Future Liberators – Bright Futures Scholarships

Emily Kennedy, Future Liberator

I’ve been blessed to have met several young people who are really enthusiastic about rescue. Since this is my son’s first year at Deltona High School, it was also brought to my attention that high school students must provide a certain number of community service hours!  I have a plan!

Future Liberators was really a dream that Vicki and I discussed last year, and since then it’s been refined!

We are searching for high school students who need volunteer hours for the Bright Futures Scholarship program, and who are planning on entering into the field of Veterinary Medicine, Training, Behavior, Grooming and anything in between!

Working with the student’s parents, we would like to offer a hands-on foster training program. Students would be required to actually foster a dog (preferably a pup) and follow The Dog Liberator’s foster program, which includes:

  • Crate Training
  • Leash Training
  • Socialization
  • Identifying Behavioral issues
  • Reporting Health information
  • Grooming
  • Vetting

Students will actually take their dog to our vet, and care for the dog after spay/neuter surgery.   Once the dog is ready, students will participate in the actual adoption process.

All of the student’s time spent is documented, and will be reported as community service hours performed!

Don’t live in the Central Florida area?  Don’t get discouraged!  We still may be able to find a way for you to volunteer for The Dog Liberator as a Future Liberator!

If you are interested in joining our program, just send me an email at TheDogLiberator@gmail.com





Sophie’s Choice

Murphy in 2010

It has been the week of gift-giving for The Dog Liberator.  I want to thank all of you.  I sit here at my desk pounding away all day long, and many times I really do feel alone.  But the Fedex and UPS trucks have been rolling in with wonderful surprises, and the emails of donations have been received.  I’d like to thank all of you.

But today, I found something in the mail that caught me by surprise…. it left a lump in my throat, and I shed a tear or two, realizing how blessed all of us really are.  We rescue great dogs, we adopt out great dogs, and we have fantastic supporters.  One of which is Sophie Litzenberg.  Sophie adopted Murphy in May of 2010.  Back then, he was just a black dot!

I opened the pink envelope, adorned with pink carnations and a lady bug, and began to read:

Dear Dog Liberator,

We adopted Murphy in June, 2010 through your organization.  That was the best thing that has ever happened to me.  He’s the best puppy ever and we love him so much.  He is so friendly to people and other dogs.  He is so funny because he wants to be human.  He knows a ton of tricks and he is well behaved (when he has to be).

I raised $300 dollars for my birthday and I sold ice-cream and cookies at my local park, where everyone knows and loves Murphy.

I hope you are able to continue to save dogs because we need people like you in the world.  I will try to raise more money and give awareness to my friends, my school, and my  neighborhood so they can help your organization.


Sophie Litzenberg – 11 years old


Sophie and Murphy

Inside the envelope was a $300 check.  I called Sophie’s Mom, Anne right away, and she explained that Sophie has been saving since last October.

The Litzenberg’s had originally adopted a pup from a shelter, but shortly thereafter, the pup passed away from Parvo.  I’ve heard many stories from adopters who suffered the loss of pup from Parvo and the loss of a dog from Heartworm, after they had just adopted.  It’s devastating.

Sophie, I will accept your donation, but what I’d really like is in the future, you save your hard earned money and put it away for a day that might choose to be a Liberator.  Maybe you’ll be a vet, a groomer, a trainer, or maybe you’ll be just like your Mom, and have really smart and loving kids… and you’ll get them a great dog, and teach them how to love and take good care of animals.

Sophie, when I get old and can’t take care of the dogs anymore, I really hope that I can find smart and kind children like you who are all grown up, that want to help the dogs.

I’m really proud of you Sophie, and I know everyone at TDL is too!  I hope all of our supporters will read this and send you a comment!  Way to go Sophie!  You Rock!

I’m speechless, Thank you!


Spotlight on Emily Kennedy, the Multi-Tasker

Emily, a Future Dog Liberator

Emily is originally from Portsmouth Virginia, she moved to Florida at the age of 4.   She is currently a Junior in High School, and is dual enrollment, taking college classes (even during her summer break).

At the beginning of summer, I found myself slammed with work, and struggling to create a better system.  Emily’s skills were quickly appreciated!  She started updating our adoption calendar.

Once Emily got the hang of updating the calendar, she took on even more responsibility, by going back through two years worth of adoptions and adding the links to the dogs’ Facebook photo album and the dogs’ blog post.  What we thought would take months to do, took less than a week.  After realizing what a mess my filing system was in, she re-organized that too!

just a baby!

One morning, she called me in a panic and said there was a baby kitten outside of her English class.  “I can see it under the bushes, it’s crying,” she said.  I asked her if she can simply go scoop it up…. but what the heck am I going to do with a cat?  “It hisses at us when we get near, but it’s shivering,” she said.  This take-charge young lady asked her guidance counselor for a box, a towel, and some plastic gloves.  She got that kitten, and found a student who would drive the kitten to me… but what the heck am I going to do with a cat?  The kitten was so tiny, I took him straight to Val-U-Vet.  Dr. Oliver estimated the kitten to be only 3 weeks.  After buying a kitten hut, milk, and kitten food, I drove home thinking… but what the heck am I going to do with a cat?   I had him micro chipped and named him Tuff Nut!

Tut (Shown top) and his new pack!

After I picked up the kids from school, I had to listen to the dreaded words that make every rescuer cringe, “CAN WE KEEP IT?”  The answer was NO!  I called Cathy McIlroy, to foster the cat, and thank goodness she said yes.  My plan was not to call Cathy… don’t ask for updates… and hope that she would keep him.  Several weeks passed, and I knew that it was time to talk about vaccinations and neuter.  My phone rang, and Cathy asked me if she could keep him!  Hallelujah!

Emily’s dream dog

When the Poodle, Jean Luc came to me, Emily had a very hard time.  She brought him home to meet her family, and came to visit him every day.  That’s her dream dog, and even though the time isn’t right for her now, I know that when it is, I’ll help her find that perfect dog, just like Jean Luc!

But that’s not all.  There was that one day… the day that a friend called me in a panic, trying to get dogs out of a puppy mill.  The same place that Jordan’s Prize and Zeus came from, and six dogs were being confiscated, and I knew the dogs were going to be in very bad shape.

Emily & Strudel, a puppy mill dog

Emily asked me if I had work for her that morning… instead of doing office work, I asked her to come with me.  What better way for her to see for herself how important our work really is.  The Jail Breakwas a success and the dogs were on their way straight to the vet.  One by one, Emily helped carry the dogs into the clinic,   and and for the days and weeks to come, she has followed their progress.

It seemed that each week I kept adding more and more responsibility to Emily’s plate.  Her multi-tasking skills proved that nothing was truly a challenge!  She started entering microchip information onto our PetFinder site, registering micro chips with Petfinder, and today, she’s ordering the “Mastering Leadership” DVD for adopters.

Emily & Carlisle

Because Emily has been my friend and neighbor for many years, she not only knew my previous dogs, Reckless and Tinsel Town, but we were friends years before I ever even started this thing we call rescue.  She has had the opportunity to meet many of the rescued dogs, including Nutella, Pebbles, and of course Goldie Hawn.  So this is more than just internet or paperwork to her.  When she sees a photo of a dog that she recognizes, we spend time reminiscing!

Soon, we are going to implement new enhancements to our customer service, and Emily will be spearheading that as well!  Her help has made a huge impact on the rescue, and as we continue to improve our processes, she’s always ready to make it work!

Emily is the master of using her time wisely.  The new school year has just started, and she is determined to finish her High School courses through Florida Virtual School.  She will have her associates degree by the time she finishes high school, and she plans to attend UCF to get her bachelor’s degree.  She Emily hopes to major in psychology, and last we spoke she mentioned joining the Navy for medical school!



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