Sherri Franklin, a longtime dog advocate, served six years as vice chair of the Commission of Animal Control and Welfare for The City and founded Muttville — which cares for and finds homes for senior dogs.
Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?
So many people have been inspirational to me, Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, women that have broken down barriers, been courageous, have gone out on their own. My mom was one of those women. She always would say “just do it” way before it was a Nike slogan.
Is there a “golden rule” by which you live?
To be compassionate in my life and have that compassion extend to all beings.
Where, to whom or to what do you turn to in dark times?
I turn on the music. I can listen to Metallica, ’60s girl groups, Joni Mitchell, Rufus Wainright, Jimi Hendrix. Then there are the shoulders I can lean on. I call on my sister and best friend, Deanne.
Is there something about you that people would find surprising?
I love silence and peace. Being a hairstylist for 20-plus years and then becoming an activist, both very vocal arenas. I get home and want nothing more than to take a bath and read a book, with great music in the background, of course.
What book or piece of writing has had the biggest impact on you?
I really loved the book “When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals” by Jeffrey Masson and Susan McCarthy. Animals have feelings, they may not think about death or fear it, but they feel joy, pain and loss.
Tell us about Muttville. Who are the mutts that you rescue?
Muttville was a dream I had for about 10 years while volunteering at S.F.’s animal shelters. Watching old dogs getting passed over made me so upset, and I would go home and obsess over these dogs. Muttville is a 501c3 nonprofit, and we rescue senior dogs — dogs over 7 years old — from shelters all over California. We are a foster-based organization, and our foster homes are all over the Bay Area. We have saved around 700 dogs in the three years since our inception. We have a “seniors for seniors” program and waive adoption fees for seniors and set them up with all the basics they may need for a new dog in their lives. [The Second Annual “Moolah for Mutts” fundraiser is from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. July 10 at 220 Danvers St. in the Castro — www.muttville.org.]
What do you get from rescuing dogs?
I enjoy hearing from our adopters, how one of our secondhand dogs has changed someone’s life, has given them a reason to get up in the morning or taught them a lesson about life or love.
How do you see your role in the world?
I want to educate and open up people’s eyes to a new way of looking at the lives of animals, with compassion. Just because your animal gets old, doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel or fear or have love to give. He is your family and he needs to be treated like a sentient, feeling being; they trust us. I want to make it trendy and cool to save an animal, rescue a senior dog, spay or neuter a feral cat, adopt a shelter animal.