Recent posts by mariem3

Success Story "Buddy" (a.k.a. Chip)

Success Story "Buddy" (a.k.a. Chip)

Home cooking, exercise, and a loving home is the perfect formula for an amazing transformation for Buddy (formerly Chip):

My boyfriend adopted “Chip” (now Buddy) from you last Feb and although he was only with you for a couple of weeks before we took him home I just thought you’d like to know that it’s going great!

He was overweight and taking liver meds when we got him, but has trimmed down and doesn’t need pills anymore thanks to good old home cooking and lots of running around. He goes camping, goes to the beach, loves Pt. Isabel (who doesn’t?) and is happy to come out for a night on the town at Oakland’s dog-friendly bars.

Thanks for all you do, and I know if I ever am ready for another dog he’ll be a Muttville alumni.



Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
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Success Story "Sheba"

Success Story "Sheba"

Life is a beach, says Sheba! Read her success story, as told by her family, Eliza and Steve:

Sheba has been with us since May this year. While she was in pretty good health generally, she was certainly overweight and had a few cancerous growths. She was a bit shy and concerned/withdrawn at first, but very sweet. Not surprising that she was probably missing her former family.

In the short time she has been a member of our family, she has dropped about 10 pounds and perked up considerably. The vet has taken care of the tumors/warts and we are keeping an eye on them – but all seems good now. We go on multiple walks, including the “O” dark-thirty dawn patrol and make a habit of tossing the ball every evening. She is getting stronger and leaner every day. When our children were younger we had a black and a yellow lab and we missed their sensitivity, love of life and general good nature. Sheba is just that – even if she is a bit more vocal than most!

We just returned from the beach where we were chasing the ball….well, she chasing and I throwing. She is now asleep, of course, planning the rest of her day. Thank you, Muttville!


Eliza and Steve

Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
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Success Story "Sparky" (aka Trinket)

Success Story "Sparky" (aka Trinket)

Thanks to mutt dad John for sharing their Muttville love story. Trinket, now Sparky, has blossomed, thanks to their patience and nurturing. Be prepared! This is definitely an “Aww” story:

On a beautiful Sunday in early May, we were headed to Fitness SF for a workout and discovered that Muttville was conducting a senior dog adoption in front of the gym. David walked over and a little dog named Trinket ambled over and leaned against his leg. There was an immediate connection and before long, David made it clear that we needed to foster Trinket.

Trinket had a broken and disfigured jaw, one back leg that he couldn’t fully use, and he was yet to be neutered. His eyes seemed dim and his spirit somewhat broken. The plan was to foster him until he could have all of the procedures he needed and be ready for adoption.

That first night, we put him in a crate, but he was having nothing of that and he ended up sleeping on the pillow next to John’s head. On Thursday, May 22, we tearfully returned the little guy to Muttville, overwhelmed by the responsibility.

John kept a selfie of himself with Trinket sitting on the couch as the wallpaper on his iPhone and couldn’t stop talking about Trinket. John shared the picture from his iPhone with David…It was soon meant to be.

A Muttville adoption event was coming up on Saturday, May 31, and the decision was made to attend. We found Trinket amongst all of the amazing dogs that were there and it seemed he remembered us. We told Bunny at Muttville that we would continue to foster him and she responded that we would need to leave him for the weekend and pick him up on Monday if he wasn’t adopted. That was it – we had to adopt him on the spot. We could not live without him.

It has taken time, patience, and love, but the payoff has been amazing. When we officially adopted him he still needed dental work (he now has no teeth), he needed to be neutered, and it wasn’t clear what would happen to his leg. (All of that seems like distant history and he uses that back leg as best he can.) He also needed to develop the trust that he had a home with two people (and two sometimes reluctant Chihuahuas) committed to making the rest of his life as happy as possible. We had to adjust and establish a new routine and had to earn his trust.

In the process, we discovered this amazing little dog, now named Sparky (aka Boney James), who had persevered whatever his life had been and still showed love and enthusiasm for life. We recently took a road trip to visit David’s father on his farm in Idaho. Sparky was an amazing traveler, along with his new sisters Pepsi and CocoNut, and he became a new dog even more full of life. Those eyes that were dim and nearly closed when we met him are now wide and bright – amazingly bright for his 10+ years of age. (Just check out the pictures.) Sparky has a home. From early May to late July (3 short months) he has become fully integrated into our lives, just as we are all fully integrated into his life.

Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
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Success Story "Gregory"

Success Story "Gregory"

Gregory melted the hearts of his foster family, and thus began his forever life of happiness! Read his sweet story as written by mom Brittany:

Gregory was our 7th foster dog for Muttville but it took just a few hours for us to realize there was something special about this one… And we fell in love! While we never learned much about his history, he had to get neutered & have 16 teeth removed, so it’s safe to say that he had spent his previous 10 years not being very well taken care of.

Enter us! As usual, (Muttville’s Dog Manager) Eva entrusted us with a senior Pomeranian, knowing he would get cleaned up and loved while waiting for his forever home. Instead, he got cleaned up, loved, and adopted! Gregory joined our other rescue Pom, Bruschi, and our very senior Corgi mix, Shelby and we could not be happier. He has had some great adventures so far, including trips to Napa to go wine tasting, Calistoga to run around the mountains, and the Russian River to go tubing. So many adventures! Gregory also seems to have become obsessed with stuffed animals, falling asleep with them in his mouth and taking them on walks.

And most recently, Gregory joined his siblings at our wedding. He was extremely popular with all of his new human friends who hadn’t met him yet, including all sorts of human grandparents, aunts & uncles. He is incredibly loved by us all!!

We are so grateful to have heard of Muttville, become foster parents, and met Gregory. He’s hilarious and quirky and fits right in with our pack of misfits.

Love, James & Brittany + Shelby, Bruschi, & Gregory

Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
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Success Stories "Chickin", "Waffles" and "Acorn"

Success Stories "Chickin", "Waffles" and "Acorn"

Laugh and cry when you read this happy, cute story told by Bonni, the amazing mom of Muttville trio, Chickin, Waffles and Acorn:

I was lucky enough to meet and rescue my lady loves, Chickin and Waffles over 4 years ago. These two beasts have lit up my life (and countless others lives). I certainly was not looking for another fur-end! However, sometimes a patient at my work (Mission Pet Hospital) grabs my heartstrings and plays my favorite song. That is how I met my dapper little Acorn. I assisted with his bladder stone surgery. He was so fearful of everyone and everything at MPH…everyone but me. I held him and snuggled him through his induction and recovery and was immediately enamored.

Acorn was “adopted” 2 or 3 times and returned. He has very severe chronic collapsing trachea and had had some urinary issues. The last time he was returned, I took this as a sign. I brought Chickin and Waffles down to Muttville’s compound (snug in their cross bay travel backpack) to meet their new roommate (well, possible new roommate). The three lil poms rousted around Muttville gloriously and I decided Acorn had to come back to Oakland to stay with us. That was almost 2 years ago. These three weirdos, senior pomeranians are my joy. we love and take care of each other. There is nothing better than coming home after a horrible day at work and having my three freaky beasts jump and roll over each other to snuggle me first.

Thanks Muttville, for giving these weirdo vintage pooches a second chance. I’m sending some happy photos!


Bonni, Rob, Chickin,Waffles, and Acorn

Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
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Success Story "Posey"

Success Story "Posey"

Thank you Ryan for sharing your love story with Posey:

I immediately fell for Posey right away when first meeting her, and when she first moved in with me and her big sister Bailey (another Muttville alum) she was a perfect fit right away – her playfulness and energy (and charming goofiness!) was a great complement to Bailey’s sincere, mature personality. The two girls built a strong bond during their several months together before Bailey’s unfortunate passing last year.

Since then, Posey and I have become settled together, and we’ve continued to strengthen our relationship and bond. We both look forward to all of our time together, whether it’s our daily walks and routines, weekend outings around SF and the Bay Area, or just each other’s company at home. The benefits definitely go both ways, as she is making me a better person and I couldn’t care for or love her more.

Thank you and your organization, including all of your supporters and volunteers, for all that you do every day to help and advocate for senior dogs. Your works makes a big difference in the lives of both canines and humans!

Best regards,

Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.


Success Story "Greta"

Success Story "Greta"

A cute story of how a 5 lb tiny mutt named Greta filled the hearts of Sandee and her family with tons of joy:

My daughter and I first laid eyes on Greta at the Muttville Booth and the Menlo Charity Horse Show. It was love at first sight. All of the other dogs were running around in the pen and Greta was perched on a leopard print pillow. From the first time I held her I knew she was coming home with us. We were a little nervous about how our 70 pound yellow lab would react to not being the center of attention but the relationship between the two dogs is just fine. Greta rules the house and the yellow lab does not! The interesting thing is that Greta is only five pounds!

When we adopted Greta she had a little wound on her leg. That very day we first saw her we took her to the vet and they thought it was due to stress. Three weeks later and a lot of vet and specialist visits it was determined she had a foxtail in her tiny little paw. She was in a lot of pain but once we took out the foxtail she was good as new. I think she knew we would take care of her the minute we picked her up because she bonded with us and in only a few days and is very protected of her family. She does tolerate others holding her but prefers to be cuddled by our family.

Her days now consist of sleeping on the bed, couch, pillows or wherever she wants and protecting our house. She brings such joy to our lives. We are so lucky to have found her last August. Greta was the first older dog we have ever adopted and I have to admit that after four puppies over the years I will always get an older dog. She came in to our house and fit right in. No issues with tearing anything up, house training, whining or chewing.

Greta is with us forever and she will live out her last years being loved and cherished.


Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.


Adopted Mutts! June 1-30

Adopted Mutts! June 1-30

Congrats! These 69 lucky senior mutts all found their forever homes in June (Noted are dogs adopted through our Seniors For Seniors program):

Lola (Seniors For Seniors)
Emperor Norton (Seniors For Seniors)
Ginger (Seniors For Seniors)
Jessie (Seniors For Seniors)
Chata (Seniors For Seniors)
Thurston (Seniors For Seniors)
Agnes (Seniors For Seniors)
Jiminy Cricket (Seniors For Seniors)
Jelly Bean
Betty Jo (Seniors For Seniors)
Daisy (Seniors For Seniors)
Maddie (Seniors For Seniors)
Suzie Q
Tony Vito (Seniors For Seniors)
Kiwi (Seniors For Seniors)
Tofu (Seniors For Seniors)
Sam (Seniors For Seniors)
Otis (Seniors For Seniors)
Lil Jude
Lilac (Seniors For Seniors)
Zoe (Seniors For Seniors)
Apple (Seniors For Seniors)
Penny Lane (Seniors For Seniors)

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.


Success Story "Sunshine"

Success Story "Sunshine"

We are so happy to see dear Sunshine spreading her warmth since being adopted by Frank and family:

My wife and I adopted Sunshine last October after losing our 12 year old chocolate lab and 13 year old lab-hound mix earlier in 2013.

Sunshine loves to wear a handkerchief when she is out in the world as you tell by her photos. Also, when she sees her leash and harness, she know that we are going to the park or for a walk. Sunshine won’t sit still because she is bouncing around the kitchen or garage making happy sounds. At the dog park, Sunshine likes rolling on her back, barks to greet and to warn frisky dogs to stop playing rough. When we leave home without her, we have the Cartoon Channel on for her to watch. For some strange reason, she doesn’t howl if she is watching cartoons. She does howl when I come home and I suppose it’s her way of greeting me. She buries rawhide squares (made in the USA) in the backyard and checks them regularly. When I leave our doggie van, Sunshine sits in the driver’s seat until I return. At home, she follows us everywhere…the kitchen, family room, the bathroom…because she is inquisitive.

Sunshine is a sweet, loving dog, that has bonded with our 2 cats. Sunshine has one of the greatest doggie smiles ever, too!

Thank you Muttville for all that you do for senior dogs!



Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.

Thanks to everyone who posted sweet comments on our Facebook page in response to Sunshine’s story.


Success Story "Zeke"

Success Story "Zeke"

Zeke is a real prince. Luckily, his mom knew it even though his royal personality was buried in matted fur and cloudy eyes suffering from glaucoma. Read his story as told by mom Mary:

“This is Zeke the love of my life. I adopted him in October 2011. He had severe cataracts, smelled and grubby but was the sweetest guy. I said I would take him home and give him the best home ever. That he has had. He lost both eyes a year after I got him to glaucoma. That has not stopped us.

He has never been left alone. He knows he is loved and the most special guy. He has been the best gift. Seniors are the only way to go. Thank you Muttville."

Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.


Success Story "Little Dude" (aka Chelo)

Success Story "Little Dude" (aka Chelo)

Do you remember the outrageous story about a dog named Chelo whose former owners abandoned him because he was too old? More shocking was what they reported on his surrender form: He lived under the porch and was alone 24 hours a day.

Look at him now! He was adopted by one of Muttville’s long-time supporters, Molly. She promised him that he would never be alone again. Thanks to Molly for sending us this update:

Chelo is a delight. He doesn’t go by Chelo anymore since he never responded to that name. We call him Little Dude. He is such a great dog! He fits right into our home and pack of dogs. He has decided my partner Jennifer is the best, much to my consternation, and follows her around like a puppy. When he first came to us he slept quite a bit and seemed down. Then he started to come around. I think it was the yummy food we cook for him that got him going. He gets warm meat every meal with a bit of kibble and he gobbles it up and looks for more. We have him on Metacam as he has a pretty pronounced limp. Even with the limp, he skips around the house!

All in all he is pretty active for a 15 yr old dog. The best part about Little Dude is that he is quiet as a mouse. I live with lots of barky little dogs so this is a blessing. He gets along with all the dogs in the house as well. We adore him!

Thanks Muttville for the chance to love this incredible little dog.

Are you the proud parent of a Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include 3 of your favorite photos and send to with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.


Table Sponsorships Now On Sale for this year's "Moolah For Mutts" Gala Benefit

Table Sponsorships Now On Sale for this year's "Moolah For Mutts" Gala Benefit

Come! Sit! Stay! at Moolah for Mutts, Muttville’s annual gala benefit. This year, it will be held on September 27 at The San Francisco Design Center

This year’s theme is MUTT MAGIC, and we promise a magical evening of fun, food, and friends – all for the sake of the mutts.


$7,500 – A front-row table for 10
o Any image you want – your logo, your dog, your name – on the big screen, in constant rotation
o Your name, business name or logo on
o “Give a Mutt a Name” naming rights for one newly rescued Muttville dog
o Muttville signature mug for every guest.
o Valet parking
o Private service for your table

$5,000 – A table for 10 near the stage
o Your business logo or name on the big screen in constant rotation
o Your name, business name or logo on

o Muttville signature mug for every guest.
o Valet parking
o Private service for your table

$2,500 – A table for 10 with service
o Your business name or logo on the big screen in constant rotation
o Valet parking
o Private service for your table

$1,500 – A table for 6 with service
o Valet parking
o Private service for your table

To purchase a table, please send an email to

Ticket sales for general admission starts in July. For updates, visit


Maddie's Pet Adoption Days is a Resounding Success!

Maddie's Pet Adoption Days is a Resounding Success!

What a weekend it was! Alabama Street was shut down for Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days, San Francisco’s rescue organizations lined the block, and the street was renamed Rescue Row!

But the biggest news of all for us was that 36 Muttville mutts were adopted in one weekend. 36! (That beats last year’s amazing record of 32 mutts!) You may have been watching our mutt-by-mutt coverage on Facebook, but even if you did, you’ll want to see all the wonderful new families right here!

Because Maddie’s Fund grants money for every at-risk and senior pet adopted over the weekend to help defray the considerable cost of rescuing and rehabilitating these often-neglected animals, Muttville will be the fortunate recipient of $38,000. Thank you, Maddie’s!

Congratulations to everyone who found their soulmates over the weekend. Rescue Row truly is “where love happens”!


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 with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.


"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!”)


danny boy’s last day on this earth was may 13. he made sure it was awesome before he left us.

05.14.14 09:42am | commenting on Success Story "Danny Boy"

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 with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.


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 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!


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 with the subject line ‘Success Story’.

You can help create many more new beginnings!
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.


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.



avatar for mariem3

Real name
marie rochelle macaspac
san francisco
My relationship to Muttville
foster mom, marketing gal, merch girl, designer
Mutts in my life
all muttville fosters at this time: maxwell, lady tara, gracie, little prince william
r.i.p. collette, gordie, scruffy, stimpy, frida