About Gisele

Gisele Veilleux, Founder/President


Born in Hull, Quebec in 1962, I was a product of an affair between a traveling musician and a separated mother of 2. The moment I entered this world, I was placed in an orphanage and adopted 4 months later.  I instantly became a U.S. Air Force brat and later became a naturalized U.S. Citizen at the age of 3. I traveled from Canada to the U.S. until the age of 5 where I lived in Metz France for a while. I didn’t learn to speak English until I started the First Grade.

Moving from state to state, but too young to understand, we always left our animals behind. The older I got, the more it angered me, the more I questioned why we couldn’t bring them with us.

Clearly, abandonment is an issue that I deal with on a very personal level.

I understand now that families do have to make tough choices sometimes. Back then there were no rescues or shelters, just the local pound.  But the memories of all of the animals that I never got a chance to say goodbye to still haunts me.

I noticed in the 1970s the dog over-population had just started.  Hollywood movies created a surge of Dalmatians. Cocker Spaniels were America’s #1 family pet, and they were everywhere.   Later the Dalmations became known for being increasingly deaf, and due to over-breeding, Cocker Spaniels became notoriously aggressive.

I rarely remembered seeing strays in the 60s and 70s, but starting in the early 80s, I noticed a lot of stray dogs, and worked hard at finding their owners. Somehow I always did!

 

My First Border Collie:
I graduated from Winter Park High School in 1980, and one year later I moved to Houston to find work. There, I found my first Border Collie, Troubles. I brought her with me when I moved back home to Florida. I was determined to never leave another animal behind.


After her death, I purchased from a hobby breeder, Lady Reckless, and later I purchased a blue named Tinsel Town.

The Border Collie breed was not well known at the time so I did my research.

By that time rescues were popping up all over the place. Clearly the animal over-population was out of control. I had gained an incredible of amount of sales, marketing, order processing, customer service experience, and was a successful technical writer.


Volunteering:

While working full-time, the act of rescue still fascinated me, so I volunteered by doing websites, photography, and youtube videos, and it was FUN! After years of volunteering, I was able to really look at the way rescues are run, their mission statements, their procedures, rules, and I was able to identify what I liked and what I didn’t. What worked, and what didn’t. Then, I began to question their methods, started to think outside of the box, and came up with solutions that would get real results for these dogs and their prospective families.

To be honest, I was tired of seeing the dogs stuck there for so long, with no way out, knowing darn well that hundreds more were waiting in kill shelters for that dog’s spot.  The saying, if you’re not prepared to walk in my shoes, came to mind.  I was judging the way rescues are run, but if I wasn’t prepared to do it myself… well…  I don’t think I was judging, I think I was developing! The more people I talked to, the more questions I had, and even though it took years, I had gained so much knowledge, and set out to share what I had learned, but how?

 

The Dog Liberator:

The name The Dog Liberator by the way, is really a joke. Talking with one of my clients over the phone one night, trying to come up with a name, it was his idea. We laughed, and I purchased the domain name, and just went for it! I continued to learn things that angered me, like for example, shabby run rescues, rescues that horde, rescues that breed, and do not fully vet. I think I spent two years complaining, trying to do more to help, feeling frustrated, because my ideas were falling on deaf ears. I also volunteered for incredibly successful rescues, rescues that depend on their volunteers and fosters. During this time of total frustration, I vowed to never ever start my own rescue. If there was one thing that I was sure of, it was how hard of a job it really is.

I Started to Write:
It didn’t take long before I set out to write a children’s book about Puppy Mills, Rescues, and Pounds, “The Story of Penelope, a Puppy Mill Dog” was self-published, and though it has not done well, it certainly has helped a few youngsters understand the plight of the American dog.

 

YouTube Explodes:

 

After designing and publishing tons of youtube videos for various rescues throughout the United States, I found myself taking on some tough issues. Folks just like me, frustrated, and demanding change would contact me for help. People like Carol Henderson, for example, asked me to help her stop the gassing of dogs and cats in Clovis, New Mexico. The video not only took YouTube by storm, but I uploaded it onto the Clovis News Journal. It created quite a sting.

Gisele with Chaos

Gisele with Chaos

One week shy of a year later, Governor Richardson banned gassing in all of New Mexico. Surely, a lot of hard-working and influential people made this happen, but in the very beginning, there was just one woman, Carol. Being asked to do videos against Breed-Specific Legislation, Black Dog Syndrome, Gassing in Texas, Euthanasia in Denver, Gassing in Canada… it just never stopped. The videos, along with the articles that I was writing on the website opened the door for what I did not realize was going to be the birth of my rescue.  Go to the History page for more information about these endeavors!

How Rescue Found Me:

I received a phone call from an owner who had called the pound. The pound recommended me, and Bonnie Belle was my first owner-surrendered dog. I really thought I was going to keep her, until a few days later, came Ozzie, and then Mel from Georgia. Woops! I asked Pet Rescue by Judy to help me re-home them, and she did graciously, even helping me vet the dogs. It didn’t take long before more and more dogs found their way to my door, but the great thing was, they were getting adopted quickly to awesome homes. Then, one day Judy strongly suggested that I start my own rescue; the paperwork alone was creating confusion.

Faced with what to name it, I certainly would not call it Pet Rescue by Gisele, because I didn’t want this rescue to be about me. I had a vision that it could be cloned, and it would spread. I decided to continue using The Dog Liberator, and created this blog.

2010 Update:  I have about 200 dogs under my belt, and have learned even more. I don’t think there’s anything that I do in this rescue that’s conventional.  I call it thinking outside of the box. Yes, we are different, but it’s time for rescues to look at their practices and change with the times, keep up with the needs, work harder, faster, smarter, stronger.  I’m proud to take in the risky fearful dogs, the Heartworm positive and emaciated dogs that have no chance in being adopted.  At the beginning the challenges were huge, but I have learned yet another important lesson, which is, it doesn’t matter how many degrees you have – If you don’t work hard, you will fail.  There are three basic rules in rescue;  Do not Lie, Do not Horde, and Always Fully Vet.

Working 17 hours a day, 7 days a week helps a lot too!



2011 Update:

I am currently a single-parent with two incredibly intelligent children. My kids are very involved with the rescue, they live it on a day-to-day basis.

The Family

They help me come up with names for the dogs, leash train them and take them on walks, and show the dogs off to the neighbors! Many times they will choose a dog to sleep with, and when it’s time to say goodbye, they’ve learned that the word “keep” is not used in our home! It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been rewarding.  One major hit I wasn’t prepared for was not having any grass whatsoever in my yard, oh well!

Not Just Rescue:

What does set me apart from other rescues is that I do continue to advocate for the well-being of animals, especially dogs.  So while my blog is saturated with success stories, every once and a while I release a new video that brings an issue to the forefront, like gassing, euthanasia rates, animal over-population, puppy mills, and irresponsible breeding.  What do you expect?  I can’t just sit here and turn a blind eye to the real issues.

Here’s a great example:

Volunteers:
Recently, individuals from across the state have volunteered to help me foster and transport. It is just amazing, and it’s something that I always wanted achieve. During my first 12 months in rescue, I was basically alone, but not anymore. Now everything that I dreamed about, is happening.  If you visit the TDL Peeps page, you’ll see all of our wonderful volunteers.

2012 and Our Future:

I created Canine Connect and Canine Reboot, in an effort to prevent dogs from being surrendered to a shelter in the first place, and to help others properly re-home their dogs.  This Shelter Prevention effort has been very successful, but there is so much more that I would like to achieve.  One day, I would like to provide consulting services to shelters and pounds and help show them how to increase adoptions, and lower euthanasia rates.  I not only want to start up new Dog Liberators, but I would also like to help failing rescues by training them, and sharing our methodology.  Why?  Because it’s all about the dogs.

2013 and Beyond:

I have since published two books, and working on several others.  All can be found on The Dog Liberator’s website.  Quite by accident, on January 23, 2013, I scouted for a unique dog for one of my volunteers, My Dream Dog was born!  It was that easy!

TDL's 2013 Great NonProfit Award

TDL’s 2013 Great NonProfit Award

In 2013 we were honored to be placed in 9th place out of 500 nonprofit companies by Great NonProfits!  We have also been accepted Great NonProfit for 2014!

~Gisele

Click here for my latest post  about The Dog Liberator and my Four Year anniversary in rescue.

email me

Email us for more information: TheDogLiberator@gmail.com







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