In 2008, after being inspired into action, Julie Dudley started The Grey Muzzle Organization, a group founded to help homeless senior dogs. Her inspiration came after she volunteered and witnessed the struggles of senior dogs. Younger dogs are more likely to be adopted than older dogs. After doing some research, Julie found that, at the time, there were no other organizations helping homeless senior dogs. Julie launched Grey Muzzle to provide resources and education on how to promote senior dogs adoption and to provide a voice.
Wendy Diamond, the expert pet-lifestyle guru and founder of Animal Fair Media, is now an Advisory Board Member of The Grey Muzzle Organization, contributing her vast knowledge to better support senior dogs. After adopting Baby Hope Diamond, a senior Coton de Tulear, Wendy will always advocate for senior canines and The Grey Muzzle Organization's efforts.
Animal Fair had the pleasure of sitting down with Jennifer Kachnic, the current president of The Grey Muzzle Organization, to ask her a few questions about the organization, its efforts and its goals for the future.
Animal Fair: The Grey Muzzle Organization does wonders for the senior canine community, but what inspired you to be involved?
Jennifer Kachnic: I was inspired to join Grey Muzzle in 2010 when I learned about their mission. I not only have a senior dog, but also work with them in my canine wellness business. I was also in the process of publishing a book on senior dog care. The book, "Your Dog's Golden Years" is dedicated to Grey Muzzle and all proceeds go to the organization because I believe so strongly in the resources that Grey Muzzle provides. Grey Muzzle funds shelters, rescues, and sanctuaries across the country, making a tremendous difference for senior dogs nationwide.
AF: Do you personally have pets?
JK: I currently have four dogs in my family. I still have my senior St. Bernard, Louie, who is nine years old, and three released service dogs. Nekia is a Lab/Golden mix (7 years old), Claude is a Golden Retriever (5 years old) and William is a Labrador Retriever (3 years old).
AF: The Grey Muzzle Organization has had wonderful success – what can we expect in the future?
JK: We are expanding and growing the organization so we can help and save more senior dogs. I have recently added members to our board and advisory board to broaden the professional expertise of our organization. We have many dedicated volunteers across the U.S. providing resources and information to people so they can better care for their senior dogs or consider adopting one. We want to educate people on the benefits of having a senior dog and the obstacles that senior dogs face when put into a shelter.
We currently fund a variety of senior dog programs nationally including: medical care for the dogs to help them get adopted; long-term foster for those needing rehabilitation; "Seniors for Seniors" adoption programs that match senior dogs with senior citizens; senior therapy dog programs; "AniMeals" [which provides] food for pets when owners experience health or financial hardship; and hospice care for those dogs at the end of life stage to provide the respect and security they deserve. We hope to provide more funding and resources to a greater number of shelters and rescues across the United States. In order to do that, we need to increase donations.
AF: So, you are continually looking for people to take that step and adopt a senior dog. Is it for everyone, or is there a particular dog parent that is perfect for senior dogs? Why should one adopt a senior dog opposed to a younger one?
JK: A great senior dog parent is patient, compassionate and very lucky. The Grey Muzzle Organization believes that all senior dogs deserve to live their remaining years, months, weeks or days in places of love, safety and comfort. We encourage senior dog adoption because senior dogs make great pets! Senior dogs have different needs from younger pups and therefore are often a better fit for a lot of families. They generally have basic obedience and are often house trained, their temperament is established and people can frequently get the history of a dog from the shelter or rescue. Older dogs are full grown and "no surprises." Seniors can learn fast and adapt to training just like younger dogs. Also, for people who do not want to commit 15-20 years to a pet, a senior dog is a great option.
Along with the distinguished graying around the muzzle, a certain serenity accompanies the older dog. They are often extremely gentle and wise, having the experience of age.
AF: What is your pet project or let's say day job when not overseeing Grey Muzzle?
JK: I own Canine Wellness in Denver, CO, [which provides] natural therapies for dogs including canine massage, laser therapy, energy healing and support for grieving pet parents.
The Grey Muzzle Organization promotes an extremely important cause: the care and adoption of senior dogs. If you are the kind of individual who would love to consider adopting a senior dog or just want to know what you can do to help these young-at-heart canines, visit The Grey Muzzle Organization's website http://www.greymuzzle.org to learn about giving a wonderful soul a second chance!
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