The joy I find in being around dogs is immense. We speak the same language. Their way of processing life around them is a wonder to behold, and the old dogs in particular inspire me. I love watching them problem-solve. That is one reason I went to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue last weekend to become a hands-on volunteer.
If you are new to Grouchy Puppy or my dog blog, you may not know that I live in San Francisco and have been involved with Muttville for many years. I discovered them when I was looking for a local animal nonprofit who stood out in their focus, and results. With my own dog at the time a beautiful senior dog, I was hooked by Sherri's commitment, and impressed by her success finding old dogs homes. Six years later, Muttville is a model for rescues across the country!
Why become a volunteer now?
The younger ladies in the group spoke of being there because they either couldn't have a dog for some reason, or they just wanted to help old dogs find homes. I was there because of my dog Cleo, and her lessons about the parallels between senior dogs and older people.
I lost my beloved old dog almost two years ago, and both my parents late last year. A couple months ago I reached the point where I was ready emotionally to get involved with dogs again. My husband and I are not ready to have our own yet, but I knew it was time for me to gets hands-on with helping old dogs find new beginnings.
Muttville made sense.
What's so special about old dogs?
I did not want to volunteer at the San Francisco SPCA where our dog was adopted from because I believe we are at a tipping point. The next big wave of awareness about how valuable old dogs are in our world is building, and it would be a crime to waste the life lessons that my old dog passed on to me.
Sharing with people how an old dog can positively influence your life is my passion. I am living proof, and now that I am into my fifties, my goal is to help not only grow the awareness and support of seniors-for-seniors programs, but to also make it common, standard practice even, that assisted living and senior centers are pet-friendly.
Baby Boomers are more inclined to have grown up with a dog, or had one as a member of the family while raising their children. As boomers retire, they are going to expect that any retirement home they move into will allow for pets.
I believe older dogs are perfect companions for anyone needing that slow and steady friend. These dogs offer quiet affection. They don't care about world events or politics. They care about hanging out with you, and enjoying some sunshine together or a nice nap.
It's that simple.
Because I know I won't be able to resist, after I join the Dog Care Team, I have a feeling I will start writing about the senior sweethearts I spend time with in the doggy loft. Maybe I'll call the series "Senior Snapshots" and create fictitious back stories fit for a crime novel or paperback romance!
- Sharon Castellanos
Have you volunteered for a rescue before? What do you think about Senior Snapshots, would you be interested in reading them?