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Success stories

Brinnie

Brinnie

Written by her very doting and funny mom, Deborah:

Brinnie (AKA: Principessa Brinessa De Muttvilla; Tr: Princess Brinessa of Muttville) is darling; with the exception of a rare warning to me when her old joints are hurting, she is tolerant, gentle, patient, willing and too beautiful! She has made fast friends with the staff at our wonderful Vet’s, and children are drawn to the oversized eyes that make her look like an illustration in a children’s storybook.
She has some very strong preferences, too! Loves her carrots and bananas, and I have found that smearing an air-thin layer of P-nut Butter inside of a recycled pudding cup is distraction for hours; and that she has a very definite love of laying on the cool hardwood floor, though after this week’s “salon” trip, at which I decided we’d go “summer” and shave out her belly, she doesn’t seem to need the cool floor as much.
Apparently she LOVES books, too… Not so much reading them actually, as snacking on them.
I am not sure how long she had been browsing the Art section of my bookcase; but she became very fond of (the taste of) two of my very collectable Art books; One, a primarily Black and White collection of stunning nature photography, printed in 1942, my mother’s book in High School- I love that book; and the other, a long out-of-print compilation of the etchings, lithographs and sketches by the highly respected Israeli landscape artist, Anna Ticho.
You see, Brinessa IS a Princess and royalty KNOWS about things of taste. Especially, it seems, Bookbinders glue! VERY Tasty.
“Why????????” I couldn’t figure OUT why, with over 250 books on that shelf, she had ferreted just two and stuck with them. (“Stuck,” it turns out, being the key term.) As I looked at their “enhanced’ bindings, and all the tooth marks along the spines of those two books, I asked myself, “what would make her choose just those 2 books?”
Thoughtful time passed, and then, “OH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I bet it has to do with the glue! (Horse Glue, Maybe?)” I ran to the internet, typed in “Bookbinding Glue” and sure enough, Horse and Rabbit renderings were the primary ingredient in older binding adhesives. No big deal (other than the sad ‘YUK’ factor). I went through all the old books and moved them onto higher shelves, and got the two she had coveted out of harm’s way (they will need to be rebound of course, but that will have to wait until the oil well comes in!) and she has not gone near the bookcase since.
Which brings me to Brinnie’s NOSE. She can smell things eons away. I will find her, her nose to something that the other two dogs have NEVER paid attention to. And I have to think very hard (OUCH!) until I remember when I spilt some soup in the kitchen 3 months before, or one of the other dogs had enjoyed a cookie on the corner of the carpet in June of 2005, or “Why is she scratching the dog booster seat in the car???” -the long-ago-forgotten treats I had zipped into the front pocket, THAT’S why! I have learned not to doubt her; she is never wrong. If her nose is there, something edible is close by. I just have to make sure what she decides is edible is not also READABLE! How convenient for her that as great as her nose is, her near-deafness allows her to pretend she isn’t making “bad decisions” as I loudly try to point them out to her!
I felt the need to provide you readers some evidence, and so, here is Brinnie, unwilling to face the camera, alongside the results of her relatively short-lived foray into the world of fine art!

The wonder of all of this is that somehow, I don’t really care. This dog is such a complete vision of loveliness, and such a lovable creature, that “…really; a few books? Never mind.” She makes me smile, and laugh, and is delicious to the touch, with a coat of fur as soft as cotton candy. She is so good about everything else, so MUCH better than my two other beloved pups- on walks, about the furniture, with visitors, at going outside to take care of business no matter the weather, at mealtimes… that I guess a few old book spines is a mighty small price to pay for so much enrichment and entertainment!
I did not go to Muttville on January 6th 2011 to adopt Brinnie; I went on the trail of a little guy I had seen posted closer to home here in the Central Valley, who had since been taken to Muttville. I was wise enough to bring the two “Boys” with me so they could help select their new pal. And they chose Brinnie. And she stopped wandering around Sherri’s garden where she was busy sniffing out long-forgotten food for a while, and came over to stand with us. And that was it. “When it’s right it’s right!”
Decision made.
No looking back.
Wouldn’t want to!

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

Phoebe

Phoebe

Here is a hilarious look at the new life of Phoebe as told by her proud papa, Norm:

Well, I’ve created a brat. A cute brat, but a brat just the same.

It was obvious when I got Phoebe that she had never, in her entire life, had anything to look forward to. I decided I was going to fix that. It took a while but I have her now where she loves to share my breakfast bacon. I even get her her own, the turkey bacon is only $2 a pound and I wouldn’t eat the stuff but she loves it.

Well, one morning I was late getting her her first piece and she could smell it cooking. She stood on the porch; she can see me in the kitchen and BARKED at me with an indignant look on her face no less. She barked twice – like “you’re tardy with the bacon dude.” It was too funny. But what makes it funnier is that I had never heard her bark before that, I didn’t think she knew how. She’ll stand on the porch and watch rabbits hop by and ducks waddle by and not make a sound.

Also, when I first got her she didn’t know what dog treats were. I left four different types right by the door she uses to go in and out and she never looked at them. I finally found some chicken strips that are kind of like bacon and she LOVES them. She’s become a pest about them too. The only time I’ve see her tail up is when she snatches treat off of the porch and scampers into the back yard to eat it.

Of course, she won’t take the bacon or treats from my fingers; I can’t be trusted don’t ya know…

What a cutie.

Phoebe has come a long way since her first day at Muttville. We are so proud of her, and so thankful that Norm has given her the new beginning she deserves!

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

Mister Rufus

Mister Rufus

Thank you to wonderful parents Anthony and Lori. In their own words, here is their happy life with Mister Rufus:

When we first saw Mister Rufus (his name was Rusty at the time) coming down the street with his foster Susan we were hooked. It was literally love at first sight for us. Sherri had suggested we meet him and from his pictures we thought he might be bigger than we were looking for. But he was just twenty pounds of sweetness that we could not resist.

We met Rufus on a Saturday and by Sunday afternoon he was home with us. He might be a senior dog but he doesn’t show it. He has the spirit and curiosity of a puppy. Mister Rufus suffers from pollen and grain allergies but that doesn’t get him down. He loves to go for walks and hikes and sniffs what seems like every single flower, leaf and blade of grass that crosses his path. Rufus loves to go in the car and we bring him just about everywhere we can including road trips to L.A. He’ll be going camping in Big Sur with us this summer too.

Although I grew up with dogs, Rufus is the first dog that my wife and I have had together and her first dog ever. He’s just about the best dog anyone could hope for and we consider ourselves the lucky ones to have him in our lives. We’re so happy he chose us to be his forever home. He’s the best!

Thank you Muttville!!!

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

JoJo

Dale and JoJo: A Muttmatch made in heaven!

Video by Elijah Nouvelage

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

Myles

Myles

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,

Lauren

...And Muttville thanks Lauren for being an amazing mom!

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

Dante

Dante

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….

Somewhere, somehow

At sometime someone cared

Maybe just for a moment

Or maybe for a lifetime…”

-Eva Cassidy, “Somewhere”

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

Beethoven - Part 2

Beethoven - Part 2

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."

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

Beethoven

Beethoven

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…”

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

Querida

Querida

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.

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

What Muttville Means To Me: The Story of Collette

What Muttville Means To Me: The Story of Collette

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…”

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

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