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July 5 2019

'Cuddle Club' unites senior people and senior dogs in the sweetest way

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue’s innovative program is a win-win solution for people and animals who need companionship, exercise and affection.

The first time Vince Louie went with his local senior group to participate in an animal rescue organization’s “Cuddle Club,” he didn’t plan on adopting a dog. The event, hosted several times a month by San Francisco’s Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, gives senior people the chance to spend time petting and walking senior dogs aged 7 and up.

Louie, 75 at the time, met a 14-year-old Maltese mixed breed named Monte and it was love at first sight. Louie adopted Monte that very day.

“He’s pretty mellow, a go-along kind of guy,” Louie told TODAY. “He just seems in sync, so I was like, ‘Well, let’s have a go at it.’ It was time to have another family member.”

It turned out to be an important decision. Louie’s wife died three months later, and Monte offered countless snuggles while Louie coped with his grief.

Over a year later, the two are peas in a pod who go everywhere together. Monte, now 15 1/2, is a popular sight at fundraising events like running and bike races for the Chinatown YMCA, calmly “helping” Louie, now 76, volunteer from the comfort of a backpack.

While many people want to adopt puppies, Louie said senior dogs — who are typically less energetic and already housetrained — can make wonderful pets, particularly for older people. He’s grateful to Muttville for rescuing Monte and offering programs for seniors like the Cuddle Club.

“They do a great service,” he said.

Since its inception in 2007, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue has rescued and re-homed more than 6,600 older dogs. The nonprofit’s innovative programs like the Seniors for Seniors initiative, which waives adoption fees for people over age 62 and offers a free starter kit with pet supplies, have boosted success rates. …

Modern Dog

June 2019

The Magic of Muttville

How a senior dog rescue is changing the lives of senior dogs

It wasn’t Eileen Cremata’s first rodeo when she took in Pepe, the longhaired Chihuahua from Muttville Senior Dog Rescue six years ago. For the two previous decades, the Californian fostered about 150 dogs for a local rescue, specializing in litters of puppies.

Now a serial foster mom and adopter with Muttville, you could say she’s really gone to the other—much older—end of the spectrum.

“The first one we took in was totally blind. Most are hard of hearing,” Eileen says. “Buttercup had one eye missing. I’d not only have to get in front of her to get her attention because she wouldn’t see or hear me—but I’d have to get in front of the side where she had an eye.”

Eileen is now on her 11th pooch. After Pepe came Buttercup the terrier, Caroline the Miniature Schnauzer, Angie the Aussie Shepherd, Miss Abbie the longhaired Chihuahua, Figgy the 18-year-old miniature Poodle, Sweet Girl the Labrador cross, Maddie the Poodle, and Spritz and Marbles, both Chihuahuas.

Their personalities are as varied as their histories. Some were surrendered when their owners passed away, or simply didn’t want them anymore (Figgy was called “stupid” on his shelter intake form). Others, like three-and-a-half pound Marbles, was picked up as a stray.

Repeat fosters and adopters like Eileen are a huge blessing to the San Francisco-based rescue, who take in unwanted animals at risk of euthanization in busy shelters. As its dogs are fostered and adopted, the extra space is used to take in more pups.

“Fostering a dog can absolutely save another life,” says founder Sherri Franklin. “We’re foster based and we couldn’t save so many dogs if we didn’t have foster families and repeat adopters.”

The operation has grown in leaps and bounds since she started Muttville in her home in 2007. That year she rescued 27 dogs. In 2019, Muttville is on track to hit a whopping 1,000 adoptions—nearly three dogs a day. And in total, they’re close to 6,800. While most of the dogs used to be pulled from San Francisco-area shelters, the group now takes in aging and unwanted oldies from different parts of the state, as well as emergency evacuations regions during the recent Northern California wildfires and Hurricane Harvey. …

The Dodo

February 20 2019

Dying Man's Last Wish Is To Find A Home For His Beloved Dog

He’s his best friend – and he wants to make sure he’s always safe.

John simply cannot imagine his life without a dog by his side.

Even though John needs a wheelchair to get around these days, he knew he was still capable of giving a shelter dog a loving home.

So in 2017, he met Pawpaw at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in California. Pawpaw was 11 years old then, a senior just like John. They instantly bonded – and that’s how John and Pawpaw became a family.

The last couple of years have been full of love between John and Pawpaw.

This is the 13th dog John has lived with throughout the course of his life – and he couldn’t imagine a more perfect companion. Even though John suffers from ALS, a neurodegenerative disease, he has treasured every single day with Pawpaw.

But now John’s health has been declining more rapidly, so he has to plan for the future – and there’s nothing more important to John at this moment than finding his beloved Pawpaw a forever home for after he passes away.

“Pawpaw is his family and it’s bittersweet, knowing that John may leave us soon,” Sherri Franklin, founder of Muttville, told The Dodo. “I am honored to help Pawpaw find his new family.” …


August 16 2018

Sherri Franklin of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue: Helping Senior Dogs Get a Fresh Start

“Dogs are the gateway to teaching children and others compassion for animals.”

Since starting her nonprofit in 2007, Sherri Franklin, founder and CEO of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, sought to change the idea that older dogs in shelters were undesirable and unwanted, and has placed nearly 6,000 senior dogs in forever homes. Kathryn Engelhardt-Cronk, MissionBox co-founder and CEO, talks to Sherri about taking a nonprofit from a vision to reality and what makes senior dogs so special to so many, and her hope that others will follow the Muttville model of success.

Nob Hill Gazette

February 2018

Cause & Effect: A New Leash on Life

It was in the late 1980s when Sherri Franklin, a longtime hair stylist, decided to start volunteering at animal shelters in San Francisco. Skittish at first, she worried about her potential reactions to the heart-wrenching sights of dogs in cages, in need of attention. Within months, though, she was hooked, soon putting in nearly 20 hours per week.

“I noticed that volunteers wouldn’t come in to walk the dogs on Christmas Day or the Fourth of July, so it became a cathartic way for me to deal with the holidays, which have never really been my thing anyway,” she says.

The hardest part of her experience was witnessing old dogs come into shelters happy and then slowly lose hope. “They would stop wagging their tails; dogs would get euthanized just because they were old,” she said. “That is what got me to go back every day.”

Compelled to help aging dogs, by the mid-‘90s Franklin started bringing them into her home, helping them get healthy and adopting them out to friends and some of her hairstyling clients. She did this for more than 10 years–putting up flyers at beaches and parks for senior dogs, building ramps in her home so they’d stay safe–all the while telling her community how much she’d love to one day launch a senior dog rescue.

In 2007, she decided to take the plunge and opened Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. Muttville rescued 27 dogs during its first year as a nonprofit and has only grown from there. The organization rescued 1,051 senior dogs in 2017 alone. …


September 6 2017

69 Animal Refugees From Houston Arrive in the Bay Area for Adoption

On Sunday night, a private plane touched down at Oakland International Airport. Traveling from Houston, the flight was sold out, its seats taken up by 54 dogs and 15 cats, all displaced from overwhelmed shelters in Southeast Texas.

In the week following Hurricane Harvey’s record-shattering rainfall, recovery efforts were carried out with a sense of dire urgency. Countless Houstonians were left with nothing but the shells of their former homes, now blanketed by thick films of clay silt. Savings accounts dwindled down to right-of-decimal-point sums; rent was, however, still due for many of the properties caught in Harvey’s path. In the ensuing turmoil, hundreds of dogs and cats, young and old, were left to fend for themselves in various Lone Star State shelters.

This week, 69 of those in-need animals found their way to the Bay Area.

Our own San Francisco SPCA joined forces with three other Bay Area local adoption agencies – Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, Mad Dog Rescue and Milo Foundation – to rescue dozens of dogs and cats. With transport kennels and leashes in tow, the quickly assembled rescue team boarded a private plane, graciously offered up by an affluent Sonoma county resident, and headed to Houston on a heroic expedition.

“What we can do is relieve those shelters that had all those dogs [prior to the storm] and now they can handle the homeless animals that are being rounded up daily,” said Sherri Franklin, founder and CEO of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, to SFGate. …

Highlight Press

September 6 2017

Evacuated Animals Touch Down in Oakland, Looking for Loving Homes

In the wake of every natural disaster, it’s inevitable that so many animals are going to find themselves in desperate situations. Feral and homeless animals lucky to have survived, along with pets separated from their owners – often permanently.

So once again, animal charities are doing their best to rehome as many rescued cats and dogs as possible. As it stands, 69 dogs and cats pulled from the storm are now looking for new homes in Bay Area.

Sunday night saw a packed plane arrive at Oakland International Airport, which had a somewhat elevated contingency of kennels. 69 dogs and cats were packed onto the chaotic flight, in order to get them away from the rising floodwaters in Texas and onto safer ground.

“It was absolutely crazy. We decided we would get as many crates as we could,” said Sherri Franklin, founder and CEO of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. …

CBS SF Bay Area (2017)

September 4 2017

Dozens Of Pets From Texas Shelters Flown To Bay Area For Adoption

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Fifty dogs and 20 cats looking for new homes arrived in the Bay Area in style, thanks to efforts by the San Francisco SPCA, Mad Dog Rescue, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and the Milo Foundation.

The animals were flown in to Oakland from Texas on a private jet. The pets were in Texas animal shelters when Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast. But they had to leave to make room for all the pets that got lost during the storm.

“They have thousands of animals at emergency pop-up shelters. They are actively searching to try to find homes for them first but this is going to be an ongoing rescue effort for six months to a year,” explained Ryan Darfler, director of Mad Dog Rescue.

NBC Los Angeles

September 4 2017

Pets From Storm–Ravaged Texas Transported to Bay Area

With open arms, a host of animal rescue groups across the Bay Area on Sunday welcomed a slew of pets from hurricane-battered Texas.

Roughly 70 dogs and cats, which were already living in shelters before Hurricane Harvey ransacked the region, were transported to the Bay Area to make room for other animals stranded by the storm.

“When shelters are too full, difficult decisions have to be made and thankfully, with the support of Bay Area residents, by bringing these animals here, we can find them forever loving homes and continue to support the efforts in Texas,” Laurie Routhier from Muttville, one of the rescue groups, said.

The animals will likely be put up for adoption by the end of the week, according to the San Francisco SPCA.


September 4 2017

Pets displaced by Hurricane Harvey looking for homes in the Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – Some Bay Area animal rescue groups have stepped up to help overcrowded animal shelters in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Last night a private plane packed full of cats and dogs landed in Oakland from Texas and now volunteers are busy trying to find homes for about six dozen pets.

Four agencies including the Milo Foundation out of Point Richmond, Mad Dog Rescue, the San Francisco SPCA and Muttville Senior Dog Rescue will be offering up 15 cats and 54 dogs in about three days.

Right now the animals are getting bathed, fed, immunized and spayed and neutered.

“All of the animals that we’ve extracted out of the Hurricane Harvey zone were animals that were part of the shelter and adoption system” said Ryan Darfler, Director of Mad Dog Rescue. When Harvey struck, shelters in the hurricane belt needed to make room for animals actually displaced by floods.

“So when the flood waters started to hit the area, they called Austin Pets Alive and APA helped to evacuate close to 2000 dogs and 1000 cats within a three-day period,” said Darfler.

Bay Area volunteers flew to Texas in private plane donated by Sonoma-based Charlie’s Acres.

“[It was] literally a 12-hour whirlwind of activity,” said Sherri Franklin, the Founder and CEO of Muttville Senior

Dog Rescue in San Francisco, which saves older dogs from euthanasia.

They brought crates full of supplies and medications and swapped them out for cats and dogs.

“I just feel like that whole community there was so grateful that we had come,” said Franklin. “There were volunteers literally in tears when we left.” …

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