Edna's Doggie Hospice Sanctuary
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on your statement which is the parent company of
Edna's of Asheville. Donations are not tax deductible
at this time)
ASHEVILLE – Gummy Bear didn’t waste any time.
Within the first week of being in Tom Cash’s care, this 12-year-old chihuahua’s cuddles and snuggles offered unexpected riches and rewards for Cash and his partner, Mike Zukoski.
However, Gummy Bear’s first week was just one of about 26 shared by the trio and the Asheville household’s four other dogs. When Cash and Zukoski adopted her, she “was a wreck” physically, Cash said. She was missing a jaw. Had congestive heart failure. A flat tail. An abnormal spinal curvature. A collapsed trachea. Was half-blind, among other ailments.
“About six months ago, we brought her home and she was on about six medications that she took three or four times a day,” said Cash, who owns Edna’s of Asheville on Merrimon Avenue with Zukoski. The cost for the medication was $400-$500 a month.
But within one week of her life’s last chapter, Gummy Bear “made this sudden turnaround. I saw her race across the floor, the energy came back, the hunger came back ... she was such a loving dog. She changed our lives.”
Starting Jan. 1, Gummy Bear, who died Saturday, will continue to change other lives. Inspired by their experience, Cash and Zukoski launched the Edna’s Doggie Hospice Program.
The duo commit to take in one hospice dog on behalf of Edna’s for as long as they can create and maintain quality of life for the animal, and when that previous one passes they will adopt another and so on, they wrote on the company’s Facebook page.
A giving jar at the water station at Edna’s of Asheville will accept donations toward the cost of required medications. All money collected in excess of what is needed for these bills will be donated to a local no-kill shelter. The community will also be able to follow the dog’s progress on the company’s website.
Cash noted they wanted to take a few weeks to mourn Gummy Bear before adopting the next hospice dog. And when they do adopt this animal in the new year, it will just represent the first stage of this new idea.
“Stage two is to train and encourage others who have the love, time and means to adopt one of these truly amazing dogs,” they wrote on the Facebook page. “They will change for the better, but you will ultimately change the most.”
The hospice project is a good fit for Edna’s, which is named after the owners’ pug, an iced Americano-loving pooch whose mug graces the logo (Cash quickly learned to keep his coffee out of Edna’s reach). Since opening in May 2012 in the former location of Mountain Java, the business has hosted several fundraising events for local animal shelters.
“People love dogs in this town, which is one of the reasons we moved here” from California about three years ago, Cash said. Cash is a former Starbucks executive, and Zukoski is a civil engineer with a background at Disney Resorts and the City of Long Beach, Calif.
“Our goal with Edna’s was to give back to the community,” he said. “We are a community coffee house and we want to give back to the community; that’s where our hearts are.”
Animals have been in Cash’s heart since childhood. A self-described “loner,” he spent a lot time with his pet rabbits and dogs. “They love us conditionally no matter what,” he said.
He views the hospice project as a way that he can return the love — and inspiration — animals have offered Cash his whole life.
“They are probably the little forgotten ones,” Cash said of the sick shelter dogs. “The chances of adoption are basically zero for them.”
Want to help?
Edna’s of Asheville is at 870 Merrimon Ave. and is open daily year-round. For more, call 255-3881, visit ednasofasheville.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gummy Bear (passed 12-28-2013)