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Before we added Bowpi to our family, we spent about a year and a half cruising listings on Petfinder, Craigslist, breed-specific rescues like Basenji Rescue and Transport and National Shiba Rescue listings, our local animal shelter, and nearby rescue groups. We gave ourselves time to imagine life with a range of temperaments, and came to an understanding of what kind of dog we hoped to integrate into our pack.

Photo taken 18 May 2010

Inspired in part by the sweet, elderly, yet very active Welsh Terrier we used to dogsit (before his passing earlier this year at 11 years due to canine lymphoma), we knew we wanted to open our home to an “older” dog — one that was at least five years old. Puppies were completely out of the running for us, especially when we considered how much of a hellion Bowdu was in his youth — though we at least learned that we know how to persevere!

In our search, we eventually found our way to Muttville, a San Francisco-based rescue group that specializes in rescuing senior dogs.

Though we did not eventually adopt a Muttville dog, I still really adore this organization. They bring a kind of dignity to both human and animal life that comes only with the perspective of age, maturity, and wisdom — qualities that I strive for every day. I feel that they have much to show me about what makes a successful rescue, what it means to be compassionate citizen of your community, and how to live a lifetime replete with love. For all these reasons and more, I find them worthy of my time, and worthy of my donations.

Muttville currently has an unprecedented offer on the table from a group of generous donors who are willing to match up to $50,000 in donations made between now and January 15, 2011. That means they stand to raise $100,000 which can be put to use rescuing senior dogs. So even a modest $10 donation, (perhaps the amount I would spend on a take-out dinner) turns into $20 — enough to feed a foster dog or provide some necessary meds for a month. Or $50 (what I might spend on a couple academic press books that I’d be better off just borrowing from the library) turns into $100 — which can cover a significant amount of vetting fees so that Muttville can better inform potential adopters of the years worth of quality life ahead for the senior dog under consideration.

Doubling my dollars with a single donation? Deal’s on! I’m Paypalling it in right after I hit “publish” on this post.

Of course I’d be delighted if you joined me in donating to Muttville, but more generally, I urge you to contribute to any non-profit of your choice this season — whatever is close to your own heart.