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Influence Positively Interview - Sherri Franklin


I am the founder of Muttville, a senior dog rescue in San Francisco, we rescue dogs slated for euthanasia all over CA, we are the call or last resort for many of these dogs. We offer vet care, grooming and find them homes. We were founded in 2007 and have saved over 825 senior dogs. We run a program matching senior humans with senior citizens, which has become very successful, it's been a win-win for the dogs and the humans. I was also on the SF Animal Control and Welfare Commission where I wrote an ordinance that spells out minimum requirements for dogs that live outside. Dogs are my passion, especially senior dogs abandoned in their golden years.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Really? Laying in bed at night with 5 or 6 rescued dogs to keep me warm, knowing that some of them have never even been allowed in a house before. The way they look at me as I read a book, it's peaceful, calm, their soulful eyes letting you know their gratitude.

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Dog Toys: Reduce Reuse Recycle

Why would you fix a broken toy, especially if it was for a dog? Do they care? Will they say "thank you"? 

Toy Crab Gets Broken Squeakers Replaced

It may be Cyber Monday and we just had Black Friday but with the economy suffering, it still makes sense to be frugal wherever you can. My sewing skills are minimal, yet I can sew a mean button and a decent hem. I'm not terribly crafty but I do like small and simple projects.  Cleo has broken most of her dog toys with squeakers inside.

Now seemed the perfect time to take many of our dog's toys and replace their broken squeakers. It has been nice with the quiet but it makes me a little sad to see our dog trying so hard to make the toy bird squeak.

I love our dog Cleo and I am grateful she came to us five years ago. She has been the best gift ever. She is the kind of dog that makes you a better human.  Maybe fixing her toys would be a nice project and would certainly be cheaper than buying new toys.

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Pet Fostering: The One

This is the third in a series of guest posts from Elisa Leyva-Guerrero about pet fostering and pet adoption.

If you have ever fostered or volunteered for an animal rescue there is always the first one. You know, the one that made you forget about your nights and weekends and drove you into animal rescue world. This is the story of my first one. This is the story of the first animal, a cat, who influenced me more than ten years ago to become an activist and animal volunteer.

It was a cold night in November of 1999 back in my hometown of San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.  My family was coming back from our usual movie outing. As our family was making its way in to the house I heard a cat and I ran to the door.

To my surprise there was a kitten on our front porch.  I said "Dad, there’s a cat in the front yard".  My Dad promptly ignored me. I tried to give the kitten milk but it did not want anything to do with us and ran quickly away.

There used to be a fenced-in car lot right in front of our house and unfortunately that’s where the kitten ran to. The whole night I thought about the kitten and in the morning when I was leaving for my classes I heard a very strong “Meoow, Meoooow” from the car lot.

Pika Rescue Cat

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Third Annual Pet 'Net Family Event! Choosing a rescue dog can be the best gift

PetNetFamily With the holidays just around the corner, there is no better time to honor and give thanks to the ones we 'additionally' love – our pets!  And to do just that, (, the popular online destination for pet owners and pet enthusiasts has organized a virtual Pet 'Net Family Event – a consortium of many of the Web's favorite pet-focused sites.

This time of year is often spent enjoying holiday cheer with family and friends – and what better way to celebrate than to share stories of the love and companionship of a family pet.
Today, each participating site and blog will highlight content devoted to the special role pets play in families, with hosting a comprehensive one-page hub ( with links to all of the special coverage.  We are honored to be a asked to join in this day of celebration!

Choosing a rescue dog to complete your family can turn out to be the best gift. Pet adoption sounds simple but if done right is equal parts nervous worry to incredible joy. Five years ago when we chose to adopt our first dog right before the Thanksgiving holiday, we experienced the unease of bringing a large adult dog into our home that we knew little about.  However we were ready for the emotional investment, and what we received in return was the immediate and steadfast love of a new four-legged family member.

Rescue Dog is Best Gift

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Influence Positively Interview - Jessica Bush

Jessica has a passion for taking photos of dogs and is behind the blog Dogingham which is about connecting community and nature simply by being a dog owner. What joy did your dog bring to you today?

What is your idea of perfect happiness? If perfect happiness exists, it’s simply living in the moment without reaction to outside factors.

Rumi said, “Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.” If that field is a real place, my idea of perfect happiness is set on a lovely ranch at mealtime—with good food and conversations with friends in a comfy environment. Perhaps all our pets would be together nearby and waiting to sneak a tasty morsel for themselves.

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60 Minutes With A Tenacious Senior Dog Advocate

November is Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month. Today we are shining a spotlight on San Francisco based senior pet advocate Sherri Franklin.

IMG_0867 The Dog Days of Summer Food Campaign spurred me to reach out to Sherri, the founder of Muttville, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of senior dogs.  Sherri is a dog advocate.  A tireless and unwavering senior pet advocate whose tenacious style I admired from our first meeting four months ago.

Later at Blog Paws West after I listened to Mike Arms keynote speech, I wasn't surprised to learn from Sherri that he was a personal hero of hers.  When I look back at my 60 minutes with Sherri at Muttville, her persuasive words and clear focus reminded me of that keynote speech.

In July I came to see Sherri to drop off the needed cans of dog food for her senior sweethearts and hopefully get a chance to talk about Muttville and how I might help.  However, when I arrived she was still deep in her phone conversation about placing one of her canine charges. After ten minutes waiting outside in the cold (it's San Francisco!) she took pity on me and let me into her front room while finishing her call. Maybe some people might be put off by this since she knew I was coming, but not me. Her "distraction" was my reward as I got to meet her elderly guests.

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Pet Fostering: Marco Polo the Puppy Mill Chihuahua

This is the second in a series of guest posts from Elisa Leyva-Guerrero about pet fostering and pet adoption. Read her first story "Nolan Teaches us about Faith"

Marco Polo, the Puppy Mill Chihuahua.  We just celebrated a few weeks back the passing of Prop B in Missouri also known as the Puppy Mill Bill. While we are happy that it passed we also had stressful moments on election day. For a while it seemed that it was not going to pass and in the end it barely won with only 51% of Yes votes. I personally was shocked to see it go through by such a small margin.

Perhaps it is because many of those voting against it have not seen what the environment of a  puppy mill does to a dog?? Several foster parents from the St. Louis Senior Dog Project have cared for puppy mill survivor dogs and today I would like to share the story of Becky D. and her foster dog Marco Polo, the Chihuahua.

Marco Polo was 6 yrs old when he was rescued from a puppy mill. Similar to many puppy mill dogs he was unsocialized and was not familiar with the everyday dog activities our own pets enjoy. For example, playing with toys, going for walks and interacting with humans. As Becky D. puts it, he was a mentally tortured Chihuahua.

Unfortunately for Marco Polo he had overstayed his welcome at other foster homes. Because he was scared of everything, specially of men, he charged at other dogs and barked constantly. Becky D. chose to give him a chance while at the same time wondered what she was getting herself in to. Her home had all the things Marco Polo seemed to dislike.

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Dogs Protect Let's Return the Favor

Dogs protect us. Dogs serve as canine companions and as law enforcement partners. "To protect and to serve", was written on the side of the police car my father drove before he retired years ago. Today big cities like San Francisco and Boston have K-9 units working everyday to protect and serve us in the community - sometimes saving our life.  The human police officers are provided with a bulletproof vest but sadly providing the dogs bulletproof vests is not usually funded by the law enforcement agency.

Vest-A-Dog is a Massachusetts all volunteer non-profit organization that raises money to give K-9 dogs the much needed bulletproof vests. Since their founding 10 years ago, the organization has provided hundreds of bulletproof vests for dogs across the Greater Boston Area. They recently created a short PSA video highlighting how these K-9 officers give fearlessly.

Watch this sweet reminder of what a dog will do for you and consider donating.

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Influence Positively Interview - Tamara Fox

Brianne with Tamara

Tamara Fox is administrator of the AAHA Helping Pets Fund. She has been associated with the Helping Pets Fund since its launch in 2005. The AAHA Helping Pets Fund works with AAHA-accredited veterinary practices in the United States and Canada to provide grants for emergency and urgent veterinary care to pets in need. A lifelong animal lover, her experience with the Fund and contact with other pet advocates has inspired her to find ways to improve the lives of animals, and to educate others about their needs, at every opportunity.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Warm sunshine, my cats alongside me, a cup of tea, a book…Those moments when I can be content with things as they are, but positive about what is still to come. I need a sense of purpose to be happy. My pets are one important purpose in my life – caring for them, giving them what they need to be healthy and happy. My job at the AAHA Helping Pets Fund is also very important to me. I truly believe in what we do and want the Fund to succeed. Sadly, there are very few programs like ours and millions of pets in need. It makes what we do a struggle sometimes, but one that is well worth it.

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Freaky Dog People: Product Review

Love Ride Tee Freaky Dog People. The only thing freaky about the dog people behind this company is how big their heart is. Okay that, and maybe how talented they are, because we loved all of the designs on their t-shirts.

The mission of Freaky Dog People Inc. is to make a difference in the life of dogs by caring for them and by raising money and awareness for dog rescue groups, shelters, canine assistance programs and organizations that provide care for the dogs that don’t have a home or loving family.  

Be the Change. Raising money and awareness is how we define giving fearlessly.  We don't do a lot of product reviews but after we met these amazing people at Blog Paws West, we leapt at the opportunity.

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Dog Lovers Meet Here: 10 Reasons Why

Dog owner. Pet parent. Animal nut. Most people I've run across associate themselves with one of these labels.  It seems that dog and pet people put themselves on a responsibility scale that moves from wild abandon to strict domination. However you self-identify, I consider myself a moderate dog lover more than anything and I’ll tell you why.

  1. Dog training is important but I admit that I’ll never put the same amount of time my mother, a former professional dog trainer, did with our pure-bred show dogs.

  2. I work hard to give my dog a good diet based on her age, lifestyle, size and mobility, even if it means cooking her meals.

  3. Because I want people to know we have a big dog in the house, yes I will let her bark at noises. Loudly.Loving Cleo

  4. When we go for walks I pick up her poop, sometimes in pink biodegradable bags.

  5. If we meet people or other dogs on her walks, I will keep her leash short and guide her away if neither human nor dog want to interact with us.

  6. Every morning I clean the goop out of her eyes and thank her for letting me up close to her face with my morning breath. 

  7. I buy the jumbo-sized Neosporin and hydrogen peroxide because we use it regularly for our cuts as well as for her dog scrapes.

  8. Though my city is terrible at enforcement, I gladly pay for her vaccinations and a dog license each year.

  9. We make arrangements for her to stay with friends rather than take her on trips because while we want her with us, we know she does not like riding in the car.

  10. She never stops loving us, the least I can do is carefully keep the warm sudsy water out of her eyes when we bathe her. 

All the ways I care for my dog are part of my job. Isn't it my duty to pick up my dog’s poop?  Shouldn’t you give your dog the kind of food that makes them healthy? 

I love being in charge of Cleo.  Having her rely on me is a wonderful vote of confidence as a human.  Common sense hasn't let me down yet, and with Cleo's ability to trust us, our family should be just fine with dog lovers at the helm.

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Dog Treats Not My Own: Thank Goodness Dogs are so Forgiving

With my dog's birthday in two days, here are five photos of dog cookies and dog treats that I am unable to make because clearly I might have mad skills, but they do not include crafting beautiful baked goods. 

Oh I will be making special dishes for my pet in honor of her homecoming day, but they will not look this pretty.  Thank goodness dogs are so forgiving.  The fact that Cleo could care less what her food looks like is a blessing.  I think our adopting her before Thanksgiving was divine providence. Seriously.

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Influence Positively Questionnaire - Edie Jarolim

Frankie & Edie Hotel Indigo Writer and editor Edie Jarolim authored three travel guides and numerous travel articles before coming under the career-changing influence of a small alien creature: her first dog, Frankie. In an effort to understand him and his kind, she researched and wrote Am I Boring My Dog? And 99 Other Things Your Dog Wishes You Knew (Alpha/Penguin). She now blogs at and is a regular contributor to Your Dog newsletter. Learn more about her non-canine pursuits -- but don’t tell Frankie -- at

What is your idea of perfect happiness? I’ve tried to come up with scenarios that involve nature, art, literature, and other humans but in the end I decided it’s wrong to lie about what makes you happy. So... my ideal scenario would be sitting on a comfortable couch, drinking a nice glass of wine or a beer with salty snacks and watching a great movie. My dog would be next to me, occasionally nudging me with his nose for attention, perhaps, but not trying to get at my salty snacks.  

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