Pet Visit Volunteer Rudy

Kathleen “Kathy” Starke-Nalbach has a big heart for rescuing animals. She found a great match with her burly boy Rudy, a 132-pound mastiff.

Rudy is her third rescue. A female mastiff and a black lab complete the family. At just two years old, Rudy has developed a large stature and laid-back personality. Before his new home, he led his life alone and malnourished. Today he enjoys a good life with his family, favorite toys and healthy doggie treats and dinners topped with turmeric gravy.

“I had been wanting a male. He was a stray who came from the streets of Gulfport. He was 92 pounds, just skin and bones, when I picked him up from animal services. He’s like a baby. He’s a little bit shy. I love him dearly,” she shared.

Giving Back

Mastiffs are known as courageous, dignified, good-natured, lovable and protective animals, according to the American Kennel Club. Boasting all of these positive traits and more, Rudy seemed well-suited and trained to serve in the community.

He has completed basic and intermediate obedience training, the Canine Good Citizen test and the specialized Project PUP (Pets Uplifting People) certification, which enables him to volunteer on visits at our Suncoast Hospice Care Centers. Starke-Nalbach also takes him and her other mastiff to visit local children, veterans and people who are homeless, like Rudy once was.

Kathy and Rudy

“He has been great with the hospice patients. He goes over and lays his head on their bedsides and they reach over and pet him. The families have loved him,” she said.

Volunteering with Rudy is a rewarding way for her to give back to Suncoast Hospice.

“Hospice is near and dear to my heart. Both of my parents were cared for by hospice. They were able to remain at home. Hospice provided fabulous care.”

She and Rudy make a caring team.

“His life motto is to make everybody happy.”

Volunteers Needed

Dogs, cats and other eligible pets and their owners are encouraged to join and volunteer. For more information about our pet visit volunteer program, please call Alicia Lawler at (727) 772-4390.