— By Patty Stanton
“Pops was definitely on my radar with those soulful hopeful eyes,” writes Sherri Franklin, Founder and Executive Director of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco. “I couldn’t believe that no one in Southern California was taking him!! For three days, I couldn’t get his darling face out of my mind. We had to say yes to saving him.”
Pops, a 12 year old terrier mix, was surrendered to an L.A. County shelter in March. He languished there, as senior dogs are often mistakenly deemed unadoptable. Pops wound up on the worst list in the shelter world, PTS (Put To Sleep). Why did this happen to Pops? Often one will never know an abandoned dog’s story. One can just pray for the best.
If Pops was praying, his prayers were about to be answered, thanks to seven caring animal rescue advocates.
Pops’ good fortune started with a simple Facebook post shared by a passionate dog rescue advocate named Margene. She saw Pops’ shelter profile and the “PTS” – Put To Sleep designation. She knew she had to act quickly. The thought of Pops depressed and alone at the shelter motivated Margene to help him. She knew what it took to save his life – relentless effort day and night, in hopes of rallying support from others. She reached out via social media to fellow animal rescue advocates, including Maureen, who contacted Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. The organization rescues dogs 7 years and older and it would be the the ideal place for 12 year old Pops.
Maureen was also inspired by Pop’s story. Along with fellow rescue comrade, Heather, they emailed a heartfelt plea for Pops to Muttville. With an offer to cover his vet care costs, that gave him an even better chance and being chosen. Muttville said YES!
With this amazing news, Maureen and Heather made sure the shelter took Pops off the PTS list, pronto! Maureen writes, “Sometimes a particular dog touches my heart more deeply even than usual; sometimes a particular dog touches the heart of a fellow rescuer and I help them out because I understand how we can obsess on one dog as symbolic sometimes of our ability to effect change.”
Heather raced to the shelter to get Pops out and into the safety of her care and right to the Veterinarian where where he received long overdue treatment for an ear and an upper respiratory infection. Heather, who has been involved in animal rescue for years, receives requests daily to help senior dogs facing euthanasia in the crowded, high-kill shelters.
“There are so many great, older dogs in need of homes not getting chosen for adoption at the shelters,” says Heather. I’m “tagged” on dozens of Facebook threads of homeless senior dogs and sometimes I just have to close my computer, resigning myself to the harsh reality that I can’t help all of them. The day I was “tagged” in Pops’ picture was one of those days. Grieving over the endless supply of pictures of older dogs, smartly posed with ribbons and bandanas by hopeful volunteers, my heart was stricken with the knowledge that they would likely be euthanized simply for their age. Pops, with an endearing James Cagney underbite and rounded doe eyes, made me pause and take a deep breath. Pops’ photo and story haunted me, I saw in him an adorable companion that would be perfect for Muttville adopters.”
Heather arranged Pops’ transportation from Southern California to Muttville in San Francisco. She contacted Pilots-n-Paws, a non-profit organization, and one of her favorite transport resources. “I logged a flight request on their site and soon Pops was flying to Muttville in the lap of Caryl, the wife of Gordon, a volunteer pilot who combines his love of flying with his love of dogs for each flight.”
Pilots N Paws is an online volunteer organization where general aviation pilots can connect with rescue volunteers to transport animals in need to safe havens. Volunteers Gordon and Caryl have transported 10 dogs to safety to date. As for the ride with Pops, Caryl says, “he is such a special little guy. We loaded him into the plane, he explored a bit, then picked his spot for a nap. When he decided he would like some snuggles, he just climbed into my lap and let me hold him. I just rubbed his tummy, kissed the top of his precious little head and told him he was safe and on his way to his forever home. He seemed to know that, he was totally relaxed. When we started to descend, Pops decided that he wanted to be in my lap again and look out the window. That’s when I got that darling shot of him gazing out. He just snuggled right in and let me hold him.”
When they landed, Muttville transport volunteer Fiona was waiting for Pops. “My main impression of Pops was how zen he was,” said Fiona. “He really seemed unfazed and went with the flow. You can tell by how calm he looks gazing out the cockpit window in the photo; he seems to embrace life with an open mind and heart.”
“Seeing photos of Pops in the plane, at Heather’s foster house and after his grooming,” remembers Maureen, “to me, Pops is the face of hope in rescue.”
Not only did Pops make seven new friends during his journey, his “freedom” photo gazing out the cockpit window, looking towards his future, continues to inspire others. At Muttville, he is touching many hearts and continues to make new friends every day.
Want to see Pops enjoying life at Muttville? Check out his profile here.
He’s still waiting for his final destination – a loving forever home.
Could that be you? Meet Pops in San Francisco!
Click here to learn more about Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.