Lucky 7 Dog Rescue starts new program to help senior dogs

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- They say you can't teach old dogs new tricks, but one local non-profit organization hopes to find them new homes.

Lucky 7 Dog Rescue in Green Bay started the new year by announcing plans to open the Betty White Senior Sanctuary.

It all started with a 10-year-old dog named Betty White from Houston, Texas.

"We received a request for this sweet, little, white, fluffy dog, and she looked kind of sad," said Maddy Szymanski, president and founder of Lucky 7 Dog Rescue, "like she just needed a good place to go."

Volunteers at Lucky 7 Dog Rescue agreed to help Betty White find a new home.

"We received over 60 applications for her. Too many emails to count, honestly," said Szymanski. "It was a non-stop couple of days with all of these people from all over the country that wanted to give her a home."

An application from Sarah Traeger stood out from the rest, and Szymanski knew that she had found Betty's forever home.

"She talked about how she was looking for someone she could really love and somebody she could give a forever family to no matter how much time she had," said Szymanski.

"I do cardiac and pulmonary rehab in Door County, and every patient was like, 'She's old, blind and deaf. Why wouldn't they just put her down?' She loved kids. She loved dogs. She really loved anything and everything. Most of all, she really liked me," said Traeger.

Exactly one year after adopting Betty White, veterinarians discovered a tumor.

Traeger fulfilled Betty's bucket list dreams by going on car rides around Door County almost every day and doing activities that made her happy.

"I know that the last year that she had, she really enjoyed it," said Traeger. "That's what mattered. Regardless of what she had or didn't have in the beginning, I gave her as much as I could in that year."

Betty died just four months later.

Now, Traeger is partnering with Lucky 7 Dog Rescue as the director of Betty White Senior Sanctuary. The program hopes to provide education about caring for senior dogs and to find them forever homes for the remainder of their lives regardless of how long that might be.

"For us, it really means giving them somewhere that if the first 10 years of their life wasn't so great, we want their time with us and their time with a family to make up for all of that," said Szymanski.

Fifteen-year-old Grandpa Z is the first dog looking for a home through the newly developed program. You can find out more about him and how to adopt on the Lucky 7 Dog Rescue website.

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