By Chandra Conway, Grey Muzzle Board of Directors’ Member for Pet News and Views
Since 2008, The Grey Muzzle Organization has awarded $257,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations working to help homeless and at-risk elderly dogs. Grey Muzzle has supported 38 nonprofit organizations and is currently funding lifesaving efforts in 20 states.
Annual Grey Muzzle grants average $2,100 each and many grants have been renewed—nine nonprofit organizations have each received more than $10,000 in funding.
“We’re proud that we’re able to continue to fund many of these great groups year after year, helping them build long-term programs to benefit elderly dogs,” says Grey Muzzle board member Julie Dudley, who founded the national all-volunteer nonprofit.
Grey Muzzle believes that every senior dog deserves to live out their golden years, months, weeks, or even days, in a place of love, security, and peace. Grey Muzzle makes grants in the following categories:
- Adoptable Dogs Medical Care
- Hospice and Long-term Care
- “Seniors for Seniors” Adoption Programs
- Keep Dogs With Owners” Assistance
- Community Outreach/Therapy Dog Programs
Here are examples of how some of the organizations that receive grants are putting the funds to work for senior dogs in need:
Adoptable Dogs Medical Care
This category includes grants made to nonprofit shelters and rescues for adoptable senior dogs’ medical care.
In Vineland, NJ, Cumberland County SPCA & Animal Shelter Foster Care Coordinator Maria Stoerrle reports that the staff has a new attitude towards senior dogs, thanks to Grey Muzzle support. Over an 11-month stretch, CCSPCA’s Red Collar Society aided 62 senior dogs. The program provides medical treatment and then outreach to either keep senior dogs with their families or focus on adoption, foster or transfer to no-kill shelters or rescues.
“Staff often believed that a senior dog was older than they actually were, or their health was worse because of their demeanor in the shelter,” writes Stoerrle. “Having the ability to treat and get these dogs into foster homes and monitor their progress has proven that while a senior dog may be more prone to depression in a kennel environment, there are very few seniors who won’t have a wonderful quality of life in a home environment.”
Grants to rescues for adoptable dogs’ medical care allow at-risk senior dogs in shelters to receive treatment and be moved to a safe foster home environment. In Chicagoland, the “Increase the Adoptability of Senior Dogs” program run by Young at Heart Pet Rescue provides full-scale vet care as well as grooming and the use of professional photography and video for dogs’ profiles.
YAH Executive Director Dawn Kemper recalls Jayden, a 10-12-year-old Boxer mix who was one of the ten senior dogs in the organization’s care in 2011 to be aided by Grey Muzzle funding.
“Sweet and docile, she became a fast favorite at the local animal control and as her time grew short, the staff began to contact every boxer rescue and no-kill animal shelter in the area to save her,” says Kemper. “The response? Every single organization said she was too old to be adopted. Her brilliant smile and endearing personality proved to us that she was adoptable–she just needed a chance!”
A visit to the vet found that Jayden needed a teeth cleaning and thyroid medication plus a lumpectomy that proved benign. Kemper says a professional photo shoot helped Jayden’s adoption profile shine and she has found her forever home.
“Jayden has become our not-so-little lap dog and we’re so happy to have her here with us,” shares Jayden’s new mom, Misty. “The vet says she’s in good health and looks great for her age.”
“Keep Dogs With Owners” Assistance
“Keep Dogs With Owners” grants assist programs, typically run by a shelter, provides food and medical care for pets of low-income owners.
The Sergey Foundation’s Judy Larkin says Grey Muzzle funding has been key to her Bellingham, WA-based organization’s mission to keep senior dogs healthy and with their families. “The cost of veterinary bills increases exponentially as a dog grows older,” says Larkin. “This hits the senior population extremely hard.”
Karin Frye’s senior Belgian Malinois, Baldo, received surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament thanks to The Sergey Foundation and a Grey Muzzle grant. Read their story.
“Research shows that pets enrich our quality of life—physically and emotionally,” says Grey Muzzle President Jenny Kachnic. “One of Grey Muzzle’s most important goals for 2013 is to help low-income owners, especially senior citizens, keep their old dogs despite financial instability by providing grants to programs that will assist them with veterinary care, food, and supplies for their much-loved senior dogs.”
Learn more about Grey Muzzle Organization by clicking here.