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The following article appeared in the CHS winter news letter.
by Cindy Mayron
Gunner: “One night my owner got me up and I
thought we were going for a car ride. I loved them and I rode like
a real gentleman. We pulled up to this strange place and he
stuffed me into this dark and cold box. It was tight! But, I
thought it was a game and I always love to play so I just waited
for him to come back. He never did.”
When shelter volunteers were evaluating this big boy, it was
obvious he had been abused: he was afraid of men and he hated
being touched except for the top of his head. As a 104 lb. German
Shepherd, his chances for adoption looked dim. But his luck soon
changed. Last April Gunner was the first Calaveras dog chosen for
the 2nd Chance Program at certified trainer Margaret Blair’s Twin
Cedar K9 in Jackson.
Why bother with just one animal when there are so many needing
homes? Blair thinks it’s worth the effort, “One life is saved and
another life is enriched. Our goal is to take adoptables,
socialize them and get them ready for new homes.” She won’t take a
“people aggressive” dog, but will train a “fear biter”. Once the
dog is evaluated for its issues, she works with the dog every day
fdr two weeks on obedience, socialization and good manners.
After seeing Gunner’s photo and story on Petfinder.com, Debbie
Taylor traveled from Spokane to meet Gunner: they fell in love
with each other immediately. Debbie loved the area so much, she
and Gunner moved to Camp Connell and she now takes him everywhere.
He learned his lessons so well that Debbie brought him to CHS’s
Paws and Claus last December to have his photo taken with Santa:
an amazing feat for a dog that didn’t like men or to be touched.
Tess, a Rottweiler/Collie mix, had the distinction of being
Margaret’s longest resident. From a bad reputation as a
dog-aggressive girl that liked to fence fight with her neighbors,
she progressed into a very obedient, sweet little dog. When she
first arrived, she was unsure and wondered what was happening to
her. Tess was about two years old, but a not-so-trim 50 to 55
pounds. She spent a month at the Calaveras shelter, and then over
a month at Margaret’s.
Her first love was to play with her tennis ball. “The first thing
she did when we came to her kennel was run and get her ball for
another learning and play session. During training Tess was on a
lead and was given a “pop and release” and told a firm “no” when
she exhibited any aggressive behavior and was praised when she
showed non-aggression. If she didn’t like another dog, she was
taught to leave or was pulled out of the way. Margaret used social
and friendly dogs during the sessions to build Tess’confidence.
During her stay she was housed with four different dogs to teach
her how to get along with others. Tess now has a new home, a dog
buddy and two kids to keep her busy.
Twin Cedar offers a full array of training options, but Margaret
and trainers Rick Sherman and Ruth Hartley do the 2nd Chance
Program from their hearts. They donate their time and lose $75 a
day in income from the 2-week program and always have one dog from
each of the Calaveras and Amador shelters. Since last April more
than 16 dogs have been placed in “forever homes.” Only two dogs
failed the program and had to be put down.
Many dogs like Gunner and Tess end up at animal shelters because
their owners do not have
the training skills necessary to teach the dog, or the time and
commitment to work on behavioral
problems in order to be successful with the animal.
Visit Blair’s website www.twincedark9.com to read about other 2nd
Chance success stories.