This California Nonprofit Brings Senior Citizens and Elderly Dogs Together for a "Cuddle Club"
Let's face it: When in search of something to bring you joy, there are few things that can top genuine puppy love. Thanks to Muttville, a San Francisco nonprofit dedicated to rescuing senior dogs, ages seven and up, this happiness is all but guaranteed for some lucky senior citizens and dogs. The group's latest mission? According to Mental Floss, the group, which was founded in 2013, took things one step further in 2013 when they created the "Cuddle Club." Two to four times a month, Muttville hosts senior citizen and senior pups together in a handicap-accessible Community Cuddle Room, giving canine lovers a chance to bond with aging dogs even if they can't care for their own pet at home.
Since Sherri Franklin founded Muttville in 2007, she shared that their "Cuddle Club" program makes for an even greater atmosphere for their pups. "This program is a win-win," Franklin told Mental Floss. "Our senior dogs get love and attention while our senior citizens, some isolated, have created a community where they get out and socialize and get lots of unconditional love."
Beth Hofer, a volunteer at Muttville, also emphasized that the senior citizens likely have a greater sense of purpose when visiting their canine companions. "I think the dogs are giving some of our guests a sense of value, because sometimes a dog will come down and they're nervous, and they start shaking, and over the course of 15 or 20 minutes, the dog quits shaking and has fallen asleep on that person's lap," she told Today. "You can just see how happy and fulfilled that person is that they were able to help that dog."
The love shared between seniors citizens and elderly dogs also appears to be a scientific fact, according to Franklin. "Studies have shown that holding and petting a dog lowers cortisol [a stress hormone] in your body and lowers blood pressure, and we see stress eased from both the dogs and our visiting humans at our Cuddle Club events," she said.