Canines for Caregivers, a UMC Internal Adoption Event
Twenty minutes west of Lubbock, and three miles down a dirt road named Nightingale, sits Morris Safe House. 81-year-old Sallie Morris, owner and founder, warned to call before coming out because a few cars have become trapped in the slick mud that forms after the recent summer rains. The building, only a short distance off Nightingale, is labeled with signs that read “15 MPH – Dogs at play!” The facility’s hours labeled in black block lettering on the front door are modified with yellow pieces of duct tape, reflecting a reduced schedule after Sallie’s life-threatening bout with COVID pneumonia.
Sallie visited a clinic briefly, where she was diagnosed with COVID. Shortly after her diagnosis, she became increasingly dizzy, prompting her to pull into a nearby CVS parking lot. She asked a stranger for help, feeling she was going to lose consciousness, and the next thing she knew, she woke up in UMC’s ICU, uncertain of how she got there. “It’s a very serious disease,” Sallie said, “I couldn’t believe how fast things changed. But the staff at UMC were so helpful, and my care there was wonderful.” Still recovering, diagnosed with a form of long COVID, Sallie met me at the door of her small but sophisticated facility.
“Every room is equipped with its own watering system. All the floors are concrete, and each room has an outdoor exit if the dogs want to enjoy the sunshine,” Sallie said proudly. “The dogs on the east side of the building can enjoy the sunrise, and the dogs on the west side can enjoy the beautiful sunset.” Sallie built the Safe House with her late husband, Bill, in 2008 on twenty acres, after passionately pursuing Lubbock’s need for a “no-kill” facility. Formerly the purveyor of MorLe, the largest bridal store in the southwest, Sallie was able to build the facility in cash and pursue her dream of taking care of animals in need. After her husband, Bill, passed away from cancer in 2014, the rescued dogs, charmingly called “Morris Mutts,” gave Sallie a reason to keep pursuing her passion.
She offers a small informational package of blue, white, and yellow copies for those interested in the facility. She outlines the Safe House’s strict guidelines for adoption, “A Dog’s Prayer, a kind of poetic verse, and the “Ten Commandments for a Responsible Pet Owner.” She’s written out a daily schedule she abides by, including information on the dogs’ high-quality meals, laundry, sanitation, time in outdoor play areas, and around 9 PM, a “‘night night’ cookie, a hug, and a kiss.” The schedule is strictly adhered to despite a daily call load of up to sixty calls. Passion pours out of every piece of writing, every instruction, and every word she has to say about her furry friends. She hopes to bring that passion to UMC’s own passionate caregivers.
On October 10, Morris Safe House has partnered with UMC to host an adoption event for UMC Employees. Sallie hopes to bring four of her Morris Mutts to the UMC Children’s Courtyard (located between the Main Entrance and East Tower) to enjoy the company of UMC’s finest and hopefully find them permanent, well-suited homes. Sallie wants to give back and share her gratitude with those who took care of her while she was admitted to the ICU for COVID and hopes to show that, though her recovery has been challenging and slow, she’s able to pursue what she loves because of the kindness and care she received at our hospital. When asked what she thought of our UMC caregivers, she said, “I have never received better care anywhere. They got on my phone, found my emergency contact, and contacted my daughter, allowing her to come in from Amarillo. Someone even called from the ICU a week later and followed up with me to make sure I was okay. Their care and understanding made a very uncomfortable situation as pleasant as possible.”
Dog Bios from Morris Safe House
Nala and Nibbles
Buddy needs a home to help him overcome the loss of his bonded pal. He is a precious loving white/black Jack Russell Terrier. Buddy loves to go on walks and delights in a good game of retrieving balls or toys in playtime. Our vet has just recently put him on Galliprant to help his back legs. He just wants a home. DOB 10/10/2009. Totally vetted and ready to go.
London was rescued during a heavy rain storm in August, so she gets a bit nervous with storms, but a Composure Pro helps her deal with it. London is a sweet loving miniature black Schnauzer with a given DOB of 12/4/21. She loves to be in your lap or close to you. London likes to play with toys when you play with her. She had NO identification when she was found, and no one responded to social media notifications! She became a Morris Mutt in late August. London is now totally vetted, complete with a lifetime fee paid ID chip.