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. …
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. …
Muttville a senior dog rescue facility in San Francisco gives dogs, 7 years or older, a second chance to be be loved and adopted. A dizzying array of different types of mixed dogs hang out together in the “dog loft” lounging in soft beds, a big velvet chair, and large sofas waiting for the right pet owner to take them home to care for them for the rest of their senior life.
[With some pretty darn cute doggy pix!]
A San Francisco street will be honorably renamed “Rescue Row,” due to the location of four of San Francisco’s premier animal rescue organizations on the same city block of Alabama Street, between 15th and 16th streets. This section of street is home to the San Francisco SPCA, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, Northern California Family Dog Rescue and San Francisco Animal Care and Control.
On May 6th, 2014, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to officially recognize the street as Rescue Row, making it the first of its kind in the country. Having the four rescue organizations on the same street makes it especially easy for adopters to find their perfect companion.
Sherri Franklin, the Executive Director of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, remarked on the occasion:
“We are so glad to be a part of Rescue Row with our other animal adoption partners. We think it’s going to be a win-win for all of the dogs, cats, birds and more that are hoping to find their forever homes on Rescue Row!” …
If you’ve ever owned a senior dog, you know how special they can be. Most are happy to spend their golden years lounging on the sofa, taking easygoing walks, and offering lots of cuddles. Unfortunately, many senior dogs lose their owners to old age or are abandoned because of medical or behavioral issues. In San Francisco, that’s where Muttville comes in.
Muttville is a senior dog rescue organization that was founded in 2007 by Sherri Franklin, a long-time volunteer at local animal shelters and a member of the San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare.
“I’ve always loved the underdog,” says Sherri who, in addition to being the founder of Muttville, is also the organization’s Executive Director. “I’ve learned that it takes a village to do it well, and our Mutt-village grows larger every day. Muttville has hundreds of volunteers and foster parents, and for each and every person, I am grateful that they care about abandoned senior dogs as much as I do. It’s gratifying to save each and every life and see the impact every dog has on the people that care for them. Then, to see a rescued senior find a new beginning with an adopter is the icing on the cake!”
So how do senior dogs end up at Muttville? …
Marion Cleverly and her husband, Roger, of Oakdale, Calif., had been looking for an adult dog when they found Webster, a happy, 11-year-old Labrador retriever at the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco.
“We had the space and thought, why not help an older dog have a nice life? I also (wanted) a role model for my two younger dogs,” says Cleverly.
Webster settled right in, seemingly aware that he was finally home. “He’s like your best, old uncle. He puts up with the younger dogs, and they’ve learned calm behavior from him,” says Cleverly.
Dogs are generally considered senior when they turn 6 or 7, and many become homeless through no fault of their own. …
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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
.. and these generous vets.