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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A 15-year-old cat. A 14-year-old dog with a mouthful of bad teeth, a wart on his head and a kidney infection. Even a 17-year-old parakeet named Bubba.
Tyson's Place Animal Rescue helps old pets find new homes.
"There's a lot of animal lovers out there, but not everyone has a passion for the older animals," said Jill Bannink-Albrecht, the founder and driving force behind the 3-year-old Michigan nonprofit that focuses on pets whose owners have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or otherwise are unable to care for them.
The 32-year-old from Jamestown Township says it sometimes can be challenging to place mature pets, but she tries to help matters by having their veterinary and grooming needs met, as she did with Bosco, a 14-year-old rat terrier with the lousy choppers.
One of Bosco's owners had dementia, and the other was a cancer sufferer who passed away in hospice care, so Tyson's took up his case, arranging for the removal of his troubled teeth, getting the wart removed and having a vet treat his kidney issue.
Eventually, Jen Wilson and her husband, Frank, came forward for Bosco, giving him a new home in Grand Rapids, where the now-15-year-old is rarely seen without his little tail wagging behind him.
"We adore this dog. We love him," Jen Wilson said. "I started it with: 'Let's just give this dog a loving home through the last of his life, love him through his golden years and not get too attached.'
"Well, that definitely didn't happen."
Tyson's Place Animal Rescue: http://www.tysonsplacerescue.org
Follow Mike Householder on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mikehouseholder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/mike-householder.