Is a dog like having an anchor?

Something that struck me recently was just how few stories talked about during the news or written online — that are calm and measured. The chaos described is distressing whether it is related to our government or recent hurricane. Since it was my day to volunteer with the oldsters at Muttville, I decided to look to them for answers and solace. I wasn’t disappointed.

1F72CC0D-4593-470F-A4E7-91514697C963

Trying to get a skittish dog to relax and trust your intentions is a good exercise. I spoke quietly and moved slowly until sweet Twister understood me. By the time she recognized my welcoming body language, I had stopped thinking about the world outside.

6B3C367C-3E36-489F-91E5-3F00C0B76EE9

Confident dogs like Arthur are amazing to behold. He truly goes after you with the knowledge that he knows how soft and loving his moves are. I got more immediate sweet kisses from him after I arrived than any dog. We just met but he offered love by the spoonful if you returned his snuggles with lots of attention.

Then there is the dog with the faraway eyes. With the silly Mohawk, Emilia drew your attention, but it was her distant yet expectant look that had you walking over. She wanted your affection even if she didn’t run up to ask for it.

0377C252-CAFE-4F04-BD35-59F16E2F9169

All of these dogs have one thing in common. They provided me with an anchor to what matters. Thanks to a dog, I was reminded that I could be moored to a warm beating heart whose purpose was only to offer love. They only cared about the flow or oxytocin current we were sharing.

More than ever, I am grateful to ability of a dog to provide me with a positive anchor in this turbulent sea. It’s Adopt A Shelter Dog Month and I encourage everyone who is feeling adrift to consider having a dog in their life. You might be surprised by the wonderful feelings they bring when you are tethered to their furry little hearts.

Learn more about these three cutie pies at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Dog Adoption: No Trick 🎃 All Treat

There is no trick to loving a dog. When I begin my volunteer shift with the old dogs at Muttville each week, I am sure to find a new furry face or five. Sure, first I have to get past the powerful smells that pour out of the rooms, made from twenty dogs waking up in the morning. Then I need to listen beyond the good morning barks. Until finally, I am up all the stairs and able to peer over the gates to offer my own greetings. It is always worth it.

I am always glad to arrive at Muttville and survey the current canine crew. Besides having the “senior dog” label in common, all of the dogs tend to overlap personalities and backgrounds. My favorite experience though is discovering the older pup who is still discovering that they hit the jackpot by having Muttville in their corner now. These dogs have this expression of disbelief that is tangible. I can feel it flowing off of them through their body language, the looks on their face and incredible gratitude.

BBFD82A1-2ABB-42AB-A07A-6330303122F0

Continue reading "Dog Adoption: No Trick 🎃 All Treat " »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


What is the compassionate response? Animals and Airlines

Should we expect airlines to allow emotional support animals onboard their planes? To be clear, these are not the same service animals trained to help the disabled, such as a seeing eye dog. Should the fact that we now acknowledge that people suffering from post traumatic stress are helped significantly by emotional support animals, thus allowing them to take their animals with them into places they previously would have been denied like on an airplane?

We posed this question to our Grouchy Puppy community on Facebook and thought it would also make for a good post for discussion here. The issue of what is a service or support animal, and where should they be allowed to go is emotional. I feel a lot of compassion and empathy for anyone suffering emotionally who feels better thanks to a dog...I do, in my own way, every single time I volunteer at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. I can imagine how good a dog’s companionship or physical presence must feel to someone much further down the scale of need.


Continue reading "What is the compassionate response? Animals and Airlines" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Snorts, grunts and a chocolate pumpkin: Dog sitting Miss Pickle

Over the July 4th holiday, my first chance to have a dog in our home again came true. Thanks to my well known love for dogs, and past two years volunteering at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, a friend of my husband’s let her older dog stay with us for several days. I don’t know who had a better time, the woman at her family reunion, or me spending hours trying to make sure a sweet corgi-lab was content.

BECBC0F0-CF52-40A1-B423-18B0032CE2C3

First of all, I honestly believe part of the reason Miss Pickles (is that a great name?!) came to stay with us was due to my recent senior dog experiences. I believe that regular volunteer work gave Candy a feeling of confidence in my ability to care for her dog. She had lost her previous French Bulldog in December, and had only gotten Miss Pickles in March so she wanted to make sure she was in good hands. 

Continue reading "Snorts, grunts and a chocolate pumpkin: Dog sitting Miss Pickle" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


5 Great Reasons Why Time With a Senior Dog Makes Us Healthier!

Time spent with older dogs can be the best antidote for whatever is ailing you. Each time I walk out of the Muttville doggy loft, I feel better about myself, healthier in mind and body.

FC206BC6-5798-4DE1-AB21-D82469B9FEC0

Have you wondered what makes older dogs special, why I believe they rule? Read on for five great reasons why spending time with senior dogs can result in a healthier you!!

Continue reading "5 Great Reasons Why Time With a Senior Dog Makes Us Healthier!" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Grouchy Puppy Approved: 5 Unique Gift Ideas for Dog Lovers of All Ages

Are you a dog person or know someone in your life who loves dogs the most? This year I’m sharing my personal favorite gift giving ideas for dog people!

Below are five very different and special gifts for dog lovers of all ages. There is a website where you can use your own photos or original artwork to create cute gifts for your dog loving friends and family, ranging from everything from pillows to note cards.  There are also three new gift ideas just discovered this year!

Whether for the holidays, a birthday or a housewarming gift, you’re bound to find the perfect gift for the dog lovers in your life.

017147D1-39A9-4201-ABCD-E5E0E5A6C3E55 Very Unique Ideas for Your Gift Giving

Continue reading "Grouchy Puppy Approved: 5 Unique Gift Ideas for Dog Lovers of All Ages" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Don’t fear! Senior dogs are very dear — and worth adopting!!

One of the biggest reasons senior dogs, and generally adult dogs, have a hard time getting adopted from shelters is because many people fear loss.

You know a simple way to counter that fear? Flip your perspective! 

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

Continue reading "Don’t fear! Senior dogs are very dear — and worth adopting!!" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


When dogs you’ve just met demand your affection, how do you respond?

When a dog refuses to acknowledge a barrier, physical or emotional, do you think they realize what they are doing?

I’ve noticed during my encounters with big dogs at Muttville that when one pushes through my arms, or puts their head into my lap with intention, I feel privileged. I’m grateful when they take the initiative to, in their own doggy way, ask for my attention and affection. I’m there to give them affection anyway, but it’s a different kind of feeling when a dog who doesn’t know you, demands you love on them.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

This is Everett. I had barely walked into the room before he barreled straight into my legs. He wasn’t waiting for me to come to him. He didn’t see my hesitation, or if he did he didn’t care, what he cared about was getting my attention and my affection.

Continue reading "When dogs you’ve just met demand your affection, how do you respond?" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


The good feelings you can get from the smell of a dog or twenty

I love the smell of dogs. There, I said it, and I mean it.

Am I alone in this? I hadn’t thought before that something I was badly missing after the passing of my big fluffy dog would be her smell. Her thick Husky Shepherd triple coated fur smell. She had smelled like my beloved childhood stuffed bear who I took naps with and whose plastic nose I chewed. I still have that now fifty year old panda bear.

560FBA05-6018-493D-BE46-B28572921700

Today, coming home from my morning with the oldsters at Muttville, I silently kept noticing the smell of the dogs on me. I could see their hairs on my black yoga pants but I also got little whiffs of scent every time I shifted in my bus seat. And I loved it!

Continue reading "The good feelings you can get from the smell of a dog or twenty" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Read Rescued 🐶 Understand better what it means to adopt a shelter dog

If you know anything about Grouchy Puppy you know that it began (and continues!) thanks to our adopted rescue dog from the San Francisco SPCA. Since her passing, I’ve gotten more involved with helping the sugar faces at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue find their new matches so they can have the best final chapter of their life.

You can imagine then how happy I was to get the chance to review an early copy of a new book filled with stories, life lessons, and advice related to adopted dogs and those who love them. 

We are a nation of dog lovers and as someone who fell in love with a shelter dog, I know I am not alone in my appreciation for what these special dogs have to offer us. In the book, Rescued, by author and journalist, Peter Zheutlin, there is story after incredible story showing how the dogs in animal shelters are not always broken, that they can become your new best friend, teacher, exercise buddy or confidante.

Every chapter in this book is a reminder of how bringing dogs into our lives can make us more empathic, compassionate people. Both the stresses and joys we experience together can have a positive influence. I experienced that first hand with my adopted dog, and now I get weekly reminders volunteering with the oldsters at Muttville.

F0B3918E-71D3-4B75-AA24-34944F34F026
This book has all the heartwarming stories dog people tell each other, but it also has a great collection of pragmatic life lessons, experiences and perspective. The stories you’ll read are valuable to anyone thinking about having a dog.

Shelter dogs are not broken, and most often just need the right person to appreciate who they are and what they have to offer. Much of successful dog adoption involves the art of matchmaking. Dogs, in all their dogginess, have so much to offer us humans if we just pay attention.

Here’s an excerpt from the book, Rescued:

Our Dogs Are Not Our Children: How anthropomorphizing our dogs can lead to unrealistic expectations of their behavior

Continue reading "Read Rescued 🐶 Understand better what it means to adopt a shelter dog" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


When you have a dog what is your responsibility?

What is the number one responsibility when you have a dog? This can be answered with specifics but also with general notions such as setting them up for success. That was the mantra we heard when we adopted our dog from the San Francisco SPCA.

2446EFF4-8105-4E8B-A479-6B396D0655E9

We posed this question to our Facebook community and their big concern was safety which I couldn't agree more with! When you choose to have a dog you're taking on the role of guardian. This means you guarding them, as much as they may be guarding you.

Keeping a dog safe includes have secure harnesses and leashes that don't break. It means being watchful and insuring your dog can't bolt out into a busy street or charge through an unsecured screen door. Good training as well as safe barriers protects everyone from tragedy.

Safety means watching out for chicken bones on walks, keeping toxic foods away from inquiring snouts, and making sure they get regular vet check ups. 

Setting a Dog up for Success

Keeping your dog safe is tops, because that includes their health and wellbeing for as long as you are their guardian. But we'd add to that the notion that it's your responsibility to set them up for success.

Continue reading "When you have a dog what is your responsibility?" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


How do you feel when a dog smiles at you?

I have met emotional support dogs and understand why you would feel calm having a dog close by at all times. Whenever I volunteer at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, the dogs turn any frown upside down.

Our family dogs not only made me feel safe and protected, but on many occasion they also calmed my adolescence. I could turn to any one of them when I needed to redirect my anxiety over family squabbling.

How did the stress of growing up in a turbulent household diminish?

Dogs wanted to play with me. Playing together distracted me for hours from our family worries. And with dogs, there was always poop to be picked up or bedding to be cleaned. They enjoyed learning and eagerly gave me all their attention if I wanted to work with them. Anyone with a dog who loves to fetch knows how easy it is to pass hours tossing a ball. If I wanted to have a dog even just sit next to me and listen to my worries, one of them always would.

Dogs have always been excellent at distracting me. Is there a certain dog gene I carry that makes me susceptible? Is this why someone would visibly and physically respond to a dog they don't know?

This ability to distract and engage my attention so completely continues with dogs I meet at Muttville. Each week, whether I am surrounded by new dogs, or dogs I met previously, they still offer a unique calming effect on my demeanor.

I can understand the role emotional support dogs play. Just look at Oscar's face in this photo, he's showing you how to thoroughly enjoy a walk! 

When you look at a dog's face how does it make you feel? What about a dog's relaxed body language? When they smile do you return the look? 

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Dogs who are perfect for introverts. That personality tho'

Endless belly rubs. Long bouts of toss the squeaky toy or playing keep away. Cuddling and tussling around with Rugby, the senior beagle, honestly was a little overwhelming at times.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

Why? Because he never tired of me. Even my own dog at home got tired of me at some point, and would walk away into another room. This dog seemed to have unlimited energy, plus a steady need and desire to engage with people. If you walked away at any time, he would just get up and trot over to someone else.

As an acknowledged introvert, I could see how this little guy would be perfect for my community. He radiated interest, affection, and an honest joy of just being with you. If you had the energy to play, he would too. If you wanted to sit next to him and snuggle for one minute, or ten, he would too. He sensed your rhythm and worked with it to his advantage, and ultimately mine.

Have you ever thought about how certain dogs might be perfect for introverts? 

I expect many people would believe all dogs are perfect for introverts but I think that is too simple. I would think that a dog's individual personality would have a lot to do with it too. For example. I don't think puppies are very good at all for introverts. Their energy is usually too manic and unfocused. Their sense of awareness is still unshaped.

If I was to use a broad brush, I'd say senior dogs are almost always perfect for introverts. All of the ones I have ever known have made sure I got outside, engaged with people, and generally focused my thoughts on the good that's out there. They calmly reminded me that it's worth it to keep giving fearlessly to the world. There are worthwhile people, causes, and dogs out there.

What do you think? Have you experienced a dog giving fearlessly like Rugby?

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Older dogs teach us patience and how to fill up your love tank!

In our hurry up, I'm always late world, spending time with an older dog can be the perfect counterbalance.

Time together may help you gain a thoughtful approach to the next hour of the day, or maybe the whole week ahead. After a few one-on-one minutes with an older dog, I have left motivated and empowered, focused more the softer side of life.

Continue reading "Older dogs teach us patience and how to fill up your love tank!" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!