UPPER FREEHOLD — Realizing the need for proper care for dogs 7 years of age and older, the nonprofit Marty's Place is a close-knit family of about two dozen senior dogs, the organization's staff, volunteers and supporters.

Founder and Executive Director Doreen Jakubcak said the group's namesake, a dog named Marty, came into her life after bouncing between shelters, foster homes and doggie day cares, at one point even being scheduled for euthanasia.

The journey Marty took is actually quite typical for senior dogs, according to Jakubcak, who thought the best thing she could do for this dog would be to give him a permanent, comforting and final forever home.

More than a decade later, Marty's Place gets inquiries from all around the country to care for aging dogs that may be physically limited but still have plenty of "gusto" for life, Jakubcak said.

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Each dog that comes to the sanctuary is treated individually, with customized care, dietary and prescription plans. Marty's Place has established relationships with numerous area veterinarians.

And the resident dogs get plenty of opportunities to socialize with each other.

"We wanted this to be as much of a home-like environment as we could make it, recognizing that this is a community living setting, where the dogs are living amongst many other dogs," Jakubcak said.

Jakubcak said dogs come to Marty's Place under all types of circumstances. Perhaps their owner has passed away, or is transitioning to a long-term care facility or otherwise relocating to a place that isn't pet friendly.

Financial hardships are obviously another reason, as are once-in-a-lifetime disasters like Superstorm Sandy.

Some of the dogs, sadly, have simply been neglected.

But that is why the group welcomes all breeds and sizes, and has put adoption and foster programs of its own in place should someone become interested in bringing a senior dog into their home.

If not, then Marty's Place aims to provide everything a dog could ever want in its last stages of life.

"We do purposely call ourselves a sanctuary, and for as long as a dog needs it, this sanctuary can be their home," Jakubcak said.

For more on how to donate or volunteer, visit martysplace.org.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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