SOUTHAMPTON, N.J. --A rescue home for dogs in South Jersey is showing care and compassion for some of the most vulnerable animals.
And they do it with an atmosphere similar to a retirement home or a resort.
This special group of four legged friends are so ill they are nearing their end, but this rescue home is a sanctuary for them.
It is a life passion that is both heartbreaking and yet deeply fulfilling for Michelle Allen.
"We started about two years ago trying to pull dogs that really had no hope of getting better," Allen said.
At first glance, the nearly two dozen dogs at her Southampton home don't seem to have anything out of the ordinary.
But take a closer look, you'll find dogs who came in with tumors, some suffered seizures, and another was in a diabetic coma.
It is called Monkey's House, a six-acre sanctuary and hospice for senior dogs. It is one of just a handful around the country.
"I probably turn away two dogs a day in email. People on Facebook will ask me, tag me on dogs and it's really hard to say they don't meet our criteria, when at 6 o'clock they're going to be killed," Allen said.
Monkey's House is named after one of the first aging and ailing dogs to receive care here.
"It's hard losing them. It's hard seeing them as they get ready to pass; the actual moment when it happens, every single time, there's such a sense of peace," Allen said.
Allen started the organization two years ago in her own home.
She currently has 23 dogs, 50 volunteers, and a veterinarian's constant guidance.
Plus, there's the unfailing support of her husband of more than thirty years.
"It gets frustrating at times, but it's so rewarding when you come home from work and there's 15 dogs meeting you at the door," Jeff Allen said.
But field trips to the shore, medical treatments, and other costs add up, about $3,500 a month.
Still to Allen, it's worth every dime.
"Make sure that they're spoiled, that they know where the treat drawer is, that they know where the fun places are to run on our walks, to make sure they are just truly, truly loved," Allen said.
Monkey's House is always looking for help. If you'd like to donate your time or perhaps money you can go ahead and visit their website at http://www.monkeyshouse.org/cms/.