TAMPA, Fla. - Every time Devilyn Saunders comes home, she is welcomed by an army of furry friends. For the past 20 years she has been taking care of terminally ill dogs.
"What we do with those guys is just it's basically pain management. It's taking care of the things that can be taken care of to give them a little bit longer of a better quality of life. And it's quality over quantity, you know, as long as we can keep them."
Saunders has cared for so many dogs, she started a grassroots effort called "Rugaz Rescue."
"The rewarding part is seeing how happy they are," she explained. "It's partly knowing that they will not leave this world alone. You know, they know that they're loved."
Saunders has 12 other families serving as hospice homes for the canines. She gets the dogs that are scheduled to be euthanized from Tampa Bay area shelters.
"It is a very hard thing to ask someone to take in a dog that may you may only have a week or you may have a month, or you may get lucky where you get a couple of years. But it's very, very hard to ask someone to basically, essentially say, here's a heartbreak," she said.
A heartbreak Saunders understands all too well.
"I was never taken seriously because of the way I looked. I was that alternative kid that had piercing and tattoos," she shared. "And so nobody really believed me because of the way I looked."
For Saunders, her relationship with the hospice dogs is strong.
"I connected with these guys instantly. I connected with being able to understand that they got too old, you know, or the way they look made them not wanted by anybody else," she commented.
LINK: For more information, visit https://www.rugazrescue.org.