Countdown to the Lock-In!

by Hilary Bentley • Posted in: Behavior, Donations, Events, Fundraising, General, Volunteering

We are just days away from “A Night in the Doghouse,” the lock-in at the shelter slumber party to raise money for Louie’s Fund!

Donate just $10 (more is welcome), RSVP to our Facebook event, and come out and join us at APA! headquarters at 7pm on 10/22 for a PAJAMA PARTY to kick off our shelter sleepover in style!  The  pre lock-in Pajama Party will feature food, drinks, & fanfare including a guest appearance by Louie’s Fund namesake himself – Louie the dog!! And yes, you are totally encouraged to wear your pjs!

You may wonder why the seven of us would volunteer to spend the night sleeping in a kennel to raise money for this particular cause.  I’m spending “a night in the doghouse” because, simply put, these dogs and this program are the most important thing to me at APA!.

Louie’s Fund is the sole source of funding for APA!’s Dog Behavior Team. It pays for training, professional evaluations, scholarships, dog handling equipment, enrichment toys, and whatever our pooches happen to need. All of my favorite pups at APA! have passed through this program and, without it, they would likely not be around let alone living happily in adoptive homes.

These are dogs who deserve a second chance.  Those naughty habits they’ve picked up, their fear of humans or other dogs (or trash cans or tile floors or…)?  Those things are not their fault.  And they are almost always fixable.  When given the chance, when given the support they need, these dogs are almost always able to overcome their pasts and go on to thrive as loved companion animals.

But they need help to get there.

APA!’s Dog Behavior Team works to offer comprehensive support that meets the needs of the dogs in our care and puts them on the path to thriving in adoptive homes.  From  our multi-level trained handler programs (Love on a Leash, Behavior & Enrichment, & Louie’s Fresh Start Teams) to enrichment and socialization opportunities like TTouch, agility, basic training, canine massage, doga, and doggie playgroups, to ongoing training workshops for volunteers & staff, to more intensive support like Dog Mentors, behavioral foster homes, and professional trainer or behaviorist intervention, our goal is to give our dogs every opportunity to succeed.

We even have a special program called The Shark Tank for small breed dogs as well as a number of amazing (and very brave) Chihuahua whisperers.

These are dogs with incredible personalities who teach so much to those of us lucky enough to work with them. They make us laugh, think, improvise, adapt, and ultimately become better people for the time we spend with them. They are also dogs who, before entering our program, were on the kill list at local area shelters…usually due to behavioral issues.

No-Kill is defined as saving all “healthy, treatable, or rehabilitatable animals” and typically equates to a 90% or better save rate.  Programs like this are not only instrumental in sustaining that goal, they have the power to change what “rehabilitatable” looks like and get more dogs not just out of the shelter alive, but learning the skills they need to thrive as happy, healthy, and loved companion animals.

Since its inception less than one year ago, Louie’s Fund has helped 65 dogs with significant behavior challenges – dogs previously set to be euthanized due to behavior at local shelters – go on to find their happy endings.

Dogs like Paris, previously so shut down she cowered in the back of her kennel shaking and wouldn’t let you near her.   Paris is now living happily as part of a family with whom she gets to frolic at the park and even celebrate her birthday with her (much smaller) adoptive brother.

Or Brownie, a beautiful girl who came in as pregnant stray and spent months positive that every dog she met was there to hurt her.  She now lives happily with her doggie brother, APA! alum Ranger.

Homer, who’s confidence building classes and work with our behavior crew helped him overcome past abuse and move on to a life where his biggest challenge is how to adjust the pillow for his nap.

And, of course, the namesake of Louie’s Fund.  A dog who inspired the notion that, “If Louie can do it, any dog can!”  Louie’s wonderful adopter recently had this to say…

“He is so awesome, never a dull moment!! You guys are to thank for introducing us to him. And I hope this program/APA can get more dogs like him adopted to good homes also! Just hope we as a family can be a testament to everyone out there.”

That is our hope too!

To know dogs like the ones this program has saved and think about them not being given a chance is heartbreaking. Every single one of them deserves the opportunity to overcome their past and have a future filled with romping, cuddling, sloppy smooch giving, and a real home to call their own.

Please help make that happen!  We’ll spend the night “in the doghouse!”  All you’ve got to do is chip in a little and then kick back & watch the fun!   Join us for our lock- in kick off Pajama Party and watch our Giving Dogs a Fresh Start facebook page for live updates from the sleepover!


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