An Unusual Savior for Senior Dogs: The Grey Muzzle Organization

Annie (Lil Bit)
Photo Credit: Old Dog Haven

The Grey Muzzle Organization Reaches $250,000 in Grants to Save Senior Dogs’ Lives

By Grey Muzzle Board of Directors Member, Chandra Conway

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 organization in 2008.

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 in 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, New Jersey, 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.


Jayden Photo Credit: Portraits Pet Photography

Photo Credit: Portraits Pet Photography

“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, that provide 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, Washington-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 The Grey Muzzle Organization:

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7 Responses to An Unusual Savior for Senior Dogs: The Grey Muzzle Organization

  1. Norman W Wilson,PhD February 20, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    Excellent and informative.

  2. Bill Thorn February 20, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    Hadn’t heard of these folks before. What a great organization! All us old, grey-muzzled dudes need something like this.

  3. Samm February 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    Great reading. I also keep my dog Norman around even though he is old and needs lots of attention. He is my best friend.

  4. Marie Grime February 26, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    What a great idea! I’m sure if I were alone and felt I was approaching end of life, one of my greater worries would be for my Sally’s welfare. She was shuffled around so much before she came to us, I would hate to think she would go through all that again.

    And I love the idea of caring for Seniors’ dogs so the seniors can afford to keep them. In the loneliness of house-bound years, when one doesn’t still have the health or the energy or the resources to go anywhere, I’m sure it’s way more tolerable if you’re not alone.

    I hope this organization comes to Miami (everyone else seems to!) and I hope they help the dogs of the homeless too.

    I volunteer for an organization that helps homeless, house-bound, and hospitalized military veterans in many ways. Our lodge has at least one holiday meal annually, turkey and all the trimmings, etc. in December. One year I found Jack, a fellow organization in the kitchen, in tears, dishing up a generous plate of food into a to-go box.

    He told me about one veteran who sat at the table with the others but had not touched his food. While we were cleaning up, he handed over his plate and asked us to box it to go. Jack spotted the untouched dish and asked the veteran what was wrong with it. “Nothing,” the veteran said, “But I want to take it to my dog.”

    “You eat your dinner,” Jack said, “and I’ll fix one for your dog.”

    Several days later, when reporting the incident in a meeting, he still broke out in tears. And so did many of us sitting in that meeting.

  5. Dr. B February 26, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Dear Marie — what an incredible, touching story. I wonder how many others are in the same circumstances? I too am grateful to have discovered an organization like “The Grey Muzzle” and “Old Dog Haven” (the latter is in Washington State).

  6. Patty Stanton March 6, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco is especially grateful to Grey Muzzle for their work in senior dog rescue and senior dog issues. Muttville’s Seniors For Seniors program benefits from their kind hearts, with hundreds of senior citizens uniting with senior companion over the last few years! A win-win if there ever was one!

  7. Fran July 10, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    I could join that….

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