From the Executive Director: Help Us Bite the Balance!

We are seeking 115 people to donate $27 in an effort to BITE THE BALANCE!

Nearly two years ago, I launched my dream – Grey Face Rescue & Retirement. GFR&R is Central Minnesota's senior dog rescue providing retirement homes to senior dogs in need. My inspiration came from my own senior dog, Barnabee, who has since crossed the Rainbow Bridge but forever leaves his legacy. 

The past two years have been a roller coaster of emotions. No one told me this journey would be easy nor did they tell me it would be as difficult as it's been at times. I've dedicated the last two years of my life providing forever to dogs others would overlook. To the seniors with bad breath, severe arthritis, behavioral problems because someone failed them, and more, I chose to be their voice. 

To my surprise, I found others just as crazy as me, with a passion for these senior dogs and who wanted to join me on this journey. Strangers, who have now become friends and who dedicate MANY, MANY hours (all unpaid) to provide a forever to these seniors. I'm extremely blessed to have met these people, and for the continued support from the community and the dogs I've been able to meet along the way. 

This year, as I celebrate my 27th birthday, my only wish is to rescue debt-free! 

We currently have a $3,000+ balance at our partnered veterinary clinic, Companions Animal Hospital in St. Cloud. Dr. Nancy, Dr. Alison and the entire Companions team provide our seniors with exceptional care and we couldn't ask for a better, more caring group of people to help us with our seniors. We are so grateful the dogs have them in their corner! 

Please help us continue our mission to give these dogs the care they so deserve. I am seeking 115 people to donate $27 (a dollar for all my years!) in an effort to BITE THE BALANCE! This balance has kept us from saying YES to senior dogs in need and to begin Year 27 rescuing debt-free would give us the opportunity to SAVE EVEN MORE SENIORS! 

Please, consider donating $27 today in honor of the alumni from Grey Face Rescue, seniors currently in foster care, seniors in our hospice program, seniors who have since crossed the Rainbow Bridge, our volunteers dedicated to saving these dogs, our fosters who welcome them into their home and the community who continues to support us. 

Oh, and for my husband who puts up with my madness ;)

Donate here:

-OR-, you can contact Companions Animal Hospital directly to make a donation toward our account., 320-252-6700 **If you are sending payment via mail or over the phone to Companions, please let them know it is going toward Grey Face Rescue. 

OR mail a check :) payable to Grey Face Rescue, P.O. Box 7072, St. Cloud, MN 56302

Thank you for your continued support!

Bethie Gondeck
Executive Director
Grey Face Rescue & Retirement

Lady: At 9 Years Old, Her Life is Just Beginning

Say hello to Lady, a sweet little baby we welcomed into the rescue last week. When she arrived, she sat there, shaking and confused, with eyes as big as saucers (see video below). For her first couple of days, she refused to potty, eat or drink. She was super depressed, and her spirit seemed broken. It’s clear she really had no idea what she was allowed to do on her own. At 9 years old, her life is only now just beginning. She’s safe now and we’ll celebrate her small steps as she gets used to little things other dogs do, such as jumping up on a couch, feeling comfortable enough to potty in a yard and even doing something as simple as drinking water consistently in a new environment.

The day she came in, we watched her foster pick her up and hug her like a sweet little baby – and Lady calmed to the point she finally stopped shaking. Lady is still unsure, but that day they made their start toward a connection.

Lady has some major vetting needs to address before she can leave our care. She’ll get our full protocol of shots – rabies, distemper and bordetella – as well as bloodwork to make sure she’s free of tick-borne disease and that years of litters haven’t done a number on her internally. When she came into the vet, her abdomen area was so swollen and hard that initially we were thinking she had a life-threatening infection commonly found in unspayed, older dogs. Thankfully, the bloodwork gave us hope. But we still need to get her spayed as soon as possible and we'll remove some mammory tumors she has at the same time. We’ll get her mouth all fixed up too, so she's pain-free and able to eat a better variety of foods – she has bleeding gums and teeth so off the charts that many are being held in place only by the extreme tarter that covers them. We could really use your help to offset these costs. You can give a gift on our website, or contact Paws & Claws in Maple Grove, where Dr. Melco and his team are giving her their very best care. – 763.420.9711
**If you are sending payment via mail or over the phone to Paws & Claws, please let them know it is going toward Grey Face Rescue. 

-OR- mail a check payable to Grey Face Rescue:
P.O. Box 7072
St. Cloud, MN 56302

All of our dogs have a back story – some super extreme and others needing rehoming due to a living situation that isn’t the right fit anymore. So many of these dogs come in tired, scared, worn down, totally rough around the edges, some with medical conditions you can’t even figure out how to say, much less understand what they are. Like Lady, they arrive often times dazed and confused about why life has changed … and we know you look at their pictures thinking sometimes, “How the heck will this one ever get adopted??” But they do. And they WILL. Senior dogs fight so many misconceptions and it’s heartbreaking to hear some of the things people believe about them. But their secret weapon is that they have YOU – our fosters, supporters and volunteers. You watch over them, care for them, love them, teach them, help them heal after the vet, take them to and from events and become their biggest cheerleaders and best advocates – and when it’s time, a foster will let them go so they can live their best life with their forever family. We can’t say it enough to our fosters and volunteers: What you do MATTERS. Thank you for never giving up on these little guys. Watching their transformation and seeing them heal and learn to trust and love again is pretty much the coolest thing ever. So, stay tuned – Lady’s best days are coming. So glad you are all here with us to see them!

To apply to adopt Lady and add her to your family, fill out an application today!

Sustaining Members help ensure we can help more dogs like Lady and are vital to the Grey Face mission. As a member of this program, your monthly gift provides a steady, dependable source of income to pay for food and medical care for animals in our rescue. For as little as $10 per month, you can change the life of a senior dog in need. Click HERE for more information on how you can join us to save more dogs!

New Hope for Hope!

It’s no coincidence that the first dog we took in for 2017 came in with this name. Grey Face had just started ramping up to come off intake hold when we were contacted about a bulldog in need. We weren’t quite ready to open yet, but we took the call to hear more about her. She was from a breeder, they said. She was ridiculously sweet. She wasn’t 100% house-trained and she showed the battle scars from years of bearing litter after litter. The petite beauty was so confused in fact that she was terrified to pass through any door that led to the outside. We knew she was meant to be here with us – and so we welcomed Hope into our rescue just a few short weeks ago.

Hope had a pretty rough first seven years of her life, but it didn’t take long for her to learn to enjoy life’s finer things – like a cushy bed to sleep on, humans to give her love and attention, and all the toys she could ever want! When she first came to her foster home, her little body clearly was not used to moving around so much. Her stance is far wider than normal, her elbows are thick and her feet splay, either from poor genetics or from years of standing or lying on less than desirable surfaces. She required all her shots, was heartworm tested and she was promptly spayed. She also had ear infections, dry eye, and developed foot abscesses that required two emergency vet visits. One of those abscesses is still healing. She will also likely need supplements and eye drops for the rest of her life. Despite her rough outer edges, there was a bright spot: At Grey Face, we do blood panels on all our dogs, as a layer of reassurance for our adopters and so we can treat underlying conditions and get them on the path to better health. In this case, Hope’s bloodwork came back showing that her overall health is very good. She is truly a very lucky dog!

As new beginnings go, Hope had to learn to eat out of a bowl, drink water without spilling it all, and even what it means to “go outside.” This little lady was so afraid of the door frame and stairs that at times her fosters have had to help her out to potty by carrying her to and from the yard. We assume this is due to spending her whole life in a kennel in a building with limited access to the outdoors and a fear of falling forward going down steps. But what a difference love, care and a few weeks makes. Our vetting partner Paws & Claws Pet Hospital in Maple Grove and her foster family have been giving her wonderful TLC, and we appreciate all that they’re doing for this very special girl. With their help, Hope is her way to a much a better life.

You see, Hope is AMAZING! She’s a fighter in every sense – and you can tell she knows she is safe. Even after years of neglect at the hands of humans, all this girl wants is to be around people and to be loved. She’s turned into quite the cuddle monster, loving nothing more than being right beside her foster mom on the couch. She’s now figured out the food dish and she does her business without fuss when someone takes her out. Door frames and stairs still baffle her at times, but she’s learning and trusting more every day. And, despite her extreme bow legs, she doesn't let this slow her down as she scoots around the house. Her favorite things are to follow her people around (you never know what you'll miss if you don't go everywhere your humans do!), eat, rest her head on your lap on her couch (she isn't picky about the TV show as long as she's next to you!), and chew on bones and antlers.

Hope’s little body may not be perfect, but she really is the perfect dog. She’s come around to enjoy life, playing, cuddling and greeting strangers easily. Her personality is coming out and she is a sweet and grateful girl. Hope’s foster family is giving her plenty of rest and a nice, calm environment for her to heal both physically and mentally. We’re sure she will make an awesome addition to someone's forever family, but it is going to take a lot of TLC and patience to keep her coming out of her shell. Please keep Hope in your thoughts as she continues her journey to find her forever home.

Hope is available for adoption – and you can submit your application here:

If you would like to contribute toward Hope’s care, we would appreciate the help. If you can give even a little bit, it will all add up and make a difference. We also appreciate and are grateful for those who choose to do monthly gifts. All donations, whatever form, are tax deductible (we are non-profit) and Hope and all the dogs truly appreciate your support.

** To donate toward Hope’s vetting bills, please visit our website at and click on the Paypal button.

** For more information or to sign up to give a monthly gift that will help all of the rescue’s dogs, visit this link:

Hope and Hannah.png

Godspeed, Gracie Mae, Safe Journey Home

Recently, we said goodbye to a very special pup in our rescue, Gracie Mae. She was one of our hospice dogs, and we had no expectations that she would be with us long – but it didn't take any time at all before she touched all of our hearts.

Gracie Mae came in quite overweight and with a diagnosis of bladder cancer, but without confirmation of an actual tumor. She didn't care what the doctors said – this girl was determined. We were told she would have at most a few months – but almost a year later, Gracie was still charming the pants off everyone who met her. She had the perfect sweet beagle face, after all – is there anything better? Gracie settled right into her foster home, with her new little foster brother and a family that showered her with love and affection at every turn and always gave the best of care. Her foster, Andrea, was perfectly in tune with her and never shy to let us know when Gracie needed an extra hand. We always say we can’t do what we do without the help of our volunteers – and that is no less true in this case. It takes a special person to take a dog into a home, not knowing if the animal has days, weeks or will be with them for years. We are very humbled and honored to be have been blessed with such amazing person helping Gracie in her time of need. Today, we’re sharing Gracie Mae and Andrea’s story as a way to honor them both and the love they shared even in those final moments.

In her final year, Gracie Mae had multiple X-rays, ultrasounds and cultures and battled several UTIs. Her last month of care alone cost more than $1,000. Through it all, she was a fighter and this spirit remained even up to her final day. When her last UTI failed to resolve after more medication, we had another culture and ultrasound done – and this time, we got the bad news: Gracie was growing unusual bacteria and the tests finally identified the elusive culprit. The mass had grown large enough and was in just the right location that it could eventually obstruct her ability to be able to go potty at all. Nevertheless, she persisted – and Gracie started on her new tailored UTI meds that day. Things were looking up – she returned to her playful, happy self and she was sleeping through the night. She was on the final day of those meds when things took a turn. Back to the vet. An X-ray revealed her bladder was fuller than full and she was obstructed.

Our hope when we rescue is that we will be able to find a fix for whatever a dog is facing, but as much as we want that, reality sometimes smacks us in the face. Along with Dr. Harcourt and the rest of the caring team at VCA Feist Animal Hospital in St. Paul, we made the decision to give Gracie a gift and relieve her from any more pain. She crossed the Bridge after snuggling in the arms of her wonderful, loving fosters. Gracie Mae is now running free, no doubt with Barnabee as the ring leader, followed by Princess, Isaac, Della and any and all of the other special dogs we have all known in our lives and come to love.

Gracie Mae was one of a kind, and it is through your support of our hospice program that we are able to provide a peaceful, loving journey to the Bridge when it is needed in cases like this. We’d like to thank Andrea and her family for their months of watching of this sweet girl. And thank you to those who have become Sustaining Members for our rescue – your monthly gifts ensure we are able to provide exceptional quality care for more dogs like Gracie, and for the animals who come through on their way to their forever homes. Your support truly changes lives – it’s what helps these dogs know their lives matter and it keeps us moving forward. Thank you all for your continued kindness.

Godspeed, Gracie Mae, safe journey home.

** To donate toward Gracie’s vetting bills, please visit our website at and click on the Paypal button.

** For more information or to sign up to be a Sustaining Member, visit this link:

Big Black Dog Syndrome

Haven’t heard of it? It’s real and we’ve seen it firsthand at Grey Face. Adopters are less likely to pay attention to animals with darker fur, leaving them left at a rescue or shelter for quite some time.  Let’s dig a little deeper into what it is and why it happens.

Hollywood Influences

Think Big Black Scary Dog. Most antagonists that need a “devil dog” or even an “unlucky omen” choose animals with black fur, mainly focusing on bigger black dogs and black cats. Although most people know that all these animals aren’t actually bad or aggressive, the stigma still lives, hindering an adopter’s ability to look past the dark fur.

Their Personality Doesn’t Shine Through

In shelters and photographs, the dogs’ softer features are harder to see. Dogs with lighter fur have a better advantage showing off the glint in their eyes. But, as Grey Face knows, these dogs are just as playful have a great spirit. With a squeaky toy or two, plus some cute pup clothes, these dogs’ can look extra friendly!

Pretty Karlee with her flower hat

Pretty Karlee with her flower hat

Our Own Beautiful BBDs

Feeling a tug at your heart to help stop this syndrome? We have three beautiful big black dogs in need of a forever home. Karlee, Buster and Duke have definitely experienced people taking a blind eye to them. Karlee hasn’t had a home for 3,500 days! That’s over 9 years for anyone who’s doing the math. Plus, if you’re looking to test the waters or are not able to fully adopt a dog at the moment, Duke is looking for a wonderful foster home. All three dogs have so much to offer, if you give them a chance.

Learn more about Karlee, Buster and Duke on our adoption page here.