Our founder and Executive Director, Sherri Franklin, lost her own Muttville sweetheart, Helen, last week. Please join us in our tribute to a very special lady…
“I had to say goodbye to my beautiful big girl, Helen Belly. So so hard, but it was her time and her suffering is over. When I picked her up 3 years ago at Berkeley Animal Services, she had no hair and her skin was oozing. I fell in love and made it my goal to let her know that she was was loved. I remember how she liked to grab the leash and walk me and would jump in anyone’s car, especially if the person was sitting in the driver’s seat. I will miss curling up in her bed at night to read. I miss you, sweet Helen. I hope you are running free without pain and saying hello to some of your brothers and sisters that shared my house. Sail away, angel…"
At Muttville, we are lucky to have several amazing, selfless people we call fospice parents. They offer foster homes to our dogs who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses. One such fospice parent is Kay, who wrote this endearing story about her fospice boy named Felix:
After living with many senior dogs, my husband and I decided we would like to become fospice volunteers for Muttville. In most shelters, terminally ill animals are euthanized right away even if there is still some quality of life left for them. Not at Muttville; Sherri and team take these dogs and offer them a loving environment until it’s time for them to say goodbye. Every dog we have received into our home has instantly settled into our routine and has absolutely blossomed. Some have even lived longer than originally thought. Our current success story is Felix, a wonderfully, sweet, gentle and loving little soul. He arrived about one month ago and was a little shy and very skinny. He is already gaining weight, he runs around after our other dogs with his little tail constantly wagging. He stands and whines at the side of the bed until I pick him up and he takes his rightful place, right between Dave and me. He loves the beach and strolls along sniffing at every piece of seaweed he can find. He is a favorite at work and spends time with my coworkers who spoil him with treats all day long. If you think fospice work is not for you, I encourage you to think again. Making sure a dog has the best possible end-of-life care you can possibly provide is the most rewarding thing you can do. It’s life changing.
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Congrats! These lucky seniors have found their forever homes!
S4S indicates the adoption was part of our Seniors For Seniors Program
There’s a perfect senior waiting for you!
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Enjoy this new monthly blog series, thanks to mutt mom and Licensed Therapist Laura Goodspeed, MFT. As a contributing writer, Laura will focus on the many emotional aspects of rescue work and life with these beloved animal companions:
My dog is exceedingly intelligent. I am routinely captivated by his talents, and delighted by the extent of his ability to communicate his thoughts. And I know I’m not alone in this admiration – many of you in the Muttville community share a similar wonderment in regard to your own beloved furry friends.
That said, it isn’t stimulating intellectual repartee I share with Dexter – a Muttville rescue, formerly Mr. Hobbes – that I value so much. It isn’t an enormous and precise vocabulary that makes him the bio-magnetic center of my universe. What makes his presence in my world so completely essential and life altering is the emotional bond between us, the feelings he elicits in me and in my family. This energetic connection is made manifest when I enter a room after a 30 second hiatus, and his fluffy tail starts wagging so vehemently that his entire back end volleys from side to side, threatening to wrest him completely off balance. It’s apparent in his joyful open-mouthed pant after a long walk together, and how gratified I feel when I can then provide him a bowl of fresh, cool water. It’s in his grateful, full-body lean into my hand as I lovingly knead the scruff around his neck. It’s in the unadulterated, determined glee in his eyes as he works over the third chicken jerky treat he adroitly charmed out of my partner today. And it takes shape in the pulsating, expansive heat I feel in the center of my chest when I watch him do most anything, safe in the knowledge that he is happy, healthy, warm and fed because I have successfully tended to – perhaps ‘catered to’ is a better word choice – his needs. At the same time, even amidst our blissful reverie, I am painfully aware that I will lose Dexter one day. This knowledge taunts me, like a mosquito hovering about my ear in the wee hours of a fitful night. And although I aspire to live in the present moment, and without fear ruling my consciousness – endeavors in which Dexter schools me daily – I admit that I still harbor a quiet dread of the sorrow and chill that will one day fill the aforementioned hot spot in my chest cavity.
These instances I’ve enumerated are but the smallest sampling of the ways in which we are affectively intertwined with our non-human loved ones. Our bonds with companion animals go far beyond logic, and are at least as profound as the connections we share with our human families. There are countless facets of these inter-species relationships to explore and to which we might pay homage, particularly in a world that all too often (dis)regards animals as mere objects. Our emotional kinship with animals – those we live with, those we foster or rescue, those to whom we must eventually say goodbye, and sadly, even the many that we aren’t able to help – will be the focus of this monthly blog, which I will proudly offer on behalf of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.
In conjunction, I will be facilitating a monthly discussion/support group, open to all members of the Muttville community, wherein we can delve into the topics presented in this blog, as well as anything else that may present itself in your rescue-loving hearts. Please consider joining us, one time, monthly, or as the mood strikes (we’ll post date and time on our Events page.)
I am often amazed at the extent to which some people will go for the benefit of pets and even more amazed when someone’s generosity benefits an animal with which their relationship is only temporary. My wife and I are parents to Hazel, a 12-or-so-year-old Chihuahua mix that was found last year running loose in the Bay Area. Muttville took her in and she was soon placed in a foster home. Unfortunately, over the course of just a few weeks she was diagnosed with severe progressive cataracts in both eyes which quickly rendered her completely blind. The wonderful doctors at Veterinary Vision felt that her eyesight in one eye could be restored surgically with a lens transplant so her foster parents signed her up for the $3500 the surgery and in no time Hazel could see once again.
We heard about and saw a photo of Hazel and decided to make the trip to San Francisco to meet her. She immediately reminded us of our elderly dog, Humphrey, who had recently passed. We were cleared as a suitable long term home for Hazel and we took her home. She is a delight! She has fit into our menagerie without a ruffle, and she has adopted our lifestyle as though she had been with us our whole life. She’ll hike with our pack on occasion as far as five miles, never balking or complaining. Being older, she sleeps a lot making her wonderful to travel with or keep under the desk on her bed at our veterinary clinic.
I often say that one of my favorite things about being a vet, aside from working with animals and the people that care for them all day every day, is seeing the best side of people most of the time – the side of people that is so willing to give with little regard for repayment. Hazel is a great example of this kind of “paying it forward”. Thanks to all the foster parents who give so much to help Muttville dogs find their perfect “forever home”.
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Thank you to Muttville’s human friends who generously donate their goods and services.
David and Emily Pottruck
Hurvis Charitable Foundation
Jamie Anderson, DVM
Jennifer Scarlett, DVM
Siobhan O’Connor, DVM
Sit Stay Technology