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Many people contact me in regards to assisting them with their dogs of the most difficult issues to rehabilitate is fear. Typically for teaching a dog to socialize, especially small dogs and puppies I will use one of my dogs... normally Mia. However this became a very special case for me and one of my other pack members. Often I must gain the trust of a fearful dog at the shelter; typically the most fearful come from "puppymills". More often than not, many of the dogs rescued from "puppymills" are anti-social; since they have never been a companion to a human we must teach them how to be a dog, and how to let us be a friend. Below is a brief story about one of the most fearful dogs I personally have encountered. The out come would be one of sheer amazement and joy...and I am happy to be able to share this with all of you.


Carob was brought to a local shelter with his litter mate but was very fearful of people. I used the other dogs in the room to assist me in gaining his trust. This video is the first time he actually allowed me to touch him, prior to this he was transfered from crate to crate with no positive human contact. He is now doing better with the volunteeres that work with him.

Carob accepts petting

Shelter dog accepts petting for the first time

The Story of SPOOKY:

I had been at the shelter for several months when a nice woman came in the door and said that she was returning her "foster dog" because the dog simply wouldn't do anything other than sit under the bed...she had made little to no progress in the months of foster care. I took the pitifully scared beagle to the back where it was quiet and gave her some time to recover. After her intake period, I then began working with Spooky, as the little chubby beagle was called. I learned that she had come from a puppy mill and had never been properly socialized...causing her to have a fear of humans. I learned also that since arriving at the shelter she would not leave the corner of her cage: so I visited Spooky in her cage, and realized that she was completely shut down for a dog. She would not make eye contact or attempt to smell anything...she had no trust at all of humans. I tried socializing her with several other dogs at the shelter with no success....and instantly realized that I had to step up the rehab..I needed 'professional' help....I needed my dog Ripley

Introducing the girls:

The next day I brought Ripley to the shelter with me to allow her to teach Spooky how to socialize. Amazingly it was almost instantly that Spooky wanted to visit with Ripley; coming right up to smell of Ripley while she was still in her cage...something none of us had ever seen her do. Normally she would just sit or lay in the back of her cage and try to hide from everything.

Ripley is a very social dog with any species and that was the energy she was sharing with Spooky. Within a few hours Spooky was approaching new people and being curious...she was being a dog.

Two days after these photos were taken, Spooky was adopted.. this is such an unusual case because Spooky was so willing to move forward. Spooky still has a long way to go..but she is now in a home with other rehab'd Beagles and well on her way to being a happy canine companion.

Knowing that me & my pack can help make a difference in one dogs life is absolutely wonderful.....

Ripley & Spooky at the shelter:

The Story of Zeb:

On a late fall evening Dawg and Chester were barking like crazy at the front I went to investigate. Upon walking up to the front gate I saw a brindle puppy in the middle of the road, just standing there looking very lost. My first concern was that with the traffic around our home the little puppy would become a fatality quick, so I brought it in the house and waited for someone to come and claim it...but no one ever came to get him. After cleaning him up, and feeding him I began introducing him to my pack. Regardless of who he belonged to an when they might come to get him, I knew he would need to be social with my pack. At the very tender age of about 2.5-3 months he was very insecure at first with all of these big dogs smelling of him. Mia instantly took an interest in him and from that point I knew he would be fine, that she would teach him everything he needed to know. Mia is a wonderful "mom" to any puppy and has a well developed sense of how to follow me, so I knew that the puppy would gain that insight from her; and from me he would gain the confidence of having a balanced leader. I believe it is vital that we allow the natural process of a balanced dog to teach another dog, or in this case a puppy. The puppy became a permanent member of our pack after a week of no one ever claiming him, which worked out well allowing him to continue to interact with a balanced pack. After being with us for almost a month a very close friend of mine agreed to adopt him and make him part of her pack. Since I knew how hard my friend worked to keep her pack balanced, I felt confident sending him there knowing he would have the best home. He was soon named Zeb and now lives happily his new pack which includes with a Standard Poodle, a Mastiff, and 2 Dachshunds. He is the best example of how a balanced pack can be a wonderful influence on any dog regardless of age or breed.

Compassion is learning to be unselfish...and in doing so we can find balance...within balance any species can find peace. I think that should be our goal as responsible dog owners and animal caretakers. Dogs will always move forward if we let them...sometimes they just need a friend to help them through the hard part....


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