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Happy Tails Rescue Retirement Home an oasis for senior dogs


Happy Tails Rescue Retirement Home is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit for homeless senior dogs with health problems or those that are out of time at high-volume shelters.

Stacey Herrick, of Morrisville, takes seriously her “one-woman mission” to provide a chance for the animals to encounter a loving home.

Taking “golden years” to the next level for a notable bunch of senior pups, Herrick has turned her home into a sanctuary hospice that currently houses 21 dogs.

Happy Tails recently lost Grayson, a 13-year-old pit bull. The oldest pups are 18 years old, and HTRRH has one younger resident, Ivy, an original stray around five or six years old. “When I took her to the vet and they estimated her age, I told her, ‘You’re not old,’” Herrick recounts laughing.

However, young Ivy has no problem fitting in with her older roommates. Despite assumptions, they are a lively and spirited bunch. Many of those coming from cruel situations have thrived since coming under Herrick’s care.

“My home is for them,” Herrick says. “You wouldn’t think they’re old and that’s for a reason.”

HTRRH practices mainly holistic care with a mostly raw diet that is specialized for each canine along with conventional medicine to give the best treatment.

Herrick became a certified level I and II Reiki master after being inspired by the shelter where she adopted her first rescue, a pit bull named Emerson.

“They love it,” she said while explaining the energy healing technique. “Sometimes they’ll come over and be near my energy to let me know in their own way if they need it.”

Originally HTRRH was Happy Tails Rescue, a rescue and network of foster homes, started in 2004 that helped more than 1,600 dogs.

“As Emerson got older I started to see him in the other senior dogs at shelters,” Herrick said.

This was a part of the inspiration behind the change in 2019 to HTRRH.

A typical day for Herrick and the dogs, when no one has any vet appointments, starts at 6 a.m. to greet the outside world. Her backyard caters to the dogs with lots of lounging areas and beds, a pool in the summer and plenty of opportunities to chase the squirrels. The pups will then get their first round of food and medicine, some need medication four times a day dealing with rare or complicated health conditions.

Herrick cleans up where needed after the blind pups who have a harder time going outside to relieve themselves, or a handful that came from a hoarding situation.

“Some of them don’t know or understand that they deserve to and can be clean after being in a hoarded case because going to the bathroom and having to sit in it is the only thing they’ve ever known.”

“It’s hard,” Herrick says referring to the heartless situations her companions have faced. “But I’m grateful for the opportunity to show them that people are good, and give them the chance to not worry about where they live and to feel safe.”

HTRRH receives no formal funding and relies completely on donations. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit does not have a volunteer program but would significantly benefit from an event planning group.

HTRRH also has a “Forever Foster” program for dogs that would do better with a smaller group of animals or a one-dog household. Along with dogs, Herrick also cares for her fish pond and three rescue pigeons.

To learn more about HTRRH, follow its social media; Facebook, Instagram @happytailsretirementhome and TikTok @happytailsrescuepa or visit its website —

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