Monkey’s House is not what you might think. It’s not a place for primates, it’s a dog hospice & sanctuary founded in 2015 by Jeff and Michele Allen. I’m so glad these two people met each other because together they are doing some pretty fantastic things. How they met is pretty interesting because they were fixed up on a blind date where they went horse back riding. They didn’t want to disappoint the person who introduced them, so they kept dating until they fell in love.
Michele is a RN, BSN, member of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, and a 2017 CNN Hero Recipient. She spends her days, double full time (that’s 24/7/365) caring for the dogs as Monkey’s House. Jeff leads a dual life helping both people and dog. He serves as a manager in Human Resources for a pharmaceutical company and runs Monkey’s House with Michele. Their sanctuary has been recognized for its outstanding work saving and caring for hospice dogs and was awarded Rescue of the Year in 2017 by World Dog Expo. They live on a small farm in southern New Jersey in the vicinity of vineyards and corn fields where their dogs have plenty of room to play and thrive.
Monkey’s House, like most wonderful things, happened by accident. Michele and Jeff first fostered a senior Golden Retriever, named Goldie. Through this experience they discovered that most shelters are not equipped to address the needs of senior dogs. This was before Go Fund Me. Then they pulled a little chihuahua/French bulldog (really, a Heinz 57) named Monkey who had a heart condition and bad teeth (they almost called him, Stinky) and the rest is history! Monkey was with Jeff and Michele for 17 months, but he may have changed the course of history forever!
Jeff and Michele work closely with their veterinarian, Dr. Judy Morgan, the overall winner of Woman of the Year for Women in the Pet Industry for 2018 (she beat me for this title and I was still happily Entrepreneur Woman of the Year) and a nationally recognized expert in pet wellness and nutrition. They use a holistic approach to caring for their hospice dogs – looking at the whole dog and creating a regimen that includes clean food, exercise, play, supplements, and medicines. They believe in “food therapy” using energetic foods to help the body heal. Michele’s motto is to “fight responsibly” for the best outcomes for the dog.
Jeff and Michele are committed to making sure that each dog’s time on this earth is the best. They use their Senior Dog Bus to take day trips to the beach and other fun outings. They love when a dog becomes a “troublemaker” because that means they are feeling well enough to be a little bit naughty.
Each dog that has come into their lives has made a different impact and every dog has a story. To memorialize and remember these wonderful spirits, Jeff and Michele wrote a book, “Where Dogs Go to Live! Inspiring Stories of Dogs Living in the Moment.” The cover dog, first known as Mr. Bean, then Feisty Bob, then Relaxed Bob and ultimately Much Loved Bob became a national celebrity. The FaceBook page for Monkey’s House has more than 70,000 followers who demanded a daily update on their favorite dog, Much Loved Bob (sometimes called ML Bob for short).
You can visit their website and see other loved souls, specifically Hannah Bear (a beautiful Pomeranian) who had no hair and was filled with mammary masses yet lived two years under their care. You can also learn about Buck who turned the definition of hospice on its head. When they rescued Buck he was very sick with advanced heart and lung disease, cancer, and was deaf and going blind. Dr. Judy was away on vacation and his chances looked dim. Buck had a very different idea in mind and lived with Michele and Jeff for four years and two months! Go Buck!
With love comes pain because no dog lives long enough. Harder yet is inviting a senior dog with a terminal illness into your life. Yet, Michele and Jeff face this challenge with a smile and a positive attitude. They give their dogs names that encourage and inspire the dog to live up to the title. They even call everyday items at their home by fun names to keep the emphasis on the positive. For example, their “crash cart” for respiratory failure is called Mary Poppins, so named because she was a beautiful, magical woman who made everyone feel better. Their gigantic freezer that stores food for their dogs is called George Clooney, because it is beautiful to look at (just saying).
You can help Monkey’s House through your generous donations, Amazon Smile, purchasing items on their Amazon Wish List or purchasing a copy of their book, “Where Dogs Go to Live!” Someday you might even become a foster and join the ranks of the “aunts and uncles” who support the good work done by good people for excellent dogs at Monkey’s House.