A New Year of Hope for Homeless Senior Dogs

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Roscoe
Roscoe benefited from a Grey Muzzle grant to the Kentucky Humane Society

As 2015 comes to a close, we at The Grey Muzzle Organization celebrate our achievements this year and look forward to 2016. Each year we get a little closer to realizing our vision of a world in which no old dog dies alone and afraid. Thanks to help from Grey Muzzle grants this year, more homeless and at-risk older dogs were adopted, lovingly fostered, or able to stay with the families that loved them—dogs like Romeo, an 8-year-old Yorkshire Terrier who was left at the Virginia Beach SPCA by his family. Romeo’s senior blood work was paid for and adoption fee discounted through a Grey Muzzle grant, and he is now living happily with his new dad.

Thanks to help from Grey Muzzle grants this year, more homeless and at-risk older dogs were adopted, lovingly fostered, or able to stay with the families that loved them—dogs like Romeo, an 8-year-old Yorkshire Terrier who was left at the Virginia Beach SPCA by his family. Romeo’s senior blood work was paid for and adoption fee discounted through a Grey Muzzle grant, and he is now living happily with his new dad.

Romeo
Romeo was helped thanks to a grant to Virginia Beach SPCA.

A Successful Year

In 2015, The Grey Muzzle Organization provided combined funding of $157,000 to 47 organizations in 26 states across the country. We also initiated our once-a-year grant cycle, and it was a success! That program supported twelve new grantees, three of which are from states new to our grantee list: Connecticut, Georgia, and Michigan.
 
Grey Muzzle grants support a variety of senior dog programs, including medical and dental care, long-term foster care, therapy dog training, senior-for-senior adoptions, hospice care, and community education and outreach. This year, in addition to our normal grant cycle, we were able to provide emergency funding to an organization to assist senior dogs that were seized from a hoarding situation.

We also provided more than 90 dog beds (a cost of almost $10,000) to animal shelters across the country. Those beds gave senior dogs a soft and comfortable place to rest—relief from cold concrete floors.
 

Making a Difference for At-Risk and Homeless Senior Dogs

In the past seven years, Grey Muzzle has provided over $600,000 of support to senior dogs across the country—over $175,000 in 2015 alone.

Grey Muzzle gives grants so that shelters, rescues and other nonprofits can improve the health and comfort of homeless and at-risk senior dogs, increase their chances of being adopted, keep them out of shelters and in their own homes, and enable them to live out their final days with love and dignity.

Helping pay for medical care for adoptable senior dogs is just one of the ways that Grey Muzzle grants help, but an important one, as the medical needs of older dogs can be expensive for shelters and rescues to treat and discourage potential adopters.

A senior dog from the SASSY program visits a nursing home.
Great Plains SPCA in Kansas, for instance, has been a grantee since 2013 and uses their annual grant funds to pay for medical care that will make senior dogs healthier and more adoptable. Their ability to offer this care has meant that they can care for more older dogs and find homes for those dogs more quickly;

Again this year, the Grey Muzzle grant demonstrated that if senior dogs are screened and treated prior to being made available for adoption, their length of stay is shortened. Proactive screening and medical treatment removes many of the barriers surrounding the adoption of senior animals. All of the dogs who benefited from this year’s grant monies needed complicated procedures that would have been difficult to pass on to the adopter. All of the dogs helped this year have been successfully adopted.

Great Plains SPCA, Kansas

Another important priority for Grey Muzzle has been keeping senior dogs with their families and out of shelters where they are at risk. This has meant offering grants to shelters, rescues and other nonprofit organizations that offer free or discounted medical care and other services to financially vulnerable owners of senior dogs as well as find adoptive or hospice foster homes for  dogs when their owners pass away or become otherwise unable to care for them.

One of the common reasons why older dogs end up in shelters is because their owners can no longer afford their care. Rhys Miller, Founder and President of Grey Muzzle grantee Fairy Tail Endings  explains: "Even preventable and relatively routine medical issues such as skin and urinary issues can suddenly become unmanageable and lead to the heartbreaking decision to surrender a beloved pet."

K9 Kokua is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization in Hawaii dedicated to keeping dogs together with their ohana (family). Volunteers from K9 Kokua visit and provide care for the dogs that live with the houseless population on Oahu and Maui, as well as assist dogs of the financially destitute and those affected by domestic violence. The money provided by Grey Muzzle's grant supports K9 Kokua’s “Kupuna (Elder) Dog Project”, which improve the quality of life for at-risk homeless senior dogs by provide medical assistance and other care during medical beach rounds. K9 Kokua wrote that:

With GMO funds, we were able to cover the costs of necessary vaccinations and boosters that were required for a dog to be admitted into low-income housing with their owners. GMO funds have also helped to assist with hospice care for homeless dogs who have come off the beach and homeless camps so that these elder dogs can spend their last days in a comfortable home, rather than being dumped at a shelter.
- K9 Kokua, Hawaii

Lionel's Legacy Senior Dog Rescue in California is a Grey Muzzle grantee that helps senior citizens with senior dogs by assisting with expenses or with rehoming their pets when they cannot care for them. Lionel's Legacy has helped many senior dogs avoid becoming homeless; "This year we have doubled our intake of senior dogs from seniors, reducing the number of senior pets entering the shelter system."

Our Wonderful Volunteers and Supporters

Volunteers are the heart of The Grey Muzzle Organization. Nationwide, nearly 100 people have shared their expertise, time, and talent with us over the past year. Grey Muzzle's all-volunteer Board of Directors and Advisory Board are both composed of talented animal welfare advocates with extensive professional expertise. This year our Advisory Board was joined by Victoria Stillwell, a leader in the field of animal behavior, and Dr. Kathy Cooney, an animal hospice expert. In June 2015, The Grey Muzzle Organization hired its first Executive Director, Dr. Lisa Lunghofer. 

Donations are critical to our success, and we are also incredibly grateful to the more than 1,500 individuals and businesses that made donations during fiscal year 2015.

Together we are looking forward to 2016 as a year of buliding on Grey Muzzle's successes and offering care and hope for the most vulnerable of dogs. You can help make that possible with a donation today!

The Grey Muzzle Organization improves the lives of at-risk senior dogs by providing funding and resources to animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries, and other nonprofit groups nationwide.

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