Healthy Beginnings

Aging Pets | Part Three

What happens to aging or ill pets that are homeless and are not readily adoptable? The answer is often times unsettling. However, a local organization is going above and beyond for the lost or unwanted pets of Reno and its surrounding area.

Sugarland Ranch is a community based, non-profit organization located in the North Valley of Reno. It is situated in a picturesque, magical 52 acres that overlook the Sierra Nevada range. Founded in 2001, Robyn Roth and Mack McKinley created a no-kill, small animal sanctuary that coordinates and collaborates with many other rescue groups in the community.

Sugarland Ranch houses several programs, including:

  • The Senior Dog and Cat Retirement Home and Adoption Center accept older dogs & cats that are at high risk of euthanasia because they are difficult to adopt out. Dogs and cats that enter this program come from local shelters.
  • Military Deployment Program cares for our military personnel’s dogs and cats without charge while they are supporting us in a war zone.
  • PerPETual Care Program allows pet owners to make arrangements for lifetime care of their pets, should the owner pre-decease them. Often times, a pet owner passes away and there is no-one willing or able to care for the pet; at which point, the pet ends up in the shelter system and becomes at risk of euthanasia.
  • Mastiff Rescue Program works with shelters to help these dogs either find new homes or remain at Sugarland permanently.
  • Honey Bear’s Dog and Cat Boarding is a first class dog and cat boarding kennel, which is open to the public. The boarding program provides financial support for the other programs.
  • Sugarland’s Pet Memorial Website is a place for humans to memorialize their beloved pets and thereby relieve grief and the emptiness feelings.

All of the dogs and cats at Sugarland enjoy the fantastic open spaces, loving staff and fresh, home-cooked food on a daily basis. Robyn bakes fresh chickens daily and debones them, surrounded by the dogs she loves. She receives much joy from their facial expressions, the massive drooling of the Mastiffs and of course the enjoyment each and every pet gets from only the best foods, supplements and Veterinarian prescribed medications. Sugarland works closely with many local Veterinarians to ensure that the senior cats and dogs, with chronic pain issues, are adequately managed for maximum comfort.

Volunteers are always welcome. The pets that remain at Sugarland truly enjoy the extra attention! Volunteers help with hiking in the hills with the dogs that are able, like Mr. Hunter, a military deployment guest pet. They also help with shorter walks with the older furry friends. Other volunteer activities include bathing, brushing or just “hanging out” with the pets. Volunteers also help with donations, transporting pets to and from veterinary appointments, social outings, fundraising events and a variety of administrative tasks. Volunteers enhance the lives of Sugarland’s program animals in many immeasurable ways. For animal lovers, Sugarland Ranch is a great place to visit and spend some volunteer hours.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Robyn at or by phone at 800.713.7177.