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Grey Muzzle Grants Pay for Health Care to Make Senior Dogs More Adoptable

To encourage adoption of senior dogs, this organization helps pay for much-needed medical procedures and tests.

Annie Shirreffs  |  Mar 8th 2016


Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our February/March issue. Subscribe to Dogster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

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It’s heartbreaking to believe at the twilight of their lives, many senior dogs are looking for their forever homes. That’s why organizations like Grey Muzzle play such an important role.

Grey Muzzle gives grants to programs designed to improve the lives of at-risk senior dogs and has given out more than $420,000 in grants since 2008 to more than 54 nonprofit organizations in more than 27 states. Although headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, the organization’s volunteers, Board of Directors, and Advisory Board of expert volunteers are throughout the United States.

Minnie needed eye surgery because of her diabetes. Grey Muzzle provided a grant to help her. (Photo courtesy Grey Muzzle's Facebook page)

Minnie needed eye surgery because of her diabetes. Grey Muzzle provided a grant to help her. (Photo courtesy Grey Muzzle’s Facebook page)

I spoke to Lisa Lunghofer, Ph.D., executive director of the Grey Muzzle Organization, to learn more.

Dogster: Can you share with us success stories from shelters, rescues, or sanctuaries that the Grey Muzzle Organization has helped?

Lisa Lunghofer: One of the most gratifying parts of my work is getting to hear success stories every day. The animal welfare organizations we support are doing such great work on behalf of senior dogs that it’s hard to pick just one story …

Sprocket the Lhasa Apso was 10 years old when his owner died. He was turned in to Virginia Beach SPCA (VBSPCA), where he became the face of their Adopt-A-Senior-Pet promotion. Thanks to a grant to VBSPCA’s Three Cs (comfort, compassion, and care) program, Sprocket underwent blood and dental work and a mass removal and biopsy.

Eli was rescued from the streets with a broken jaw. Grey Muzzle paid all his medical bills. (Photo courtesy Grey Muzzle's Facebook page)

Eli was rescued from the streets with a broken jaw. Grey Muzzle paid all his medical bills. (Photo courtesy Grey Muzzle’s Facebook page)

After his medical care, and with a discounted adoption fee, Sprocket soon found a new home and is living a happy, healthy life.

What’s the biggest challenge senior adoptable dogs face?

Potential adopters’ concerns about their medical condition and related costs. One strategy to successfully address this concern is to provide results of medical tests to adopters up front so they have a better sense of any medical issues. With Grey Muzzle’s support, many programs provide needed medical and dental care, greatly increasing the likelihood that those senior dogs will get adopted into loving, forever homes.

What can regular dog lovers do to help senior dogs?

Adopting a senior dog is, of course, a great way to help, as is encouraging others to consider adding a senior dog to their family. If you can’t adopt, consider fostering a senior dog from your local shelter or rescue. Educating friends and colleagues about the needs of senior dogs is also important. Many costly health issues that may lead to surrender of older dogs are preventable. For example, many old dogs are in desperate need of dental care, which can lead to other health problems. Regular dental screening and cleaning are critical. Finally, donating to organizations that support programs specifically for senior dogs is a great way to help.

Check out the Grey Muzzle Organization on Facebook.

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