UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — After losing her dog Marty in 2010, Spring Lake resident Doreen Jakubcak embarked on a journey to create a place where older dogs can live out their senior years in comfort.
The project to build Marty’s Place Senior Dog Sanctuary quickly took on a life of its own and became a labor of love that took more than four years to complete. However, Ms. Jakubcak, the sanctuary’s founder and director, said it was well worth the effort.
“We’re so thankful that we were in a position to do it,” she said. “While it took a whole lot longer than we’d ever imagined, it was worth it.”
The sanctuary’s namesake is a dog named Marty that Ms. Jakubcak and her family adopted in 2009.
“After we lost our two Labs, we decided that was so emotional for us we were going to take a break from having dogs for a while,” Ms. Jakubcak said.
Then she saw emails about Marty, who had been bounced around from a shelter to foster homes to doggie daycare facilities in his elder years and was difficult to place because of his physical needs.
After giving it some thought, Ms. Jakubcak said she decided her home would be Marty’s final home and she had Marty for 11 months before his death in 2010.
“We decided through our experience with him that we wanted to help a few senior dogs,” she said. “It’s senior dogs that potentially are the most vulnerable when they do wind up in the shelter system.”
Ms. Jakubcak said nothing compares to the love of an older dog, and while Marty’s Place isn’t going to change the world, it will make a difference in the lives of its residents.
“For me, the gratitude that you get in return for having welcomed an older dog into your home … it’s priceless. They inherently know what you’re doing for them and you see the gratitude in many different ways.”
“We’re all going to grow older. We’re all at some point going to need assistance and just because a dog is older doesn’t mean that they’re not vibrant, vital and still can’t live active, thriving lives.”
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