Giving Dogs a Fresh Start!

by Hilary Bentley • Posted in: Behavior, Pets Needing Homes, Volunteering

We noticed a few raised eyebrows when we decided to refer to the pups in our new Behavioral Rehabilitation Program as our “naughty dogs.”  It was always tongue in cheek and we thought it was kinda cute.  Those of us involved have known from the beginning that these were wonderful dogs (our favorites, even!) who just needed a little extra guidance to thrive as loved companions.

BUT, those raised eyebrows did get us thinking about what we were really doing.  In honor of that sentiment, we’d like to introduce you to the new and improved Louie’s Fresh Start Team!

Louie’s Fresh Start Team is named in honor of one of the most challenging dogs to ever come through APA! – the loveable, speckled, stubborn, and now happily adopted Louie.  Louie taught us a lot about ourselves, about our programs, and inspired us to believe that if Louie can do it, any dog can!  We seek a happy ending like his for each dog coming through APA!. 

We’re now working hard to build upon our existing behavior programs and take things to the next level.  Saving dogs with workable behavior challenges is going to be instrumental in creating and sustaining a No-Kill Austin.

Thanks to our amazing APA! President and skilled veterinarian, Dr. Ellen Jefferson, and our excellent medical team, we are already able to save, treat, and adopt out animals with medical conditions ranging from easily treatable to those requiring more intensive care. 

Our goal is to view and treat behavior issues the same way, giving dogs a fresh start and the support they need to be adopted as happy, healthy companions.  Everyone deserves a second chance, especially when that first chance was lost through no fault of their own.

Louie’s Fresh Start Team works to provide safe, stable, positive handling for dogs experiencing significant behavior challenges.  Their goal is to address, improve, and eliminate these behaviors and provide dogs with the type and level of support needed for successful rehabilitation and potential to thrive in an adoptive home. To help this important program grow, we need two simple things…

1. Volunteers!  You know who you are, people with a soft spot for the challenging dogs.  You love their big personalities, the nuances to their seemingly simple actions, the way they teach you something new each day.  You’ve probably shared your home with at least one of these dogs at some point in your life and you wish you could have 50 more.  So, come volunteer on Louie’s Team!!  You’ll have the opportunity to learn about dog behavior while helping to save some very amazing lives!

2. Donations!  Not able to volunteer?  APA!’s Dog Behavior Team is funded through Louie’s Fund.  Donations pay for professional training, adoption scholarships, training and enrichment supplies, and whatever support needed to meet the specific needs of the dogs currently in our program.

We’d like to thank The Binky Foundation for awarding one of its innovative First Steps grants to Austin Pets Alive! in January 2011.  The grant is designed to provide critical seed money to new initiatives that promise to grow and bring significant benefit to animal protection.  APA!’s First Steps grant will fund much-needed basic training equipment for the Dog Behavior Program.  The Binky Foundation is dedicated to the protection of domestic and wild animals and of their habitats. 

The dogs pictured are some of the current faces of Louie’s Fresh Start Team and all are looking for their homes.  You can follow all of the LFS dogs on Facebook at Giving Dogs a Fresh Start!

Please click on the dog’s name for more information and to see where you can meet them in person!

Photo 1: Buddy by Carolyn Yaschur

Photo 2: Louie by Summer Huggins

Photo 3: Clyde by Carolyn Yaschur

Photo 4: Barry by Summer Huggins

Photo 5: Addison by Jessica L. Marsh

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