lives. In addition to the 50 dogs who call the organization's main facility home, there are 150 more dogs in permanent foster homes in the area. If you live within 100 miles of Nashville, you can become a Forever Foster Home with the shelter's support. (You can read the stories of some of their dogs on Facebook.)

7. HOME FOR LIFE // STILLWATER, MINNESOTA

When a pet has a problem that makes it unadoptable, the alternative is often euthanasia. Home for Life, a nonprofit organization in Stillwater, Minnesota, offers a "third door" solution in its lifetime care facilities. Around 115 dogs and 85 cats live in a compound that consists of multiple buildings. Some are elderly or disabled, others have behavioral problems. The buildings each have multiple rooms and protected outdoor areas, and no cages are used.

8. THE STEVENSON COMPANION ANIMAL LIFE-CARE CENTER // COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS

The Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center at Texas A&M's veterinary school in College Station, Texas is a place where hard-to-place pets can live once their owners are no longer able to care for them. It was endowed in part by Madlin Stevenson in 1993; when Stevenson died in 2000, her seven dogs, four cats, pony, and llama came to live at the sanctuary. Pictured above is Reveille VIII, Texas A&M's mascot from 2008 to 2015. Upon retirement from her position, she went to live at the Stevenson Center, where she is cared for by plenty of loving veterinary students.

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Scatterbrained
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dogs
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Dogs: They’re cute, they’re cuddly … and they can smell fear!

Today on Scatterbrained, John Green and friends go beyond the floof to reveal some fascinating facts about our canine pals—including the story of one Bloodhound who helped track down 600 criminals during his lifetime. (Move over, McGruff.) They’re also looking at the name origins of some of your favorite dog breeds, going behind the scenes of the Puppy Bowl, and dishing the details on how a breed gets to compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

You can watch the full episode below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!

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Animals
Sploot 101: 12 Animal Slang Words Every Pet Parent Should Know
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For centuries, dogs were dogs and cats were cats. They did things like bark and drink water and lay down—actions that pet parents didn’t need a translator to understand.

Then the internet arrived. Scroll through the countless Facebook groups and Twitter accounts dedicated to sharing cute animal pictures and you’ll quickly see that dogs don’t have snouts, they have snoots, and cats come in a colorful assortment of shapes and sizes ranging from smol to floof.

Pet meme language has been around long enough to start leaking into everyday conversation. If you're a pet owner (or lover) who doesn’t want to be out of the loop, here are the terms you need to know.

1. SPLOOT

You know your pet is fully relaxed when they’re doing a sploot. Like a split but for the whole body, a sploot occurs when a dog or cat stretches so their bellies are flat on the ground and their back legs are pointing behind them. The amusing pose may be a way for them to take advantage of the cool ground on a hot day, or just to feel a satisfying stretch in their hip flexors. Corgis are famous for the sploot, but any quadruped can do it if they’re flexible enough.

2. DERP

Person holding Marnie the dog.
Emma McIntyre, Getty Images for ASPCA

Unlike most items on this list, the word derp isn’t limited to cats and dogs. It can also be a stand-in for such expressions of stupidity as “duh” or “dur.” In recent years the term has become associated with clumsy, clueless, or silly-looking cats and dogs. A pet with a tongue perpetually hanging out of its mouth, like Marnie or Lil Bub, is textbook derpy.

3. BLEP

Cat laying on desk chair.
PoppetCloset, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you’ve ever caught a cat or dog poking the tip of its tongue past its front teeth, you’ve seen a blep in action. Unlike a derpy tongue, a blep is subtle and often gone as quickly as it appears. Animal experts aren’t entirely sure why pets blep, but in cats it may have something to do with the Flehmen response, in which they use their tongues to “smell” the air.

4. MLEM

Mlems and bleps, though very closely related, aren’t exactly the same. While blep is a passive state of being, mlem is active. It’s what happens when a pet flicks its tongue in and out of its mouth, whether to slurp up water, taste food, or just lick the air in a derpy fashion. Dogs and cats do it, of course, but reptiles have also been known to mlem.

5. FLOOF

Very fluffy cat.
J. Sibiga Photography, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Some pets barely have any fur, and others have coats so voluminous that hair appears to make up most of their bodyweight. Dogs and cats in the latter group are known as floofs. Floofy animals will famously leave a wake of fur wherever they sit and can squeeze through tight spaces despite their enormous mass. Samoyeds, Pomeranians, and Persian cats are all prime examples of floofs.

6. BORK

Dog outside barking.
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According to some corners of the internet, dogs don’t bark, they bork. Listen carefully next time you’re around a vocal doggo and you won’t be able to unhear it.

7. DOGGO

Shiba inu smiling up at the camera.
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Speaking of doggos: This word isn’t hard to decode. Every dog—regardless of size, floofiness, or derpiness—can be a doggo. If you’re willing to get creative, the word can even be applied to non-dog animals like fennec foxes (special doggos) or seals (water doggos). The usage of doggo saw a spike in 2016 thanks to the internet and by the end of 2017 it was listed as one of Merriam-Webster’s “Words We’re Watching.”

8. SMOL

Tiny kitten in grass.
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Some pets are so adorably, unbearably tiny that using proper English to describe them just doesn’t cut it. Not every small pet is smol: To earn the label, a cat or dog (or kitten or puppy) must excel in both the tiny and cute departments. A pet that’s truly smol is likely to induce excited squees from everyone around it.

9. PUPPER

Hands holding a puppy.
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Like doggo, pupper is self-explanatory: It can be used in place of the word puppy, but if you want to use it to describe a fully-grown doggo who’s particularly smol and cute, you can probably get away with it.

10. BOOF

We’ve already established that doggos go bork, but that’s not the only sound they make. A low, deep bark—perhaps from a dog that can’t decide if it wants to expend its energy on a full bark—is best described as a boof. Consider a boof a warning bark before the real thing.

11. SNOOT

Dog noses poking out beneath blanket.
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Snoot was already a dictionary-official synonym for nose by the time dog meme culture took the internet by storm. But while snoot is rarely used to describe human faces today, it’s quickly becoming the preferred term for pet snouts. There’s even a wholesome viral challenge dedicated to dogs poking their snoots through their owners' hands.

12. BOOP

Have you ever seen a dog snoot so cute you just had to reach out and tap it? And when you did, was your action accompanied by an involuntary “boop” sound? This urge is so universal that boop is now its own verb. Humans aren’t the only ones who can boop: Search the word on YouTube and treat yourself to hours of dogs, cats, and other animals exchanging the love tap.

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