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NEWS | Aug. 9, 2017

Serving on two legs and four

By Pfc. Jermaine Jackson 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

WINDER, GA. -- They’re loyal, they’re friendly, they provide comfort and they’re part of the family. Dogs are more than pets to many people who own them and have a special place in their owners’ lives. However, as they get older some families find themselves unable to deal with the increasing health issues that arise and decide to take them to animal shelters or even sometimes simply abandon them.

This is where Frankie & Andy’s Place steps in. Frankie and Andy’s is a senior dog shelter that provides a loving home for those dogs that are nearing the end of their lives, yet still have much to offer as companions and pets.

“We pull dogs from shelters that have been given up or come from bad situations,” said Penny Miller, the head of the shelter. “We give them a forever home, we make them well and we really let them help in the community. That’s the kind of shelter we are; a place with a purpose and a heart.”

The program allows those who want to give back to the community a chance to volunteer and help Penny in her efforts. Volunteers help take care of the dogs, go with them on trips to parks and even find new dogs from different shelters.

“It feeds your soul,” said Jan Grissom, a Navy veteran and volunteer who has been with the program for over a year. “I love the dogs, I love the other volunteers and it just makes my heart happy.”

Frankie and Andy’s not only provides a caring home, they also give the dogs a purpose in life again. Instead of just going through day-to-day walks, doctors visits and play time the dogs also visit retirement homes and senior care facilities to liven up the day of the elderly residents.

“I’ve been involved in rescue for years,” said Miller. “One thing that was lacking in all of the shelters and all of the programs was that the dogs were lacking a purpose. I saw this huge untapped well of love, wisdom and comfort that these dogs could be giving to people.”

These visits allow both the dogs and seniors a change of pace and in some cases improve each other’s health conditions, adding just a bit more happiness to their lives.

“When we first started taking the dogs to the adult day care center there was this young lady called Cassie,” said Miller. “ Cassie is in a wheelchair and she can’t speak, she has no movement in her body whatsoever and they were really worried about her mentally and emotionally because she was so sad. I walked in with a little dog called Errol Flynn and her eyes started to dance when she saw him. I put Errol closer to her neck and her whole face lit up and her head went back and she started to laugh. That was my wow moment, when I realized we were really making a difference.”

Events such as these are what make Frankie & Andy’s different than other animal shelters. They plan to expand the program from ten dogs up to 20 or 30 and will continue to help both dogs and people find a purpose together.