Woofs - Daily life at Muttville
RSS Blog feed

Success Story "Sassafras"

Success Story "Sassafras"

Meet one of the smartest Muttville dogs we know! She is so smart, she wrote her own success story. Read Sassafras’ story in her own words, as she tells us about her awesome life with her new family:

It all started on a sunny San Francisco day, I was rehabbing from hip surgery at Muttville headquarters during an afternoon open house and this lady wanted to take me for a walk. What a walk, I just wanted to rest, but I am a people pleaser so I got up on my 3 good legs and hobbled out the door. The lady was nice and seemed to offer good head scratches and belly rubs, little did I know on February 2, 2013 after I completed by Hydrotherapy this lady was going to be my new momma! Thanks to the awesome rockstars and volunteers at Muttville, I now have my very own happily ever after.

Let me introduce MY family: I have a Weimaraner sister Indigo who can be a bit of a pill, an iguana sister Slim who doesn’t bug me much and a cat sister named Diesel Ann. Diesel Ann likes to steal my plush bed and I am not a fan of her cat like ways. Crystal and C.J. are my mom and dad. They love me so much and show me how much they love me with hugs, cuddle time, head scratches, belly rubs, treats, but most importantly balls, lots of balls. I love to play ball! I carry one around all the time, one must always be prepared. No one knew how much I loved to play while at Muttville because I was hurt and then recovering from hip surgery. However, once all four legs worked again, I was ready to run. I may be older and tire more quickly than I use to, but I will chase the ball as long as you throw it. I even tore my pads by running too much a few months ago, who knew I had that kind of spunk left in me. Do not write off us seniors, we love more and play hard!

I have gone camping, went fishing in a boat, dined al fresco and visited many new places with great smells all with MY new family since moving to Elk Grove, CA in February. I have a great park across the street from my house, please come throw the ball for me! All in all, life is good and I wish/hope every dog is able to experience a happily ever after with balls, treats, walks and lots of love! Thank you Muttville for making my happily ever after a reality!

Love,

Sassafras


Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to success_stories@muttville.org with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.

mariem3 | 10.30.13 | 1 comment

Adopted Mutts! October 14 - 27

Adopted Mutts! October 14 - 27

Big congrats to these very happy senior mutts who found forever homes! (S4S indicates the dog was adopted through our Seniors For Seniors Program.)

Chikalin
Oko
Dove
May
Gracie
Tina
Sammy
Ruby Sue
Joy
Sandy
Evie
Mandy
Marci
Beetlejuice
Dobby
Sarah
Blaze
Max
Ella Enchanted
Gilbert (s4s)
Cane
ChaCha
Petey
Jake (s4s)
Moxie (s4s)
Angel


To see the profiles of these lucky mutts, visit the Recent Adoptions section of our Mutts page.


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.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.

mariem3 | 10.28.13 | 0 comments

This Month's Training Advice: "Introducing Cats and Dogs"

This Month's Training Advice: "Introducing Cats and Dogs"

Thanks to Muttville volunteer Shoshi Parks, Ph.D., who is a positive reinforcement dog trainer and owner of Modern Hound.

Cats and dogs don’t always speak the same language but they can learn to get along. Cats are highly sensitive to changes in their environment, and exposure to things they perceive as threatening without proper planning can result in physical and behavioral changes. Your dog, too, might become anxious if he feels he is being taunted by prey with sharp claws. Careful introductions are key to whether your home will be harmonious or stressful. Follow these steps to help you integrate your new dog into your animal family!

Step 1: Before your dog arrives home

- Your new dog and cat(s) will need to spend the first several days of their new life together in separate areas of the home. Make sure you are ready by creating comfortable spaces for each pet. Pick rooms with doors that close or purchase a baby gate or x-pen to block off spaces. Make sure each space has comfortable bedding, food, water, toys and that there is a litter box in the cat’s space.

- If you have the opportunity to meet your new dog before you take him home, ask the foster family to borrow a towel, blanket or toy with the dog’s scent. Trade the object for one of your own that smells like your cat. Each scented item should be placed in a location the pet goes to snuggle and relax.

- Trim your cat’s claws in preparation for face-to-face introductions in Step 3.

- Do not bring your cat to the dog’s foster home or the Muttville Loft. Cats are very environmentally sensitive and may become severely stressed out when taken away from their home turf resulting in an interaction that could be traumatic for both pets. Wait to introduce the animals until you bring home your new dog for its trial two-week adoption period.

Step 2: Welcome home!

- Before your new dog and cat meet face-to-face, they need some time to get comfortable with each other’s scent and sound. Put your dog and cat in separate areas of the home. If you are using a baby gate or x-pen to block off space, cover it with a sheet so neither animal can see the other. You will want to keep them separated this way for a minimum of 1-2 days.

- On the 3rd and 4th days, remove the sheet from your barrier so that the animals are still separated but they can see each other. Reward your dog with tiny pieces of chicken or cheese for staying calm when he sees the cat. On the other side of the barrier, reward your cat for coming close to the barrier with tiny pieces of chicken or tuna.

- During this period, rotate your dog and cat(s) between spaces daily so they can explore each other’s scent. Make sure your pets can’t access one another when you make the daily switch. Move your cat’s litter box when you rotate rooms; the dog’s scent on the litter box might cause your cat stress.

- When you leave the house, make sure the barrier between cat and dog are secure and replace the sheet to assure that your dog doesn’t become overly excited when he sees your cat.

- If your cat refuses to eat or use the litter box or your dog obsessively barks at the cat or digs at the barrier, consult a professional dog trainer before moving on to Step 3.

Step 3: Face-to-face introductions

- Put a leash on your dog and remove the baby gate/open doors. Tie the leash to a heavy piece of furniture and make sure a comfortable place to rest, water and toys are within reach. This will give your cat the opportunity to safely explore the area without any risk from your dog.

- When your cat is ready to explore the room where the dog is leashed, reward your dog with tiny bits of chicken or cheese each time he calmly looks at the cat. Tell your dog “Yes!” or “Good!” in a happy voice and deliver a treat. If your dog lunges or barks at the cat, immediately redirect him by asking him to refocus on you, to sit or to down and reward him for the new action. Interrupt any attempt your dog makes to chase your cat by redirecting his attention to you with treats.

- When your dog is calm and relaxed when your cat is present, untie the end of the leash and let him drag it so that he is able to move about freely but giving you the opportunity to grab him easily in an emergency. Continue to keep your dog leashed in the home until both pets can move around the room without alarming each other. This process may take only a few days or weeks. Be patient!

- A happy multi-species home doesn’t depend on your dog and cat loving each other, but it does require that they tacitly accept each other. Let your cat set the pace and look for and warmly praise calm interaction!

- Continue to separate the animals when you are away from home.

Step 4: A happy animal family

- Remove your dog’s leash and let your pets interact on your own as long as you are present and able to quickly intervene if necessary.

- When you are sure that your dog and cat will not hurt each other, you can leave them alone together unsupervised (a month or so).

- Keep your cat’s food on a high surface such as a table, shelf or windowsill so that your dog can’t reach it.

Muttville brings you dog training and care advice every month, thanks to our volunteer training professionals. Please join us for our monthly training seminars, held in Muttville’s Community Room, 255 Alabama St. in San Francisco. Check our Events page for the next seminar.

mariem3 | 10.24.13 | 0 comments

Success Story "Emma"

Success Story "Emma"

Emma (formerly Amelia) was saved from a high kill shelter, and now lives an amazing life with her forever family – mom Margie and furry brother Ziggy. Enjoy her happily ever after tale…

After many months of looking a pal for my dog Ziggy, I spotted Emma on the Muttville website. She had a very sweet face, was the right age, and looked like she might be a good fit. Muttville was participating in the Maddie’s Adoptathon that weekend, Emma was to be there, and Ziggy and I got there early to be the first in line to meet her.

When Ziggy & I met Emma, she was pretty sad. She was still recovering from a spay operation; had very bad eye, ear and skin infections; and her fur had been shaved because she was so matted that her back legs were matted together. She was such a sweet girl and we couldn’t help but take her home.

When we got home she could barely go up & down stairs and cried when you “looked like” you were going to touch her. Her whole body was sensitive. My sister thought there was something wrong with her back legs as they were so stiff that she had trouble using them. I can’t imagine the pain she had suffered and for how long before Muttville rescued her.

With all of her physical and emotional pain she was still sweet, would seek affection, and was great about letting me put eye drops in & giving her medicated baths. Her ears were so bad that the vet had them “packed” with medicine so that I would not have to touch them.

It took time for her body and soul to heal. It was such a joy the first time I saw her run. She actually “bounds” like a puppy and is so joyful. Emma’s back legs still have some weakness going up stairs and when getting into the car, but that is a minor “whoops” moment.

The best thing in the world is that I can now touch her all over and she doesn’t cry! There is still some residual fear of “being” hurt, but it not actually hurting. She is a great pal for both Ziggy and I.

She has decided that it is her job to make sure that any “critters” that wander in the back yard get some barks and loves to go to the dog park. I don’t have to worry one moment as she loves all dogs & people. I want to thank Muttville for saving this sweet girl and making it possible for her to be in Ziggy’s & my life.

Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to success_stories@muttville.org with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.

mariem3 | 10.23.13 | 1 comment

Success Story "Cesar"

Success Story "Cesar"

Cesar has quite the reputation, according to his mom Hillary! Read Cesar’s success story – it will bring a smile to your face:

And so…… Cesar’s new life has begun.

He wants you to know that he has made a graceful adjustment to living amongst other dogs as well as cats although they remain somewhat of a mystery to him. He is enjoying daily walks on his own terms, but daily none the less and now 3 pounds lighter. He enjoys sniffing all kinds of new smells as he now lives close to the water. Cesar often enjoys just sitting and watching the great white pelicans, the seaweed wrapping around his legs on the beach, the hundreds of Canadian Geese always circling, and mainly having warmth and safety every day.

Cesar is on a very set schedule of what is now laughingly referred to as his 3 hots and a cot not to vary or he lets you know big time. Cesar still does not enjoy riding in a vehicle but he now sees it as a means to an end as he knows it delivers him to new adventures and many outings. Cesar has become a regular at “Bark and Wine” every Friday evening at the local dog park where he supervises the event from his prized vantage point under the picnic table where inevitably goodies fall for collection, he counts on this.

Stoic Cesar lived on the streets of San Francisco for 12 ½ years, he knew that many people were looking out for his welfare including his own circle of people within the homeless community, as well as S.F. Animal Care and Control. He most importantly knows that he has had the love of 2 key people, his former guardian who did everything he could for him within the boundaries of his own situation, and now this new guardian who feels so blessed to have Cesar enter her life.

Cesar very much hopes that the word gets back to those who cared about him the absolute most, that everything turned out o.k. that he is very happy. Mainly that he knows he has been lucky enough to have been deeply loved not just once but twice in his lifetime!

Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to success_stories@muttville.org with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.

mariem3 | 10.16.13 | 1 comment

Adopted Mutts! October 1 - 13

Adopted Mutts! October 1 - 13

Big congrats to these very happy senior mutts who found forever homes! (S4S indicates the dog was adopted through our Seniors For Seniors Program.)

Sunshine
Dixie
Janis Joplin
Dia
Itsy (S4S)
Mr. Dees
Luna (S4S)
Milo
Binky
Tulip
Elliot (S4S)
Sid (S4S)
Romeo
Joey
Chung Li
Pierre
Priscilla
Gilbert


To see the profiles of these lucky mutts, visit the Recent Adoptions section of our Mutts page.


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.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.

mariem3 | 10.14.13 | 0 comments

Success Story "Ponky"

Success Story "Ponky"

Not only is Ponky adorable, she has an equally adorable name and success story too! Thanks to mom Nadine for sharing this inspiring story with us.

“I adopted Ponky in January 2012 when she was approximately 10 years old. The day I picked her up she had just had mammary tumors removed. She had stitches from her neck to her groin and she laid like a little baby in my arms. The first picture is her with her collar on and PRETTY miserable. She recovered quickly only to have a second surgery in April for additional mammary tumors and to be spayed. She once again recovered quickly and now is the happiest girl ever! I have enclosed a picture of her running on the beach one month after her second surgery.

Ponky comes to school with me almost everyday ( I teach at San Francisco State University) and brings a joy to the classroom that I have not seen. My students take turns holding her. Some have said they feel more relaxed making presentations when she is present.

Because she brings so much joy to my self and others, I take her to a nursing home in San Rafael once a week. She lays on beds, sits on patients laps, or whatever a patient wants (picture attached). The patients light up when they see her. Some of them have not spoken in days to humans, but when they are holding Ponky, they start speaking to her. It is truly a miracle, the happiness she brings to young and old.

Because she is so well behaved she travels everywhere with me. In a 1.5 years, she has been to New York 4 times. My family loves her and she loves them. She stays in her travel bag under the seat in front of me and does not make a peep. People comment when we depart the plane, saying, they had no idea I had a dog with me, and then they ask if I sedated her. I have never needed to.

As you can see, she is an angel and I am the luckiest girl in the world to have had Sherri place Ponky in my arms the day I came to her door and say I want to adopt a dog. I have so many more wonderful things to tell you about her but, I don’t want to overdo it.

Thank God for Muttville. I hope Ponky’s success story helps spread the story of how much joy a senior dog can bring to one’s life."

Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to success_stories@muttville.org with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.

mariem3 | 10.08.13 | 0 comments

Success Story "Earl"

Success Story "Earl"

Muttville’s own dog trainer, Maureen Backman, is proud to share her Muttville success story. Read a sweet tale about Earl – the boy who stole Maureen’s heart:

October will mark one year since Earl, an 11-pound chihuahua/jack russell terrier/basenji/you-name-it mix came into my life. As I write this, he’s sunning himself on the couch, completely content and at ease. I am amazed at different he looks, and behaves, compared to when I first brought him home.

How many times have I heard the phrase, “You never choose your dog; your dog chooses you?” Enough to make me cringe like I do when I hear any sort of cliche. I rank it up there with “The only constant is change” and “There is no I in team.” So bear with me as I check my cliche-hating ego at the door and tell you that Earl absolutely chose me. And I am so, so grateful he did.

I met Earl one evening when attending a meeting at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. Muttville had received several new rescues that evening, and I swooped up a mellow, cuddly yorkie who immediately started snoozing in my arms. Earl (I did not yet know his name) continually appeared in my peripheral vision. He ran around the meeting room, marking every piece of furniture, every purse and shoulder bag, that he could. He growled at any dog that came near him. He snarled his teeth at most forms of human touch. His bark, which I later discovered was the result of a collapsed trachea, sounded like a cough acquired by years of smoking and whiskey drinking.

If you had asked me to list my top attributes for my next dog, none of Earl’s behaviors would have made the cut. In fact, I didn’t feel ready to open my heart to another dog. Less than 6 months prior to my meeting Earl, my family dog, my heart dog, my beloved yellow labrador retriever, passed away. It was an emotionally exhausting experience. I took a red-eye flight home to be with him as he breathed his last in the grass outside the veterinary office. I cried for three days straight, and have thought of him every day since. Even thinking about getting another dog seemed like a betrayal.

But, I digress. Back to the Muttville meeting. As it neared the end, one of Muttville’s employees jokingly asked me to take Earl home with me to give them some relief from his behaviors. Against my better judgment, in fact against any judgment whatsoever, I agreed, and without anything ready in my apartment, or pre-clearing the decision with my fiance (now my husband), Earl and I got into my car and started our journey together.

The first week was rocky. In fact, at one point I emailed Muttville stating I couldn’t foster Earl because he was continually barking and snapping at my husband. My husband didn’t grow up around dogs and was still afraid of them. I was afraid Earl would prove too much for us and our small San Francisco apartment. But somehow, Earl convinced me not to give up. I found myself anxious whenever dropping him off at an adoption fair. What if he got adopted and I never saw him again? Through positive reinforcement training and lots of patience, he gradually became more comfortable with me, my husband, and the outside world.

We never brought him back to Muttville and, after four months, we officially adopted him.

I cried the day I received Earl’s official adoption papers. His intake from animal care and control was heartbreaking. Before coming to Muttville, he was picked up as a stray in San Francisco. Scared, shut down and massively underweight, he failed all the shelter’s behavioral tests. He had a microchip, and ACC contacted his original owner in Tahoe. Sadly, not only did the owner not want him back, but said he had “lost” him several times before. The SPCA did not want to take him. Thank goodness Muttville did, otherwise euthanasia would have been his future.

Now Earl has a home. He has love. He has training. I cannot think of a better way to honor my heart dog who passed away than by giving this senior dog the chance to experience happiness.

There have been setbacks and tribulations over the past year. His teeth were so unhealthy that the vet removed 23, leaving him with an adorable, snaggly grin. He has severe separation anxiety that has improved little since I brought him home in October. Unless someone can watch him for us, my husband and I have not been able to go out to dinner, out with friends, or anywhere that does not allow dogs, for the past year. Some days, when experiencing a setback in the separation anxiety training, I feel utterly overwhelmed – both trapped in an existence where I can never leave Earl, and a feeling of ineptness at not being able to help him fully overcome his fears.

But greater than any feelings of ineptitude or frustration is the joy that Earl has brought both myself and my husband. Over the past year, he has evolved into a playful, mischievous, snuggly, sociable dog. He often chooses to curl up next to my husband at night – such a difference from a year ago. He loves running along the beach, zooming up the hilly trails in San Francisco, and even enjoys greeting other dogs. Instead of shivering on the streets as a stray, he curls up with us under the covers each night, clearly the most blissful part of his days. When I see Earl experience pure happiness, I feel the same joy.

Earl, the fiesty little dog, with the missing teeth and silly bark, has made an incredible impact on my life. I love him dearly, and am so happy our paths in life crossed when they did.

By Maureen Backman, MS

- Maureen Backman, MS is the owner of Mutt About Town dog training in San Francisco. She is also the founder of The Muzzle Up! Project. To get in touch, email her at muttabouttownsf@gmail.com.


Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to success_stories@muttville.org with the subject line ‘Success Story’.


You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.

mariem3 | 10.02.13 | 0 comments