Gaining an older dog’s trust is slow but I am in no hurry 🍂

What’s amazing about adopting a old dog is the experience of gaining their trust.

There is something special, almost sacred about gaining someone else’s trust. When that someone is an old adoptable dog, the experience is out of this world. It can be life changing for both dog and person.

From my first meeting with an old dog in the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue doggy loft, I observe their manner. I watch each dog for signs of interest, or aloofness. I love these old timers but I am in no hurry or rush. No one wants to be overwhelmed when they are in a new place. My job as a volunteer, and as a human being is to remind these sugar faces that they are in a good place. We are on their side.

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Imagine how your life can change for the better when you adopt a dog

When you start thinking about having a dog in your life, it can be a simple decision, or a consuming series of scenarios. Having a dog is life changing. From your daily routine shifting to center around being, to your Instagram filling up with photos documenting every new experience together. I can still remember adopting my first dog from the San Francisco SPCA.

It helped me to have previous experience with dogs from my childhood, but not by that much in all honesty. The world is a different place from the 1970s and I found everything I needed in the dog community. The benefit to social media and to us being a nation of dog lover is that it didn’t take long for me to find answers to my initial questions, to find supplies, to learn about how to take care of a dog in the city.

Deciding to adopt a dog from a shelter turned into the best, and biggest decision I had made since deciding to get married. Seriously. I really felt everything shift around me after we brought our dog home from Rescue Row on that rainy fall night. Who knew in a few short years our life together would inspire the creation of Grouchy Puppy? I didn’t, but I did embrace wholeheartedly our new life and tried to live in the moment with her.

She introduced me to experiences that no one else can. Our dog human relationship was based on respect, and fellowship. We had our own girl club. As months went by, we learned about each other and probably unsurprising to dog behaviorists, we supported other. Receiving compassion from a dog is a unique experience.

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Our time together has informed my life ever since. When I walk into the doggy loft at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and meet a dog like Midnight, I am reminded of my girl. I can feel the pull from Midnight to spend time with her, to understand her, to appreciate her. Every dog is unique and individual. It is our job to uncover and celebrate their qualities. I can tell you from my experience that when you embrace a dog for who they are, life gets better. Your life together glows brighter. They share even more secrets and magical life lessons with you!

When you choose to adopt a shelter dog give them extra. Give them extra love, and time to get to know you. Give them extra patience to learn how to live in their new life with you. Give them extra reasons to trust you. When you set them up for success, when you trust they are doing their best, that their intentions are pure, your heart will thank you. Your life will glow with goodness and light. A dog who believes in you will only make you a better person.

Midnight reminded me of all these things in our short time together. Imagine what you can learn, how your life can change for the better when you decide to adopt a shelter dog?

Learn more about Midnight, a beautiful adoptable from Muttville: https://muttville.org/mutt/midnight-6052

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My big beautiful reward from a pit bull dog

One of the reasons volunteering at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue is worthwhile for me is the education I receive. Each week there is a lesson related to dogs, palliative care for old dogs, myths about dog breeds, or what life is like with a dog.

Last week, I was reminded about how easy it is to make assumptions when around pit bull type dogs. A very sweet old lady, Gemma, was in the doggy loft when I arrived for my morning shift. She’s a big girl with a steady gaze. I blinked first.

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I love all dogs and it surprised me that I reacted to her with even a millisecond of nervousness. My verbal greeting was met with a hoarse bark but no wagging tail when I arrived. With her block head and solid body, I wasn’t sure how to engage with her.

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Reasons why we should love old dogs

Why do I love old dogs so much? This is a fair question given how popular puppies always are. While I have nothing against puppies they are just not for me. Their high energy and constant need for education and monitoring is exhausting. I love all dogs very much which is why puppies keep me in a constant state of worry over their development and care. By the very fact they are in this stage of growth, any mistakes or bad habits they develop thanks to me, are mine to deal with at a later date.

Given all that described potential stress, you might guess that I have never had children or been a school teacher. I’m also the youngest amongst my siblings so my supervision skills are strictly based on managing a few people, or the occasional project at work, not the best skill set for taking on the responsibility of a puppy. However, older dogs are a whole different beast. To begin with, there is my absolute love for the oldsters.

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Having experienced my own dog going through her golden years, the affection I feel for seniors is deep. Spending weekly volunteer shifts at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue has confirmed my love for the sugar faces is not limited to my own dog. Big ones, little ones, blind ones, deaf ones, three-legged ones, terminal ones, I absolutely love all these old dogs, and I am here to tell you why!

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Muttville Cuddle Club: Where Older Dogs Give Love Get Love(d) by Seniors

There are more older people who are life long dog lovers than ever before! These folks are positively influencing senior facilities and retirement centers to accept dogs either as residents, or at least as regular visitors, and I’m here for it!

Another important issue is that as we age, a dog lover may reach a point when they can’t take care of a dog, but they still enjoy giving and getting the canine affection. They intrinsically appreciate the human dog bond.

A very sweet way to access the love and affection from a dog is cuddling and for those in the San Francisco Bay Area, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue offers Cuddle Club!

 

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It ain’t easy being a big adoptable older dog

Given my personal experiences, I might have to confess to having a special place in my heart for adoptable big older dogs.

The bigger the dog, the bigger the love? For some of us, it sure can feel like you’ve been hit by a ton of bricks when you feel the love and affection and attention from a big dog like Hamilton or Nikki. When they gaze into your eyes you want to always have the right answer to their questions. If they want to go for a walk, you want to say yes. If they want a little taste of your hotdog, you want to say yes.

Thank you Muttville

When I learned that the guardian for Hamilton and Nikki passed away, which is how they found their way to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, I felt a rush of compassion for this pair of big dogs. They are big hunks of love and they know how to engage with people.  

The morning when I arrived at the doggy loft, and took these photos, I laughed when I saw how Hamilton convinced multiple volunteers to take him for walks, while Nikki napped and lazily greeted newcomers with big head butts of fluffy affection and tail wags.

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They had thoroughly worked their magic on us all. Now they are in loving homes but their story is a wonderful example of how, even in the big city, giving a big dog another chance at a loving home is worth it.

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Thank you Muttville Senior Dog Rescue for stepping up for these big older dogs, who still had a lot to share with us humans about why dogs make life better, and why yes, sometimes the bigger the dog the bigger and heavier the loving affection.

My big dog may have crossed over but these encounters are wonderful reminders of why we fell in love with her and what an incredible opportunity she gave us. I’m still grateful for her many lessons and experiences together, unique to life with a small dinosaur.

If you get a chance to have a big adopted dog in your life, I hope you’ll consider it.

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Dog lovers in Denmark and Danish “hygge”

To many of us, actually millions of people according to trade associations, dogs mean everything. We love them more than most people. We spend more on our dogs than we do on ourselves. We care about their wellbeing and spend tons of time and money making sure they live their best lives with us. After spending a week in Denmark recently, I can confirm the Danish feel this way too.

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Last month, I went to Copenhagen and experienced the best of Scandinavia. Spring was beginning with longer hours of blue skies, fewer wool layers, and many people riding their bikes with their dogs! I saw dogs on walks, in cars, inside department stores, and at cafe tables. I even watched one wait patiently until his person returned from having a drink inside a bar. 

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Lessons learned from dogs and my biggest mistake made I still feel guilty about

Have you ever done something to a dog, that years later, you still feel bad about? Maybe the biggest mistake I made when we adopted our first dog was six months after we first brought her home. I can still remember every detail and this moment happened over ten years ago. All I can say is, thank goodness dogs don’t hold grudges, and are predisposed to living in the moment. Sure, I can make excuses to let myself off the hook but I decided it was better to focus on learning from the experience and appreciate her ability to teach me such an important lesson.

The short version of this story is that I assumed (yep, big mistake right there) that because we’d only had adopted her six months ago, and because she was a dog, staying with another dog, in the home of a dog trainer, that she wouldn’t miss us. I was wrong. Very wrong. I didn’t know that she could, or would, bond that quickly with us.

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Captain America 🇺🇸 is ideal narrator for Superpower Dogs movie!

Wonderful dog lover and sometime Captain America, Chris Evans will be narrating  Superpower Dogs, a series of stories about some of the world’s most incredible dogs! The trailer below has a few highlights but if you’re like me, smitten with the secret powers of dogs already, and probably know a few dogs worthy of the title “hero” ...then grab a tissue.
 
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With soaring music that sets the tone of heroic feats ahead for these canine crusaders, the trailer with Captain America’s voice, had me a bit weepy. I can’t wait for March when the movie comes out in IMAX theatres. There are only quick highlights and a few slow motion super hero clips in the trailer, but I spotted the Italian Coastguard Newfoundlands and several known search and rescue teams! Who else is excited that these amazing groups (often all-volunteer) are getting this well-deserved attention?
 
Watch for yourself and if you’ve a dog at home, give them some extra love and gratitude for being your best friend. They may be more of a couch warrior but their ability to give fearlessly is as real as the dogs in this movie.
 
Watch the official trailer and experience the superpowers and extraordinary bravery of some of the world’s most remarkable dogs:


(Photo above is screen grab from trailer)
 

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Senior dogs inspire: Meet Samba the Tripawd

Meet Samba. We ran into her on the streets of San Francisco where she was showing two young boys how to sit and wait for a treat. I love seeing dogs out on walks. Often I exchange a smile and a knowing “dog lover club” look with the person, or sometimes just with the dog. I wave at the dogs if they look at me, otherwise I gauge my reaction based on them. When a dog is on a mission to poop or pee in a particular place, or get to the dog park, it would be criminal to get in the way.

 

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This holiday season and beyond, love is always the perfect gift

When in doubt, this holiday season, remember that love is always a perfect gift. 

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Love is timeless. Sharing your heart with an adopted dog can make you feel like the smartest, happiest, most amazing person in the world. Opening your home to an animal companion gives the gift of love, safety and care to another being.

So, this holiday season, and beyond, always remember that love, is indeed, a perfect gift.

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Why Invest in a Senior Dog?

Quiet. Solitude. Restorative. Peace. Serenity. These feelings can be experienced by a person after time spent with an older dog. The cost? You have to slow down, close your mouth, and open your heart. Being willing to sit still longer than a minute or stay in a bed an extra thirty is also appreciated. A price some people may struggle with paying but I’m here to tell you that you will get what you pay for. If you can, try and look at it as an investment, a long term investment in yourself, and a short term investment in a dog.

Some of us have a harder time than others dealing with the daily negativity online and on television.  We get depressed from the high stress level, and would prefer an alternative to drinking a bottle of wine, or spending five hours on a treadmill trying to restore our positive outlook with a few endorphins.

You know what we found is a good alternative? Investing in a senior dog!

Senior dogs epitomize endurance.

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Sláinte!

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Why we love old dogs ♥️ November is Adopt A Senior Dog Month.

Forget reading your Sunday horoscope. Don't listen to the podcast that promises to tell you secrets to the meaning of life. Save your money by not going to that success seminar given by a life coach. Instead, I suggest you find yourself an old dog.

Find yourself a sugar face, a senior sweetheart from your local animal shelter, then love them and care for them through their final chapters. If you are unable to bring an old dog into your home, then find your local rescue and start spending as much time as you can there with their older residents. Volunteer, or if you are older too, join in a cuddle session like they offer at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue’s Cuddle Club.

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GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND'S GRADUATIONS OFFER UNIQUE EXPERIENCE FOR ALL

Do you live in the Bay Area? Do you have an animal lover or dog person who loves to see how dogs positive influence our lives? There are free graduations happening this fall at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael.

These moving events are open to the public and are inspirational and family-friendly for all ages. I think they make for a wonderful weekend excursion and a great way to learn more how dogs give fearlessly!

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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.

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