Timeless Gifts From Dogs: Peace, Love and Snuggles

When year end and holiday gatherings start to add stress more than joy, consider this message from (wo)man’s best friend. 

A Timeless Gift from Dogs

Image from grouchypuppy.com
Timeless Gifts From Dogs: Peace, Love, Snuggles 

Slow down, and embrace your inner stillness. Let the love flow from your favorite furry friends, in exchange for your quietude. There have many times during my volunteer shift at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue where a dog has been my guide to having a meaningful day.

It’s okay, even encouraged, to turn down the volume of the day. Let yourself savor a simple snuggle, whether it is long and luxurious or sweetly brief.

The gift of peace

Open your eyes and heart to a pup’s perspective. Your time together doesn’t have to only be about play, and rushing about. 

Take each moment as it presents itself. Appreciate the gift of time together. These are the important memories you will carry throughout the new year.

 

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10 uplifting words you will surely find in your vocabulary thanks to 🐶 dogs

Celebrating our Grouchy Puppy ten year anniversary has gotten us to stop and take a look at how dogs have positively influenced us over the past decade. When I look around at the dog books I have read, and the different dogs I have met, what came to me were the many words that have entered my vocabulary because of them. Between the dog books and the actual dogs, there are words that I find myself using every single day.

Have you ever stopped and thought about how a dog (or dogs) can influence you? It was only when I was considering how dogs have influenced me over the last ten years did I pick up on this vocabulary theme. I looked over old blog posts and other pieces, and saw certain words used over and over.

Image from grouchypuppy.com

When I look at the thousands of photos from the oldsters at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue that are still on my phone, these same words come to mind. Our encounters in the doggy loft inspire a word cloud in my head that I hadn’t recognized until now.

What stands out to me, that was a pleasant surprise, was how uplifting the words were. It is pretty wonderful to see how ten years focused on writing about dogs and volunteering with old dogs, had caused this set of uplifting words to become a part of my vocabulary.

Since we are closing out the year, and the decade, I thought it would be fun to share a top ten list. In no particular order, below are ten words regularly found in my vocabulary thanks to dogs. Do they look familiar to you? How have dogs influenced you over the years? Are there words you find yourself using more frequently that may have been introduced because of a dog?

10 words that you will surely find in your vocabulary (I hope!) thanks to a dog (in no particular order)

Inspiration

Love

Gratitude

Hope

Warmth

Optimism

Motivation

Smile

Goodness

Joy

What do you think? How many of these words do you use daily? What other words come to mind that we missed?

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Thoughts about old dogs, and a few special dog stories from 2019

As 2019 closes, I’d like to share a few dog stories from the doggy loft I visit every week on Rescue Row, in San Francisco. From my earliest years, dogs have been my favorite teachers, and best friends. This year, I’m particularly thankful for the optimistic attitude of dogs, in addition to their ability to be both simultaneously silly and affectionate. If I’m being honest, I’m still recovering from the massive invasion we had during the summer from Boston Terriers. Mostly though, I have finished many a volunteer shift with the oldsters feeling more inspired and calm than when I started. 

Enjoy these dog stories, and at the end, I’ve added a short list of inspired thoughts that came from another year helping in the doggy loft. Please share your own in the comments, and any special dog moments from your year, I’d love to read them - Sharon Castellanos 

Ay Chihuahua! Since I began volunteering in the doggy loft at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue three years ago, I have met more chihuahuas than I can count! They have been funny, scrappy, scared, fluffy, fat, skinny, silly, and shy. Boys and girls have expressed patience, frustration, crankiness and an unstoppable flow of affection. One little lady I met in January this year, Ginger Rogers, grabbed my attention and compassion all at once. She began her time with Muttville wanting attention while being left alone. She’d snap at people and other dogs alike if she felt like it. But she also could make you laugh out loud. I was on hand to help feed her breakfast several times and she would take turns eating, and lifting her tiny lip to snarl at me. When she was done, I would often be offered her butt for a brief soft scratch. This exchange brought me so much joy.

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Seeing her figure out how to be close to me, to show me her version of affection so soon, was heartwarming. Over many months, Ginger slowly blossomed, in her own unique way. I was on the receiving end of several tiny kisses, and a quick snuggle or three, before she fell in love with a member of the Muttville staff and went home. I’m so thankful she found a place like Muttville filled with people who gave her the chance and space to shed her worries and welcome in all the love and care she deserved.

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Fluffy dogs come in all makes and models. Having had the experience of living with, loving and caring for a small dinosaur, also known as a shepherd husky dog, I never really knew what Pomeranians, miniature poodles, papillons or corgis were all about. We get many of these dogs or blended fluffy versions coming through the doggy loft. Who knew fluffy dogs came in so many types and sizes? What has been a gift this year is getting a chance to experience these dogs. You get some really beautiful examples of true sugar faces from the darker fluffs. Also, I can’t tell you some of the funny expressions on these dogs faces just because of a little contrasting hair! If you ever watched Seinfeld, I’m describing some dogs who could give Uncle Leo’s eyebrows a run for their money. My dog had three layers of fur to shed, which gave me a chance to use many different types of grooming tools. I am happy to report that I have been fortunate enough to get a chance to have my share of brushing parties this year after breakfast, with many satisfied customers.

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The blind and wobbly. How endearing is it to have a dog get up and teeter over for some love from a stranger, first thing in the morning? I am astonished every morning I walk into the doggy loft and a blind or vision impaired dog works their way towards the sound of my voice and greetings. I mean sure, the smell of breakfast or the sound of metal food bowl would be one sure way to get any dog’s attention, but a loud lady chirping “good morning” and “how did you sleep” to mostly dogs she has never met, is a crap shoot for getting a blind dog to respond. All year I have been thankful for periodic reminders from these dogs to never give up, to persevere and to keep my sense of humor. They show me how to live each day to the fullest, and taking it slow is not a bad idea or anything to be embarrassed about. I love their joyful expressions, and appreciate their fierce displays of optimism!

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I am reminded this year that dogs are still one of my favorite sources of life lessons! Here are some thoughts and inspiration gained from dog encounters (mostly in the doggy loft) in 2019:

- Dogs are really good at teaching you how to take every ounce of compassion and affection that crosses your path.

- These incredible companions of ours show us what is important, and to move towards your goals one small step at a time.

- No matter how old or impaired you get, never lose your sense of humor!

- Don’t let distractions, like the sounds and smells of other dogs, get in your way. 

- Even if you can’t see exactly where you are going, keeping moving forward.

Oh, also naps are your friend, and learn to delete really old dog photos from your smartphone because no one needs over 15,000 of them at any given time.

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A final inspiring note from 2019: This adorable fluff came into Muttville and immediately showed us all why senior dogs really do rule. If you get a chance, stop by their website, visit them in person, or subscribe to their newsletter. You will read more dog stories and discover more about how to live life to the fullest by these sweet sugar faces and grey muzzles.

 

 

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🌲 SAVED FOR THE HOLIDAYS ADOPT-A-THON DEC. 7 & 8 💖 RESCUE ROW IN SAN FRANCISCO

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue is excited to join the San Francisco SPCA in hosting a “Saved for the Holidays” Adopt-a-thon Saturday and Sunday, December 7 and 8. Muttville will be offering FREE ADOPTIONS to qualified applicants to help these amazing mutts find their forever homes.

Muttville SF

Come on down to meet your new best friend!! They would love new forever families for the holidays.

WHAT: Saved For The Holidays Adopt-a-thon

WHEN: 12pm to 4pm, Saturday, December 7 & Sunday, December 8

WHERE: Rescue Row (a.k.a. Alabama) and 16th Street, San Francisco

WHY: Free adoptions and SENIOR DOGS!!!!

Image from grouchypuppy.com
Connie Loves Belly Rubs!

 

Image from grouchypupp.com
Hail Mary Loves Cuddles!

Come on down to meet your new best friend!! It is going to be an amazing weekend filled with lots of love, sloppy kisses, and amazing connections.

Learn More:

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

San Francisco SPCA

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Why adopt an older dog? Let’s start with these eight reasons...

Have you ever wondered why senior dogs really do rule? Are you curious about what life would be like if you adopted an older dog? Have no fear, we have a list for that!

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Here are some of our favorite reasons why having a senior dog is like fast-forwarding to the best part:

  • You get to write their last chapter
  • No puppy teething!
  • They are more likely to mirror the pace and pattern of your life
  • It can feel like getting a chance to love and live with your grandparents
  • They’re grown! What you see is most likely what you get
  • You have a greater sense at the start what medical and dental care will be
  • Older dogs are more willing and able to pay attention than puppies
  • They communicate directly and without hesitation what they want or need

There so many ways an older dog is perfect for city life or ensconced in the suburbs. With age comes clarity. Older dogs have less desire for the hectic or chaotic which is a wonderful respite these days. 

What makes senior dogs so perfect is how much love they have to give. They have a lifetime of love to offer, and in return you get the chance to remind them what compassion and empathy feels like. 

Please consider adopting a senior dog, and if you can’t, then look into volunteering at your local shelter. Discover what is so special about older dogs, and how time spent with them is just perfect.

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Rediscover the meaning of Thanksgiving with an older dog

It’s Thanksgiving week, a perfect time to share a series of adorable adoptable older dogs from our local San Francisco favorite, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue!

If you’re thinking about adding to your family, these sweet sugar faces are wonderful choices to consider. It is all about making the perfect match and that is something the folks at Muttville have perfected over ten years now.

 

 

Take it from me, after volunteering on a weekly basis with Muttville for about four years, older dogs are perfect companions in a million different ways! Every week there is one or more encounters with a resident of the doggy loft that leaves me encouraged, inspired and always feeling loved.

Visit your local rescue, or come by and visit Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and discover why senior dogs really do rule!

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Did you know senior dogs have a lifetime of ❤️ love to give?

When you get caught up worrying about the future, there is a dog for that. Consider adopting a senior dog. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised by how much an older dog can get you to forget about the future and focus on the present.

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Older dogs are often skilled at embracing the best of each day. They have a roadmap for navigating the noise of life that I appreciate very much. More than ever.

If you could use a little furry yogi. If you need a distraction from the constant news streaming in front of your eyes, and in your ears. Consider adding a senior dog to your life.

Adopt from, or volunteer at your local animal shelter or rescue. There will be an older dog ready to show you the many reasons why senior dogs really do rule.

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Why older dogs? Imagine the experience of reminding them they’re loved 💞

Something I have discovered with adoptable senior dogs is the incredible feeling I get reminding these pups that people love them. That they are worthy of love, just give us humans a chance to show them.

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What I love about dogs is their ability to “let it go” as Elsa would sing. Who else do you know that can do this, at any age? Physically, you haven’t lived until you’ve had a big hefty dog “trust fall” over onto you for some belly rubs! My human family has to say their peace, and talk a blue streak, before they can come close to letting anything go. Our family dogs on the other hand, how fast can you say, “want to go for a walk?”

Trust Fall

There is something extra special about older dogs who are in need of love. It’s heartbreaking to see any older adoptable dog shut down. If I see an oldster in the doggy loft of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue with body language that says their love tank is on empty, then it will be my mission to take steps to lift their spirits before my volunteer shift is over.

Continue reading "Why older dogs? Imagine the experience of reminding them they’re loved 💞" »

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Wow 😳 It’s been ten years since an adopted dog inspired the launch of Grouchy Puppy

A walk in nature, an art exhibit, the autobiography of an inventive person? Where do you draw inspiration? Have you ever been inspired by a dog?

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Ten years ago, a big, older dog, who found her way from the country and into our hearts, inspired the creation of Grouchy Puppy. To many, this may not come as a surprise given how popular dog pages are on Facebook, in Twitter feeds, and how many dog Instagram stars and influencers there are today. However, ten years is a long time ago in dog years and definitely in social media years!

November 9 is Grouchy Puppy Day

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Do you know the face a dog makes when love overtakes worry?

There is a special look and expression, even a sound, dogs make when they feel their own rush of oxytocin inside and under the skin. I have witnessed this firsthand many times.

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With my own older adopted dog, there are many memories of her contented noises and sometimes boisterous body language. I will always remember the day we both knew she was home, permanently home.

The face she made spoke all the words we needed to know that she was unpacking, and letting go of any lingering doubt, fear or worry about us. We knew that our love, compassion and trust had filled every corner of her being, and squeezed out the tiniest bit of residual uneasiness she may have carried.

She knew she was home. She knew we were her home. That meeting of hearts, rather than minds, is a feeling you never forget. 

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How many roles can a dog play in your life?

Have you ever wondered how many roles a dog can play in your life?

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It’s amazing to me when I read about how people see a dog, as just a dog, when they are so much more. The roles they can play in our life is really up to us.

Consider the possibilities when you look at a dog, when you’re thinking about having a dog, or if you are ready to adopt a dog.

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Celebrating dog adoption, big adult dogs, and a Grouchy Puppy muse

On the fifth anniversary of her passing, and ten years after we adopted her from the San Francisco SPCA, I’ve written a letter to my Grouchy Puppy muse. November is a big month here. November is Adopt A Senior Dog Month, in addition to these two auspicious anniversaries. Dog adoption, and adopting a big adult dog in the city changed my life in such a profound way, it felt right to send a virtual thank you to the shepherd husky responsible. 

Dear Cleo:

Thank you. It has been five years since you went on ahead, and though we miss you every single day, I have gained so much insight about people and dogs since your passing.

Image from GrouchyPuppy.com
Best Big Dog Ambassador Ever

I am so grateful we chose to adopt you. Our life together forever positively changed my views on dogs, what you can expect from life with a dog, and I realize that loss is not something to avoid or be afraid of.

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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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