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]
Paws down, the hautest San Francisco event to take place over the rainy weekend was Haute Dog | SF 4, a doggie runway fashion show held Feb. 6 at the San Francisco Design Center to benefit Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. The always-dapper Wilkes Bashford emceed for the fourth consecutive year and walked his equally stylish Dachshund Duchie down the catwalk. Jane Wiedlin and Gina Schock, original members of The Go-Go’s, were special guests and walked Flora, a pitbull mix from Muttville and in need of a home.
The San Francisco Design Center and Luxury Marketing Council of San Francisco teamed up to put on the event, which sells out every year and was well-attended this year despite the rain. A moving video of Muttville, started by Sherri Franklin, a long-time dog advocate who built Muttville from a tiny operation in her own home into a nationally renowned rescue organization that saves the lives of over 500 dogs a year, was shown.
Then it was time for the high-fashion pooches and their chic pet parents to hit the dogwalk. …
When Ed Brower lost his wife to cancer, he felt lost and alone. A retired manager with the Vallejo school district, he no longer knew how to fill his days. His daughter, Tracy, took him to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco, where they met a spunky Poodle named Felicity. Wearing a festive sweater and bows in her ears, Felicity had come to Muttville from a high-kill shelter in Los Angeles.
“She was going to be executed there,” Ed says. Like many older dogs in need of homes, Felicity was once not considered adoptable. Despite good health and a friendly disposition, her age (estimated as around seven years) marked her as less desirable than a puppy or younger dog at most shelters.
Muttville, however, is a different kind of dog rescue, designed to reach out to senior and special needs dogs, offering them the extra care and time they need to find suitable homes. A no-kill, cage-free rescue, Muttville has saved over two thousand dogs and continues to take in new ones every day.
Ed and Tracy connected to Muttville through its Seniors for Seniors Program, which helps match senior citizens with older canine companions. …
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