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Photo by Dante Fontana
After losing Wally, their beloved Boston terrier, a heartbroken David “Woody” Bartley and his wife, Deanna, went in search for a new puppy; instead they found 12-year-old Taffy and 13-year-old Feisty, ailing brother-sister terriers that had been dumped at a shelter.
The dogs found a loving home with David and Deanna, who renamed them “Chance” and “Bliss” and opened a sanctuary in their honor.
A Chance For Bliss Animal Sanctuary and Wellness Institute, a Penryn-based nonprofit, caters to and cares for a unique but often-overlooked part of the community: senior, special needs, and hospice animals. “Most people looking to adopt a new animal family member are understandably looking for the right fit, which often means a healthy, well-socialized, younger animal,” explains David, president and co-founder of the organization. But, he adds, due to time, medical needs, an abundance of fit animals and space constraints, this worthy but neglected classification are frequently put down.
At A Chance For Bliss, however, unadoptable companions – those that come from frontline animal shelters, breed-specific rescue groups, and the public – live out their lives in comfort, surrounded by unconditional love and acceptance. There are no adoptions at the sanctuary; all residencies are permanent. The focus of the organization, notes Bartley, is to create a peaceful final home for residents.
A Chance For Bliss is dedicated to restoring the mind, body, and spirit of each animal. There are currently 90 residents at the sanctuary, representing 12 different species in four categories – “Dogs,” “Horses,” “Pasture Pals,” and “Meadow Mates.” The facility provides extraordinary care to residents, but is equally committed to sharing its best practices (animal nutrition, daily routines, preventative health tips, etc.) with the public through monthly open houses and community education classes. Organizations serving adults with developmental disabilities, senior citizens and schools are among the groups that visit A Chance For Bliss, where they receive hands-on interactions with the animals.
“Those who have been withdrawn and reserved come alive in the presence of the animals,” says Bartley, who together with his wife have welcomed more than 170 animals total to the sanctuary; 80 that have since passed away in peace and with the dignity that they, indeed all pets, deserve.
David and Deanna are working hard to fulfill part two of their dream: purchasing an 80-acre property near the sanctuary to develop an entire animal community, so that pet owners facing unthinkable choices, such as putting down their animal, will be provided a life-giving alternative for their family member. “Our premise is rather simple,” Bartley says. “We think that by giving people more time with their animals, the world just might be an even better place.”
If you’d like to help, the easiest way is to get involved is to become a monthly sponsor for as little as $10 per month. In exchange, sponsors get a monthly update, picture and bio of a featured resident. Open houses are held 12 to 5 p.m. on the second Saturday of every month.
Visit achanceforbliss.com for more information.