A key point in 2017 self-care is that for every time you read a Trump take, you read some actual good, heartwarming news. Today’s comes care of Karin Brulliard at the Washington Post, whose coverage of how old dogs are getting more adoptions than before — sometimes to the point of hospice care — is a balm to the animal-loving soul.
The agencies behind this movement have endearing, reasonably punny names: Grey Muzzle; Muttville Senior Dog Rescue; Bob’s House for Dogs; and the Thulani Program. Coffee-table books and Instagram have helped. And finally, the doggos that are the hardest to find homes for — “senior dogs,” age 7 or older — are landing owners.
The key is defraying costs: Grey Muzzle and its peers take care of the medical and dental care that older dogs, like older humans, are likely to need. Brulliard reports that in 2016, Grey Muzzle gave $225,000 in grants to 38 senior-dog programs around the country.
One important thing to note: Contrary to a persistent myth, dogs of a certain age are indeed adept at learning new tricks. An Austrian study from last year of 95 Border collies found that older dogs did better than the younger pups on reasoning tests. Their long-term memory held in old age, too.
When a German Shepherd rescue organization posted Elmo’s photo online last fall, it made no effort to mask the dog’s problems. He wore a cone around his neck to prevent him from licking the large open sore on his hip. His fungus-ridden feet were swollen. His graying, 11-year-old face held a pathetic, ears-to-the-ground gaze.
Steve Frost, a retired fire captain in Northern California, said he saw the photo and thought Elmo “looked like hell.” He immediately decided he wanted the dog.
Four months later, Frost sits by his fireplace every morning and evening and gives Elmo four pills for his various ailments, “like an old man.” On Wednesday morning, he took Elmo in for prostate surgery. Frost, who had not owned a dog in several years, is now ushering one through its final years of life, which he says he figures will be “a lot better than living in a kennel.” …
San Francisco (CNN) As a child, Sherri Franklin grew up with a big heart for animals.
As an adult, she channeled that love into volunteer work at the San Francisco humane society. She was ultimately walking dogs there five days a week.
That’s when she noticed the older dogs were not being adopted.
“Most of them would end up getting euthanized,” Franklin said. “They didn’t stand a chance compared to the puppies.”
The plight of these senior dogs broke Franklin’s heart.
“I could feel their hope draining and my hope draining with them,” she said.
So in 2007, Franklin started Muttville out of her home. The nonprofit rescues senior dogs from shelters and finds them forever homes. …
[Muttville founder Sherri Franklin has been named a CNN Hero!]
Sherri Franklin sleeps each night with four dogs, give or take a mutt.
In fact, giving and taking mutts is what she does during her waking hours as founder and executive director of Muttville, a San Francisco-based senior dog rescue-and-foster shelter.
“She started taking in dogs at her home and by 2007 she had too many so she started Muttville,” said shelter board member Patty Stanton. “She started with 27 dogs adopted the first year; last year we rescued and adopted out over 800 seniors.”
Serving elderly dogs is Franklin’s passion and she’s inundated weekly with hundreds of emails, many of which say essentially the same thing: “Please save this dog or it will die.”
With a dozen full- and part-time employees and a $2.1-million budget, Franklin hopes to help 1,000 dogs this year. We spoke with her recently about her work. …
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue’s Senior Prom took place August 29th at the San Francisco Design Center raising funds so that Muttville can keep saving older dogs and give them a new beginning. This one night meant that so many more lives will be saved and it was a blast – to the gold and glitter of the SFDC’s beautiful space to the coronation of the royal court (congrats prom king dogs Cecil and Newman!) to the wonderful prizes donated to the auction, it was a glorious night of celebration.
Over a year’s time, Menlo Park resident Beth Martin lost four dogs. Twelve or so months later, she started thinking she was ready for a new dog in her life but had a firm opinion about puppies: “They’re a joke. They pee everywhere and eat everything.”
Through a friend who had worked on the fundraiser, Haute Dog, she was introduced to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. “I liked the idea that they were focusing on animals that needed help most,” she recalled. “The main reason these dogs aren’t being adopted is because of age.” …
Beth emphasized that Muttville provides medical care for the dogs and the food and accessories that would allow most anyone to foster a dog. “A potential foster goes through an interview process where they ask you about your schedule and home environment and tell you everything you need to know about fostering a dog,” she said.
“The key to fostering is having the time, patience and compassion for dogs who aren’t as spry as they once were. But they were once someone’s good pets, and they can be good pets again in the right home.”
Carol Byers already had two dogs when she decided to foster a third. Byers, an active woman in her early 70s, set her sights on an older pet.
“Like most seniors, I’ve experienced loss and know how important quality of life is,” she says. “To give a senior dog an opportunity to live out life with a loving family, a lap to curl up in, a comfortable bed and tummy rubs, means a lot.” (A senior dog is one in the last 25 percent of his or her life; the average lifespan of most breeds is nine to 15 years.)
At a visit to Muttville, a senior dog rescue in San Francisco, a pug/shih tzu named Peggy caught Byers’ eye. Peggy’s owner had died.
“She was 15 and diagnosed with cancer,” Byers says. The dog’s life expectancy was another four to six months. Byers agreed to care for the little dog to the end, and the two headed home, where Peggy began a new life with a new name, Penny.
Michelle Griego interviews Muttville’s Executive Director Sherri Franklin about Muttville and its mission to change the way people think about older dogs. They discuss how Muttville came about, its Cuddle Club and Seniors for Seniors adoption program, and how the organization works.
[With special appearance by sweet, adoptable Tinkerbell]
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