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Old Dogs Learn New Tricks: Senior Dogs Fetch Lifesaving Grants

Old dogs have something to bark about as The Grey Muzzle Organization announces more than $705,000 in grants to 78 animal welfare groups—shelters, rescue groups, sanctuaries and other nonprofits working to save and improve the lives of senior dogs. This brings the national Grey Muzzle Organization’s total grant funding to more than $3.8 million since 2008.

This year’s grantees, selected from among 344 applicants, will use the funds to provide critically needed medical and dental treatment; foster and hospice care; adoption promotions; and programs to keep old dogs in their homes and out of animal shelters.

“There is a huge surge in shelter and rescue group intake right now, putting senior dogs most at risk, so our grants are timely in helping the most vulnerable dogs—and people,” Grey Muzzle’s Executive Director Lisa Lunghofer, Ph.D., said. “Although they have so much love and companionship to give, senior dogs are among the first to be euthanized and last to be adopted. These grants will give thousands of old dogs the second chance they all deserve.”

Here are a few examples of how senior dogs and the people who love them benefit from Grey Muzzle grants:

Razz enjoys some TLC and snuggling with a SICSA volunteer.

When Razz’s owner lost her housing, she was desperate not to lose her dog, too. Funding from Grey Muzzle enables SICSA Pet Adoption and Wellness Center Safe Pets Program in Southwest Ohio to provide veterinary care and temporary homes for senior dogs like Razz who are displaced by emergency situations. After receiving needed medical care and spending a month in a foster home, Razz was reunited with her person, who found stable housing for herself and her best friend.

Nell_Rescue Pilots
Pet Rescue Pilots flew Nell from a rural California shelter to a new home in Oregon.

Support from Grey Muzzle will allow Pet Rescue Pilots to perform a seniors-only rescue mission flying precious furry passengers eight years of age and older out of overcrowded rural California shelters, where they have less than a 25% adoption rate, and landing where they belong: in loving arms. Funds will cover costs associated with the flight carrying between 20 and 30 at-risk senior shelter dogs like Nell, who found himself in an overcrowded facility with little chance of being adopted. With more families looking to adopt pets in the Pacific Northwest than are available in shelters, Nell hopped a flight with Pet Rescue Pilots to Oregon where his forever family was waiting on the tarmac. A future seniors-only flight will not only land at-risk senior shelter dogs in loving homes but will also raise awareness that senior shelter pets need foster and forever families; highlight the many benefits that come with welcoming an old dog into your home; and increase adoption of at-risk senior shelter pets beyond those on this very special rescue flight.

After receiving needed vet care, Bubba is waiting to be adopted by a new family.

A grant to High Country Humane in Arizona will fund a program to help prevent families from having to surrender their senior dogs to shelters by providing them with veterinary care. The primary goal of the Grey Muzzle grant is to reduce the number of senior dogs surrendered for medical conditions that their families cannot afford to treat. The grant will also provide diagnostic and medical treatment for senior dogs in High Country Humane’s care. Bubba’s family never came forward to reclaim him, so High Country Humane removed his masses, started him on medication for hypothyroidism and arthritis, and found him a great foster home while continuing to search for his forever home.

A Grey Muzzle grant gave bonded seniors Sophia and Rudy all the medical care they needed to begin life anew.

At first glance, Sophia and Rudy may seem an unlikely pair, but they complement each other perfectly. Sophia, an 11-year-old basset hound, and Rudy, a 12-year-old Yorkie-mix, were surrendered to the Animal Care Centers of NYC by their owner. Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center did not hesitate to rescue the bonded pair. Both senior dogs had medical issues that required immediate treatment. Sophia had severe dental disease, inflamed ears, and nose bleeds. Rudy had a cancerous growth that needed to be removed, in addition to severe dental disease. Thanks to funding from The Grey Muzzle Organization, both dogs got the surgery they needed and have recovered nicely. This bonded pair will now live out their days together with their new family, while the grant will continue to provide at-risk senior dogs with needed veterinary care. 

“We are so grateful to our compassionate donors, senior dog adopters and grantees for making this year’s record-breaking grant funding possible,” Lunghofer said. “Thanks to you, more old dogs in communities all around the country will spend the rest of their lives in homes with people who love them.”

Here is a complete list of 2022 Grey Muzzle grantees:

Animal Fix Clinic

Animal Rescue Foundation

Animal Rescue Mission

Animal Rescue, Inc.

Arizona Humane Society

Asheville Humane Society

Auburn Valley Humane Society

Austin Humane Society

Austin Pets Alive!

Belleville Area Humane Society

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue

Carolina Poodle Rescue

Charming Pet Rescue

Community Spay Neuter Initiative Partnership (C-SNIP)

Connecticut Humane Society

East Bay SPCA

Fences for Fido

Found House Interfaith Housing Network

Forever Loved Pet Sanctuary

Friends of Foothills Animal Shelter

Friends of The Animal Shelter and Guardians of The Homeless Animals

Gold Ribbon Rescue

Harbor Humane Society

Hearts Alive Village

HeARTs Speak, Inc.

Helping Hands Humane Society

High Country Humane

Hope Animal Rescue

Humane Society for Hamilton County

Humane Society of Indianapolis

Humane Society of North Texas

Humane Society of Sonoma County

Humane Society of West Michigan

Jacksonville Humane Society

Kohala Animal Relocation and Education Service (KARES)

Leave No Paws Behind, Inc

Little Shelter Animal Rescue & Adoption Center

Live Like Roo

Massachusetts SPCA (MSPCA)

Maui Humane Society

Max's Helping Paws Foundation

McKamey Animal Center

Misty Eyes Dog Shelter & Humane Education Learning Center

Montreal SPCA

Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue & Adoption, Inc.

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Nebraska Humane Society

Neighborhood Pets

Nevada SPCA


No Kill Pima County

Norfolk SPCA

Oshkosh Area Humane Society

PAWS Atlanta, Inc.

Peace of Mind Dog Rescue

Pet Animal Welfare Society of CT (PAWS)

Pet Community Center

Pet Rescue Pilots LLC

Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)

Poodle & Pooch Rescue of Florida

Sacramento SPCA

Safe Harbor Lab Rescue

Scatter Joy Acres

Second City Canine Rescue

Seniors' Pet Assistance Network (SPAN)

Shelter from the Storm Animal Rescue

SICSA Pet Adoption & Wellness Center

Silicon Valley Pet Project

SpokAnimal C.A.R.E

St Augustine Humane Society

Stop the Suffering

The Animal Foundation

The Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County

The Pet Cottage, Inc.

Two by Two Animal Rescue

Upper Pininsula Animal Welfare Shelter, Inc (UPAWS)

Vieques Humane Society and Animal Rescue, Inc.

York County SPCA

The Grey Muzzle Organization saves and improves the lives of at-risk senior dogs by providing funding and resources to animal shelters, rescues, and other nonprofit groups nationwide. We envision a world where every senior dog thrives, and no old dog dies alone and afraid.