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!”
The Rescue Process
So how do senior dogs end up at Muttville? The organization receives hundreds of requests each week from California shelter volunteers, workers, and individuals asking that Muttville step in and help save a senior dog. Currently, Muttville’s capacity is 65 to 75 dogs at any give time.
“We do the best we can with our capacity,” says Sherri. “They come to headquarters in San Francisco by plane, van, and automobile. Volunteer pilots with Wings of Rescue and Pilots ‘n Paws, as well as our own transport volunteers make it happen!”
Once a new dog arrives at Muttville, it receives a number, a name if necessary, a Muttville ID tag, a harness for outside walks, and as volunteer Patty Stanton says, “lots of love from reassuring volunteers.” This is all followed by a bath and a visit to Katy, Muttville’s in-house Vet Tech, who uncovers any health issues and addresses any immediate health needs. Then the dog is matched with a foster parent with whom they will stay and await an adoption application.
Reasons To Adopt A Senior
Some people may wonder why anyone would want to adopt a senior dog if it only has a few years left to live. The fact is that there are plenty of good reasons, from helping a dog’s final years be good ones to benefitting from the lessons that a senior dog has already learned.
“Seniors come with life experience, manners, and gratefulness,” says Sherri. “We believe Muttville has helped to make senior dogs more desirable. After all, some people want a dog that is already housetrained and has a pace to match their lifestyle.”
In addition, Sherri says that potential adopters should know that a senior dog that was once someone else’s pet has nothing but love to give.
“Seniors are more mellow and soulful. They know who butters their bread,” says Sherri. “I also hear from many adopters about how rewarding it is to give one of our older dogs a second chance at love in their golden years. Many adopters have come back to adopt a second or even a third dog from us!”
Thus far, Muttville has placed over 2,300 dogs into loving homes, and more are adopted every day. If you are interested in adopting, head over to Muttville’s “How To Adopt” page. And if you are a senior (62+ years old), you can check out Muttville’s Seniors For Seniors program.
“Muttville’s senior dogs are the perfect companions for senior humans,” says Sherri. “They’re mellow and well socialized, and they want nothing more than the gentle care of someone who loves them.”
Other Ways to Help
If you aren’t in a position to adopt, there are other ways to help Muttville, including fostering, volunteering, and donating.
Muttville’s foster homes are in the San Francisco Bay Area and play a large part in the adoption process. The dog is able to live in a relaxed, family environment (rather than a busy shelter) and establish a daily routine. In addition to day-to-day care, foster parents take their dogs to Muttville adoption events at least once a month, and if someone applies to adopt the dog, they take part in the process to determine if the situation is a good fit.
You can also volunteer with Muttville if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Each day of the week, dog-loving volunteers are on site to help with walking, cleaning, feeding, bathing, grooming, and more.
“We also have volunteers who enjoy talking about the available dogs at outreach events, or give their marketing skills to Muttville,” says Sherri. “Others plan events, volunteer as adoption counselors, or are part of the Seniors for Seniors team. A Seniors for Seniors example is our monthly Cuddle Club, whereby senior citizens from senior centers come to Muttville and cuddle the older dogs with the help of a team of volunteers helping to make that happen. It’s pretty adorable!”
Don’t live in the San Francisco area but still want to help out? Consider making a donation via the “Donate” button on Muttville’s Facebook page or the “Give” button on Muttville’s site. You could also become a monthly Mutt Guardian, whereby an amount starting at $10 is deducted from your credit card once a month. Mutt Guardians help sustain Mutville’s rescue efforts as the organization spends $900 on average for each rescued dog’s vet care.
Our Gift to Adopters
As a thanks to senior-loving pet parents, PetPlus will offer a free trial of our benefit program to the next five dogs adopted from Muttville! PetPlus provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding, and more. To become a member, learn more at PetPlus.com.
If you live in San Francisco, you can help celebrate Muttville, Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days, and the recent naming of “Rescue Row” on May 31, 2014. Rescue Row is the honorary name of the section of Alabama Street between 15th and 16th streets that is home to four animal welfare organizations, including Muttville.
On May 31st, you can join the organizations for an official unveiling. It is the first of its kind in the nation! Read the press release or visit RescueRow.org for more info.