Denise Fleck was raised by a Great Dane and has spent her life loving animals. As a dog mom to a dozen, she feels there is no greater love than can be found in the adoring eyes of a senior dog. Known as the Pet Safety Crusader™, Fleck has authored a dozen books, written hundreds of articles for pet publications and is the proud recipient of four Maxwell Medallions from the Dog Writers’ Association including “Best Children’s Book.” A former movie studio publicist, Fleck followed her heart by wanting to do something that could make a difference, so she trained, practiced, studied, trained, and practiced some more and developed her own Pet First-Aid & CPR curriculum as well as a five-month-long animal-care course for high school students. She has personally instructed more than 30,000 pet parents, professional pet sitters, obedience trainers, groomers, and daycare providers, and has reached millions more through her television appearances, including CBS –TV’s The Doctors, Animal Planet and CNN. She is now focused on training the next generation of animal care instructors.
Named "A Woman of Influence" by Pet Age Magazine, Fleck's soft-spot lies with senior dogs, so she has been over-joyed to be the Board President of The Grey Muzzle Organization since 2018. She also serves on the board of the Emma Zen Foundation which supplies pet oxygen masks to first responders. After 30 years in Los Angeles, Fleck now resides outside Atlanta with her husband Paul and senior rescued Akita, Kiko. Learn more at www.PetSafetyCrusader.com
Grey Muzzle's board members not only believe in Grey Muzzle's vision they live its mission. Get a glimpse into what inspires Denise to be a change agent on behalf of senior dogs and the ultimate fan of Grey Muzzle.How does your day-to-day reflect Grey Muzzle's mission?
Senior dogs have always been my soft spot. It may have started as a Brownie Girl Scout singing, "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold." The love of an older dog is truly gold! Of the 8 dogs who have owned me in adulthood (I also had 4 amazing "sibling" dogs in my youth), six of them became my family during their twilight years and the other two arrived earlier but got to share their golden years by my side. I seem to embrace and bond with older canine souls. There's a unique wisdom and peace to a dog who feels loved in his later years. It gleams through his eyes. No matter whether his previous decade has been great, or not so much, a senior dog who has the love of a family, exudes gratitude, thankfulness, and a contentment that melts your heart. Older dogs have been my teachers, helping me to make every day count, for them and for me. Goodbyes do not get easier, but knowing you have helped a senior dog live his best life, filled with love...priceless! I honestly think it is what I am most proud of in my life.What sets Grey Muzzle apart from other organizations?
Most of the staff and board of The Grey Muzzle Organization have never met face-to-face. That is because this team has come together from all corners of the U.S. based on their tremendous hearts and desire to improve the lives of a specific group of at-risk animals...senior dogs! Knowing the adoption rate of older canines is lower than that of all other age groups combined, and sadly that less than half of senior dogs ever find a home, the humans behind Grey Muzzle diligently focus on what works and what does not for this specific, and often over-looked, category of animals in need. By creating awareness of their cause, GMO has been blessed with generous donors that make it possible and hard-working grantees who are working towards a solution. The Grey Muzzle Organization is not a rescue or a shelter. Instead, we strive to help those places think creatively to implement best practices for senior dogs, increasing adoptions as well as keeping of already-owned pets in their homes. To accomplish this, Grey Muzzle funds the best of the best programs that will reduce the number of days senior dogs stay in rescue, ensure they get needed medical care and can live their lives with a loving family. As the saying goes, "Saving a dog will not change the world, but for that one dog, the world is forever changed."If Grey Muzzle were to be on the cover of your favorite newspaper or magazine in five years, what would the story be about?
No Senior Dogs Available for Adoption! All Have Found Forever Homes
Thanks to the Grey Muzzle Organization, its donors and grantees, all senior dogs have found their forever home. Through studies, implementation of best practices by their grantees, and substantial funds raised, GMO has made it possible for all older best friends to receive preventive medical care and intervention for ailments that occur so that they can live their best lives. Through education and creating awareness of the plight of the older at-risk dogs, Grey Muzzle has helped the animal-loving population to embrace the loving bond that can be made with an senior dog. This has led pet parents everywhere to make it their heartfelt priority to provide love-filled forever homes for the life-time of all dogs who enter their lives!