COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — “There’s something about it. It’s in my heart, and I can't... I just can’t stand to see them not have a place to be.”
Cathy Graeve’s life’s purpose is bringing care and comfort to dogs who need it most.
“I love all dogs, but old dogs, they just get me. Even when they’re peeing on the floor, it’s just like, what do you do?” Graeve laughed.
Her passion was sparked about 15 years ago as a member of a dog walking group at the Council Bluffs shelter.
“We started noticing the senior dogs were the ones that were really getting left behind. There just weren’t a lot of people in our area that were adopting the seniors,” said Graeve.
The group eventually opened Promise 4 Paws Senior Dog Sanctuary, a nonprofit where dogs live out their final years in a home-like environment.
About thirty dogs live at the sanctuary, staffed 24 hours a day.
“We have a few dogs now that are hospice dogs. We bring in some dogs that just, you know, they just come here, and we know their time is really limited, but we give them all the care that they need, and we make sure that they’re comfortable," said Graeve.
Graeve makes sure none of them pass away alone.
“We just keep them until it gets close, and then we make that decision and take them, and they always cross the rainbow bridge with me,” said Graeve.
With help from volunteers and the community, Promise 4 Paws has cared for hundreds of dogs in the last few years.
“I feel very fulfilled taking care of these dogs, and I do feel like if I ever have to stop and I get too old to do this, I’ll feel like I’ve done something to make a difference," said Graeve.
From food to medical costs, caring for each dog adds up fast. Visit their website to learn more about donations.
Danielle Meadows at KMTV first reported this story.