Rachael Ray Donates $10,000 to Senior Dog Rescue Run by New York Couple

Rachael Ray is paying it forward.

The chef and TV host, in partnership with a pet insurance company, donated $10,000 to a couple in Clifton Park, New York who cares for senior dogs through their rescue organization, the Mr. Mo Project.

The couple, Mariesa and Chris Hughes, have 20 dogs of their own, as well as 106 senior dogs in foster homes. They were inspired to start the project after they adopted an older pit bull named Moses. About a year and a half after adopting him, they found out he would need an MRI and sold their hot tub in order to pay for it.

"He was such a special dog and he just melted into our hearts and our home," Mariesa said of Moses on the Rachael Ray Show Tuesday. "We did all sorts of acupuncture, herbs and oils and love until he passed away five weeks later."

Chris added, "Once he passed away, it hit both of us and I remember driving down the road and I looked over at Mariesa and said, 'We should start saving senior dogs and pay for all their medical expenses.'"

Now, the couple keeps "the harder cases" in their home, which is equipped with a kennel, ramps, a giant bed, and other special features to make sure their senior dogs’ needs are met. The 106 other pups reside in various foster homes, but the Hughes family continues to pay for all the dogs' medical expenses, which can cost upwards of $45,000 per month.

"We cover those dogs financially for the rest of their lives," Chris said on the show. "By taking care of the medical and the financial side, that opened up so many homes and we've been incredibly blessed to find the foster homes we have."

"It's like a proud parent moment when you realize that your kid has done all of this," Mariesa added of Moses inspiring the project. "It's hard to talk about him and everything that he's done. We just miss him."

When Ray surprised Chris and Mariesa with the $10,000 check, both the couple and the host became emotional.

"There’s no way to top this story. Helping seniors, helping those in need," Ray said.

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