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Success Story "Axl"

Success Story "Axl"

If you’ve seen the red wrapped VW Muttmobile, you’ve seen the photo of a cute dog looking out the back window. That’s Muttville mascot Axl, he of the funny walk, who has been with us longer than anybody else we currently have. (Many thanks go to Melinda for giving Axl a wonderful foster home!)

And you may know the wonderful Kristin, who works part-time in the office. For the last two years she’s been going to the Menlo Charity Horse Show with a Muttville dog, hoping to score an adoption. This year, she got us a booth, and we were able to bring a handful of dogs. Kristin’s ultimate goal: get Axl adopted.

Early during the week-long show, there was obvious chemistry between Axl and one particular woman who stopped by to visit. But he was a popular boy, and he soon got adopted. Later, that first woman, Tammie, the one with the chemistry, came back to visit Axl and was upset to find that he’d been adopted. “He stuck with me in spirit even after I’d heard that he had found a home,” said Tammie.

Well, guess what. The person who took Axl discovered that he was a little too fragile for the lab mix already at home, and Axl came back.

And so did Tammie. She was overjoyed. “I saw him again,” she said, “and I didn’t even need to know the details of why he was back. I just needed to know how to bring him home.”

“And home,” continues Tammie, "a forever home, is where he is now. He may not see all that well, nor hear all that well, and he may drift a little when he walks towards us, but he always knows where he is now. He knows he’s home. And he had another surprise fan waiting for him when he arrived home. His new father became an instant fan and proclaimed after a few days, ‘Axl isn’t just giving us unconditional love, he’s showing us how to love unconditionally, and that’s a very important reminder to have on a daily basis!’ Our thanks go to everyone at Muttville Senior Rescue who made this possible for us.”

At last, Axl’s getting the life he deserves. Congratulations to the new family!

If you adopted a Muttville dog, we would love to feature you in an upcoming ‘Success Story’. Please contact success_stories@muttville.org with the Subject line ‘Success Story’

mariem3 | 08.23.12 | 2 comments

Success Story "Osita"

Success Story "Osita"

On May 28, we lost our precious girl, Osita. As many know, she had health problems when we first adopted her that sadly led to kidney failure. It was a decision no one wants to ever be faced with, and yet, it was one we were forced to make. And though she had been ill, nothing could truly prepare us for this loss.

Since the moment we met Osita, she brought us enormous joy; endless smiles and laughter. She truly filled our hearts with love.

Osita found us on a beach in Mendocino on a beautiful sunny day in October 2010. One moment Dirk and I were relaxing on a blanket, enjoying an adventurous day that brought us unexpectedly to Russian Gulch State Park. The next moment this little ball of fluff comes frolicking up to us wearing an “Adopt Me” vest, and well, the rest was history.

It turned out she had been rescued from a high-kill shelter in LA. No one knows how she got there or what her life had been before that, but by the grace of God Muttville Senior Dog Rescue saved this matted and mangled little honey from the grips of death and brought her to San Francisco. She was being fostered by a couple who had taken her on a weekend trip to Mendocino. And that is how we came together.

People were always amazed that this little dog who had been left for dead was so kind, so trusting. Scoop her up and she would just melt in to your arms. And that’s where she spent a good deal of time. One of Osita’s many quirks that we joked made her more cat-like or baby-like then a “real” dog was how she was content being held in your arms for hours.

She wasn’t one for long-walks or leash-walks at all for that matter. Instead, she would just follow behind you at her cat-like pace. This dog was m-e-l-l-o-w. We had no idea she could even bark until the first time I was in the kitchen chopping food and I heard this scratchy cough coming from below. To my amusement, that was Osita barking. And that is the only time she would bark. This mellow dog that never made a peep had a whole other animated personality once there was food on the scene. She would come running at the smell of coffee brewing. And that’s when we first saw her adorable 2-legged dance. Up on 2 legs, she would start flapping her paws and jumping up and down like there was no tomorrow. So she COULD move afterall.

Our long-running storyline for Osita’s past life was that she had a prosperous film career in LA. In fact, we were pretty sure she was the estranged wife of Mr. Winkle (Google him) who had abandoned her once her health started to decline. We wanted to pursue alimony on her behalf but thought it better to leave the past in the past. Osita loved to be groomed and would sit perfectly still through bath time, blowouts and fur trims—just like any good starlet would do. There was no doubt in my mind she was used to extensive grooming from her days on the silver screen. And so it was no big surprise that on a return trip to LA last Fall a photographer snatched her up for a film shoot which even landed her on the cover of the artist’s website. Everyone who met Osita fell in love.

I remember my father asked me when we first talked about adopting her if I was prepared to go through with losing another dog, as I had done with my beloved Qi of 14+ years. I remember my response like it was yesterday. “Oh yeah, we’re just helping her out, for as long as that might be. We know she’s older so we’re just going to help take care of her for as long as she’s got.” I could never have imagined how much she would end up giving to us instead. I feel so blessed to have had her loving, sweet, gentle presence in my life. She touched my heart.

To know Osita was to love Osita. I miss her terribly and know my heart will always ache for her. It’s super sad to me that baby will never meet his furry big (lil) sister but with all the time she spent snuggled on my chest and lying on my tummy, I know they are intricately connected. She was, afterall, my practice baby.

RIP Osita J Pomeranian,

our Pom Pom

View Osita’s Memorial Tribute

Thank you for the wonderful work you do and all the many lives you touch at Muttville.

Danya & Dirk

If you adopted a Muttville dog, we would love to feature you in an upcoming ‘Success Story’. Please contact success_stories@muttville.org with the Subject line ‘Success Story’

mariem3 | 08.22.12 | 3 comments

Adopted Mutts of the Week (August 6 - August 20)

Adopted Mutts of the Week (August 6 - August 20)


These senior mutts have found their forever homes:


Thanks to everyone who joined us at these past events:

Menlo Charity Horse Show – We had 6 days of fun meeting new people, and we successfully found 6 forever homes for these lucky mutts there!
Mudpuppys – We love this venue for our monthly adoption event in San Francisco! Thank you Mudpuppy’s!

Every dog adopted means another life we can save. There’s a perfect senior waiting for you! Click here to see all of our mutts.

mariem3 | 08.20.12 | 3 comments

Success Story "Snap"

Success Story "Snap"

Thank you Elizabeth for this wonderful update on Snap who has enjoyed a new beginning at the age of 11. Here is sweet Snap’s story:

Just wanted to send you an update on Snap, whom we adopted from you about two years ago at the age of 11. Adopting Snap was the best thing we ever did. I wanted a dog who would be a friend to my daughter, and he has more than delivered. From the day he came home with us, he has been devoted to Lotus. No matter how tired he is or how lame he’s feeling, he follows her around the house. When she’s out, he sleeps by the door. And he has adopted our house rabbits as his personal friends; we’ve never had to worry about him hurting them.

Snap’s big joy in life is our evening sessions of tv and treats. He also loves our weekly hikes in the East Bay hills, despite his struggles with lameness, and periodic trips to the dog park, where he is the toast of the park. He has made numerous friends in our neighborhood (we’ve met more neighbors here during our walks with Snap than we did during our previous ten years living here).

After much work with the vet, we’ve finally managed to control his chronic ear infections, and we’ve adjusted to his very slow walking pace. The fact is, he gets us out hiking because it’s such a pleasure going with him. I hope he lives another ten years, but whatever time we have with him we will be immensely grateful for. Thank you so much for letting us adopt him.

If you adopted a Muttville dog, we would love to feature you in an upcoming ‘Success Story’. Please contact success_stories@muttville.org with the Subject line ‘Success Story’

mariem3 | 08.15.12 | 1 comment

IT'S OFFICIAL! Muttville Has A New Home!

IT'S OFFICIAL! Muttville Has A New Home!

The Mutts are moving…into a home on their way home!

Muttville just signed a lease to move to a big new fabulous space!

It’s big, it’s bright, it’s ours!

There’s lots of room for Sherri, and for all of us mutts, and the volunteers too.

There’s a place for everything, we even have a cool kitchen, a commercial washer and dryer, a place for the new mutts coming in, a place for the vets to do a quick check up on us, and even a place to store stuff!

We’ve got plumbers and electricians working hard to make the space safe and warm, but we’ll need help getting the place clean and comfortable.

Anyone interested in donating services, like Moving, Construction, Carpentry, IT, Painting, Electricity, Plumbing, Design, and any other services to help us build our space?

We are also looking for recommendations on discount services and products – desks, paint, storage, supplies and furniture. You name it! Let us know!

If you can donate or volunteer to help us build our new home, please click here and fill out this form.

We’ll be keeping you informed through our website, Facebook, emails and all the rest about our progress!

‘This is a huge step in Muttville’s growth!’ says our founder, Sherri. ‘This new space will allow us to streamline our efforts to help old dogs!

Plus we want a place where we can serve our community in so many ways.’

Muttville’s new location is at the corner of Alabama and 16th Street in San Francisco, next door to SF SPCA. The actual grand opening date is TBD but we’ll be sure to announce it as soon as we can! If you can help us out with your talents, skills, and services, please let us know by filling out this form.

mariem3 | 08.09.12 | 4 comments

Shy Dogs Wanna Have Fun, Too!

Shy Dogs Wanna Have Fun, Too!

Stacey Campbell, owner of Go Fetch Dog Training and a trainer at SFSPCA plus a long-time Muttville volunteer, wrote this feature article for our mutt-readers. Fosters and adopters alike may know a shy dog (or two?). Enjoy this article, featuring Stacey’s own senior ‘shy dog’ Penny:

Eight years ago, I adopted Penny, a 6-year-old beagle mix rescued from a research lab. I was a novice pet owner; I had a dog growing up but never one as an adult. I was an avid animal lover and under the impression that all dogs were created equal, they just needed to be loved. After a few weeks, I began to understand that Penny was not your typical happy-go-lucky dog. Housetraining issues, bolting, and shaking harder than an earthquake in response to anything that moved pretty much summed up my new dog.

For the first few months, I treated this 6-year-old dog like a puppy. I completely flooded her with people, places, and new experiences thinking she needed to get exposed to them and just “get over it.” Little did I know that I was actually making my dog worse.

Adopting a shy dog can be a rewarding experience, but it is not for everyone. Dog parks, social occasions or typical dog fun stuff may not be part of your routine. In fact, you can completely throw away any agenda that you may have for your new dog. Your decisions are not going to be guided by what you think is best, but by the needs of your dog.

Owning a shy dog means that you must become an expert on canine body language. Most importantly, you need to become an expert on reading the body language of your own dog. I can’t stress this enough. Ask yourself what does my dog look like in a relaxed and happy state versus a stressed and fearful state? You always want keep your shy dogs relaxed and happy. That means you must become your dog’s biggest advocate, and remove them from situations that may be stressful or perhaps not even exposing your dog to those situations to begin with.

That leads us to the question of how you are going to help your wallflower adjust to her new home, family, and friends. Your dog is going to be rewarded for being happy and relaxed rather than a perfect sit or down. If I have a dog that is fearful of people, I simply want to reward her for being happy and relaxed when a person approaches versus sitting for a treat. I don’t really care about the sit but more about my dog being happy. Once my dog is happy, I can shoot for rewarding the nice sit. On the other hand, if my dog displays stress/fear, I will want to ask that person to not approach and remain at a distance where my dog is still happy and relaxed while she is getting her reward. Remember, happy and relaxed always earns your shy dog rewards.

Along with reading your dog’s body language, figuring out what is rewarding to them is extremely important. The two go hand-in-hand in training. Does your dog love cheese, chicken, hot dogs, liver treats or tennis balls? Does your dog love to sit on your lap or spend time in their crate? Even removing your shy dog from a situation can be rewarding. Make a list in order of importance to your dog.

There are many activities that can be good for your shy dog, but again, your dog is going to dictate what is best for him/her. Signing up for a local training class or more specifically, signing up for a class geared toward Shy Dogs is a good start. Perhaps go early and get your dog used to the new environment and leave before the class ends. Understand that earning rewards for relaxed and happy are more important than doing a perfect down behavior in class. Let your instructor know so they can help create a more positive environment for your dog. If a class is too much, leave immediately and work up to being able to attend a class. There are plenty of private trainers that work specifically with shy/fearful dogs. It would be a good investment to seek the help of one to get you and your new dog off to a good start.

Lastly, the best advice someone gave me is to love your dog for who they are now. Anything beyond that is a huge bonus and it is our job to help our wallflowers blossom.

Do you have a shy dog? Tell us about your experience helping your wallflower enjoy his/her life. Submit your comments below.

mariem3 | 08.08.12 | 3 comments

Adopted Mutts of the Week (July 24 - August 6)

Adopted Mutts of the Week (July 24 - August 6)


These senior mutts have found their forever homes:

Cubby Bear
Boo Boo2

Every dog adopted means another life we can save. There’s a perfect senior waiting for you! Click here to see all of our mutts.

mariem3 | 08.06.12 | 0 comments

Success Story "Eva"

Success Story "Eva"

Thank you to Nancy for sharing with us a beautiful recount of her short yet life-changing year with a Muttville girl named Eva.

My Year with Miss Eva

Actually, 13 Grand months! I first met Eva on a Wednesday when Marie and Russell filled me in on her story. How she was coming out of her shell, how she was responding to her surgery to remove the lump in her leg. I came back on Sunday to bring her home. Marie knew Eva and I were meant to be with each other when Eva got off the sofa to greet me at the door. She left with me so easily, too. What a love! I even had a playlist on my iPod for her. She became My Girl.

The next day, we went to the dog park and Eva just barely made it past the entrance gate. The next day, she was much more comfortable and we went all around meeting everyone. At first people were confused and thought she was my dearly departed Molly, but soon got to know her as Eva.

And then on Thursday, I began to dog sit for a fellow foster friend, a dog I had transported from the vet to his foster home. Eva and the little one bonded immediately and a week later, I decided the three of us would be a family, Eva, Fang, and me.

How Eva protected Fang. He loves to play with dogs of all sizes and Eva was always right there to make certain the other dogs would not get too rough with him. No wonder Fang could puff out his chest and walk around so fearlessly!

Eva was very protective of me, too. She followed me everywhere, always in the same room with me. And whenever I looked at her in a certain way, she would come over to give me kisses.

Eva was gorgeous. Nobody ever believed she was fighting cancer. Thanks to Marie and Russell’s regimen of her home cooked diet and supplements which I continued. I truly believe that was a huge factor in my having my time with her. She looked SO good. And when she ran with the other dogs, my heart sang!

I called her the Sheriff, too. Any hint of discord among the dogs at the park and she was right there yelling at them and keeping order. Even a peaceful gathering got her into herding mode. Doing what she was born to do.

My former roommate told me the other day how he was on the floor with Eva and Fang when he started to sing. Eva joined in and started howling with him. She was always talking up a storm. Boy, was she vocal!!!

In September, we took on a foster dog that I named Foster. A Llasa Apso searching for his forever home. He was a growler and oh my! How Eva put him in his place and protected me! There was such a distinct difference in her voice when she was chastising Foster. But she protected him at the park, too. My Miss Eva.

We all enjoyed going to Fort Funston though Eva never got her feet wet like the two boys did. But she did enjoy the beach and the cliffs above. She even came with me on a blind date there to protect me.

The four of us went to Fort Funston on Thanksgiving. Suddenly, I hear, ‘Eva, Eva’? Oh my goodness! It was Marie and Russell with their pack including Max! We had just missed the Muttville gathering. I think Eva remembered Russell for whom she had the biggest crush. And she absolutely remembered Max as they were foster mates. Unfortunately, Eva had no tolerance for Max and definitely expressed her great displeasure at seeing him again!

Poor Max! Having just been returned to Muttville, he had to face Eva again. In a ‘what a very small world’ way, Max was returned by the very couple who were coming the next day to meet Foster. (Foster is still with me).

Right after Thanksgiving, Jackson and his father joined our pack as the new housemates. Jackson is an almost 17 year old Belgian Shepherd/Husky mix. He is our very senior citizen with arthritis in his back legs. Sometimes he stumbles and falls and needs assistance to get up again. If no one was in the room, Eva barked until we came to help Jackson.

Always looking out for all of us in her pack.

Recently, she became very fussy about her food. Sometimes, she would refuse to eat at all. She also became lethargic and wanted to stick close to home and just sunbathe in the front yard or just sleep.

Eva had an appointment on Thursday 6/28 at Healthy Pets. That is where her cancerous tumor was removed before she came into my life.

On Wednesday, 6/27 (of this year), I came home to the usual frenetic greeting by Fang and Foster. I checked to see Jackson was still breathing and then noticed Eva was not in her usual spot. I looked outside on the patio and she was napping ever so peacefully.

But wait, are those flies near her? Eva, Eva, I called out. But alas, Eva had left us. I really pray the sun was shining out there and she went to sunbathe.

Eva did it on her own terms. No more vet appointments for her. She was still beautiful and just went to sleep peacefully. I placed a towel over her and Fang laid on her for quite awhile.

Good bye My Girl. My sweet, beautiful Miss Eva! Fang and I miss you so much already. Who will ever protect us like you did? Good bye, my love.

If you adopted a Muttville dog, we would love to feature you in an upcoming ‘Success Story’. Please contact success_stories@muttville.org with the Subject line ‘Success Story’

mariem3 | 08.01.12 | 6 comments