Piper was initially adopted at 1.5 yrs old, and went through a succession of 4 foster homes before finally arriving at my doorstep. Each family would fall in love with her looks and demeanor, but Piper's high energy and activity levels quickly prompted them to return her.
The last family was so frustrated, they planned to release her into the woods. I was contacted, and Piper became my newest rehab candidate. The process went smoothly, and Piper integrated well into the house pack by participating in daily group walks & supervised play times.
An estimated 3.3 million dogs are abandoned each year in the United States; nearly 700,000 of those dogs are euthanized. That number is slightly lower as of just a few years ago, thanks to the unsung efforts of a growing rescue community. However, as training & behavior specialists with over 40 years of experience, these statistics indicate a systemic neglect & misunderstanding of dogs that are too often labeled as “aggressive”, “dangerous”, or “unfit for human interaction”.
#IDidNotServeBut I did not serve in Vietnam, but … As Veteran’s Day Weekend 2017 comes to a close, memories and connections to this day resurface. This year with the establishment of Finding You Sanctuary, a non-profit that pairs veterans bearing invisible wounds with dogs rescued from euthanasia, I feel compelled to share these memories. I have a story to tell, and it is my hope that you will do the same.
There exists a hidden truth within the world of dog ownership we call “owned, misunderstood, abandoned.” It often begins with the exciting addition of a dog to your household. It’s a wonderful time of bonding, training, and usually spoiling this special new addition. Unfortunately, about 5% of these unions become a life-threatening experience for the dog and sometimes the source of great, emotional anguish for the owner(s). We’d like to help break this cycle before it begins with a little dose of professional insight.
Clinton was a large German Shepard that I would describe as “the big, the bad and the ugly.” I found him online at the Worcester Animal Rescue League. His write up claimed that he shouldn’t be in a home that has kids. He was very angry, aggressive, and intimidating, yet I could see that he was insecure and the perfect one for me because I wanted to begin working with more difficult dogs that had a variety of behavior issues.
Who among us has visions? Clear for a moment, then it evaporates to the demands of a nearby voice or distant car horn. Often never to re-appear. 12 years ago, my sister, Lynne Karli, had a vivid picture of a peculiar building in a calm setting enter her mind that insisted on evolving over many years. Not imposing itself, as if to take command, but just a steady level of unfolding clarity that captivated her interest enough to compel a focused change in the direction, even the purpose, of her life. Not certain as to how, but sensing it was to help people and animals to coexist.