Rescue groups ramp up senior animal adoptions with special promotions and incentives.
Classic. Mature. Vintage. We use these words every day when describing the finer things in life, be it cars, cheeses or wines. But rarely are these words heard when extolling the virtues of senior animals. Too often, older pets are viewed as disposable due to medical challenges, changing family dynamics or simply because they’re not as much fun as they once were. The sad truth is senior cats and dogs wait in shelters and grow older as they are passed over for their younger counterparts.
Thanks to the perseverance and passion of many rescue groups and sanctuaries, perceptions around adopting older animals are changing. As a result, homeless senior animals are getting a second chance at love and life while adopters are discovering the joy of caring for a senior pet.
(With a section aptly titled “Senior dogs rule” that’s all about Muttville.)
The Bay Area is awash in unwanted dogs—and in groups dedicated to saving them. But not all rescue organizations are created equal.
“That’s Fonzi. He’s a real humper.” Sherri Franklin says as an eight-year-old miniature pinscher darts by our feet on his way out for a walk. “He grabs on and doesn’t let go.”
Even senior dogs get frisky, especially when they’re pampered as lavishly as they are at Muttville, Franklin’s shelter for dogs age seven and older. Downstairs, Franklin shows off the shelter’s “community cuddle room,” a space where potential adopters come for meet-and-greets and senior citizens convene for a bimonthly “cuddle club” with the dogs. Upstairs, she points out he kitchen where dinner—a mix of whole grains, vegetables, blueberries, chicken, and nutritional supplements that even I might deign to eat—is cooked for Muttville’s residents. Next up is the veterinary suite, built entirely with $50,000 in donations. A chorus of raspy barking greets us as Franklin shows me the area where anywhere from 17 to 22 dogs are kept, cage-free, in “different rooms for different personalities.” She bends down to pick up a particularly decrepit-looking Pomeranian mix with patchy fur and ragged ears. “Hey, sweet boy,” she coos, “are you coming home with me for the night?” …
“There are so many rescue groups now, more than I’ve ever seen before,” says Pali Boucher, the founder of Rocket Dog Rescue, a 13-year-old organization based in Bernal Heights…. To the casual observer, many of these groups are indistinguishable…. But talk to people in the dog-rescue community about who stands out from the pack, as it were, and certain names come up repeatedly. Franklin’s is one. …
November isn’t just the season of thanks and giving, it also happens to be Adopt a Senior Pet Month!
And in honor of that, we are very pleased to announce our first Heart to Paw $20,000 grant recipient – Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.
Muttville, based in San Francisco, CA (HQ city of Big Heart Pet Brands, too!) is dedicated to changing the way the world thinks about and treats dogs aged seven years and older, and aims to create better lives for them through rescue, foster, adoption, and hospice.
“We are incredibly thrilled and honored to receive this grant from Big Heart Pet Brands,” said Sherri Franklin, Muttville’s Executive Director. “This money will give Muttville the ability to purchase some medical equipment that we otherwise would not be able to purchase. It is a great gift and we are so very thankful! We will be able to quickly assess some of our most critical medical cases, ultimately allowing us the opportunity to save more lives. We are so thankful to be nominated by Big Heart Pet employees! Some of our best volunteers are Big Heart Pet employees and we love them!”
This Heart to Paw grant will enable Muttville to purchase an ultrasound machine, a critical tool for their growing medical suite that will help them save more than $50,000 a year in medical expenses. …
On a cool February day in 2013, a happy 11-year-old Australian Cattle Dog mix named Danny Boy arrived at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco, California. Little did anyone suspect the adventures that awaited or the inspiring legacy that Danny Boy, with the help of his dedicated foster parents, would leave behind for the dogs of Muttville.
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, a Grey Muzzle grantee organization, takes in senior dogs who, because of their age, don’t have much chance of adoption in a shelter. Since 2007, Muttville’s goal has been to change the way people think about older dogs and to create better lives for them through rescue, adoption, and hospice. They have recently reached an impressive milestone, with 2,500 senior dogs rescued.
Danny Boy was fortunate to become a Muttville dog when he was pulled from a shelter across the Bay in Oakland. At Muttville, Danny quickly became a favorite of everyone he met. Although seemingly healthy, it wasn’t long before he was diagnosed with terminal multiple myeloma cancer. Instead of adoption, he was destined for their fospice (foster hospice) program. In fospice care, the focus would be on giving him the best possible life for whatever time he had left.
As long-time Muttville fospice volunteers with a dog care business of their own, Danny Boy’s caretakers, Marie and Russell, were well-placed to give Danny Boy what he needed in the months he had left. Rather than dim Danny’s carefree spirit with chemotherapy just to eke out a little more time, they committed to keeping him healthy as long as possible and making every remaining day a celebration. …
When Golden Retriever Rusty was 10 1/2, he ended up in a rescue. His life for many years had been quite good but then something happened in his owner’s life and Rusty needed a new home. There was a family who was going to adopt him. They had just lost their beloved dog and they fell in love with Rusty. But when it was discovered that Rusty had a mast cell tumor on his nose, a common form of skin cancer on dogs, the family didn’t want to put their young child through the possible-too-soon death of another dog.
Pacifica veterinarian Dr. Gary Hurlbut had already fallen in love with Rusty because he had been working with him.
“When it looked like it was going to be difficult for Rusty to find a home because of his skin cancer, Gary said, ’we’ll take him’ without even asking his wife,” laughed Hurlbut’s wife Loring Slivinski. “Because he knew I would say, yes.”
In honor of National Dog Day, August 26, this story is on Rusty, all the good reasons to adopt an older dog, and Muttville Senior Rescue. …
It began with a geriatric black-Lab mix who’d been picked up as a stray and locked in a cage at the South Los Angeles animal shelter. Hillary Rosen was trolling the shelter for dogs to save last summer when she spotted the woebegone mutt.
“She was horrible-looking and she barked at me from her kennel,” Rosen recalled. “But there was something about that damn dog…. She was like ‘Get me out of here right now and figure it out later.’”
So Rosen bailed her out and planned to hand her off to a friend in San Diego, who knew the dog was at risk of being euthanized and thought she could line up a new owner.
But it’s not easy to find a home for a crotchety, horrible-looking, abandoned 12-year-old dog. …
A great article describing the huge need and special joy of rescuing senior dogs, and — of course! — mentioning “Muttville in San Francisco.”
“I didn’t even know my life was incomplete before opening Muttville,” reflected Sherri Franklin, founder of the San Francisco-based senior dog rescue.
With 25 years as a hairstylist and salon owner under her belt, Franklin was both financially secure and happy in her career: Client interaction and fashion were right up her alley. But as she approached her late 40s, she felt her focus changing.
“I’d been volunteering at animal shelters for 12 years, six years as the vice chair of the Animal Control and Welfare Commission of San Francisco,” she said. “Many senior dogs never made it out of the shelter due to their age.”
The ache of watching these lovable canines await homes — often in vain — nagged at her.
“Instead of buying nice clothes, I began buying dog-walking clothes. Instead of a manicure, or shopping, on my day off, I spent more time with the dogs,” she said. “I saved money that way, which I spent on dogs — if one was about to be euthanized, I’d take him home, fix him up, bring his picture to the salon, talk to my clients about him. Eventually, we’d find him a home.”
She toyed with opening a nonprofit, but admitted that delving deeper into the research would scare her off. Around her 49th birthday, a walk with a friend spurred her to action. “My friend said, basically, it’s now or never. I’d talked about this enough; it was time to do something; I needed to at least try,” Franklin recalled. …
Look at Eno, the cute, fuzzy, mini-poodle pup, reclining in his new owner’s arms and eating up the love like it’s Milk-Bone ambrosia. And check out spunky Baxter, the small Australian terrier mix, nipping at heels and kicking up his own, ready for a new home and adventure.
What? Eno’s 13? No way! And Baxter is about 10? Sweet little guys like this may have a few years under their collars – senior citizens in canine culture – but there’s no expiration date on love. And while it certainly takes a special breed of human to open heart and home for older pooches, more and more people are looking past gray muzzles, adopting senior dogs and giving them a new “leash” on life.
“It’s getting popular to adopt senior dogs,” says Laurie Routhier, director of operations at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco – an internationally known nonprofit dedicated to finding homes specifically for dogs ages 7 and up. Muttville placed 519 dogs in 2013, and they’re on track this year to reach 600 – animals who have lingered at other shelters on the verge of euthanasia or whose older owners have died and relatives don’t know what to do with the little guys and gals. …
Get your official
THANKS TO OUR VET PARTNERS
Muttville is honored to have veterinarians who donate their time to work in Muttville’s Vet Suite. We thank them for being so generous with their time and so loving with our dogs.
Dr. Margaret Holiday
Dr. Naomi Nagayama
Dr. Siobhan O’Connor