November 23, 2016
Categories: Caring for Special Populations of Animals
Sherri Franklin CNN Hero

When Sherri Franklin started Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, she not only wanted to rescue senior dogs, but also change the way the world perceived and treated them. Just nine short years later, with over 4,200 senior dogs saved, and a nomination for CNN’s Hero of the Year award, it’s safe to say she’s done just that.

While Franklin feels incredibly honored to be nominated for the national award, she’s more excited about what winning would do for senior dogs everywhere. And that’s why she – and senior dogs – need your vote!

“Winning this award will help get the word out in an incredible way,” she said. “Old dogs need love, too! And they have so much love to give. So many people tell us that adopting their senior dog is the best thing they ever did. And so many come back for their second, third, even fourth Muttville dog!”

But while more and more people are realizing seniors are adoptable and lovable, they are still dying in shelters across the nation. Franklin knows this would “help open more eyes so we can find them all loving homes.”

And if anyone knows a thing or two about changing perceptions, it’s Franklin. “Being an older animal in a shelter used to be a death sentence.  They were just considered unadoptable.  When we started taking them and finding them homes quickly, it made an impression. Many shelters now put their older dogs up for adoption instead of automatically euthanizing them.”

Franklin went on to share that these days, a shelter might ask them to take a dog and sometimes that dog will get adopted before they’ve even figured out transport. “These dogs didn’t stand a chance when I started Muttville 10 years ago. “

As for lessons learned, Franklin says there are too many to count. But very important one that sticks out: Don’t accept conventional wisdom. “It’s possible to figure out new ways to do things, and working together is a must.”

One of her favorite examples of this? Spanky.

“There are so many great Muttville dog stories, but Spanky was my guy! He came to Muttville because he wasn’t going to make it in a shelter.  He couldn’t use his back legs.” When Franklin first met Spanky, he had urine stains and burns all over his lower body. Determined to not give up on him, she bought a special harness to lift his back legs to see if he could walk. “The minute I picked up his back legs, he ran and wagged and smiled and practically danced on his two front legs. My heart melted.” They took him to Muttville, got him fitted with wheels, and called him Spanky Hot Wheels, of course.

“Spanky went from despondent and hopeless to the life of the party!” They put a video out of him doing wheelies and running around with this big smile on his face.  “Shortly after, he got adopted! This is what keeps me going.”

Vote for Sherri Franklin and senior dogs everywhere up to 10 times per day until December 6, then watch Spanky’s adorable video! You can also vote up to 10 times per day on Facebook and 10 per day on Twitter.