Adopting a pet is a truly kind thing to do and it is also an event that will greatly enrich your life. At present, there are thousands of dogs languishing in shelters who would truly benefit from a loving home. Sadly, many of the dogs that are the hardest to adopt tend to be ones who are older. Luckily, an organization known as “Muttville Senior Dog Rescue” exists.
Muttville is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization that is dedicated to improving the lives of senior dogs, aged seven and older. Muttville’s mission is to change the way the world thinks about and treats older dogs and to create better lives for them through rescue, foster, adoption and hospice. In Northern California, Muttville rescues senior dogs and finds them new homes or gives them hospice. On a global level, Muttville provides information about caring for older dogs and support for people who do. Through associations with shelters and other animal organizations, Muttville finds senior dogs that have been given up and are not likely to find adopted homes.
Recently, Muttville announced its association with Maddie’s Fund, a family foundation established in 1994 by Workday co-founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl, who have endowed the Foundation with more than $300 million. “We are so proud to be able to have the opportunities provide funding support to such an awesome organization such as Muttville, who continues to elevate the status of senior pets, said Mary Ippoliti-Smith, Executive Leadership Team at Maddie’s Fund. Since then, they have awarded more than $153 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, shelter medicine education, and pet adoptions across the U.S. The Duffields named Maddie’s Fund after their Miniature Schnauzer Maddie, who always made them laugh and comforted them during stressful business times when Dave was launching a startup software company. Maddie was with Dave and Cheryl from 1987-1997 and continues to inspire them today. Maddie’s Fund is the fulfillment of a promise to an inspirational dog and the creation of a goal towards achieving a no-kill nation where all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats are guaranteed a loving home.
November has been christened “Adopt a Senior Pet Month” and both organizations are gearing up to celebrate this occasion in style. According to the official announcement:
Muttville’s Senior Pets will be streaming live from its headquarters on San Francisco’s Rescue Row, their wonderful senior mutts in celebration of Adopt A Senior Pet Month. Thanks to Maddie’s Fund®, a live stream MaddieCam will broadcast starting on Monday, November 16th through the rest of November. Viewers from around the globe are invited to tune in to the Muttville Doggy Loft via the MaddieCam from the comfort of their own home or office and celebrate with them. And if the spirit moves you, please go meet one of these precious mutts in person. They are all available for adoption. The programming schedule will vary, so feel free to just open the browser and watch all day and night. Viewers might catch Maple snoozing, Teddy being petted by a loving volunteer, Johnny soaking in the rays or Autumn just watching the goings-on!
The diverse program schedule will occur between November 16 and 22 and includes something for seemingly everyone. As of now, the schedule is as follows:
• Monday–Friday every day at 1PM there will be an “Ask the Mutt” segment. We’ll feature the dog in a short recorded video posted on Facebook and ask people to send in their question via social media, i.e. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
• Wednesdays 11:30AM Dogs on Desks! Like a normal office…but with dogs! On desks!
• Fridays 3PM Intake Story with Aubree Schmidt, Muttville’s Manager of Mutts. Watch first hand as a new Muttville dog arrives to our headquarters! Hear all about the dog’s backstory and learn how we introduce new dogs to the resident dogs our innovative cage-free environment.
• Saturdays & Sundays 12-3PM Adoption Event! Watch Muttville’s open house on Love a Senior Weekend as people check out the senior dog that makes a good match for them! You’ll see dogs being adopted and foster parents choosing a dog to foster in their own home. You’ll witness new beginnings for dogs and the people that will love them!
Recently, Muttville’s Executive Director, Sherri Franklin, spoke with the Examiner about the organization and her hopes for its future:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): How and when did you decide to start your rescue organization and why was that specific name chosen?
Sherri Franklin (S.F.): In 2000, I saw that older dogs especially were often going in the shelter and not coming out, my heart broke daily! These dogs were loving and had so much love left to give, and lessons to teach us. So I started rescuing/fostering one or two at a time. I quickly realized that just wasn’t enough. So in 2007 I started Muttville. The first year, we found homes for 27 dogs and now we rehome over 800 senior dogs a year! Why call it Muttville? We take dogs, all shapes and sizes and it has a positive sounding name. When a dog comes to Muttville, it is the golden ticket to a better new life.
M.M.: What kinds of animals does your organization help?
S.F.: Muttville rescues all kinds of dogs from California shelters, aged seven and older. Seven is more middle aged for a small dog, but for larger dogs, their lives are often shorter, and seven is what we call a senior. They’re not all mutts, we save a variety mixes, and we actually rescue many purebreds, too.
M.M.: So far, how many animals have been rescued and/or adopted via your organization’s efforts?
S.F.: As of November, 3,400 senior dogs have been rescued by Muttville. We have a very robust fostering program that allows us to bring in more dogs who live in a home-like setting through the adoption process. Nearly all of our 3,400 dogs have been rehomed, which impacts not only the dogs, but their human families, too, whose lives have been touched by the love of an “experienced” dog!
M.M.: What have your experiences running a rescue center been like?
S.F.: We started as a foster program and now, having a shelter headquarters and a shelter medicine veterinarian, has been a real game changer. We can provide treatment to dogs that need attention quickly and help them get into their new homes faster. It’s incredibly rewarding.
M.M.: To date, what has been the most rewarding part of working with the rescue? Have any stories been particularly memorable?
S.F.: There are so many happy endings and new beginnings around Muttville. Dogs that come from extreme conditions get their first bath, their first gentle touch ever in their life. One story that sticks out to me during the holiday season was a dog named Chelo. She was left at a shelter–the reason? Her family got a puppy and didn’t want their old dog any longer! This little dog was 8 years old, so confused and clung to whoever would hold her… and she got adopted in 24 hours, to a woman that needed her, as she was going through cancer treatment and wanted a dog to sit with her during her treatments. It was a true holiday story, like a movie, we all cried out of happiness. Chelo’s original link can be seen here.
M.M.: What can the public do to help people co-exist peacefully with animals?
S.F.: Humans need to be compassionate with one another. Our family members on four legs (or 3) have taught us that. They love us unconditionally and provide added health benefits to our lives. If we look at the impact we have on others, we would have a kinder world. Muttville specializes in the senior pets because they are part of a population that is most vulnerable. Statistics currently say that 29 million people have identified that they are planning to acquire a pet this year, and have not chosen from where. There are 2.4 million pets who will be killed in U.S. shelters this year. Many of those are the older and treatable pets. We just need 2.4 million out that 29 million to adopt one of these wonderful pets and we will have a no kill nation.
M.M.: Where do you hope your rescue will be in ten years?
S.F.: The dream would be that Muttville will be operating as a community advocate, helping to rehome a pet where needed, before ever entering a shelter. To help the community with hospice for their senior pet and provide community outreach and education.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is striving to enter the rescue industry?
S.F.: Adopt a pet, preferably a senior or treatable pet! Volunteer at your local shelter, learn about pets, ask questions and share your adoption stories! Always remember that you need to love people as much as animals to save lives. Find people who care, raise some money and allow people’s talents to shine through! Surprisingly, you also need good business and marketing skills to go with your passion for animals, too.
M.M.: Are there any upcoming projects and/or events that you would like to mention?
S.F.: Right now in celebration of Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month, Maddie’s Fund is spotlighting Muttville through their live stream MaddieCam! From anywhere in the world, you can tune in and see what is happening in our doggy loft and experience virtually what it’s like to hang out with an amazing senior dog. We are thankful to Maddie and Maddie’s Fund for providing this broadcast which helps highlight our lifesaving work. We invite everyone to Follow and Share using the hashtags #ThankToMaddie, #MaddieCam and @Muttville. Our broadcast will continue the entire month of November. We are featuring special programming each day. Starting on Thanksgiving, we’re raising some dough for the dogs! Muttville’s Board is doubling all donations. It’s a dollar for dollar campaign! Many senior pets as with people need to have wellness checks, regular dental check-ups, and may need tooth extractions or even tumor removals to keep them healthy longer. Funds raised will help offset the amount we invest into the senior pets that we rescue.
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To learn more, visit the official Muttville website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Moreover, Muttville has a small role in a feel good video by Prank it FWD. Check out the delightful video, here. To watch daily life at Muttville, tune into the MaddieCam here.