Sometimes the end of the journey is the best

Sometimes the end of the journey is the best
Sights from happily ever after!Thuot and Gracie, 6 years old, deaf and blind, found wandering on a road at 4 months old.

View all 8 photos

Glenwood, Florida - There is a special place, prior to reaching the rainbow bridge, where animals of all kinds can find love, harmony, peacefulness, kindness, fellowship, medical care, comfy beds and good food. That place is Journey's End Animal Sanctuary. Here, the "unadoptable" animal is given a forever, loving home. There are no cages, no euthanasia. The animals live in a home environment, happily ever after.

Sometimes the end of the journey is the best
Journey's End front doorCarol Borrelli

Just west of DeLand, Journey's End has been around for a while, since 1974 to be exact. It was then that Florence Thuot and her late husband, both former animal cruelty investigators for the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, decided that their compassionate journey, endeavor and mission was to bring home some of the areas' most needy animals. On their five acre parcel, you'll see some of the happiest faces, be it the animal/family members or the approximately 15 regular volunteers who love the place as if it were their own, all of them singing praise for Thuot, who exudes love and kindness for all.

One volunteer is a career, retired, teacher; another is an eight-year volunteer who just loves the animals and helping them; still another, an new employee, focuses on tending to the horses, but stops to hose off the front patio and tells us of his complete admiration for Thuot.

The sanctuary, a non-profit organization, provides lifetime care and shelter for dogs, cats, horses, pigs, sheep and birds that have been abused, neglected or have special needs, thus unwanted. The shelter does not allow adoption, the reason being the time and effort it takes to follow-up on the adoptions, only to be disappointed in most cases. This isn't optimum for the animals, according to Thuot who went on to explain:

We take animals off the streets now. Although we are at full capacity and have a lengthy waiting list, we are hoping to expand the facility with the help of our volunteers, benefactors and with donations. We stopped adopting because follow-ups proved disappointing, the animals in many cases, no longer there.

An example of one such resident is Blossom, a new family member. When we first arrived, Blossom, an old Golden Retriever, was being loaded into the truck for a trip to the vet for laser treatments. She looked a mess, her fur riddled with mange, tumors and growths apparent. This sweet girl was recently seen staggering in 100 degree heat, down a busy road. No one would stop to help her, but luckily volunteer Juli spotted her and picked her up. Now she regularly sees the sanctuary's most beloved Veterinarian, Dr. Long at Tomoka Pines Veterinary Clinic in DeLand. She is regaining her health, strength, weight and fur. Throughout her ordeal, the dog always wags her tail and never gets ugly despite her agony. Isn't this so typical of our best friends?

The cat house is a visit in its own right. The kitties are all eager and willing to have a gentle pat and some sweet words, they adorn shelves, couches, bookcases and seemingly every inch of their house. Some reach out as if to say "hey, you didn't say hello to me!"

The piggies, "Piglet and Piglu", have a very comfy house and pen of their own. Of course, when the food comes out, they are your best friend! Poultry is everywhere, walking, clucking and scratching. No one bothers anyone. The horses were enjoying the large green pasture; the sheep had no comment from their enclosure.

Another star of the shelter is Skippy, a three year old darling, originally owned by a pastor who gave him up to a no-kill shelter. After his surrender, Skippy lived at a grooming salon in a cage for two months. It was then that he came to Journey's End. Skippy is a Jack Russell mix, who has a wheel chair. At first they thought he was paralyzed, but after thorough examinations, the doctors discovered he had bone cysts which caused muscle atrophy in his back legs. They still believe he will walk one day. Regardless, his HUGE personality ensures that he eloquently greets all who visit and the love that pours from him is simply astonishing. I'm told he is also very kind to his housemates. This reporter received unending attention and kisses from this sweet little master of the sanctuary.

Thuot explains that Lowes and Home Depot helped her to build the stables that are home to their horses. They receive top of the line medical care from Dr. Long. However, the sanctuary depends on donations to keep going. All said it is a quaint and happy place. Tax deductible donations of any amount are truly appreciated and can be sent to the sanctuary, which is open by appointment only, at P.O. Box 220163, Glenwood, Fl 32722-0163. You may also view their website at: Phone: 386.736.6396.

Be sure to view the attached slideshow for more wonderful photos!

Please view this lovely video: Journey's End Video


If you would like to continue receiving animal-related articles, including the latest news, tips and advice, please click the Subscribe Icon. It's free and anonymous. Thank you for reading and thank you for sharing this story with others.

Story ideas can be shared at [email protected]

To view all recent articles, simply click "Carol Borrelli" highlighted in blue at the top of this article - a full listing of articles will be shown.

"I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man." -Mahatma Gandhi