Success stories



We wish to thank Rita and Barry for sharing their touching tale starring “Rocky”, who lived a beautiful and rich life, thanks to his devoted parents and a stuffed pig named Neal.

With heavy hearts we wanted to share with the Muttville family the news of the passing of our beloved Rocky. It was over abruptly for our magnificent Rockstar—he went from fine and frisky to mortally ill in just 24 hours. It was inoperable cancer that had caused internal bleeding, and, no matter our hopes or prayers, there just wasn’t going to be any more good time left.

I think one of the greatest gifts on earth is knowing you’re happy as it’s happening, and one of the greatest tragedies is to only know what good thing you’ve had once it’s gone. By any measure, we were among the luckiest dog parents on earth for the past four years, because not a day went by when we weren’t aware of how wonderful a dog Rocky was and just how much joy he brought into our lives. We were grateful for him every day, but even more so now that he has left us.

From the moment we got him—at least 10 years old and all beat up and covered in scars, half his teeth gone, the other half ground down to nubs, ears bent two different ways, with a cigarette burn on his tail that had been broken in three places—he was a profoundly gentle, affectionate, grateful soul.

We named him “Rocky” because he looked like a beat-up prizefighter. How it came to pass that a dog that had been so visibly abused and neglected also came to us housebroken with perfect manners is a mystery we’ll never know the answer to. What we do know is on the way home that first day, he fell asleep in his new dad’s lap. It was as if he had once known a good life, enough to recognize he could relax. He was once again in a safe place with people who were going to love him, right from the start.

And love him we did!! Rocky had magnificent life skills, such as always sitting in the middle on the sofa, getting people to pet his ears, getting people to rub his belly, getting people to fall in love with him. Infinite patience with children, no matter how loud or rambunctious they got. Never barking, only groaning like an old ship, and sharing long, meaningful, soulful stares with what his dad called his “Bette Davis eyes.”

But his life’s masterwork was his relationship with his pig, Neal. We had tried toys when we first got him: a Frisbee, a tennis ball, a kong, to no avail. A friend came over to our house to meet our new baby bringing a pink stuffed pig as a gift. We prepared her to be disappointed: “That’s so sweet, Irene,” I said, “but we’ve tried—Rocky doesn’t like toys.”

Boy, were we ever wrong! Irene bent over and handed Rocky the toy. Rocky began to tremble all over, closed his eyes, and as gentle as could be took the pig into his mouth. He never went anywhere without it ever again.

Neal was his lover, his toy, his friend, his baby. I would wash them together in the kitchen sink, and then Rocky would stand over Neal, licking and grooming him for hours until all of his pink pig fuzz went in the same direction. Rocky loved Neal so much, he felt a bottomless need to rip his face off. It’s a good thing Rocky hardly had any teeth left. Even still, I was only able to keep that pig in something resembling one piece by patching him up dozens of times. By the time Rocky left this earth, Neal had just one front flipper left and not much left of his head. But like the Velveteen Rabbit, Rocky’s love made Neal a Real Pig.

Rocky and his dad had an incredible bond. If you ask me, they were soulmates, dog and man made of the same stuff: gentleness without end, sweetness incarnate. I’m going to finish the story of the life of Rocky with words from his dad:

“Rocky freely gave us his unconditional love and trust.
He made us laugh every day. He snuggled and cuddled and loved having his belly rubbed. He made our lives richer. He traveled with us as far as Argentina. He had admirers everywhere. He loved his pig named Neal. He tolerated his sister Lily, as long as she did not touch Neal.

We feel so sad and know we have lost something very precious."

Barry & Rita

Are you the proud parent of Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include three of your favorite photos and send it to with the subject line 'Success Story'.



If you’ve seen the red wrapped VW Muttmobile, you’ve seen the photo of a cute dog looking out the back window. That’s Muttville mascot Axl, he of the funny walk, who has been with us longer than anybody else we currently have. (Many thanks go to Melinda for giving Axl a wonderful foster home!)

And you may know the wonderful Kristin, who works part-time in the office. For the last two years she’s been going to the Menlo Charity Horse Show with a Muttville dog, hoping to score an adoption. This year, she got us a booth, and we were able to bring a handful of dogs. Kristin’s ultimate goal: get Axl adopted.

Early during the week-long show, there was obvious chemistry between Axl and one particular woman who stopped by to visit. But he was a popular boy, and he soon got adopted. Later, that first woman, Tammie, the one with the chemistry, came back to visit Axl and was upset to find that he’d been adopted. “He stuck with me in spirit even after I’d heard that he had found a home,” said Tammie.

Well, guess what. The person who took Axl discovered that he was a little too fragile for the lab mix already at home, and Axl came back.

And so did Tammie. She was overjoyed. “I saw him again,” she said, “and I didn’t even need to know the details of why he was back. I just needed to know how to bring him home.”

“And home,” continues Tammie, "a forever home, is where he is now. He may not see all that well, nor hear all that well, and he may drift a little when he walks towards us, but he always knows where he is now. He knows he’s home. And he had another surprise fan waiting for him when he arrived home. His new father became an instant fan and proclaimed after a few days, ‘Axl isn’t just giving us unconditional love, he’s showing us how to love unconditionally, and that’s a very important reminder to have on a daily basis!’ Our thanks go to everyone at Muttville Senior Rescue who made this possible for us.”

At last, Axl’s getting the life he deserves. Congratulations to the new family!

If you adopted a Muttville dog, we would love to feature you in an upcoming ‘Success Story’. Please contact with the Subject line ‘Success Story’

Are you the proud parent of Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include three of your favorite photos and send it to with the subject line 'Success Story'.



On May 28, we lost our precious girl, Osita. As many know, she had health problems when we first adopted her that sadly led to kidney failure. It was a decision no one wants to ever be faced with, and yet, it was one we were forced to make. And though she had been ill, nothing could truly prepare us for this loss.

Since the moment we met Osita, she brought us enormous joy; endless smiles and laughter. She truly filled our hearts with love.

Osita found us on a beach in Mendocino on a beautiful sunny day in October 2010. One moment Dirk and I were relaxing on a blanket, enjoying an adventurous day that brought us unexpectedly to Russian Gulch State Park. The next moment this little ball of fluff comes frolicking up to us wearing an “Adopt Me” vest, and well, the rest was history.

It turned out she had been rescued from a high-kill shelter in LA. No one knows how she got there or what her life had been before that, but by the grace of God Muttville Senior Dog Rescue saved this matted and mangled little honey from the grips of death and brought her to San Francisco. She was being fostered by a couple who had taken her on a weekend trip to Mendocino. And that is how we came together.

People were always amazed that this little dog who had been left for dead was so kind, so trusting. Scoop her up and she would just melt in to your arms. And that’s where she spent a good deal of time. One of Osita’s many quirks that we joked made her more cat-like or baby-like then a “real” dog was how she was content being held in your arms for hours.

She wasn’t one for long-walks or leash-walks at all for that matter. Instead, she would just follow behind you at her cat-like pace. This dog was m-e-l-l-o-w. We had no idea she could even bark until the first time I was in the kitchen chopping food and I heard this scratchy cough coming from below. To my amusement, that was Osita barking. And that is the only time she would bark. This mellow dog that never made a peep had a whole other animated personality once there was food on the scene. She would come running at the smell of coffee brewing. And that’s when we first saw her adorable 2-legged dance. Up on 2 legs, she would start flapping her paws and jumping up and down like there was no tomorrow. So she COULD move afterall.

Our long-running storyline for Osita’s past life was that she had a prosperous film career in LA. In fact, we were pretty sure she was the estranged wife of Mr. Winkle (Google him) who had abandoned her once her health started to decline. We wanted to pursue alimony on her behalf but thought it better to leave the past in the past. Osita loved to be groomed and would sit perfectly still through bath time, blowouts and fur trims—just like any good starlet would do. There was no doubt in my mind she was used to extensive grooming from her days on the silver screen. And so it was no big surprise that on a return trip to LA last Fall a photographer snatched her up for a film shoot which even landed her on the cover of the artist’s website. Everyone who met Osita fell in love.

I remember my father asked me when we first talked about adopting her if I was prepared to go through with losing another dog, as I had done with my beloved Qi of 14+ years. I remember my response like it was yesterday. “Oh yeah, we’re just helping her out, for as long as that might be. We know she’s older so we’re just going to help take care of her for as long as she’s got.” I could never have imagined how much she would end up giving to us instead. I feel so blessed to have had her loving, sweet, gentle presence in my life. She touched my heart.

To know Osita was to love Osita. I miss her terribly and know my heart will always ache for her. It’s super sad to me that baby will never meet his furry big (lil) sister but with all the time she spent snuggled on my chest and lying on my tummy, I know they are intricately connected. She was, afterall, my practice baby.

RIP Osita J Pomeranian,

our Pom Pom

View Osita’s Memorial Tribute

Thank you for the wonderful work you do and all the many lives you touch at Muttville.

Danya & Dirk

If you adopted a Muttville dog, we would love to feature you in an upcoming ‘Success Story’. Please contact with the Subject line ‘Success Story’

Are you the proud parent of Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include three of your favorite photos and send it to with the subject line 'Success Story'.



Thank you Elizabeth for this wonderful update on Snap who has enjoyed a new beginning at the age of 11. Here is sweet Snap’s story:

Just wanted to send you an update on Snap, whom we adopted from you about two years ago at the age of 11. Adopting Snap was the best thing we ever did. I wanted a dog who would be a friend to my daughter, and he has more than delivered. From the day he came home with us, he has been devoted to Lotus. No matter how tired he is or how lame he’s feeling, he follows her around the house. When she’s out, he sleeps by the door. And he has adopted our house rabbits as his personal friends; we’ve never had to worry about him hurting them.

Snap’s big joy in life is our evening sessions of tv and treats. He also loves our weekly hikes in the East Bay hills, despite his struggles with lameness, and periodic trips to the dog park, where he is the toast of the park. He has made numerous friends in our neighborhood (we’ve met more neighbors here during our walks with Snap than we did during our previous ten years living here).

After much work with the vet, we’ve finally managed to control his chronic ear infections, and we’ve adjusted to his very slow walking pace. The fact is, he gets us out hiking because it’s such a pleasure going with him. I hope he lives another ten years, but whatever time we have with him we will be immensely grateful for. Thank you so much for letting us adopt him.

If you adopted a Muttville dog, we would love to feature you in an upcoming ‘Success Story’. Please contact with the Subject line ‘Success Story’

Are you the proud parent of Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include three of your favorite photos and send it to with the subject line 'Success Story'.



Thank you to Nancy for sharing with us a beautiful recount of her short yet life-changing year with a Muttville girl named Eva.

My Year with Miss Eva

Actually, 13 Grand months! I first met Eva on a Wednesday when Marie and Russell filled me in on her story. How she was coming out of her shell, how she was responding to her surgery to remove the lump in her leg. I came back on Sunday to bring her home. Marie knew Eva and I were meant to be with each other when Eva got off the sofa to greet me at the door. She left with me so easily, too. What a love! I even had a playlist on my iPod for her. She became My Girl.

The next day, we went to the dog park and Eva just barely made it past the entrance gate. The next day, she was much more comfortable and we went all around meeting everyone. At first people were confused and thought she was my dearly departed Molly, but soon got to know her as Eva.

And then on Thursday, I began to dog sit for a fellow foster friend, a dog I had transported from the vet to his foster home. Eva and the little one bonded immediately and a week later, I decided the three of us would be a family, Eva, Fang, and me.

How Eva protected Fang. He loves to play with dogs of all sizes and Eva was always right there to make certain the other dogs would not get too rough with him. No wonder Fang could puff out his chest and walk around so fearlessly!

Eva was very protective of me, too. She followed me everywhere, always in the same room with me. And whenever I looked at her in a certain way, she would come over to give me kisses.

Eva was gorgeous. Nobody ever believed she was fighting cancer. Thanks to Marie and Russell’s regimen of her home cooked diet and supplements which I continued. I truly believe that was a huge factor in my having my time with her. She looked SO good. And when she ran with the other dogs, my heart sang!

I called her the Sheriff, too. Any hint of discord among the dogs at the park and she was right there yelling at them and keeping order. Even a peaceful gathering got her into herding mode. Doing what she was born to do.

My former roommate told me the other day how he was on the floor with Eva and Fang when he started to sing. Eva joined in and started howling with him. She was always talking up a storm. Boy, was she vocal!!!

In September, we took on a foster dog that I named Foster. A Llasa Apso searching for his forever home. He was a growler and oh my! How Eva put him in his place and protected me! There was such a distinct difference in her voice when she was chastising Foster. But she protected him at the park, too. My Miss Eva.

We all enjoyed going to Fort Funston though Eva never got her feet wet like the two boys did. But she did enjoy the beach and the cliffs above. She even came with me on a blind date there to protect me.

The four of us went to Fort Funston on Thanksgiving. Suddenly, I hear, ‘Eva, Eva’? Oh my goodness! It was Marie and Russell with their pack including Max! We had just missed the Muttville gathering. I think Eva remembered Russell for whom she had the biggest crush. And she absolutely remembered Max as they were foster mates. Unfortunately, Eva had no tolerance for Max and definitely expressed her great displeasure at seeing him again!

Poor Max! Having just been returned to Muttville, he had to face Eva again. In a ‘what a very small world’ way, Max was returned by the very couple who were coming the next day to meet Foster. (Foster is still with me).

Right after Thanksgiving, Jackson and his father joined our pack as the new housemates. Jackson is an almost 17 year old Belgian Shepherd/Husky mix. He is our very senior citizen with arthritis in his back legs. Sometimes he stumbles and falls and needs assistance to get up again. If no one was in the room, Eva barked until we came to help Jackson.

Always looking out for all of us in her pack.

Recently, she became very fussy about her food. Sometimes, she would refuse to eat at all. She also became lethargic and wanted to stick close to home and just sunbathe in the front yard or just sleep.

Eva had an appointment on Thursday 6/28 at Healthy Pets. That is where her cancerous tumor was removed before she came into my life.

On Wednesday, 6/27 (of this year), I came home to the usual frenetic greeting by Fang and Foster. I checked to see Jackson was still breathing and then noticed Eva was not in her usual spot. I looked outside on the patio and she was napping ever so peacefully.

But wait, are those flies near her? Eva, Eva, I called out. But alas, Eva had left us. I really pray the sun was shining out there and she went to sunbathe.

Eva did it on her own terms. No more vet appointments for her. She was still beautiful and just went to sleep peacefully. I placed a towel over her and Fang laid on her for quite awhile.

Good bye My Girl. My sweet, beautiful Miss Eva! Fang and I miss you so much already. Who will ever protect us like you did? Good bye, my love.

If you adopted a Muttville dog, we would love to feature you in an upcoming ‘Success Story’. Please contact with the Subject line ‘Success Story’

Are you the proud parent of Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include three of your favorite photos and send it to with the subject line 'Success Story'.



T-Bone, Mr T, The T Man, was one of those scraggly poodles we get rescue requests for every day. He was dumped along with his sister and another small white poodle, and when they arrived at Muttville all three were really sad cases – matted, unwanted and stressed out.

After sleeping for almost a full 24 hours, the three little dogs started to explore. That was when we realized that T-Bone was blind. He had an exuberance, happily bouncing into things, that is rare to see with blind dogs in a new surrounding. But while both his rescue mates quickly found homes, Mr. T was waiting and waiting.

There was some good news: The vet told us T ‘s blindness could be cured with surgery. The surgery was expensive, and we didn’t have the money, but we did have darling pictures of our blind little poodle. So, some of you may remember, we decided to send out a newsletter describing T’s situation. We needed $3500 to operate on both his eyes.

Your generosity was overwhelming. It allowed our boy to see again! And he got a great new home. I think that his family might have adopted him even if he was blind, because from the minute they met him, he was stuck in their minds and hearts.

You make things happen like this everyday. Your generosity means we can save lives and give second chances to these wonderful beings.

It feels so good to know that there are people out there in the world that help – in all ways: volunteering, fostering, adopting, donating.

Thanks to all of you!


Are you the proud parent of Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include three of your favorite photos and send it to with the subject line 'Success Story'.

Cara Mia

Cara Mia

Thank you, Emily, for this tribute to your sweet girl.

Cara Mia
? – May 28, 2012

The ‘?’ above is one of two important pieces of Cara Mia’s life that I will never know…when was she born and what her life was like before she became part of our family…

But I do know about Cara Mia’s last two and a half years. She stopped people in their tracks with her cuteness. She sat like a princess/sphinx/primadonna in any bed watching the world go by. She preferred solitude over large groups. She pranced and ate with abundance when she was feeling well. She was smart and gave me plenty of creative opportunities to get her to do something I wanted and/or needed her to do.

She very much had a mind of her own…which was funny or challenging or both.

While she was often sick, she did try to rally over and over and over again…and she did just that until now.

Her wagging tail brought smiles and relief in knowing she was happy. Her selective licks were her treats to us. Her jumping into my arms and her snuggling next to me was proof that she grew to love and trust me.

And all of that is immensely important.

Goodbye for now, our little girl. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to treat you with love and kindness. Please tell Boomer we miss and love him. He is probably with Lily and Bubbazo…tell them we send our love too.

Always remember that you are our pup-of-love and we love you so.

Are you the proud parent of Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include three of your favorite photos and send it to with the subject line 'Success Story'.



Founder Sherri Franklin shares the happy story of Bentley, a Muttville dog who went from being a lonely stray to a loved dog with an amazing life on a vineyard.

I received an adoption application a couple of years ago for a Muttville St. Bernard dog that said,“We consider our dogs to be part of the family so they do whatever we do – road trips, going to the beach, park, running errands (only if someone stays in the vehicle with them), and visiting other dog-friendly friends.”

I knew this was going to be a good thing for Mr. Bentley, a senior St. Bernard found wandering the streets of Stockton! In addition, this big guy was not only going to have a yard but a yard made of acres!

Bentley was going to now be called Thurman and he’d be a vineyard dog in Sonoma. That sure beats the heck out of the Stockton Animal Shelter.

“We have always enjoyed sharing the couch with our dogs.” This 90 pound beauty brought love and laughter to his new adopters, a couple who truly love their dogs.

“We want to adopt a dog who may have a difficult time finding a home because of age, illness, size or any special needs.” This is the kind of application that makes me swoon!

“We have the time, love, patience and financial resources to give this type of dog a wonderful quality of life which he/she deserves.” Thurman had a great new beginning with Robin & Steve and we’re glad Thurman’s last few years were spent in their loving, happy home.

His heart gave out this week and he now resides in doggie heaven, where he has many new friends, I am sure. I had the pleasure of seeing Thurman in action just a few weeks ago, chasing the ball like a big lumbering Labrador wanna-be and I bet he is doing that right now with his new pals.

If you adopted a Muttville dog, we would love to feature you in an upcoming ‘Success Story’. Please contact with the Subject line ‘Success Story’

Are you the proud parent of Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include three of your favorite photos and send it to with the subject line 'Success Story'.

Maxwell, Muttville's 1000th rescued dog

Maxwell, Muttville's 1000th rescued dog

It has been one year since Muttville celebrated rescuing its 1000th dog! His name was Maxwell, and he carried this title proudly!

What happened to Max? Read his success story, written by his mom, Chandreve:

About a year ago, our companion Mara passed away, leaving Abby without a pal. Abby is about nine years old and missed having a friend while we were at work. For about three months we fostered a younger dog, but we found that Abby was often frustrated with her boundless energy. We decided that Abby needed an age appropriate companion. Our local animal shelter directed us to Muttville and through them we found the dog of our dreams, Maxwell.

We just love Maxwell! He has wiggled his way into our hearts and has folded into our household seamlessly. Maxwell already knows our schedule and wakes us up at 4:30 a.m. promptly, so we can go to one of East Bay Regional Park District’s parks for an off-leash hike. Although Max and our other dog Abby weren’t instant pals they have grown on each other. They have become hiking and napping buddies and have banded together to defend the perimeter against any invading squirrels. Max has become the official greeter for our friends and family, and runs down the steps to welcome them; he has such a great personality and loves to be in the thick of things.

Maxwell is a talker and makes lots of noises while we’re getting ready for a walk, heading for bed or when he’s just in the mood. Recently he jumped off and on the bed repeatedly in the wee hours of the morning, growled and tugged until we woke up; minutes later there was an earthquake. We all feel safer with Maxwell in our lives.

We can’t say enough about how wonderful the volunteers are at Muttville. Several volunteers met us and Abby at a local park giving the whole family a chance to meet potential new companions. Maxwell’s foster Mom was friendly, warm, and open about all of Maxwell’s little quirks so there were no surprises. Well maybe—a few pleasant surprises.

We just can’t imagine life without our furry friend, and are so glad we found out about Muttville and Maxwell.

If you adopted a Muttville dog, we would love to feature you in an upcoming ‘Success Story’. Please contact with the Subject line ‘Success Story’

Are you the proud parent of Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include three of your favorite photos and send it to with the subject line 'Success Story'.

Mr. Mouse

Mr. Mouse

Talk about a success story! Read about Mr. Mouse (a.k.a. Sprite) written by his loving parents, Danielle & Cooper:

In October 2007, my ornery yet beloved cat, Lucia “CheeChee”, passed away. I was very sad and wasn’t sure I when I’d be emotionally ready to have another pet. Thankfully, Danielle is a Pomeranian-obsessive and had her own furry Pomeranian child, Frances, to help heal my heart. I was a die-hard cat person, but Danielle and Frances were quickly and persuasively changing my mind.

A friend of ours who was on Muttville’s board at the time told us about Muttville and suggested that fostering a dog might be a good way for me to share my love with an animal before I was ready to fully commit. Danielle and I were nervous but excited by the idea of being able to help rescue a dog and Muttville seemed like such an amazing organization. For months, I visited Muttville’s website and looked at each and every dog, looking for my future friend. I wanted every dog I saw and I emailed about a couple of them only to find out they had been adopted or already had a foster family. (Don’t worry. There are plenty of pooches to go around. Muttville has grown since then and are always looking for new folks willing to foster and/or adopt!) Then, one day in the late summer of 2008, I saw this little Pomeranian named Sprite (who would go on to become Mr. Edward Mouse) and immediately emailed Muttville. One look at Sprite’s photo of his somewhat crazed little face and I was smitten!

Sprite had an amazing volunteer and temporary foster parent, Rachel. She understood that while we were interested in eventually adopting a dog, and quite possibly Sprite, we wanted to start as foster parents while Frances the Queen Pomeranian sniffed around and decided if she could “tolerate” his ragamuffin self in her home. You see, Miss Frances is a perfect little princess and well, Sprite, had lived a harder life and was a bit scruffy around the edges.

Sprite came for a couple of visits to meet Frances and her BFF, Calvin. Ever protective of Frannie, Calvin insisted on being there to check him out. Well, for us, it was love at first sight. Who were we kidding with this whole “fostering” thing? At least for Danielle, who know from the get-go that we’d give this pooch his forever home, Sprite fit perfectly into our equation. I was a bit more nervous wanting to be sure Frances and he would get along. There was this initial “humping episode” that spooked me but when the ladies of the house want something, they tend to get it! So, I opened my heart and let the little guy trot his way into our home and hearts.

We renamed him Mr. Mouse because he both looks like a mouse and has a bit of a formal, “old-man” air about him. Believe it or not, it’s our 4 year anniversary with Mouse this September! Frankly, none of us has a clue how old he is. The vets have been saying “14?” for years but aside from a practically toothless smile, enalpril for his heart, and the occasional back spasm, Mr. Mouse is still going strong! In fact, he outpaces all of us on our walks. Take him to the beach and he will just run and run…The guy LOVES his walks.T

Muttville has brought such joy into our lives. They rescue the dogs who need to find a loving home, but they also rescue us humans along the way.

Thanks to Sarah Jo Neubauer, Sherri Franklin, and all of Muttville for doing so much good.

PS. Since 2008, we’ve also adopted an old lady Pom who we adored named Gigi (may she rest in peace) and successfully fostered and adopted out two other lady Poms named Miss Em and Olivia, both of whom are currently living the good life in Napa and Benicia, respectively.

If you adopted a Muttville dog, we would love to feature you in an upcoming ‘Success Story’. Please contact with the Subject line ‘Success Story’

Are you the proud parent of Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include three of your favorite photos and send it to with the subject line 'Success Story'.

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