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.

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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

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Discover why senior dogs: Fall in love with Florence!

This pretty girl is Florence and she can’t wait to find her forever home. We think Florence is an Australian Kelpie mix. She is very sweet, loves meeting people, and enjoys going for walks.

Florence does perfectly with other dogs and is very polite. She has a sweet demeanor and would make a wonderful addition to any kind of home. Come give her the forever home she deserves!

image from www.muttville.org

What we love about Florence: She is a perfect size- not too small, not too big. She is still active but is also perfectly happy just relaxing. She loves to sunbathe!

Florence is 10-12 years young and weighs 40 pounds.

Her adoption fee has been sponsored by one of her adoring fans!

Fall in love with her at Muttville in San Francisco!

Here’s what Florence’s fosters have to say about this sweet girl:

Florence is sweet & loves pets! She is Busy, loves to get going on walks & flies up stairs. She likes her crate and her bed. She is house-trained and knows potty-pads and will find spots away from house to go to the bathroom.

Florence is sweet & will give you kisses when you arrive home! She has a busy activity level & will gallop back to the house on walks! She is good with house-training and uses potty-pads in the house.

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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.

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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.

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Discover why senior dogs rule: Fall in love with Oscar!!

We think Oscar is just about the most perfect doggie around! Look at this happy Shepherd face!

image from www.muttville.org

Oscar is an adorable Shepherd/Cattle dog mix, who comes to us from Central Valley ready to find his forever home. Oscar is very friendly with people and other dogs.

This boy loves long walks and would make a great nap buddy. He will politely explore his surroundings and has an amazing temperament.

We think Oscar is pretty much the complete package!

We think Oscar is around 10 years young and weighs around 78 pounds.

Fall in love with Oscar at Muttville on Rescue Row in San Francisco!

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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? 

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Discover why senior dogs rule: Fall in love with Beyonce!!

Beyonce is an adorable, friendly Chihuahua girl who can’t wait to meet you! This sweet girl will make a loyal companion- all she wants is love!

Beyonce is always wagging her tail, loves walks, and is perfect with dogs of all sizes- truly a superstar just like her name suggests! Beyonce is an fabulous gal who is patiently waiting for her forever home!

Beyonce is 10 years young and weighs 12 pounds.

Check out what Beyonce’s foster’s have to say about her:

Beyonce is wonderful. I work from home on my computer so I am home mostly all day. While I’m working she will lay on the bed in the sunshine or lay on the floor next to my chair in a blanket that I have there for her. There’s really not much more to say other than she’s an absolutely wonderful little dog to have around, very sweet and very loving. Beyonce loves to go for walks. Short or long. She is capable of walking quite some distance without getting tired. The longest walk I tried her on was about two and a half miles and she did great. She’s very curious, always sniffing things. Around the home she’s the typical lazy dog just like my other two. She loves to be on my lap. So far she is good with house-training, not one accident in my home. Beyonce is a lovely lady! She loves being held/cuddling, and is great with potty training. She loves going outside on her walks & exploring the great outdoors. She isn’t really much of a barker, but does make noises to indicate she she needs to go out. Otherwise Beyonce loves napping. She is mellow and though she loves her walks will also snooze the day away in her bed. She is great with most dogs. She is doing great at crate training, occasionally goes on pads but I would say pretty much trained otherwise. She has an adorable tongue that sometimes pokes out. She is an angel and loves sleeping in her bed/on the couch with people. She would make a great companion for a mellow lower energy household.

Meet this senior sweetheart at Muttville on Rescue Row in San Francisco!

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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?

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Are you ready to have a dog? How do you know?

National Dog Day is this weekend and if you don't (gasp!) have one already positively influencing your life, now is a good time to consider the reasons why you don't have a dog.

Below is a handy (and humorous) flowchart to help you, or a friend, with this important decision. Are you ready for a dog? Should you volunteer at a shelter or become a dog sitter instead? Sure, dogs make our lives infinity better, but before you rush out the door, consider these many responsibilities, and real costs, outlined by the clever folks at The Bold Italic:

image from thebolditalic.com

Having a dog is wonderful, but also realizing not having one in your life because you answered no to most of these questions above...is also a good thing. Read any of my posts on my volunteering at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and you'll see what I mean.

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Young readers will love the story of Gobi, the little stray dog with a big heart

When I think back to my childhood, I realize that after my stuffed Snoopy, my first real friend was our family dog. I think because of my young age and personality, I was willing and able to develop meaningful friendships with all of our family dogs over the years. Each of them had an important and positive influence over my development growing up in a remote area of a California county. They were my study buddies, cheerleaders, confidants, motivators, and moral compass. I know that is a lot but believe me, never underestimate the power of the human-dog bond.

The support, generosity, and kindness of strangers

This leads me to a wonder pair of books that I was given the chance to read before their official release August 29th, starting with Gobi: A Little Dog With a Big Heart. It's a picture book that offers a humane education for little ones, taking them on an adventure across the desert! They are introduced to a little stray dog whose positive influence has a remarkable impact on an ultra-marathon runner. Based on a true story, this picture book is a wonderful introduction to the idea of compassion for animals, courage and love for a little stray dog with a big heart.

Gobi Picture Book
Gobi: A Little Dog With a Big Heart [picture book, 4-8 years]

 

Both books are about teamwork and power of a dog's positive influence, but the young reader edition adds a lot more to the 'man meets dog' story...

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Discover why senior dogs rule: Fall in love with Dallas!

From his beautiful, intelligent eyes to his adorable ears, it’s hard to believe so much sweetness can fit into one package.

This wonderful senior guy is Dallas, and he’s ready to be your new best friend! He’s calm, quiet, inquisitive, and gentle. While we are still getting to know him, he gets along with all the other dogs he has met at Muttville and he is already starting to build up his trust and confidence in his new human friends. Dallas deserves to be showered with affection and kindness. In return, he will light up your life with his love!

We think that Dallas is approximately 13 years old and weighs about 9 pounds.

Here’s what Dallas’ foster has to say about this sweet boy:

Dallas is an extremely sweet, gentle & soulful dog. He enjoys spending time with humans and other pups, but he also seems to enjoy hanging a bit on his own in his dog bed.

Dallas is very low-key. His favorite activities are snuggling with a human on the couch or curling up on his dog bed. He is fine going on a walk but is pretty low energy overall. Dallas is great with other dogs. No issues with big or small dogs, he’s always friendly and will wag his tail. Dallas needs some work on house-training. He loves taking naps in sun beams, and will even begin to smile once he’s been in the sun for a while.

He seems to love eating chicken or turkey. He’s very quiet and doesn’t bark or whine. He’s fine with being left alone during the daytime. He looks at you like a person would; almost like he’s trying to tell you something with his eyes. While independent at times, he always makes sure to come over to check-in to make sure you’re there and see what you’re doing.

Fall in love with Dallas at Muttville and discover why senior dogs rule.

Muttville is seeking either a permanent adoption home or a fospice (foster-hospice) home for Dallas 4759 so he can live his remaining life to its fullest in a loving home. To adopt Dallas 4759, please complete the adoption process described here.

If you are interested in joining Muttville’s Fospice Program Team as a Volunteer or a Fospice Home, please email fospice@muttville.org.

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SF SPCA Offers Free Adoptions and Films During NBC Universal's Clear The Shelters Adoptathon

The San Francisco SPCA Hosts the Animal Film Festival during Third Annual Clear the Shelters Adoptathon Weekend

Visitors will enjoy free adoptions and award-winning films


August 7, 2017 – The San Francisco SPCA will be offering free adoptions for all animals during NBC Universal’s third annual Clear the Shelters, a national pet adoption event. The free adoption weekend takes place August 19 – 20.

“Last year we set a new record during Clear the Shelters – 167 animals were adopted over the weekend with 101 animals on the Saturday alone, the most ever in a single day!” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, SF SPCA President. “Hundreds of shelters across the country participate in Clear the Shelters, and since 2015 the event has helped more than 70,000 animals find new homes."

Animals can be adopted for free all weekend from both SF SPCA locations – in the Mission at 250 Florida Street or Pacific Heights at 2343 Fillmore Street. On Saturday both shelters will host volunteer bake sales and No Worries Cuisine food truck will be at the Mission Campus. Plan to spend the day at the SF SPCA and leave with a new family member!

With the goal of educating and entertaining, the SF SPCA will also be hosting the Animal Film Festival on Saturday, 12pm – 4pm, at its Mission Campus. The film festival, which is produced by the Center for Animal Protection and Education (CAPE), will feature award-winning animal films that are joyful, funny, and thought-provoking.

“These films explore different aspects of animal welfare, including animal rights, the human‐animal bond and programs dedicated to improving the lives of animals,” said Shelley Frost, director of the Animal Film Festival.

Tickets range from $10 – $25 and proceeds benefit the SF SPCA and CAPE. Details, tickets, and a full film line-up can be found at animalfilmfestival.org

To round out the day, those interested in learning more about estate planning are invited to join for a free seminar on August 19 at 10am. Topics will include estate planning basics, pet trusts, and creating a secure plan for your pets should they outlive you. Refreshments will be served. RSVP to this Mission Campus event by emailing specialevents@sfspca.org

Both adoption centers will be open 10am – 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.

To view the SF SPCA’s adoptable animals, visit sfspca.org/adopt

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About the SF SPCA

The San Francisco SPCA is an independent, community-supported non-profit animal welfare organization dedicated to saving, protecting and providing immediate care for cats and dogs who are homeless, ill or in need of an advocate. The SF SPCA also works long-term to educate the community, reduce the number of unwanted kittens and puppies through spaying and neutering, and improve the quality of life for animals and their human companions. The organization does not receive government funding and is not affiliated with any national organization.

For more information call the SF SPCA at (415) 554-3000 or visit sfspca.org.

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Discover why senior dogs rule: Fall in love with Poochie!!

Poochie likes to smoochie! This sweet little lady Yorkie is eager to please and will greet you with a smile…and some doggie kisses too!

image from www.muttville.org

She’s an expert at relaxation and knows her way around a lap and couch.

Poochie also likes exploring the outdoors on mellow walks and meeting new people and dogs.

Poochie is looking for her new forever family and is eager for you to bring her home.

We think Poochies is about 13 years young and is about 16 pounds.

Fall in love with her at Muttville on Rescue Row in San Francisco!

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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.

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Discover why senior dogs rule when you meet Violet!!

Did you know that wild violets symbolize devotion, purity, and spiritual passion? In the Victorian era, violets were carried in order to manifest wishes and keep malevolent spirits away.

This describes senior sweetheart Violet, a dog in Oakland ready to show you why senior dogs rule. Her positive influence is sure to make your life brighter.

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Violet needs a home. 

Miss Violet is a volunteer favorite due to her loving Zen personality. Violet is a daily reminder to stop, relax, enjoy the sunshine, and smell the roses (and violets).

She is a calm and soothing balm to this frantic and fragmented world we now live in. That is what is so special about senior dogs. They are at peace with themselves and the world, accepting of all different types of people and dogs, and they are great listeners. Violet will be a devoted companion who demands very little. She is not in need of long walks, lots of physical activity, or puppy training.

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Discover why senior dogs rule when you fall in love with Squirrel

Meet Squirrel! This adorable, tiny little Chihuahua comes to us all the way from Fresno where she was found as a stray.

This sweet pup loves to cuddle, meet new dogs, and make friends. We are still getting to know her, but we can tell what a lovely best friend she’ll make already!

Squirrel is a good little eater with the manners of the delicate lady she is.

Squirrel is 13 years young and weighs 4.6lbs.

Meet her at Muttville on Rescue Row in San Francisco, and discover why senior dogs rule!

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