Our Beginnings
The LIttle dog that started it all


Rodrik’s Story

 Gray Muzzle Society was born from the idea that every pet should grow old and spend their final days surrounded by people who love them. Kayson Cooper and Molly Dawson met while working at an animal shelter in Denver, Colorado. Deeply impacted by the number of ill and elderly animals surrendered to the shelter, the two connected over their commitment to provide extra attention to these animals while in their care, fostering and advocating for them whenever possible. They dreamed of one day working together at a sanctuary dedicated to senior and special needs pets. When a miniature pinscher named Rodrik needed a foster home to manage his medical care while breed-specific rescues were contacted, Kayson happily obliged. Rodrik had been uncomfortable, scared, and a little cranky while living in the shelter. In a home, it became clear that his former owner’s words were a better representation of his true personality; he loved everyone he met, burrowing in blankets, and playing outside with his new canine foster brothers. 


While his medical conditions improved, his age, chronic illness, and temperament while at the shelter all worked against Rodrik. The breed rescues declined to accept him, and it was recommended that he be euthanized. By now months had passed and Kayson and Rodrik were inseparable. Kayson adopted Rodrik and they spent three years enjoying camping, road trips, and weekends at the dog park before Rodrik passed away in his sleep. Perhaps the most devastating aspect of Rodrik’s story is that he had been adopted from that same animal shelter as a puppy more than eight years earlier. His family loved him dearly, but as he aged he began to experience chronic health conditions that impacted his quality of life. Diagnostics can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and the family simply couldn’t afford his veterinary bills. Once diagnosed, Rodrik was prescribed affordable medications and required only routine veterinary care.  


Although Molly and Kayson had dreamed of a senior pet sanctuary, Rodrik helped them realize that the absolute best place for pets was at home with the people who love them. The Gray Muzzle Society’s goal is to help families overcome unexpected obstacles that separate people from their pets. Our mission is to provide families whose pets have been diagnosed, or need a diagnosis, with chronic age-related or one-time life-saving procedures with financial support in the form of mini-grants. These grants subsidize the cost to seek professional medical and behavioral help or pay for ongoing prescription diets or medical supplies. Grants are paid directly to trusted veterinary clinics, certified behaviorists, and other pet care partners to ensure accountability and traceability of donor funds, as well as guaranteeing appropriate treatment of the animal in need.

Gray Muzzle Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is governed by our Board of Directors and managed by an entirely volunteer executive team. Our EIN is 47-3359048.