One woman's creative solution to help homeless senior dogs live out their golden years.
True
State Farm

This is Jack, a 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier.  

Jack and his friend Penny at Silver Muzzle Cottage. Image via Silver Muzzle Cottage. All images used with permission.

His owner gave him up to a shelter. At first, it seemed like he was lucky: He was adopted that very same day.


But 48 hours later, his new family returned him because he had some medical issues they didn't want to deal with.

He was homeless — that is, until Silver Muzzle Cottage took him in.

Kim Skarritt-Nelson created Silver Muzzle Cottage after realizing just how many old dogs were in shelters waiting for new homes.

She ran Bowsers by the Bay, a dog boarding and social rehab facility, and through her work, she had connected with a few local rescues on social media.

"I started seeing that there were a lot of these really old dogs needing homes and I didn't understand that at all," she says. "It was a concept that I just couldn’t grasp. Why would a 14-year-old dog need a new home?"

Kim Skarritt-Nelson with her dog Kia. Image via Kim Skarritt-Nelson.

Some of these dogs had lived their whole lives with a person, but when their owner died, they had nowhere to go and no one to take them.

Others, like Jack, had been relinquished to shelters by owners who didn't want to — or couldn't — care for them anymore. Others still were found as strays, like Penny, abandoned along a road somewhere.

Penny was found as a stray. She is believed to be 11 years old and is awaiting her forever home at Silver Muzzle Cottage. Image via Silver Muzzle Cottage.

People usually want a puppy or at least a young dog when they decide to bring a dog home, and that's why those are the ones that almost always go home first. Old or sick dogs can spend years waiting for a new home — or even be euthanized in overcrowded shelters.

It bothered Skarritt-Nelson that these older dogs had nowhere to go to live out their remaining life with love and dignity. So she renovated one of the buildings on the Bowsers by the Bay property, converting it into a living space for dogs — complete with couches, pillows, and even a fake fireplace so that it resembles a home instead of a traditional shelter — and officially opened Silver Muzzle Cottage, a rescue and hospice for homeless senior dogs.

The interior of Silver Muzzle Cottage looks more like the living room of a house than it does a dog shelter.  Image via Kim Skarritt-Nelson.

It is the only organization of its kind in her state and one of a few in the country, according to the Detroit Free Press. Even by animal rescue standards, Silver Muzzle is a very different kind of refuge.

Since it opened its doors two years ago, Silver Muzzle Cottage has helped more than 70 senior or sick dogs in Michigan.

"Once word got out what we were doing, we were getting 15-20 calls a day initially," she says. "Then it tapered off to 15-20 a week."

Jack and Petey, two of the current residents at Silver Muzzle Cottage. Image via Silver Muzzle Cottage.

When they get a call, they screen them to make sure the dogs meet their age requirements and, if possible, try to place the dog in a home first. Some of those dogs do better in the quiet of a home with a family, she says.

If not, the dogs come to the cottage to await adoption. Some, like the 140-pound great dane-mastiff mix named Mongo, will simply live out the remainder of their lives at Silver Muzzle Cottage.

Mongo's owner relinquished him to Silver Muzzle Cottage on the condition that he stay at the cottage and not be adopted. He is 8, which is considered senior for such a large dog. Image via Kim Skarritt-Nelson.

"Just in case they never find a home, they will always have a home here with me," says Skarritt-Nelson.

Today, seven dogs live at Silver Muzzle Cottage, including Mongo and their newest arrival, Felix.

Felix's owner recently died, but with the help of Silver Muzzle Cottage, he's hoping to have a new home soon. Image via Silver Muzzle Cottage.

The dogs are never alone at the cottage, thanks to a group of volunteers. "We ask the volunteers to help us give these dogs a life that they may never have had," says Skarritt-Nelson. "So that may include taking them down to the beach and letting them play on the beach, taking them for walks in the woods, getting them out and socializing with people in the community."

The senior dogs also visit local nursing care facilities and spend time with the residents.

One of the Silver Muzzle Cottage dogs visiting a local nursing care facility as part of the rescue's "Seniors for Seniors" program. Image via Kim Skarritt-Nelson.

They spend the rest of their time snuggling and playing with the other dogs or hanging out with Skarritt-Nelson.

In fact, to take the extra step in making sure the dogs are never alone and never caged, she made the cottage her home too by moving into a small room at the corner of the house with her own three dogs.

She hopes she can continue to grow her network of volunteers and supporters so Silver Muzzle Cottage can expand and welcome more older dogs. Helping these senior dogs is her way of giving back to them — of recognizing that they once gave their lives to someone or a family, and that it's not their fault they are homeless now. Silver Muzzle Cottage is her creative way to help these dogs.

A little girl reading to one of Silver Muzzle Cottage's senior dogs. Image via Kim Skarritt-Nelson.

"The whole focus for us is making sure that the dog leaves this world with somebody, that they don't die alone, and to make sure that they know that when they left this world, they had somebody — somebody loved them, they mattered to somebody."

Want to volunteer or help Silver Muzzle Cottage in some other way?  Reach out to them via their Facebook page for more information.

True

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday are teaming up to find the people who lead with love everyday.

Know someone in your neighborhood who's known for their optimistic attitude, commitment to bettering their community and always leading with love? Tell us about them for the chance to win a $2,000 grant to keep doing good in their community.

Nomination ends November 22, 2020

File:Pornhub-logo.svg - Wikimedia Commons

A 2015 survey conducted by the National Union of Students found that 60% of respondents turned to porn to fill in the gaps in sex education. While 40% of those people said they learned a little, 75% of respondents said they felt porn created unrealistic expectations when it comes to sex. Some of the unrealistic expectations from porn can be dangerous. A study found that 88% of porn contained violence, and another study found that those who consumed porn were more likely to become sexually aggressive.

But now the thing that breaks those unrealistic expectations… might also be porn? Pornhub has launched a sex education section.

The adult website's first series is simply titled, "Pornhub Sex Ed" and contains 11 videos and is accessible through the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center. The section also contains articles, some showing real anatomy and examples in order to bust myths people may have picked up on other portions of the website.

Keep Reading Show less
True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

While many of us have understandably let the challenges of 2020 get under our skin and bring us down, a young man from Florida was securing his place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Chris Nikic became the first person with Down syndrome to complete a full triathlon.

For the majority of people, a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride or a 26.2 mile run would be difficult on its own. The Ironman competition requires participants to complete them all in one grueling race. In a statement, Special Olympics Florida President and CEO Sherry Wheelock called Chris "an inspiration to all of us." She continued, "We are incredibly proud of Chris and the work he has put in to achieve this monumental goal. He's become a hero to athletes, fans, and people across Florida and around the world."

Nikic's journey to become an Ironman started off as a challenge far less lofty. He and his father, Nik, created the "1 percent better challenge." The idea was to keep Chris motivated during the pandemic and beyond. According to The Washington Post, the idea was for Chris to improve his workouts by one percent each day because he "doesn't like pain" but loves "food, videos games and my couch." The plan was to keep building strength and stamina while keeping his eye on the grand prize of completing a triathlon. Nik told the Panama City News Herald, "I was concerned because after high school and after graduation a lot of kids with Down syndrome become isolated and just start living a life of isolation. I said, 'Look, let's go find him something to get him back into the world and get him involved,' so we started looking around and we were fortunate that at the same time Special Olympics Florida started this triathlon program, and I thought, 'What a great way to get him started, get him in shape and get him to make some friends.'"


Keep Reading Show less