A Day in the Life of an Everyday Hero at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
At the crack of dawn, Sherri Franklin awakens to a household full of old dogs. Franklin is the founder and CEO of San Francisco based Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. On any given day, she has a dozen grey muzzles of all sizes camping out at her Potrero Hill home. Franklin had always had a passion for animals, dogs in particular, and more specifically, senior dogs. As a volunteer for the SF/SPCA, she saw too many older dogs get passed over for adoption. One day, she rescued one—saving it from certain euthanasia and finding it a new home. Her ad-hoc rescue work grew, and in 2007 she founded Muttville.
From 2007 until 2013, she ran Muttville entirely from her own home. By 2013, she had rescued over 1600 dogs, and Muttville moved into a more spacious (and kennel free) headquarters in a building near the SF/SPCA and San Francisco animal control. While this extra space means she doesn’t have to keep all the dogs in her home, she still does much of the daily work of Muttville the ways she always has.
Franklin’s first job in the morning is to feed and walk the dogs staying with her. Before the morning rituals are done, her phone rings. It might be a donor, a potential adopter seeking Franklin’s skill in dog-person matchmaking, or a contact at an animal shelter with news of a dog in need of rescue. A rescue might be as simple as walking the dog 100 yards from the SF/SPCA, or involve complex transportation logistics. Before the morning is over, she heads to Muttville headquarters to canoodle with the dogs (still the best part, she says), meet with staff, and plan programs and fundraising. In the last weeks of December, she works on the year-end fundraising push, plans the annual “Haute Dog” canine fashion show fundraising event, and organizes a Christmas Eve tradition of rescuing all senior dogs from area shelters. She meets and evaluates every dog who comes to Muttville, and she also names them. No day is the same, and the demands are varied and constant. She says she couldn’t do it without the 7 full-time staff and 300 volunteers at Muttville, who she empowers to do what they do best.
The success of Muttville is astounding. Franklin has grown Muttville organically from a day-by-day operation that recused 27 dogs in 2007, to a business-savvy organization that rescued 780 dogs in 2014. Her success, she says, is in part due to her unfailing passion for the cause and that of her staff and volunteers. Franklin devotes nearly all of her free time and energy to Muttville. She says it is much more demanding than a regular job, and much more rewarding. With so much need and constant successes, staying motivated has never been a problem.
Thank you to our contributing writer, Beth Martin.