Ten years ago, Sherri Franklin opened up her Potrero Hill home to senior dogs in need of a second chance with a rescue project she called Muttville.
These pups, ages seven and up, are some of the most vulnerable at the shelters, often overlooked by adopters who want a younger pet. "I had no idea when we started this organization," says Franklin. "I wasn't sure we'd ever adopt out dogs." Back then she had to chase down adopters and convince them to consider a senior; today, 90 senior dogs each month are finding their "furever" homes with Muttville's help.
This November, alongside their 10th anniversary, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue is celebrating National Adopt a Senior Pet Month with a "Muttville Miracles" series on social media and special outreach events like "Love a Senior" weekends, where the public is invited to snuggle pups on Rescue Row in the Mission, and "Thank Dog it's Friday" at the Westin St. Francis Union Square on November 17. These events are crucial to helping people get over their hang-ups about what it means to adopt a senior dog. Seniors have "taught me so much about living in the moment and enjoying life to its fullest," says Franklin. "They are mellow and so easy going compared to younger doggies! What you see is what you get!"
Most of the dogs that find their way to Muttville are rescued from the Bay Area, but the organization goes where they are needed to save aging pets from languishing in shelters or from being put down to clear space for new animals. When Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, a friend of Muttville donated her plane so that the organization and other San Francisco rescues (including the Milo Foundation, Mad Dog Rescue and the SF SPCA) could bring food, medication and other necessities to the city's stranded pets and bring back animals that had been homeless before the emergency began. On their first trip, Muttville took every senior dog (12 total) and filled the rest of the plane with younger dogs and cats. The operation was such a success that the San Francisco consortium returned a second time to rescue others in need. Those Houston refugees now have a chance to spend the rest of their days in comfort and joy.
"Dogs that may not have made it out of a high kill shelter are now in loving homes," says Franklin. It's "a true celebration!"
Join Muttville in celebrating National Adopt a Senior Pet Month by reading their stories, visiting the pups during an event, volunteering at the shelter or donating, or adopting your very own senior dog. Here are just a handful of the beautiful rescues looking for a place to spend their golden years.
Courtesy of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
Wall-E is an adorable 9 year old, 18 lb Spaniel mix who was originally picked up as a stray in Martinez. Wall-E is blind but he's sweet as can be; quiet and quick to make himself at home. He's good with other dogs and loves to explore his surroundings almost as much as he loves a good nap.