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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
HomeAt Home & BeyondA home for displaced senior pets

A home for displaced senior pets

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Ray Charles is the namesake of Ray’s House of Hope, Inc., which is a haven for senior pets based in Spring Hill. No, not that Ray Charles. This “Ray” of sunshine is a sight-challenged feline and the inaugural resident at this unique shelter/home for displaced older animals. Ray’s House of Hope is now holding a charity yard sale that will have proceeds going to help cover veterinary bills and other basic life necessities for the animals sheltered at the house. The yard sale will take place on April 8-9-10, 9AM – 2PM, at 5315 Patricia Pl, Spring Hill.

A longtime Hernando animal rescue worker and founder of Ray’s House of Hope, Inc., Joanne Schoch stated, “As the former director of the Humane Society, I saw what would happen with senior pets. Their owners pass away or go into assisted living and can’t take their animals with them. So the pets they’ve had for years and years suddenly have no homes. And many people don’t want to adopt senior pets.”

Ray’s House of Hope finds its origins two years ago, when inspiration came to Schoch in the form of a blind cat named Ray Charles, passed into her care by a concerned friend. Then came a cat with three legs and eventually other cats and dogs that needed, not only a forever home, but a loving and safe place to live until that day comes. When they are adopted, their new owners are given instructions about senior pet care. Schoch stated, “We offer home life here, a complete living experience. We have no cages, no kennels, but lots of spacious and comfortable places.”

If animals housed here fail to find a forever home, then they can live in peace for the duration of their lives at Ray’s. “They are not euthanized, they can live out their days here in peace,” said Schoch. With the aid of volunteers, Schoch caters to the care and needs of these animals. KaLynn Teaguem, a 10 year old volunteer stated, “I love to help animals in need. Whether it’s changing litter boxes, or measuring their food, I’m learning all there is to know about taking care of them.”

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Her brother Justin Teague, age 13, has bonded in particular with the now famous feline known as Ray Charles. He stated, “I’m so grateful I came here to volunteer with my sister. Ray is bonded to me, he doesn’t bond with everyone. Some of the cats are scared, some have disabilities–we take care of them here. It feels so good to help.”

The public can help Ray’s House of Hope by donating to and attending Ray’s House of Hope Charity Yard Sale. Donated items for sale include quality clothing and shoes for men, women and children along with tools, construction materials, household and kitchen items, wall decor, gift items, gardening supplies and more. They are still accepting donations of clean and usable items for the sale. Contact Joanne Schoch 352-683-7490.

One former resident of Ray’s House of Hope, a dog named Nicolai, has been adopted by Hernando educator and Public Relations Representative Vince Vanni. He shared, “Every dog that I get from Joanne, including Nicci, is the perfect dog for me.”
Find your own perfect pet at http://www.rayshouseofhope.org/.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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