Our Own Dogtown

After watching every episode of every season of the show Dogtown on Netflix, I have been itching to help shelter dogs get adopted. Martha has been inspirational to me with her stories of volunteering at her local humane society. This past week, my husband came across a plea online for volunteer dog trainers at our local animal shelter, so I gladly signed up. Today was my first session with the shelter training director, who strongly believes that every dog in the shelter should have the opportunity to get basic obedience training (sit, down, wait, stay, leash walking). It will help them be more adoptable and help them transition more successfully to their new homes. She proudly told me that this shelter's annual euthanasia rate is 1.3%, which I thought was awesome.

The story of this chocolate lab was in our local papers, brought into the shelter because he had been found roaming the streets in a severely emaciated state. He weighed less than 40 pounds, about half what he should weigh, and his hind-end fur had been lost to urine burns.

Here's what he looks like today, on a walk with a volunteer. He has gained over 20 pounds and is doing great. The former owner was arrested and faces a felony dog cruelty charge.

Kelti is a sweet 3-year old yellow lab who has lived her whole life in a backyard without attention or direction.

I got to walk Kelti for a little while today, but she was just all over the place on the leash. She doesn't respond to her name (which, granted, may not have been her name for very long), so we're starting at ground zero. It's sad to think that no one took the time to teach her something as basic as "sit" for the past three years.

Like all shelters, our shelter is inundated with pit bulls. It seemed like almost half the dogs there were pits. This one is extremely sweet and totally adoptable to someone who can handle a high energy dog.

I'll get assigned to two dogs and spend 2-4 hours a week working with them. Hopefully, I'll get to see them progress and improve and go to great families and homes. Maybe they'll even get dog blogs of their own someday!

Rosalee Bloss  – (April 1, 2011 at 6:26 PM)  

I so admire your enthusiastic approach to working with dogs. Keep up the good works, ma'am!!

Tessa99999  – (April 1, 2011 at 7:55 PM)  

I really love how you and Cabana volunteer so much in your community! I hope to be able to do similar things as well! I look forward to reading more and more from you guys!

Martha G  – (April 1, 2011 at 8:10 PM)  

Ooh! You started today, I'm happy to see. Be prepared for the education of your life! The dogs are lucky to have you in their lives and you'll find the humane society appreciates everything you do.

Urine burns! That poor chocolate Lab! I'm glad to see he's improving.

Kari in WeHo  – (April 2, 2011 at 10:08 AM)  

I exercised and trained dogs at Oakland Animal Services for a while. It was so hard as its an open door shelter with a high E rate.

Be careful or you may be taking home a dog before you know it!


Amber-Mae  – (April 3, 2011 at 10:08 AM)  

So nice to see that brown Labrador looking SO good after some good TLC! Those are some really nice dogs at the shelter. I hope they all find good homes soon.

OSU 98  – (April 3, 2011 at 7:54 PM)  

You are awesome!!!! Such a great thing to do. I don't know that I could do it...I would want to take them all home.

Sierra Rose  – (April 4, 2011 at 8:25 PM)  

Oh wow! Sorry, just visiting...and so happy and amazed! It is heartbreaking to hear the stories of sweet pups that make it to shelters, and a blessing to have wonderful volunteers like you!
Is this in your town?

Will fast forward to the next post...

Sweet hugs,
Sierra Rose

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