happyworld - Shelter Worker Spots A Problem With All The Older Dogs Before Coming Up With A Genius Solution

Everyone loves puppies! With their wobbly legs, baby-soft fur, and squeaky little barks, they're oh so irresistible. Bu that's exactly why a shelter filled exclusively with puppies is an unrealistic scenario.
It's elderly mutts that often overcrowd most kennels. The sad reality is that most adopters are only seeking out youthful pups, leaving the old dogs to a tragic fate. Thankfully, one shelter volunteer stepped up to do something about it.
Sherri Franklin radiated the same warmth as her home state of California, and she directed it toward Mother Nature's furriest gifts. Sherri was always an animal advocate, but she knew she could do more to protect these pups.
Bay Area Women Magazine
Sherri dedicates most of her time to doggos despite not even having one herself. She originally started volunteering as a dog walker at the San Francisco SPCA, where she gleefully walked dogs five to six days a week.
Miami Herald
Funny enough, Sherri wasn't always drawn to animal shelters; but a run-in with a lonely kitty may have been the gravitational pull that she needed to realize her destiny as a friend to pets everywhere.
“One day, I found a cat, and I took him into the animal shelter, and I heard the dogs barking, and I thought, 'I have to leave here. I can’t deal with this,'” Sherri said. “As I left, I realized I needed to deal with this, because that’s the reality.”
Once she started dedicating large chunks of her time to the sweet mutts at the SPCA, she couldn't stop. But there was just one thing she witnessed at the shelter that made her quiver with her tail tucked between her legs.
"I'd see potential adopters come to look at the dogs, and I'd see them walk right by the old dogs and barely even look at them," she regretfully explained. Sherri then started dedicating her precious time to walking the senior pups.
But walks alone weren't enough, so Sherri took action. "I started taking home dogs considered ‘unadoptable,' because they weren't showing well in the kennel, or were too old, or had skin conditions that couldn't be treated in a kennel environment," she explained.
Chew On This - Maddie's Fund
All her hard work earned her the nickname, "fairy godmother." While most people saw her efforts as grueling, Sherri loved every second of it. In her kind, giving eyes, "there's such a beauty in older animals."
Sherri was 49 years old around this time, so not only were the dogs not getting any younger, but neither was she. She always imagined running her own animal sanctuary, and the universe was giving Sherri signs that her time to make those furry fantasies a reality was now.
Sherri was already on the Animal Care and Welfare Commission, had a background in dog training, and having been a hairstylist meant she could make her own schedule. It seemed that the waters were parting for Sherri and her beloved rickety mutts.
In 2007, Sherri Franklin started Muttville, a non-profit organization focused on finding homes for older dogs and ones with health issues. While ageism and ableism have their claws hooked deep into humans, Sherri wasn't going to let them destroy the lives of innocent animals.
"I had clients who were attorneys who helped us with all the non-profit steps, and clients who knew how to work on grants, and clients who helped us set up a fantastic website," Sherri said about her diligent supporters.
The Story Exchange
Although she originally had the idea of creating a dreamy, spa-like doggy sanctuary, Sherri ditched that idea in order to adopt out dogs rather than just collect them. She wanted to save as many lives as possible.
The Orange County Register
"There are people willing to open their homes and hearts and willing to take in a really sweet dog, willing to give them love for a year or however long they've got," Sherri said.
Whilst the cage-free Muttville mostly deals with Northern California dogs, the organization has taken in dogs from as far away as Korea. No dog is too inconvenient for Sherri's help.
DRIVEN For Women
Being the executive director of Muttville has even improved Sherri's previously deteriorating optimism regarding society, as she used to regularly watch people neglect dogs left and right. It was fundamentally depressing.
The Mercury News
"After working in shelters and seeing people drop off their old pets...or abandoning their pets, you start to get the idea that people suck," she said. But now, Sherri gets a look at the warmhearted side of humanity.
For her work, Sherri received the Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2010 and was graciously awarded at the CNN Heroes Gala in 2016 as well. Renowned actor and animal lover Neil Patrick Harris actually presented her with the award!
The rescue work that Sherri has accomplished served not only the dogs, but also the adopters. “I’ve had so many people come back and tell me how their Muttville dog has changed their life," Sheri said.
Still, there was one dog that Sherri herself never got the chance to save, though there's no doubt she would've. He lived in an old barn in rural Tennessee, and the old mutt needed some serious help. Luckily, someone else provided it.
That dog is Lazarus. The sweet Pyrenean mountain dog lived a life of neglect and discomfort throughout his first seven years. We could only imagine the fear that plagued the poor pup, who sported a pretty gnarly hairdo.
Life With Dogs
The Tennessee pooch spent those years cooped up in the smelly, filth-coated barn, having no room to run and no sky to see. He was left alone to fend for himself, unintentionally fencing himself in with his own waste.
He must've been particularly uncomfortable: Pyrenean Mountain Dogs have double coats of fur, with a dense, fine undercoat. Without proper grooming, matting can lead to skin issues, and unfortunately, Lazarus endured extreme matting.
The matting was a surprisingly weighty mess. Lazarus' fur overgrew to an incredible mass, weighing an astonishing 35 pounds.  His life was at stake, and help needed to come sooner rather than later.
Grievously, the dog's owner reportedly suffered from a mental illness, having called a relative for immediate assistance, so the owner was no help to Laz. Little did the helpless pooch know, he was about to encounter the best day of his heretofore sad life.
Soon enough, after the owner's relative made an urgent phone call, a diligent rescue team of volunteers from the Big Fluffy Dog Rescue, which included two groomers (who must've anticipated the challenge of their career), came to liberate Lazarus.
To the horror of the rescue team, there was a tremendous amount of dirt and feces blocking the door to Lazarus' barn stall; so much so that the team had to shovel a path to save the poor furry angel. Lazarus was so close to freedom.
Rural Revolution
When they could finally tend to the struggling pooch, the team immediately became aware of some health problems Lazarus had been facing, which hindered his ability to get around with ease.
The matted fur, like a swarming, restricting ivy plant covering the building, tragically made it impossible for him to walk. The mutt must've dreamed of running free in a sunny field, chasing cats and butterflies; but would he ever be able to?
Jean Harrison, the owner of the Big Fluffy Dog Rescue, said: "He had no muscle mass and was unable to move around, let alone walk." Although the news was alarming, the team just had to start buzzing off some of that nasty, dead fur without hesitation.
Angus Post
It took hours to groom Lazarus, who initially cowered from the rescue team's touch out of pure fear. Once his neck was free from the fur prison, however, he warmed up, realizing that the group of strange humans had good intentions.
"He calmed down and seemed to realize it [the grooming] was making him feel better," Jessica Kincheloe, one of the dog groomers, said on behalf of Lazarus.
Rest assured, after cutting off all of Lazarus' impeding fur, he was a new man, or rather, a new good boy. We think he looks rather dapper in his new 'do.
Angus Post
Jean Harrison mentioned that he, unfortunately, didn't have typical dog mannerisms down pat. "Lazarus doesn't know how to be a dog," she said. "He doesn't exactly know how to behave like a dog." He'd soon learn though.
Jean voiced that the still-shy Lazarus "approached a freshly grilled steak cautiously, which made us sad." Dogs shouldn't have to be grateful for food, she said, nor should the innocent creatures ever have to suffer. But Lazarus' suffering was now over.
From there, Lazarus was taken into a foster home in Virginia, where he would embark on his arduous recovery journey, as well as receive heaps of "good boy" pets and kisses. He had a lot of pain to overcome, but more importantly, he had a lot of happiness to look forward to.
It would take weeks or even months for the pup to regain strength, muscle mass, and a little self-esteem prior to getting adopted by his forever family. But until then, Lazarus still had sights to see and steaks to devour...
The Dodo
As expected, Lazarus was adopted in no time. His family clearly takes proper care of his precious (high maintenance) coat and gives him tons of TLC. We think he deserves all of the love and steaks the world has to offer.
Rescuing dogs like Lazarus isn't always easy, but it's always rewarding. In fact, some rescuers would say that it's the toughest cases that are the most rewarding. That's something Chris and Pam of the Michigan Humane Society know firsthand.
Michigan Humane Society
Michigan experienced unseasonal rainfall the summer of 2017 and it caused state-wide flash flooding that crippled the state. Humans and animals alike needed all the help they could get.
So when the rescuers received a call that 12 dogs, 11 puppies, and their mother, endangered by the raging storms, they had no idea what to expect when they arrived on the scene.
They chose to stream the rescue on Facebook Live as a "unique opportunity to show people what their support makes possible, and what [they] do every day."
Michigan Humane Society
When Chris and Pam got there they couldn't believe what they found. The mother had been separated from her puppies, who all needed immediate assistance if they were going to survive.
The 11 puppies were stuck inside of a hole. It appeared that there was no foul play involved and that the mother simply placed them there to protect her puppies from the storms.
Unfortunately, in doing so, the mother unknowingly put her babies in danger since the rising flood water eventually entered the hole. The rapidly moving water was now posing a threat to drown them all.
Chris and Pam quickly set a trap to distract the mother so that they could get clear access to the hole. Chris immediately got down on his hands and knees to see if he could find the puppies...
They could hear the puppies, but upon further inspection of the hole, the rescuers realized the puppies were deeper in the ground than they had thought.
Chris was able to easily rescue the first three puppies as they seemingly moved to the front of the hole, but the rest of them were out of reach. Pam took the three puppies to the van, while Chris thought of another plan.
Michigan Humane Society
Chris began to dig his way into the hole. He was careful not to dig too fast since that could accidentally injure one of the puppies, or cause the hole to cave in. However, Chris needed to act fast or the rest would drown.
As Chris dug further he tried to talk to the puppies to coerce them out. Chris can be heard in the Facebook Live video saying, "Hi guys, it’s your Uncle Chris, come out and play."
Michigan Humane Society
Chris attempted to lure the puppies out with food now that the hole was widened. Luckily this enticed five of the puppies to peep their heads out to take a whiff, allowing Chris to grab them. But what about the rest?
There were still three chatty puppies stuck inside! Chris went head deep into the hole as an attempt to grab the three remaining puppies. Finally, Chris was able to rescue all 11 puppies from underground.
Michigan Humane Society
The mother sensed that these kind humans had saved her puppies and allowed the team to rescue her along with her babies. All twelve were taken to the shelter to be warmed, cleaned, and vaccinated.
Michigan Humane Society
Word of this Facebook Live video quickly went viral. People were dying to know what happened to these stormy puppies and applications came flooding in to adopt them and their mother.
Michigan Humane Society
Twelve lucky families were soon selected to adopt the pooches! It only seemed fitting that adoption day was filmed, just like the day they were rescued. It was the perfect epilogue.
Michigan Humane Society
All of the families were seated in a room and handed a piece of paper with a number on it corresponding to the order they got to pick their new family member...
Michigan Humane Society
One by one the puppies met their "furever" families to start their new lives. The mother, Raina, was adopted also that day, proving that it wasn't just the puppies who touched the rescuers.
Michigan Humane Society
The Michigan Humane Society felt it was important to share this rescue story with the world to shed light on the amazing work they do and that none of this would be possible without their loving community.
Michigan Humane Society

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