By Charlotte Nisbet
A couple have spent over £43,000 customising their home after rescuing 20 disabled pooches.
Chris and Mariesa Hughes now sleep in a 15ft bed – costing £3900 [$5000] so they’re able to sleep with all 20 of their rescue dogs.
Not only that, the pair have spent a further £31k [$40,000] on a hydrotherapy pool in their basement for their pets to ensure they receive the care they needed.
Chris, originally from High Wycombe, Bucks, says his home is specifically adapted for their dogs and has an array of ramps, floor mats, and plastic sheeting to ensure their furniture is ‘dog safe’ – giving their pooches the best quality of life.
The pair have devoted their lives to rescuing dogs and also pay for an additional 101 disabled rescue dogs to be fostered – and even foot the £35k [$45,000] vet bills every month.
Chris, 33, said: “I have always loved dogs and before marrying Mariesa, 39, seven years ago, I had six rescue dogs back then and she had two
“We actually said to each other that if our dogs didn’t get along that we’d end our relationship straight away but thankfully they did.
“It is crazy living with 20 dogs but we make it work as we have a great routine.
“It takes 45 minutes to feed them all in the morning and give some of them the medication they need and again in the evening.
“But we wouldn’t have it any other way, we love being around our dogs so much that we’ve even had a custom 15ft bed built so we can all sleep together.
“Our basement has a hydrology pool in it as it was cheaper to get one permanently installed than to keep having sessions at specialist centres.
“The pool is great for the dogs with joint issues as the water helps loosen any tension.”
Chris and Mariesa, who live in New York, do not judge a rescue dog on their age or disabilities and aim to give senior dogs the best quality of life possible.
Mariesa added: “We set up the Mr Mo Project in 2014 in memory of our pooch that died and ever since we have saved hundreds of dogs that would have otherwise been killed.
“The organisation specialises in saving dogs across the state from shelters, fighting rings, strays and even breeders who have a disabled puppy in the litter.
“Most of the dogs we live with now are elderly but they have the best life with us.
“It’s a labour of love and both myself and Chris share the same passion and actually prefer dogs to people.”
The couple have a large garden and say the dogs are often running and playing outdoors together.
Chris, a digital media specialist, said: “Some of our dogs have cancer, such as Mya and Tejas while others have undergone amputations, like Mercury and Delilah so they don’t need walks, just lots of love and fun.
“The eldest dog we have is Tina, she’s 21 which is amazing and the youngest is a French Bulldog called Mercury, he was nearly put down as he was born paralysed and no one would buy him.
“A lot of our rescues are cross breeds and come to us in such a terrible state before they learn to trust humans again.
“It’s so rewarding watching their personalities change as they start feeling happy again.”
The couple pay their £35,000 [$45,000] monthly vet bill through donations from the general public but say they are often left without enough funds.
Chris added: “We try and raise as much money as we can but ultimately if one dog needs $20,000 worth of treatment we will pay for it on credit cards and worry about it later.
“There’s always a vet bill to pay but we have learnt to get on with it and although it’s stressful, it’s all worth it.
“We are proud of the organisation we have set up and it’s renowned for giving the highest quality care to senior pooches.”
LIST OF 20 DOGS NAMES, AGES AND THEIR DISABILITIES:
Money – 12 years old, laryngeal paralysis Fitzgibbons – 10 years old, hit by a car, hip dysplasia
Delilah- 10 years old, cruelty case, front leg amputation and jaw correction.
Pixie – 12 years old
Lacie – 10 years old
Vera – 15 years old, front limb contracture Mabel – 16 years old, tracheotomy, no lower jaw Mya Marie – 12 years old, diabetic, blind, liver cancer Major – 12 years old, no lower jaw Tejas – 12 years old, mast cell cancer, spindle cell cancer Frank – 18 years old, blind, deaf, hind end weakness Pesto – 18 years old, kidney disease, blind, daily Sub-Q fluids Gizmo – 20 years old, blind – mental behavioural issues Tina – 21 years old, blind – mental behavioural issues Meatball – 12 years old, anxiety and OCD, heart disease Quinn – 12 years old, mast cell cancer Stig – 13 years old, recurring mast cell cancer Sammy – 13 years old, TPLO surgery Phil – 7 months old, hydrocephalus, AA Luxation
Mercury- 1 year old, hemivertibrea (rear leg paralysis)
BREAKDOWN OF COSTS TOTALLING £43,100 [$54,900]
15FT BED FOR 20 DOGS – £3900 [$5,000]
HYDROLOGY POOL – £31,400 [$40,000]
OUTDOOR PLAY / INDOOR MATS / DOG SAFE PLASTIC – £3100 [$3900] RAMPS FRONT AND BACK FOR DISABLED ACCESS – £4700 [$6000]
To read more or donate, visit: http://www.mrmoproject.com/