Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Friend LeTourneur.
Hi Susan, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Animals have always been my passion. My mom said my first word was “cat.” I was always that kid that would pet any stray dog and take home the cats that we found at school and in the play yard. I always wanted a huge place where I could have lots of dogs and cats. My other passion is horses. I am an avid event rider and have been since high school. In 1999, I lived my dream of owning my own stable when I purchased an 11-acre horse farm in Kagel Canyon.
Goldspirit Farm is my dream come true, and today I am making equestrian dreams come true for other riders. The day I closed escrow on my horse farm, Goldspirit Farm, I went to the local shelter and asked to adopt the dog that had been at the shelter the longest. It was not long before I had more dogs, as Kagel Canyon seemed to be a stopping ground for dumping dogs. Many of these dogs were literally abandoned at the front gate or left under the dumpsters like trash. We always took them in and found them a home. Often that home was Goldspirit Farm. Over the years, before I even started the non-profit, my husband and I saved over fifty dogs. I have always felt a strong need to make the world a better place. To me, it is a responsibility, not an option, to contribute something significant to the world in which we live.
Before turning 50, I decided it was time to make one cause my legacy. While elephants and wolves are my favorite wild animals; it wasn’t realistic to leave Goldspirit Farm to save animals elsewhere. And since I cannot keep an elephant in my backyard, I decided that I would save senior dogs. In July 2018, Golden Years Dog Sanctuary became a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to saving senior and at-risk dogs from shelters. We seek out the old, sad, sick, never-going-to-get-adopted dogs and give them a last great life. Being a non-profit has helped us increase the number of dogs we have saved. Why in just the last two years, we have saved over 50 dogs; more than we saved in the 18 years before. In addition to our dog rescue, I also foster and save at-risk cats and kittens from the local shelters. I am a volunteer at the Castaic Animal Care Center. I specialize in socializing the feral cats and kittens. In the four years since I began volunteering, we have saved over 150 cats and kittens. My mission is to save as many lives as possible. Since I can’t personally save them all, I am committed to getting the shelters across the country to change their policies and maximize lives saved; I am starting in my own back yard.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Going through the steps to obtain an excessive animal permit and become a non-profit 501c3 were not difficult; I knew they were necessary and I take work like that in stride. What is difficult is the every-day, on-going battle every day to save dogs and cats. There is no reason for shelters to euthanize so many animals. The shelters are supposed to protect the animals. They are supposed to provide them food, veterinarian care and shelter until a forever home is found. Every day I hear about more dogs that are scheduled to be PTS in 5 days, 72 hours, 48 hours, or worst yet, at the end of the day. I don’t even hear about the cats, but I know that their PTS numbers are even higher. My goal is to empower change in the shelter system. The public needs to know what is happening in their back yard. They need to know that the shelters kills puppies for biting; kills senior dogs for non-life-threatening or contagious diseases, and kills dogs with trainable bad behavior. They kill cats because they are scared; they kill kittens because they do not have enough fosters or personal to care for them. Now, the shelters do also save a lot of animals, but they can do more. They should do more.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Golden Years Dog Sanctuary is a dedicated to saving senior and at-risk dogs from local shelters. Since our inception in July of 2018, we have saved over 50 dogs. We adopt senior dogs from the shelter that have been dumped, left as strays, or owner surrendered. We adopt the dogs no one wants, no one would consider adopting, and no one wants to love. We look for the oldest and saddest. These dogs usually come with medical or social issues. We give them a last loving place to live, or as I like to call it: the best of the rest of their life. We provide them love and freedom from fear, hunger, and pain. Most of our dogs outlive our expectancy of them. They bring us joy every day and we give it right back. You would never know by the spring in their paws that the average age of our dogs is 12! So many senior dogs are discarded like trash at local shelters. Being old is not a crime. Senior dogs make the best companions! They embrace the love and attention, are grateful, and offer unconditional love in return. They often require more medical care than younger dogs, but what they give back outweighs the cost of any vet bills.
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
Golden years dog sanctuary is a non-profit 501c3 that operates on donations alone. We do not have any grants or government support. We can always use dog food and treats. We are grateful for the donations of beds, blankets, towels, and food we receive from people who want to help the dogs. Donations can be made through PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our mission is not only to save as many senior dogs as possible and give them the best of the rest of their life, but we want to change the system. The best help we can get is for people to speak up: email, write or call the members of the board of supervisors and city council and demand that they do more to save the dogs and cats at the shelters.
- Address: Golden Years Dog Sanctuary 12682 Kagel Canyon Rd Sylmar, CA. 91342
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.goldenyearsdogsanctuary.com
- Instagram: @goldenyearsdogsanctuary
- Facebook: golden years dog sanctuary
Lydia Baikalova, Susan Friend LeTourneur