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Silver Linings in the Golden Years

Frosted Faces Foundation gives aging animals a final chance at forever families  

BY Christina Orlovsky Page 
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Growing old gracefully is something most people wish for and work hard to achieve. Why should it be any different for our four-legged friends? Sadly, many senior animals find themselves abandoned, alone and left to live out their golden years in an unfamiliar shelter.

This is where Frosted Faces Foundation comes in. The
501(c)(3) nonprofit offers aging animals a chance to live
out their days with caring families who pledge to love them and help them die with dignity. Founded in June 2014 by Kelly Smíšek, then a foster coordinator at a local animal shelter, the San Diego-based nonprofit works toward the mission of providing older animals with a loving family and adequate veterinary care. These seniors are typically age 8 and older and are among the most vulnerable population in California’s crowded shelters.

“In my work at the shelter, I always had to find foster families for seniors who had been adopted when they were young and were being returned to us later in life,” Smíšek says. “Not a lot of people go to the shelter in search of senior animals, so we created a network to get people’s attention.”

Today, nearly three years later, Frosted Faces has fulfilled that promise for two cats and more than 260 dogs, including Charlie, the first dog rescued at age 13 and still alive today. Through its unique Forever Fosters program, Frosted Faces pulls elderly, medically fragile and often abandoned animals from high-risk shelters outside of San Diego County and places them with families, covering lifelong medical care for chronic illnesses and hospice care for dogs in their last days. All foster families have to provide is love—knowing the bond they form is likely going to be short-lived.

“We always call these people exceptional because not a lot of people can do it,” Smíšek adds. “They give all of themselves every time.”

But the effort isn’t only in forever fostering. It’s also in educating pet owners about the options they have to keep their pets until its death. To that end, Frosted Faces has launched new initiatives to help people find pet-friendly places to live; to fund medical care and provide supplies to pet owners with limited means; and to board senior pets when families need a sitter. Frosted Faces has also recently secured land for a facility in Ramona that will expand its capacity to serve this vulnerable pet population. Volunteers and donations are always needed to help fulfill a mission that Smíšek says is all-encompassing, but entirely worthwhile.

“Operating a rescue is an incredible undertaking,” she concludes. “It is about doing what is right for every single animal you commit to for its entire life, the very best way you can.”

[ FOR MORE INFORMATION visit: frostedfacesfoundation.org ]