Mastiff Rescue of Florida: Helping the "Oldie-but-Goodie" Big Dogs by Pam Boswell

Twitter Facebook Google Plus Pinterest
Hercules. Photo Courtesy of Mastiff Rescue of Florida

Mastiff Rescue of Florida, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded to meet the needs of English Mastiffs throughout the State of Florida. They receive a Grey Muzzle grant for their "Oldies but Goodies" senior dog program.

Mastiff Rescue of Florida is a breed-specific English Mastiff rescue. We handle the big dogs. With big dogs, there are big vet bills, but to us they are all very important, and the appreciation and love they give in return is priceless. They are every bit worth helping, and with Grey Muzzle as our Guardian Angel, we have been able to help many more!

“Oldies but Goodies”

Mastiff Rescue of Florida, it seems, always had an “oldies program”; we just never put a name to it until the last few years. We found, from the moment we were organized, that we were getting a large number of older dogs, mostly due to owners who just could not watch their companions age and die, or could not afford the care involved with an older dog. We also had several older/retired volunteers who had the time, love, and knowledge to take on a foster but were on very limited incomes. Thus, a plan came together! We could pay for the food, preventatives, and vet bills, but allow the senior volunteers to provide all that an older dog needed in the way of attention, good food, and love. It was a win-win situation and developed into our “Oldies but Goodies” program. The program allows senior dogs to live out their days in the home of senior fosters who need something to get up for in the morning. It makes the fosters forget all their aches and pains because they have a warm fuzzy friend who needs their attention.

Max. Photo Courtesy of Mastif Rescue of Florida
Since the "Oldies but Goodies” program started, we have placed more than 25 older dogs with families who were willing to foster an older companion. Most of the dogs were permanent fosters but some families fell in love and adopted their senior dog. One of our repeat fosters is BJ, who has brought four senior Mastiffs—including nine-year-old Max—into her home. She wrote, "I am very fortunate to have Max as my companion... My sincerest thank you to Mastiff Rescue of Florida and Grey Muzzle for enabling me to help these wonderful senior treasures."

The "Oldies but Goodies" program benefits both the dogs, who need to enjoy their golden years in comfort, and the humans who have so much to give but may need a little monetary help in doing so.

At present, we have 15 “Oldies but Goodies” in permanent foster homes, 12 came in this last year alone, with 9 being heart worm positive—which the Grey Muzzle grant helped with. Several of our “Oldies” required special procedures, which we would have had difficulty performing without the Grey Muzzle grant.

Buttercup, a Special “Oldie but Goodie”
Florida, like many other states, has its share of puppy mills and back yard breeders that dump their seniors when they are no longer a producing commodity. These last couple of years, we have taken in many, including Buttercup.

Buttercup came into Mastiff Rescue of Florida last spring after animal control caught her in a trap. She was dumped by a back yard breeder after her age and deplorable condition left her unable to make them a profit. Buttercup was in terrible shape: multiple skin issues, emaciated, infections of the wounds on her body, ears and eyes. Buttercup also did not like to be touched. At first we thought she was totally blind but we were proved wrong; she could see, just not well. She was immediately taken to the vet where we found out that she had anemia, an elevated white count, dehydration, and kidney failure. Buttercup spent her first few days in rescue at the vets receiving antibiotics and fluids. After a few weeks, Buttercup’s blood work indicated that we had the infections under control and she had gained enough weight to be spayed.

The day of Buttercup’s spay, while on the operating table, the vet found that the uterus was much larger than it should have been, full of infection and attached to her other organs. The surgery took much longer than expected. While under anesthesia, Buttercup went into a lethal arrhythmia and her heart stopped. Once that was corrected, the veterinary staff was unable to get Buttercup’s bleeding under control, thus another emergency. This surgery was more expensive, and fortunately we were blessed to have the Grey Muzzle grant to help.  

Buttercup, a special "Oldie but Goodie." Courtesy of Mastiff Rescue of Florida
Buttercup progressed into a “funny” girl who loved to hop and jump to get attention. She would “talk” to you when you did not move fast enough to get her something, and you had better get out of her way at meal time. Buttercup enjoyed having her belly rubbed, running in the pastures, and tormenting the other dogs to play.   

Several months ago Buttercup developed a limp, which over a few days got progressively worse. One day while out running with the other dogs, she stumbled and screamed with pain. X-rays revealed a cancer of the bone. We decided that as long as Buttercup enjoyed a good quality of life and we could control her pain, she would continue to enjoy the remainder of her days on the farm.

One night it was apparent that the cancer had advanced beyond what Buttercup could endure and our vet gently allowed Buttercup to cross the Rainbow Bridge. This funny girl is greatly missed. She had a way of making you laugh when your day was just a mess, and frustrating you when you could not understand why she was nudging you or jumping around. There is now a large hole which Buttercup had filled so well.

This year, two of our “Oldies but Goodies” crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but we know that for the time they were in their foster homes, they had a warm bed, good food, and lots of love.

For information about Mastiff Rescue of Florida and all of the wonderful organizations that The Grey Muzzle Organization supports, see Who We Help.

The Grey Muzzle Organization improves the lives of at-risk senior dogs by providing funding and resources to animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries, and other nonprofit groups nationwide.

About the Contributors: Pam Boswell is Director and Jan Stephenson the President of Mastiff Rescue of Florida. Mastiff Rescue of Florida is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded to meet the needs of English Mastiffs throughout the State of Florida.