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Drop off donations at Lehigh Acres Service Center for Senior Paws Sanctuary

July 25, 2018
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Dog lovers looking to help the Senior Paws Sanctuary can drop pet supplies and food at the Lee County Tax Collector's Lehigh Acres Service Center.

Even sweeter, donors can buy a $1 candy bar help the office raise money for the nonprofit organization.

Debbie Goldsberry, founder of Senior Paws Sanctuary, said what the Lee County Tax Collectors Office has done for them is great.

"Not only did they get a donation bucket, they also dropped off dog food and dog beds," she said.

Lehigh Service Center Senior Customer Service specialist Monica Daniels said the staff believes they are helping a really good cause.

"We had a few options of local charities. We as a group selected Senior Paws. John (Goldsberry, who assists his wife, Debbie, in running the sanctuary), has brought a few of the dogs in before work, so we can see them and spoke about the organization and what they do," she said.

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Goldsberry said they did a couple of presentations during their employee meetings in the morning and passed out literature about the organization.

"It was nice that the whole group of people came together and wanted to help us," she said.

The office has been selling candy bars since March 2017 to help raise funds for the nonprofit organization. Daniels said the only time they do not sell the candy bars is when they are collecting for other sponsored events, such as for a United Way drive.

"Other than that, it is pretty much year round," she said.

They have raised, and donated, $1,566 since last March.

"We also have a collection bin where we collect used towels and blankets and people who want to donate food. That is coming from our clerks and the community," Daniels said.

Goldsberry said they are always in need of typical dog supplies such as dog shampoo, leashes, collars and dog beds. In addition, they are in need of baby rice cereal and baby jars of meat.

She said some of the senior dogs live on baby food and goat's milk because they can no longer digest dog food.

Other items that Senior Paws Sanctuary has shared they are in need of includes pack and plays for children, which are used for dogs to sleep in, as well as dog clothes.

"They like to get dog clothes because some of the dogs when they come in are malnourished, or don't have hair. They are easily cold," Daniels said. "Their biggest thing right now is medical care, so the donations go a long way. Monetary donations are helpful as well."

She said they have a lot of people come in and buy a $1 candy bar with a $20 bill, which all goes towards the sanctuary.

Monetary donations are gratefully accepted because it goes towards vet visits. Goldsberry said they use two different veterinary offices that balance an account for them.

Last year Senior Paws Sanctuary spent $40,000 in veterinary medical bills alone.

There are signs posted in the lobby, as well as posters with Senior Paws Sanctuary information in multiple areas, at the Lee County Tax Collector's Lehigh Acres service center, 3114 Lee Blvd.

"We have a commitment to service, and our staff felt strongly that Senior Paws Sanctuary was deserving of our support," Lee County Tax Collector Larry Hart said in a prepared statement. "Animals enrich our lives in so many ways. When our team goes this far to help local animals in need, it's just one more way to show the community that, 'We've got your back.'"

For more information about Senior Paws Sanctuary, call (239) 470-7022, email, visit, or their Facebook page, Senior Paws Sanctuary.

Individuals are encouraged to follow Senior Paws Sanctuary Facebook page. All events and the organizations need's are posted to their page.

Senior Paws Sanctuary, Inc. started the rescue in 2015. To date, 160 adoptions have been completed in those three years. The original plan was to rescue three or four senior dogs (8 years old or older) at a time, find them homes and then move on to another three or four.

That plan quickly changed when they found themselves with 26 dogs. Once the dog enters the Senior Paws Sanctuary they enter a foster home and receive veterinary care, nutrition and any surgeries, or medications needed. Once a vet releases them, they become adoptable.

Goldsberry said they are always in need of foster homes, as well as transporters.

"We have six foster homes and they each take one dog," she said. "Sometimes the dogs are in such poor condition that it takes two or three months (before the vet deems them adoptable.) That home is tied up until their dog gets adopted."

Most of the animals Senior Paws Sanctuary receives come from Lee County Domestic Animal Services through a call, or email with a list of dogs that are in need of homes.

Those who are interested in meeting the senior dogs and adopting them can do so every Sunday at Petco, located at the Forum, from noon to 3 p.m.

Depending on the medical attention the dog has received, the adoption fees range from $75 to $250. Many times, Senior Paws Sanctuary receives sponsors that help with medical care for the animals, which keeps the adoption fees down.



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