POSITIVELY 50+

Local nonprofit helping people care for their pets and themselves

Aug 24, 2023, 4:24 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — What if you had to make a decision to take care of yourself or take care of your pets? Would you forgo major medical procedures if it meant that your dogs or cats wouldn’t be cared for?

One local nonprofit wants to replace that impossible choice with another option.

For so many of us, pets are part of the family. Just ask “Taz,” who barks an awful lot to let you know he’s paying attention.

At 13 years old, he’s a good old boy who tells you just what he wants with his best pal of the last two years, Garry Remick.

“Once or twice per morning we’ll walk to Maverik and back — that’s two blocks one way,” Remick said.

He told KSL TV’s Dan Spindle that it’s more than just a little exercise. Taz makes him feel good and gets him out of his apartment to interact with the neighbors.

A few months back Garry faced an impossible choice. He needed knee surgery, so he had to decide that he could take care of himself and his health.

But where could he take Taz?

He didn’t have anyone to care for his dog and so many around us face the same dilemma.

“What happens if somebody is in some sort of a crisis situation and they’re not able to take care of their pet?” Remick asked.

Stan Stensrud knew there had to be a better way than asking those who are underprivileged to basically give away their family members to the shelters.

So he and his partners started Ruff Haven. It’s a service that will help rehouse your dogs or cats for a few days, weeks or months. They’ll even find a place if you need just an hour to go to a job interview.

“Fostering is huge. The more foster families we have, the more we’re able to help more clients,” Stensrud said.

Ruff Haven is just three years old and already it has grown to 250 volunteers. And they now offer a pet pantry, grooming, shots and other essential needs, all for free.

For Stensrud, it’s the reunion of pets to their families that makes all of the effort worthwhile.

“They’re so heartwarming. They’re so loving. The people… the gratitude… you can’t put a price on it,” Stensrud said.

Taz couldn’t agree more. If you’d like to learn more, click here.

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Local nonprofit helping people care for their pets and themselves