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. …