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Success Story "Murray"

Success Story "Murray"

Anna gave Murray to herself as a gift. Murray was in Muttville’s hospice program, and we thank Anne for giving him a loving home for his final month on this earth. Murray left us May 19, and we miss him dearly. Thanks to Anne for writing his story:

Murray was something of a birthday gift to myself. I went to Muttville on my birthday. It just so happened to fall on a Love a Senior Saturday. I went there with the intention of meeting three other specific dogs. Only one was there. And then I saw a slightly overweight yellow lab. He was very busy humping all the blankets and most of the dog beds, so he did not see me much. He must have been new – he wasn’t even on the white board yet. I have a soft spot for labs. They’re like a puppy trapped in a very large and usually bumbling body. My last lab (also from Muttville) had recently passed away. I felt conflicted. I still carried such sadness in my heart. So I didn’t go home with him that day. Instead I went home and thought about it, debated, imagined the future, wondered if Costco still sold lint rollers, pined away, etc. I thought about him every day. And then finally I asked Sherri if I could overnight him. I was made aware he had a tumor that required medical investigation. I didn’t feel ready to do end-stage stuff so soon again. But he was pretty much everything I suspected – a real ham whose time was chiefly spent devising ways to acquire more food. I watched him go through the trash multiple times in the span of five minutes and I thought, Hey that’s my kind of dog!!! I brought him back to HQ the next day nevertheless. I did tell Sherri I’d provide fospice if the vet determined malignancy. Which turned out to be the case. I picked him back up on Easter Sunday. He was my only dog (I have one forever and one foster) who always needed to be with me all the time. He woke up when I woke up and followed me upstairs while both my chis stayed tucked away in my bed. He’d even wait in the bathroom with me while I was getting ready. He possessed most of the qualities I was looking for in a dog: big lug – check! food motivated – check! uber dependent – check! sweet – check! I knew Murray wouldn’t be around for very long. I even deceived myself into thinking it wouldn’t be that bad since I was just a foster mom. But when his spark started fading and I knew it was time for him, it hurt just as much as ever. He was such a comfort to have. Like the mashed potatoes mom used to make or the way a favorite teddy bear smells. He was familiar and felt like home even though we had just met. And here I am again with a heavy heart. But would I do it again? Oh totally. For one month my life was enriched because of Murray. Probably I wouldn’t be feeling this way if I hadn’t felt the opposite way before. I miss him. I want to hug him one more time. See the wind of his tail wagging make my chi’s squint in the background. Wake up because his advanced bed-hogging is about to make me fall off. I don’t know but maybe in time I will find him again. I was very much blessed to have had him at all.

“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

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 | 05.21.14 | 4 comments

"What It's Like To Be Rescued By Muttville" by The Backpacker Intern

"What It's Like To Be Rescued By Muttville" by The Backpacker Intern

Mark van der Heijden is the Backpacker Intern, a guy who is traveling around the world offering 2 days of volunteer work in exchange for a place to sleep and food. We realized Mark had a chance to see a glimpse of what it is like to be a dog rescued by Muttville. So we asked him to write about his experience of having been fed, groomed, and cared for by Muttville, just like a newly rescued dog. Here is what he wrote for us:

When I arrived at Muttville this morning I had nothing. No place to sleep. No food. No brothers and sisters. No friends that could help me. No family. Nothing. But then a sweet lady opened the door and picked me up. She cuddled me and gave me a warm welcome. If I had a tail it would be wagging. When we arrived at the first floor I noticed that there were more lost souls like me. It was not like any other hostels I’ve been before. Everybody was old. Quiet. And extremely hairy. I immediately became friends with this cool dude.

(see picture “making friends”)

When I was a little bit more used to the environment, the sweet lady gave me a necklace with my name on it. I guess that’s how they know who’s in the house in this doggy dog world.

After licking my balls it was time for my medical check. Another lovely lady with a blue shirt on put me on a surface and studied my health. She tested my blood and listened to my heart.

(see picture “vet check up”)

I had the heartbeat of a young puppy and the strength of a bulldog. She told me stories about other Mutts that have had some serious medical issues though. Like skin rash, no teeth and disabled legs. But no matter what the problem is, at Muttville they give everyone an honest chance, she said. My imaginary tail started to wag again.

(see picture “good boy”)

It wagged even more when I smelled something amazing coming out of the kitchen…It wasn’t someone’s ass…It was something greater. And I wasn’t the only one who was noticing this because the ‘oh so quiet’ Mutts suddenly transformed into a cacophony of wild pups. Dinnertime. Within no time we nailed it. Damn that felt good.

(see picture “dinner time”)

The best way to deal with an after-diner-dip is to ‘listen to it’. I decided to crash on the first bunk I could find. I can’t remember how long I was power napping but I definitely needed it. I do remember one of my dreams. In my dream, everybody from all over the world knew Muttville. People brought in homeless dogs and other people adopted them. All of the people and dogs were sharing the same big smile. Living the good life. I felt that my tail started to wag again. Could this dream become a reality?

(see picture “nap time!”)

mariem3 | 05.20.14 | 1 comment

Success Story "Joan"

Success Story "Joan"

Chris and Carrie share with us their very personal and touching story about how fate led them to Joan, a.k.a. Grandma Jones:

Last May, my husband and I spent the weekend in San Francisco for our 26th wedding anniversary. We had been going through a rough time in our marriage and had been living separately for several months, but we felt it was important to be together that weekend.

That Saturday morning we went for a walk through Crissy Field, and there we saw a large pet fair set up. On a whim, we walked over to look around and saw this little black dog sitting quietly on the grass. My husband sat down next to her to say hello, and as he did she put her paw on his leg so that he would pet her. We turned to the girl working there and asked whether this was a nice dog, and her reply was “Oh, that’s Grandma Jones…she’s my favorite”. So we spent a few minutes petting Grandma Jones, but eventually we pulled ourselves away saying we must be crazy to even think about getting a dog, given that we didn’t even live together at the time.

So off we went to get on with our day, but we talked about Grandma Jones all afternoon. Should we or shouldn’t we….was it fate or were we crazy? In the end we decided to leave it up to chance: If Grandma Jones was still at the pet fair when we headed back to our hotel that evening, we would take her home. If she was gone, then it wasn’t “meant to be”.

As the clock neared 5PM, we headed back towards Crissy Field, both of us secretly hoping Grandma Jones would still be there but neither of us wanting to voice our hopes. By that time of day, most of the vendors at the fair had already packed up for the night, so she was easy to spot. There across the field we could see Grandma Jones still sitting on the grass, one of the few dogs left behind.

Fate had decided for us – we were meant to have this dog.

That was a year ago, and we’ve been in love with this little girl ever since that first day. We re-named her Joan, a name befitting a little old lady, and she has been a loving, healing presence in our lives every single day.

As for us, my husband and I are now living together again with Joan by our side every day. She is the sweetest, most gentle little dog, and we like to think that she was sent to us for a reason!

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 | 05.14.14 | 2 comments

It’s Never Too Late! Building your Senior Dog’s Brain Through the Power of Scent (Part 2) By Shoshi Parks, Ph.D.

It’s Never Too Late! Building your Senior Dog’s Brain Through the Power of Scent (Part 2) By Shoshi Parks, Ph.D.

As our dogs age, so do their bodies and minds; at ten your senior only resembles the two year old pup you remember. But just because your dog now prefers couch surfing and snuggling to running around the dog park and playing frisbee doesn’t mean he is any less eager for mental stimulation. How do we know the brains of older dogs are still active? No matter what age, dogs love to sniff! With over 1/3 of the dog’s brain devoted to olfactory cells that register scent, it’s no wonder the craving to use their noses doesn’t disappear over time.

As noted in Part 1, mental stimulation (along with diet and medication) is part of a triad of factors that help your dog to stave off Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. Since a dog’s sense of smell is rarely impacted by trauma, disease or degeneration in the same way as sight or hearing, the nose is an easy and rewarding focal point for mental stimulation in senior dogs. Muttville Senior Dog Rescue’s new class, Senior Stars!, launches from the premise that games that encourage a dog to identify or find scented objects (particularly stinky foods like blue cheese, liver, or baby food) are a great way to provide seniors with a continued high quality of life as they age.

Try these simple scenting games with your senior dog at home to challenge his brain and find a new way to enjoy each other’s company!

Supplies: Treats!

While your dog is in another room, distribute a generous handful of delicious, stinky treats around your living room or kitchen. For the novice senior, randomly spread your treats around in easy to access places. For more advanced seekers, try placing some treats under things (couch, table, cabinets), on top of things (coffee table, chair), or even inside of things (between couch cushions, in a magazine holder, carton or bag). Turn off the lights and let your dog back in to the room and watch him go to work! If he gives up after only a few minutes, try turning on the lights or helping him by pointing out treats he missed. With practice, his ability to distinguish scents and find his rewards will improve!

Tip: If your dog struggles with his weight, play hide-and-seek with your dog’s breakfast or dinner kibble instead of feeding him out of a bowl!

What a Klutz!
Supplies: a cloth or leather object scented with your perfume/cologne, laundry detergent, or sweat and treats

Walk around your home with your dog. As you walk, discreetly drop a cloth or leather object you have been holding or carrying in your pocket (try a glove, handkerchief or dirty sock). Continue walking several more steps then stop, pat your pockets and look around as if you’ve lost something important. Tell your dog: “I lost it! Can you find it?” Walk back towards the object you dropped encouraging your dog to sniff the ground by pointing or patting it and tell your dog “find it!” Once you are within a few steps of the object, stop moving and give your dog some room to find it on his own. If he needs help, try “tripping” over the object or accidentally nudging it with your foot. When the dog notices the object and goes over to it, give him lots of praise and a treat. With practice, your dog may be able to go back to locate the object quickly when you ask him to “find it!”

Tip: If your dog shows no interest in your object, make it more appealing to him. Wrap a delicious treat inside a rag or old t-shirt and use it as your “find it” object. Don’t forget to tie up the cloth so your dog can’t instantly remove the treat from inside.

Scent Trails
Supplies: Treats!

To start, lay out a short row of treats or kibble (3 to 5 treats in a row of 2-3 feet). Show your dog the first treat and encourage him to follow the trail to the end. Repeat until your dog has the hang of it. Next, place your dog in another room and set out a longer trail of treats (try 8-10 feet long to start). Make sure your treats are no more than 6”-1’ apart from one another. Bring your dog back, show him the start of the trail, and let him go! Increase the difficulty by:

- extending the length of the trail (can your dog follow a trail all the way around your house?)

- increasing the distance between treats (see if your dog will stay on the hunt with a distance of 2 feet, 3 feet, or more between treats)

- change the environment (inside the house there are few distractions but the back yard or the sidewalk in front of your house are full of competing scents!)

Tip: Need a challenge? Add some other inedible (but safe!) objects to your trail such as cotton balls or balled up scraps of paper. Create a long trail with several inedible objects alternated with several edible ones. See if your dog can stay on the trail even when the “decoys” get in the way!

These games and many more are part of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and Modern Hound’s class developed just for senior and disabled dogs, Senior Stars! The four-week class focuses on stimulating the senses of scent and taste with games like hide-and-seek, obstacle courses, and the shell game and is open to seniors with all levels of disability. Guardians can take their new knowledge home and easily integrate it in to the daily lives of their seniors. For more information and to sign up, visit modernhoundsf.com under the “Classes” tab. Discounts are available to Muttville alumni and volunteers and half of all proceeds are donated to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue!

CLICK to Sign Up For Senior Stars!
Next class starts May 13.

See you there!

mariem3 | 05.08.14 | 0 comments

Success Story "Liz Taylor"

Success Story "Liz Taylor"

Thanks to foster mom Leslie for sharing the love story of forever mom Bryna and Liz Taylor, formerly Fifi:

Fifi came to me at the beginning of July 2013. Two weeks earlier, I had just lost my sweet Abigail who was my Muttville foster-failure. My other dog, Petey, and I were ready for a new foster. We went to Muttville to pick a new friend and someone said, “How about Fifi?”.

Fifi turned out to be a 10 lb purebred platinum french poodle who came to Muttville via the Oakland Animal Services. She had been picked up as a stray. Who ditches a sweet beautiful purebred pup? Well, I guess when you lose your hearing, and your vision is no longer so good and you have a little trouble holding your pee, the mean streets of Oakland are where you end up.

In the car on the way home, she bounced around in the car from the back to the front and to the back again. I spent the drive across the Bay Bridge trying to keep her off my lap and trying to recall where I had last seen Petey’s car harness!

She spent her first night or two with us checking out my house and the yard. Her vision wasn’t great. Neither was her hearing. She would bump into furniture, street poles, fences, and wouldn’t always hear me trying to get her attention. Oy!

And I guess checking things out while being supervised by myself wasn’t enough for her. She needed to check out the street…on her own! Imagine my surprise when just two days after bringing her home, I got a call in the middle of the day from the Muttville office telling me that a guy named John had found Fifi in the middle of the street. He called to return the dog.

I only live a ten minute drive from my work so I drove home quickly only to see that my front door had been kicked in and my house broken into. I guess she found the open door and wandered out. Petey was sitting on a chair in the living room and was elated that I was home. It turned out that John was a dog walker and had been driving through my neighborhood to pick up some clients for their afternoon walk. He found Fifi, called the number on her tags, then took her with him on the walk with his clients. When I met up with him later, he told me she wasn’t able to walk the entire 3.5 miles with the other dogs and that he had to carry her!

Thankfully, the rest of the summer was quiet for the three of us. There had not been any applications for Fifi so I asked Muttville if I could take her to get her eyes checked. I thought that maybe if her cataracts could be removed and her vision improved that it would increase her chances of being adopted. The eye vet assessed her and found a bigger problem than the cataracts. It turned out that her lenses were subluxed and could detach which would be very painful for her. Her lenses need to be removed. Muttville was notified but the project was put on hold as money needed to be raised as the surgery would cost close to $3000. Thankfully, two very generous women stepped forward and made contributions on Fifi’s behalf to go towards her surgery. Sherri gave us the green light and the surgery was scheduled for September 23rd.

Being the superstar that she is, Fifi came through the surgery well but was put on a few medications in addition to her incontinence meds. Some of the medications were steroid-based, and these made her incontinence worse despite the pill she was taking for this. Additionally, I felt that some of the meds were causing her to have anxiety. She would bark and bark, and I would come home to pee everywhere. I bought doggy diapers. She peed through those. And the barking! OMG! As the days grew shorter through the fall, all I could think was that I was going to get stuck with another difficult Muttville pup. (Abigail had been my first foster, and turned out to be at biter who was in kidney failure= foster failure). What the heck had I gotten myself into??

Well, around Thanksgiving, I took her to the regular vet who switched her incontinence meds. It took some time, but eventually the new meds helped. Also, her steroid-based eye drops were being tapered off and this probably helped out too. Gradually, her diapers were dryer when I got home from work and the nighttime barking seemed to be less.

Then, just before Christmas, there were three….THREE applications for her! I couldn’t believe it! After six months! Nothing came of the first two applicants, but the third seemed like she might be a good fit for Fifi. I took her to Muttville on Sunday Dec 22nd and we sat outside in the sunshine and waited for the applicant to meet us. Finally, a woman parked, got out of her car, and made a beeline to the happy girl sunning herself in my lap. I don’t even think Bryna looked at me once as she couldn’t take her eyes off Fifi.

And the rest is history! They are so happy together and the perfect match. And the best part is that I have a new friend and her name is Bryna! Fifi, now Liz Taylor, and Bryna have met up with Petey and me on a number of occasions. Its so cute to see the two of them reunite! Liz Taylor even came for a weekend when her new momma went out of town for a couple of days and it was just like old times.

Through all the ups and downs, I loved having Fifi here with Petey and me. It was amazing watching her transformation which has continued with Bryna. It still makes me sad and mad when I think about her previous owners putting her out on the street, but when I look at her now, I know that there is no place in the world that is more loving and perfect for her than being with Bryna.

My motto is that I won’t adopt out a foster to anyone unless I feel that they will love the dog as much if not more than me. I know in my heart that Bryna and Fifi will be happy together forever!!

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 | 05.07.14 | 0 comments

Help the Mutts! Donate to our "Laundering Money for Muttville" Campaign

Taking care of so many dogs means we do LOTS of laundry. And now, unfortunately, our washer and dryer are in their last cycles. We need new machines. It’s not glamorous, but it is necessary. And expensive. We need to raise $16,500 for a new industrial washer and dryer to keep the mutts fresh and clean. Please help.

Contribute to the Laundry Project with a donation.

mariem3 | 05.01.14 | 0 comments

Adopted Mutts! April 1 - 30

Adopted Mutts! April 1 - 30

Congrats! These 33 lucky senior mutts all found their forever homes in April:

Elmer Fudge
Mr. Butters

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 | 05.01.14 | 0 comments