Leashes End, a nonprofit pet rescue and sanctuary, provides older pets with a comfortable place to spend their final days
“Let’s go for a walk!” says Risa Simon, clapping her hands and prompting seven dogs, including
Buddha, a 20-year-old Chihuahua mix, and Olive, a one-eyed Shih Tzu, to perk up and follow her out the front door. The yard is fenced, so there’s no need for leashes.
“Everybody goes at their own pace,” Simon explains as she circles her 3-acre property with the pack of misfits ambling behind. The 49-year-old U.S. naval intelligence officer has run Leashes End, a nonprofit pet sanctuary and rescue for senior dogs and cats, out of her Rockville home since 2016. Many of the animals have been neglected, abused or abandoned and come to Simon through shelters or from owners who can no longer care for them. In December, she had 16 dogs and 11 cats. Amid the contemporary decor and hardwood floors in the house, pet gear—dog beds, kitty condos, blankets, litter boxes—fills the rooms.