By| Chelsey Brown
Polo’s Refuge, a senior retirement home for Shih Tzu’s is a sanctuary for senior dogs that each come from different walks in life. President and Founder of Crossroads Shih Tzu Rescue and Polo’s Refuge, Leann Lund started this venture after her experience with animal rescue shelters that only catered to the “cute and adoptable dogs.”
“I started Crossroads because our mission is to save the ones that need us most, said Lund. “The name Polo’s Refuge is inspired by Lund’s very first Shih Tzu rescue whose name was Polo. He was the sweetest dog that ever drew your breath. He died of Lymphoma in 2010 and we decided to name this place in honor of him.”
In 2011, with the help of their Facebook page, family, and friends, Polo finished in the top 10 of a contest featured by Pepsi. They subsequently became the winner of a $25,000 grant that allowed them to fund a home large enough for a maximum of 12 senior dogs that will live out the rest of their lives at Polo’s Refuge.
Currently, Lund is in the process of acquiring another home, in addition to the one she has now. With two buildings to house the dogs, it will provide that better service to the organization and the dogs.
“We currently are fundraising to make renovations and repair to a new home for the dogs, which will be twice as big as our current one. Our goal is $15,000 and with it we can take about twice as many that we have now.”
Considering Polo’s is the only Shih Tzu rescue home spanning from Tallahassee to Texas, the request for assistance by local shelters comes at an all-time high. “I unfortunately turn down dogs all the time, just because we do not have the space.”
When choosing which pups are invited into the refuge Lund says they try to stay true to their name.
“Obviously since our name is Crossroads Shih Tzu Rescue, we try and rescue as many as we can, however, we have been opening up to more small breeds and with our expansion we will be able to accommodate.”
Lund attributes most of their success to the volunteers. While Polo’s is a non-profit organization, Lund still has career responsibilities outside of the home. Currently, there is a roster of three volunteers with eagerness for more. Lund says, “Since the building is very small, I allow up to three volunteers at a time, and while I am at work they are feeding, playing, and providing any type of care needed to each of them.”
To learn more information about Polo’s Refuge, volunteer, or donate visit their website at www.crossroadsrescue.org. You can also interact with them on Facebook and Instagram by following their social media handle @PolosRefuge.