Merry Christmas at MuttvillePosted by Jennifer Molidor, ALDF Staff Writer on December 25, 2013
Because It Is Never Too Late for a New Beginning
During the dark days of winter, it is more important than ever to help homeless animals. Muttville, a senior dog rescue in the San Francisco Bay Area, is one of those organizations who do just that: their staff and volunteers provide warmth, love, and shelter for thousands of needy animals.
Sherri Franklin, a longtime animal advocate and rescue worker, started Muttville in 2007 out of her own home. Now, her organization rescues hundreds of dogs in the Bay Area and has received numerous awards as an outstanding rescue organization. The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s own Kay Wood volunteers for Muttville. In addition to a busy day as ALDF’s office manager, Kay is always caring for a “fospice” mutt in her home, and in her ALDF office! “Fospice” is a program where animal advocates foster senior dogs who need hospice care at the ends of their lives. Kay and the other volunteers at Muttville help see that these dogs spend their last days, months, and years in loving, happy homes.
Nearly a year ago, Kay volunteered to fospice a senior dog named Felix, who has become a regular fixture at the ALDF office. When Kay first brought Felix home, he was raggedy, suffering from infections, and depressed. With a little love and affection, and some yummy treats, Felix is now a cheerful, outgoing, affectionate old fella, as full of life as any puppy. As Sherri says “Felix was supposed to be a fospice dog who was going to live only a few months. Look at him now!”
Kay explains “Sherri has many foster volunteers but not so many fospice volunteers. It used to be that you could never adopt out an older dog. Their age was a death sentence.” Being an older pup doesn’t have to mean doom and gloom any more, thanks to Muttville. “Because we’ve had such success at rehoming senior dogs, we’re showing other shelters and rescues that they can also be successful at adopting out senior dogs,” Sherri says.
“We’re doing things differently too. Our shelter is cage-free, homelike, and stress-free. It’s a new way of looking at sheltering dogs, where they live not in kennels by themselves, but in groups while they wait for adoption.” Muttville fully vets its dogs too. You don’t go in without knowing basic health issues that the dog may have. “That sets us apart,” Sherri says. “We do dental if the dog needs it, we do full blood panels. Not all our dogs are perfectly healthy, but we can tell you that.”
Older dogs are more mellow, love to cuddle, and don’t chew shoes. “I have a huge shoe collection,” Sherri laughs. “And all my shoes are still okay.” Sherri explains “these dogs know they’re getting a second chance, that you’re rescuing them. It’s like a built-in bond waiting to happen. We have people who have adopted four or five dogs from us. And when the dogs pass away, they come adopt another. It really feels good to be doing this.”
“You go in knowing your time is limited, that you’re going to give as much love to these dogs as you can.”
Muttville hit a milestone last month of 2,000 dogs rescued, and in the past two weeks have had a record-breaking 50 senior dogs adopted.
With their strong social media presence – you can “like” their Facebook page—they are spreading the word so well that more people are coming to Muttville for help, and they need more volunteers and donations. “We’re helping more dogs now than ever before,” she says. “The hardest part of my job is receiving about 500 requests to take dogs in every week and not being able to help them all.”
Find out how you can adopt a Muttville dog, become a Muttville volunteer, foster a dog in your loving home, or even just meet the muttville mutts online! Thank you from all at the Animal Legal Defense Fund to Muttville and the volunteers who put animals first. Happy holidays!