New Program Introduces Seniors to Older Dogs Needing Homes

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Vince Louie didn’t plan on adopting a dog. One visit to the “Cuddle Club” changed his mind. The event, hosted by San Francisco’s Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, introduces senior citizens to senior dogs.

Louie, aged 75 at the time, met a 14-year-old Maltese mixed breed named Monte. Louie adopted Monte on the spot.

“He’s pretty mellow, a go-along kind of guy,” Louie told the TODAY Show. “He just seems in sync, so I was like, ‘Well, let’s have a go at it.’ It was time to have another family member.”

When Louie’s wife died three months later, Monte offered important emotional support.

A special bond between a man and his dog

Over a year later, the two still share a special bond. Louie carries Monte around in a backpack to and from volunteering.

While many people want to adopt puppies, Louie believes senior dogs can make wonderful companions. Seniors, in particular, can benefit from a dog with less energy. Louie said he is grateful to Muttville for introducing him to Monte.

“They do a great service,” he said.

An invaluable non-profit

Since its start in 2007, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue has rescued more than 6,600 senior dogs. The nonprofit’s Seniors for Seniors initiative, which waives adoption fees for people over age 62, has helped more of these dogs find a new home.

Angela DiMartino volunteers as the Seniors for Seniors program manager. She said the Cuddle Club started in 2013 since not everyone can adopt a dog for a variety of reasons.

“Muttville wanted to create a program where people could come meet the dogs, and even if they couldn’t take one home, they had an opportunity to share the love,” she told TODAY. “We always try to have one dog per lap.”

Some of the dogs are blind. Some are missing limbs. Others have arthritis. Still others have so much pep that it’s hard to believe they’re 15 years old. Seniors enjoy learning about each dog’s story.

“I think it brings a great sense of community together where everyone is talking,” she said. “It’s pretty special.”

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