Dale and JoJo: A Muttmatch made in heaven!
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Dale and JoJo: A Muttmatch made in heaven!
From his mutt mom Lauren:
Myles is becoming a regular at the park. He has even started running (yes!) around the grass, and he loves following the other dogs around the fenced-in dog park. Even after long park days, he’s still super excited to jump (sort of J) into my car for a ride home. I don’t know how we lived before his little face came to live with us. He never fails to make us laugh, and even when he’s sleepy, he needs to be near one of us. He’s been my shadow since the first night we brought him home. One of the new techs at work said she was shocked to find out that he was only recently adopted, since he’d obviously been carving out his spot in my lap for years.
Myles is absolutely a testament to the wonderfully unique love an older pet can bring to a home. We adore him and I feel lucky every day to have him here.
Thank you all so much,
...And Muttville thanks Lauren for being an amazing mom!
Thank you Nancy Wong! Not only is she a great foster mom, she is now a forever home for Dandy (now Dante). Read their sweet Muttville success story:
I got Dandy, a 12 year old blind miniature poodle last month on my birthday when I officially turned into a senior myself.. Dandy was back at Muttville after outliving one owner and his present owner had just suffered a stroke. This blind dog may have been one of Muttville’s first dogs from about 3 years ago. He shivered when approached, not knowing whether you were friend or foe, and with his black teeth, had very stinky dog breath. His hair was ½ inch long, leading me to believe that he was shaved to get an unruly coat in shape.
Another Muttville volunteer, Terri, arranged for a checkup appointment after getting permission from the Muttville office. At Healthy Pets Veterinary Hospital on West Portal in the city, Dr. Adam (Piaseczny) found two rotten teeth, which explained the bad breath. Before the oral surgery, Dr. Adam wanted Dandy to gain some weight on his 7 lbs.
While he was fattening up, one night we were watching (me watching, him listening) a not very good film directed by one of my old friends. I noticed at the end credits for “Maid in Manhattan” that this Cinderella story was credited to “Edmond Dantes”-the protagonist of Alexandre Dumas’s novel, “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Edmond Dantes is the nom de plume (pseudonym) of the late film director John Hughes (Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink). I had been thinking about a new name for Dandy—something similar, but different and “Dante” seemed just right.
Two weeks after the oral surgery, Dante is a different dog. He no longer shakes and shivers but comes to the door, wagging his tail, when I enter my apartment. His bad breath has cleared up and he loves to take walks on grassy areas. The other day after our walk at Aquatic Park, I decided to find a street artist to draw his portrait. I found a good one at the corner of Leavenworth and Jefferson Streets at Fisherman’s Wharf. When I read the 1999 San Francisco Examiner article that Catherine Zhang posted at her booth, I knew she was the one. As she sketched Dante in my arms, she said to me, “You have a nice demeanor—you seem to be a gentle person.” I let out a laugh and said, “Some people would disagree with that, but the truth is, this dog has made me more human.”
New home, new name, new life—just another Cinderella story. At the end of Alexandre Dumas’s “The Count of Monte Cristo,” are the words: “wait and hope.”
To every unwanted senior dog, lonely and neglected, please “wait and hope.” Somehow, somewhere, someone wants you and we will find you. You are all loved.
“Is time my redeemer?
Loneliness my only friend?
Just once in a lifetime
Strangers share a common end….
At sometime someone cared
Maybe just for a moment
Or maybe for a lifetime…”
-Eva Cassidy, “Somewhere”
A note from Manoel, the man who adopted Beethoven from Muttville -
“Fuzziwan Kenobi. Ludfuzz von Biscuit. Sir Marshmellow McFuzzybutt. These are some of the monikers that have been affectionately bestowed on Beethoven, an extremely fuzzy, gentle 13 year old senior dog I adopted from Muttville a few months ago. He is deaf, mostly blind, has bad skin, hind legs that are pretty shot, and cancer.
I wasn’t sure about getting a dog, but had decided that, with the prospect of taking care of aging parents and maybe children someday, that it was time to learn to take care of something that couldn’t take care of itself. But I also knew that I didn’t have much time or energy to devote to playing or exercising a young frisky dog, and I didn’t have the money for a lot of care. But I knew I could give an old dog a warm, safe, restful home for his final months (years?). So Beethoven was perfect, since his favorite activity is sleeping.
I was really happy dealing with Muttville. Stephanie, his foster mom has been helpful and generous with her time and advice, and Sherri Franklin has been most generous in subsidizing his medication and grooming.
Beethoven has given me connections and insights that previously weren’t there. I know so many more of my dog-loving neighbors and everyone from society ladies to homeless people are always delighted to give LvB (I insist he’s named after the composer NOT the movie) a head scratch and some cooing love.
My girlfriend recently adopted a young frisky overweight dog, and watching these two dogs learn to get along has been a wonderful, bonding “coparenting” experience.
Mostly Beethoven has made me look at my own aging father with renewed empathy. I see how much Beethoven was once a proud, beautiful lion, and how he can’t do what he once could as a young pup: navigate stairs, play catch. I see him trying to keep up with the younger dogs, and I see my own father’s struggles with his diminished capacities. Beethoven reminds me of a dignified old college professor or Shakespearean actor who, in his old age, had to move to the Tenderloin, but still insists on wearing a bow tie every morning!
I must confess that getting an older dog was also a way of easing into dog ownership. I wanted to see how I would like it, and reasoned, perhaps morbidly, that if i didn’t really take to it, a dog in his condition would not be around for 10 more years. Silly me, I am now of course, head over heels in love with him, and I know it will break my heart when the time comes for him to sleep for the last time. But I know he will live the rest of his days in a comfortable safe place, and I want to thank everyone at Muttville for the combination retriever-bernese-chow-buffalo-camel-lion ball of fur that is snoozing in my living room as I write this."
Written by our star foster mom, Stephanie -
“It has been a wonderful experience to witness Beethoven’s (www.muttville.org/mutt/beethoven) beautiful transformation from a defeated dog who had lost the wag in his tail to this proud boy who bravely marched his way over to the opposite end of the spectrum of happiness. As soon as he stepped paw through Muttville’s doors and was reintroduced to love and proper care, this amazing change began to take place. His tail gradually started to move back and forth again, he regained that sparkle in those soulful eyes and out arose a deep and profound gentleness. Soon after his triumphant victory over the heartworms that had infested his neglected body, we discovered that he was living with cancer. But by then, he had found his happy again and this precious soul was determined to land himself that forever home. And after many months of waiting patiently, he crossed paths with this special someone who has taken him under his wing in an extraordinary act of kindness and love. A living symbol of resiliance, Beethoven finally got his…”
Thank you, Ceci Powell for sharing this happy story about her Muttville rescue, Querida:
Querida Corazon (I call her Queri) is not the dog I planned on getting-and it couldn’t have worked out better!
I had wanted a dog since the age of 5; we discovered my allergies to dogs just before I was to get one for my birthday. After moving to California where I am allergy free, working and saving for years to buy a house, I was finally ready for a dog. But I was hesitant to make the commitment because I spent so much of my “free” time doing work at home.
Having always had a love of German Shepherds, I scoured the GSD rescues, area SPCAs, Craigslist, Petfinder and any other rescues I could fine. One day, I found Queri’s picture online, read the accompanying description (cattle dog/GSD mix) and was hooked, although I didn’t know it. I continued to search for my GSD, but after every search I’d go back to her listing. Finally I called her foster mom, and a few days later she was mine!
Although very shy and scared at first, Queri eventually warmed up to me and began to show her sweet nature (as well as her stubborn side). Over the past nine months we have learned to “talk” to each other, and she lets me know exactly what she wants; a walk, a treat, her dinner, some love, or a trip to the bathroom. Seeing her blossom and become so interactive has been very rewarding!
At the (vet-estimated) age of 12, this darling girl has a few physical limitations; deafness, arthritis and auto-immune keratitis, as well as a contagious enthusiasm for life. She loves to walk, and that has changed my workaholic ways because I so delight in her joy. Almost every evening I find myself smiling on the way home in anticipation of our time together.
Nothing deters her from her walks; not even having to wear her Doggles to protect her failing eyes from the sun. She realizes that they are part of the walk, and doesn’t complain; just heads out the door to her favorite places with a spring in her step. Sometimes I have trouble keeping up with her!
During the day, she sleeps downstairs, and occasionally walks up to the second floor to check on the cats, who are sleeping on the bed. She will take a nap with them and then come back downstairs. She also loves food, baths, grooming, ear and tummy rubs and snuggling on the sofa.
Queri brought a special love and joy into my life that had been missing for quite a while. She got me away from my desk at home, out into the fresh air, interested in something other than work, and has given me a more optimistic outlook because of her own enthusiasm for living despite the hardships and abuse she had endured in the past. She’s a wonderful gift, and I can’t imagine my life without her.
I truly miss the joy my fospice girl brought me everyday. In honor of Collette, I want to share my great experience of fostering and hospicing for Muttville. Even if it comes with sadness, what I’ve gained because of her is immeasurable.
I loved an old, weathered Border Collie. Her name was Collette.
January last year, she was delivered to my door, having traveled all night via transport from Los Angeles. After receiving heartfelt emails from shelter volunteers who gave her the name Collette and pleaded with Muttville to save her life, Sherri knew she belonged with us.
A scared and unhappy dog, Collette chose to keep to herself and curl up in a bed in a corner of my house for 7 days. Sherri nicknamed her “the saddest face in the world,” and we lovingly described her this way on her profile. Her eyes reflected a lost, displaced dog who could not make sense of why she was here or where she belonged. Collette did not do well at adoption events, always looking around like she was waiting to see someone or something familiar. I later learned that this was an inherent part of her personality.
Our first hike together at Land’s End I will never forget. She smiled for the first time, and she began to carry herself with purpose. We didn’t know each other well yet, but she stayed right next to me. If I fell behind, she would slow down and look back at me as if to say, “hey, i’m waiting for you!” In over 20 dogs that I fostered, this was the first time I felt a bond. We were yin and yang. And it seemed that she had decided I was her “someone.”
Her initial vet check included a biopsy of a large growth on her front paw. I knew it could be a tumor, but I certainly wasn’t prepared to hear our vet say she would only have 3-6 months to live. I was equally unprepared to hear Sherri say, “Let’s cut off her leg if it can save her life.” The day I brought her in for surgery I was a nervous wreck. The vet would not know how much of her leg he would remove until he was in surgery. Luckily, she ended up losing only one toe in her paw. But the bad news was the tumor appeared again just a few days later.
Having mass-cell cancer and possibly a short time to live, Collette joined Muttville’s hospice program. I committed to learn all I could about caring for a dog with cancer and researched holistic treatments. She started chemo and steroids as well. I shared her story with Pet Nutrisystems, and as a result a majority of her holistic cancer supplements were donated by customers who lost their pets to cancer. I was touched by the selflessness of pet owners who, amidst their grief, took the time to donate their unused treatments to help Collette and other dogs in Muttville’s hospice program.
Although the term “hospice care” means caring for someone facing an end of life situation, I decided that I would look at this as an opportunity to beat the odds, a challenge to see if I could give her more life. Her diagnosis motivated me to take her for special hikes every Saturday morning. It became our weekend ritual, and it also helped me to rest my “workaholic” self. When we were enjoying a beautiful view or peaceful spot together, I’d realize how much I needed it for my health as much as hers. I also knew that I wouldn’t be there if not for Collette.
Muttville volunteers re-named her “no longer the saddest face in the world”, and everyone knew Collette and I were meant to be together. At times we’d walk with other dogs and friends, and no matter what, Collette was always next to me. Even at home she stood up when I did and had to know what I was up to. She never acted like she was following me. She carried herself like she was just doing her job.
After a year, it felt inappropriate to call her my “hospice” dog. She was so healthy, her coat was shiny, and she had no signs of cancer. Muttville profiled Collette in its Winter 2010 newsletter, celebrating her extended life. I thought she would be with me for years to come, and it was easy to believe looking at her smiling face, excited for her weekend hike.
I wasn’t prepared for the sudden turn of events that happened last week. It wasn’t even cancer that took her in the end. During the unexpected final moments that Tuesday morning, she was cradled in my arms. I wasn’t ready for her to go, and I begged her to stay. I believed Collette would fight it all the way, if only her frail body was as strong as her desire to stay by my side. The night before, I slept beside her, holding her paw. She was looking at me steadily, eyes wide open. It was almost 3:00 am and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I fell asleep as she watched over me. Perhaps she already knew.
Our life together lasted a year and three months. Missing her is unbearable still, and it’s so hard to believe she is gone. I think about that January when she entered my world, how I thought I was going to give her more life. Words can not describe how much life she gave me.
Because of her, I’ve learned about cancer care for dogs, enabling me to help Muttville in a more special way. The best gift Collette gave me during our 15 months together was a lifetime of love, loyalty, and memories I will never forget.
When my time comes, Collette just might be at the end of my life’s road, looking back at me, as if to say, “hey, i’ve been waiting for you…”
Butch and her partner, Judy, adopted Muttville’s Lady (www.muttville.org/mutt/lady) last summer. Lady was a 45-pound hound who had been starved to the bone. She was nearly deaf and her coat was dry and brittle—whether she had been abandoned and living on garbage found in the street or deliberately starved, we can never know.
Lady was originally diagnosed with liver cancer, and was given only a few months to live. The odds of adopting out a ravenous, terminally ill hound, tall enough to get up and gobble any food left out on the kitchen counter seemed small. But the folks at Muttville didn’t give up on her! After some phone calls and consultations, Butch and Judy agreed to take Lady on as a hospice case. A Muttville volunteer packed Lady up and drove her 200 miles south to Atascadero where Butch and Judy live with their four other dogs on five acres.
As it turns out, Lady’s liver is fine, although she does have Cushing’s disease. But with Butch and Judy’s down-home cooking and room to roam, Lady (now named “Zamboni”) has fattened up and flourished. She spends her days lounging around the house and sniffing out the yard. When her moms come home, she gets so happy she howls!
Thank you Butch and Judy, Muttville rescue moms, for taking on what seemed like a tragic case, giving Zamboni the care she needs, and for giving her a wonderful second life.
A note about the ease of adopting a senior dog, from one of our fantastic adoptive parents, Jane. She and her husband Richard adopted Wyatt, now known as Charlie.
“We adopted Charlie the Pomeranian at the recommendation of our daughter, who is a Muttville volunteer and lives in San Francisco. Rick flew 2000 miles to visit Lake Tahoe and play golf, intending to bring Charlie home on the plane after a week-long visit.
Charlie is a 6 pound, bundle of energy – a senior dog who is full of life and a delight to be around. People frequently think he is a puppy but he is really a very seasoned dog who happens to be both well-trained and missing more than few teeth!
He was rescued by someone from the side of the highway, completely matted and covered in fleas, burrs and a big scab on his leg. After Muttville’s veterinary volunteers shaved him, gave him a bath & some medicine, he looked like his usual handsome self.
Charlie loves his walks and was already completely house-trained. He gets along well with other dogs of all sizes, cats, people and children. He even marched in “Pooches On Parade” on the Fourth of July in Half Moon Bay, California while wearing a patriotic, red bandana. Charlie enjoyed his week at Lake Tahoe and took lots of short hikes with our daughter’s two dogs.
On the plane, Charlie slept the whole way to Cleveland. The sedative the veterinarian prescribed conked him out until the end of the flight when Rick unzipped the Sherpa bag and Charlie popped his little head out of the bag and refused to put it back inside! Rick carefully zipped the bag around Charlie’s head and carried him off the plane. (Rick was afraid to push him back into the bag because Charlie is so small.)
Upon arrival at his new home, Charlie immediately inspected the fenced back yard and urinated on every bit of shrubbery. After a bit of aloof behavior, Charlie and the youngest cat are romping and playing together. They are approximately the same size and enjoy playing games.
Charlie sleeps on the foot of the bed and has an upholstered footstool to help him jump up and down off the bed. He plays fetch with a small, plush bumblebee toy with a squeaker inside.
Charlie is settling into his new life in the Midwest. He rides well in the car and goes almost everywhere with us. Recently, he was the only dog at a human birthday party near Lake Erie. Truly, this dog was born to be a Clevelander!”
About 2 years ago, Andrzej was referred to Muttville from SF’s Trauma Recovery Center. He adopted Big Boy, a scruffy terrier mix that was a very sad and traumatized little guy.
It was a match made in heaven. Big Boy was so sad, his papa had died and he really needed one-on-one love. Andrzej also needed one-on-one love. They are inseparable today.
Big Boy is a large part of Andrzej’s therapy, but I am not sure who saved who.
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