How to Adopt From Us

Logan the Puppy and the Twins

Logan the Puppy and the Twins

Much to the surprise of many people, we do not use an online adoption application.  Instead, we rely on getting to know you by asking you a few questions in an email, and telephone interview.

Because we are a small rescue and keep all of our dogs in foster homes, we shy away from forms that tend to emphasis why someone should not have a dog. The interview process allows us to learn more about our potential adopters and their individual situations, concerns, pros and cons.

By knowing more details, we are able to place dogs into homes that other rescues might turn down, because we already know our dogs. We’re small so we don’t need blanket policies that require fences or disallow families with small children or won’t allow senior citizens. We’re focused on bringing together caring people with the right dog.

Whether you are considering an adult dog or a puppy, the first thing you should do is read our article on Starting Your Dog Out Right. Here you will find not only some good tips but some thoughts to ponder before committing to the responsibilities of caring for a dog.

If you are interested in meeting one of our dogs or learning more about it, please e-mail us at and let’s get the process going! Share information including:

Your Name
Phone Number
Address including county and zip code
Whether this is a house, apartment, condo, etc
If you rent, do you have landlord approval?
Your household composition
Current and/or past pets
Your normal work schedule
How much time the dog will be alone?
What your yard is like, and do you have a fence and/or pool?
What are you looking for in a dog?
Do you have an exercise plan?
What is your contingency plan if you are no longer able to care for your dog?
Have you or anyone in your family ever been bitten/traumatized by a dog in the past?
Is there anyone in your family, circle of friends, or anyone who lives with you that can decide if you can have a dog in your home?
If you are approved to adopt during your meet, are you ready to bring your new dog home?

We will review your email and and then we’ll go from there! The more you share the better!

Also, for more information about adopting a rescued dog, Please visit Let It Go for details. See more of our available dogs on Petfinder and Nutella!Join us on Facebook to get the latest updates on our rescued dogs.

If you have any questions about our adoption fees, realize that our adoptions fees literally reimburse our Vet for their services, and the expenses were incur when we rescue these wonderful dogs!  For more details, visit our “Hate Mail” post written about comments we have received.

While You Wait
While we are getting to know more about you, take a moment and get to know more about us by reading our reviews by visiting our page on Great Nonprofits.  These reviews were written by our volunteers, supporters and adopters.

Where are you getting your next dog?
If you do not adopt from us, please note that regardless of whether you get your next dog from the side of the road, Craigslist, a breeder, shelter, pound or even another rescue, these are some of the expenses you should be prepared for:

First set of vaccines and basic deworming, including office visit fee   $125
Second set of vaccines and basic deworming,  including office visit fee $125
Third set of vaccines, rabies vaccine and microchip, including office visit fee $150
Spay (for 40 pound dog) including office visit fee Spay $250-$275
Neuter (for 40 pound dog) including office visit fee Neuter $200-$225

Lord NelsonNote:  This does not include any treatment of medications for Kennel Cough, Skin Infections, Parvo Treatment, Dentals or grooming.  This also does not cover any expenses regarding transportation, or boarding.

If you have any questions about our adoption fees, realize that our adoptions fees literally reimburse our Vet for their services, and the expenses were incur when we rescue these wonderful dogs!  For more details, visit our “Hate Mail” post written about comments we have received.

Here’s an email I received this morning about other rescues’ adoption applications:

Dear Gisele,

Thanks so much for the wonderful site and information you have. My wife and I have been looking for a dog for a few months now to join our family. To say the least it has been a discouraging process. The only places I have looked are and the local pound.

Well, at the local pound you just never know what kind of dog, temperament, and so on you will get. With the adoption groups on petfinder I’ve found that the process has been more of an interrogation than an application. I love what you wrote on your web site when you said: We’re focused on bringing together caring people with the right dog. Thanks for a breath of fresh air. You seem very reasonable and don’t have a laundry list of questions like, “who will brush the dog in the family and how ofter?” No kidding, that was one of the questions on an application I started to fill out as I shook my head in disbelief.  ~John


Our Adoption Process

Logan and the Twins

Logan and the Twins

Much to the surprise of many people, we do not use an adoption application but rely instead upon an interview process. Because we are a small rescue and keep all of our dogs in foster homes, we shy away from forms that tend to emphasis why someone should not have a dog.

The interview process allows us to learn more about our potential adopters and their individual situations, concerns, pros and cons. By knowing more details, we are able to place dogs into homes that other rescues might turn down, because we already know our dogs. We’re small so we don’t need blanket policies that require fences or disallow families with small children or won’t allow senior citizens. We’re focused on bringing together caring people with the right dog.

Whether you are considering an adult dog or a puppy, the first thing you should do is read our article on Starting Your Dog Out Right.  Here you will find not only some good tips but some thoughts to ponder before committing to the responsibilities of caring for a dog.

If you are interested in meeting one of our dogs or learning more about it, please e-mail us at and let’s get the process going! Share such information

  • as where you live,
  • your household composition,
  • your yard/fence/exercise plan,
  • pets you have and/or had,
  • your normal work schedule,
  • how much time the dog will be alone,
  • do you own a pool,
  • what you are looking for in a dog,
  • what contingency plans do you have in place should you no longer be able to care for your dog,
  • if you rent, do you have landlord approval,
  • are you prepared to bring your new dog home if you are approved after you meet one of our dogs?

Email your answers to, and then we’ll go from there!  The more you share the better!

Visit us on Great Nonprofits and read our reviews!

Here’s an email I just received explaining other rescues’ adoption applications:

Dear Gisele,

Thanks so much for the wonderful site and information you have. My wife and I have been looking for a dog for a few months now to join our family. To say the least it has been a discouraging process. The only places I have looked are and the local pound.

Well, at the local pound you just never know what kind of dog, temperament, and so on you will get. With the adoption groups on petfinder I’ve found that the process has been more of an interrogation than an application. I love what you wrote on your web site when you said: We’re focused on bringing together caring people with the right dog. Thanks for a breath of fresh air. You seem very reasonable and don’t have a laundry list of questions like, “who will brush the dog in the family and how ofter?” No kidding, that was one of the questions on an application I started to fill out as I shook my head in disbelief.  ~John
If you have any questions about our adoption fees, please read more about our adoption fees.

From Table to Tree: Toxic Tidbits to Avoid this Holiday Season


As you know, the seasons are changing and the holidays are approaching fast. During this time we clean and decorate the house, spend hours in the kitchen cooking special meals, and let’s not forget spending as much time with our loved ones including our pets!

But in a blink of an eye, accidents happen. Your pet can get a hold of food or plants that they shouldn’t and that can lead you down a road of a very pricey vet bill, or even worse, the loss of your best friend.

In order to avoid this from happening, you should take precautions this holiday season. Knowledge is power right?

Here is a list of poisonous household plants, yard plants, and common foods to avoid giving your pets and will help you have a safer and happier holiday! Remember this list contains many, but not all of the toxic plants/foods, so check the links at the bottom of the article for more information.


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Aloe Vera entire plant Shrub
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American Holly Whole plant Tree/shrub
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American Yew Whole plant Tree
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Apple Seeds cultivated tree
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Apricot pit Cultivated tree
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Avocado entire plant Fruit
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Azaleas entire plant cultivated & wild shrub
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Bird-of-Paradise Pods garden flower
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Buckeye sprouts, nuts, seeds Tree
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Buttercup entire plant esp. leaves wildflower, garden herb
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Castor bean entire plant esp. bean house plant
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Chocolate Whole plant (including the mulch derived from it) and chocolate food products Tree
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Coffee Beans, grounds and drinks made from them Garden Shrub
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Daffodil Bulbs garden flower
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Daphne bark, berries, leaves ornamental shrub
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Day lily entire plant is toxic to cats garden & wildflower
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Dough (raw/uncooked)
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Elderberry leaves, bark, roots, buds Tree
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Elephant’s ear entire plant house plant
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English Ivy entire plant esp. leaves, berries ornamental vine
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Foxglove Leaves wild & garden flower
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Garlic entire plant garden plant
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Hops Entire plant Garden plant
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Jimsonweed entire plant esp. seeds field plant
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Macadamia Nuts Nut Tree
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Manchineel Tree sap, fruit Tree
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Milk vetch entire plant Wildflower
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Mistletoe Berries house plant
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Mushroom entire plant Fungi
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Mustards Seeds Wildflower
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Nicotiana (tobacco) Leaves garden flower
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Oleander Leaves ornamental shrub
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Onion Entire plant Garden plant
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Peach Pit Tree
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Persimmon Seeds Tree
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Plum Pit Tree
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Poinsettia leaves, stem, flowers house plant
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Poison hemlock leaves, stem, fruit field plant
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Potato shoots, sprouts garden plant
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Raisins (grapes) Currants (whole fruit) Fruit
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Rhubarb Leaves garden plant
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Sago palm entire plant esp seeds ornamental plant
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Skunk cabbage entire plant esp roots, leaves marsh plant
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Tea Leaves (possibly plant as well) and anything made from it (tea drink) Even Decaf tea can cause problems. Garden plant
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Tomatoes Plant and fruit (less toxic as it ripens) Garden plant
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Xylitol (Gum)  A sweetener used in may candies, pastries, toothpastes and mouthwashes. Check ingredients to ensure there is no Xylitol!
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Wild black cherry leaves, pits Tree
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Wild radish Seeds Wildflower
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Wisteria pods, seeds ornamental plant
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Yellow oleander entire plant esp. leaves garden plant
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Yellow pine flax entire plant esp. seedpods Wildflower
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Walnuts The hull of the nut
(technically the mold that grows on it)
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pizap.com14151465492451Often people will say “My dog ate ______ lots of times and didn’t die, so ______ doesn’t kill dogs.” But that logic is no better than “My dog runs in the street all the time and has never been hit by a car, so dogs never get hit by cars.

Just because they survived the last time they ate something does not mean it will be the same every time, so the best plan is to avoid letting your pet have these things in any form.

Also beware that less reputable treat companies still use garlic and onion in treats. While it normally takes a significant amount to harm your pet, it is best to avoid such “treats” and instead go for a safer option.

We hope your holidays will be safe and full of love & memories!
Special thanks to Sally Jefferson for this amazing article and resource!


If you would like read more about poisonous foods and plants to your pets here are some links that will give you further information!

ASPCA: A Large list of toxic plants (longer than this one)

The Humane Society: Foods that can be poisonous to pets

ASPCA: Foods that are Hazardous to Dogs

Pet Education: Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Dog

SPCAFC: Poisonous Plants

Earth Clinic: Poisonous Plants

Pet Poison Hotline: List of Poisons

Cesar’s Way: Garden dangers for dogs: Common plants that can kill


Knee Dislocation & Hip Dysplasia

Leia Loves SticksWhen we brought Leia home from the shelter there were a few things we didn’t know. We didn’t know she loves chasing a stick, we didn’t know she would gain 20 lbs in the first 2 months home, and we didn’t know she had patellar luxation. In fact, we didn’t find out for a while, until one day Leia went to stand up from a nap and whined. Then we started noticing it more: limping after hard play, being slow to get up and down, not wanting to walk as far as she use to… it broke our hearts. So we went to the vet for a check and to see what could be done. Leia was diagnosed with patellar luxation (dislocating knees) and had had this for a while. Both patellar luxation and hip dysplasia are somewhat common in large breed dogs. Symptoms can include limping, a skip in their step, bunny hopping with their back legs, swaying gait, refusal to stand on one leg, decreased activity, reduced interest in walking, trouble or reluctance to go up or down stairs, pain and tenderness, and slow or painful transitions form laying or sitting to standing (and vice versa).

There are generally 4 things you can do about these issues to help treat/manage it.

Knee and Hip Surgery

scalpelOne option is surgery. We learned that patellar luxation surgery can cost $1,500 to $3,000 dollars per knee, and our vet stated we would probably need to do one at a time with recovery time between (not all vets recommend separate surgeries). There is more than one type of surgery for hip dysplasia depending on the cause and severity of the issue, but in general the various surgeries can range from $1,500 to $3,000 and if you are considering replacing both hips it is from $7,000 to $12,000. Ouch!

Another route (and the one we chose) was managed care though supplements, pain management, and therapy.

DasuquinSupplements for Joint Health

Supplements can make a huge difference in how your dog feels on a daily basis. We put Leia on Dasuquin with MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) soft chews.  She loves the flavor and eats them like they are treats! We noticed the change after just a week of use. She moved easier, she moved faster, less whining when she got up and down. Dasuquin does not fix the problem, but it does make it much easier to live with. She is comfortable, happy, and demands her chew with breakfast.

Dasuquin contains Glucosamin and chondroitin  which helps with inflammation and joint health and may help reduce your pets need for pain medication. Also consider supplements with Omega3s such as Fish Oil soft gels. Our vet allowed us to give them twice daily in addition to the Dasuquin and Leia enjoys having them.

Pain Management

Our vet prescribed Previcox which is for pain and inflammation, is fast acting, and has worked well when Leia has occasional bad days (I think we have taken 3 in the past year). You do have options though! Some vets recommend Metacam  for pain and inflammation. It has the additional benefit of a good flavor, but it is not cheap. If you need a more cost effective option, talk to your vet about Meloxicam, it is affordable and with the help of some peanut butter, hotdog, or a pill pocket it can be easy to give.

PrevicoxAnother option is to get cortisone injections which can provide some pain relief, reduce inflammation, and generally lasts between 8 and 12 weeks. Cortisone is an injectable steroid medication and can lead to increased thirst, appetite, and can have additional negative side effects. Your vet should always be consulted before giving a cortisone injection.

Remember, some of these medications are used in humans as well, which can mean big savings for you! If your veterinarian is going to prescribe some medications for your pet, you might want to read this! Most medications are made for human consumption, some are not – so ASK! Find out exactly how many milligrams you are being prescribed and how many pills you are getting. Then, ask them how much the medications are going to cost.

Pull out your cell phone and check out the GoodRX  website or the GoodRX Mobile app. GoodRX allows you to enter your medication and zip code and compare prices nearby. Also consider getting a prescription and seeing if you can get it filled at Target, Publix, Walmart, or Sam’s Club. Most carry some medications that are prescribed for pets (and if you ever need antibiotics, they are free at Publix).  If you have a Walgreens or CVS card, you might find that these medications are cheaper at your local pharmacy. If it is not a medication you can get at a local pharmacy, check the price online at sites like 1800PetMeds. Many medications can be purchased for less online with a prescription. Also, ask your vet if they price-match, some vets have started doing this and it could save you a bit of money!

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy This option is often overlooked, and  I am really not sure why. There are several options when it comes to physical therapy and my very first suggestion is to talk to your vet before you implement any sort of in-home physical therapy. Some exercises include sit-stands (where you have your dog sit for a period of time, then stand, then sit again), short walks (if your dog appears sore or is limping at the end of the walk it is too much), hydrotherapy (including swimming and walking on a submerged aquatic treadmill), walking in figure 8’s and other exercises. It is important to use muscles or they will not improve, but not over use them to the point of damage. Here is a brief video about exercising dogs with hip dysplasia. Some exercises suggested for patellar luxation are contraindicated for hip dysplasia and vice versa, so it is very important to consult your vet &/or an orthopedic specialist.

A gentle massage and a warm (not hot) heating pad can provide additional relief.  Here is a brief video about  massage to address pain and there is are several videos about massage in general, as well as acupressure which can help with mobility, comfort and even anxiety and stress!   It is also important for your dog to maintain a healthy weight, as additional weight puts additional stress on joints. Talk to your vet about what your dog’s target weight should be to best protect joints and maintain overall health.

In Closing

Whether you choose surgery, supplements, pain management,  physical therapy, or a combination of any of the above, we hope you and your dog will benefit from the information presented.  Always consult with your veterinarian before taking a new course of action in order to ensure it is best for your pup, and consider consulting a canine orthopedic specialist, canine physical therapist, or canine massage therapist.  You are your dog’s advocate, if your veterinarian does not bring up these options, feel free to ask them how your dog might be able to benefit from them. Hopefully with some of these options your pup will find more pain-free days and reasons to keep that tail wagging!



Friendly Dog Collars

A great idea!

A great idea!

“FRIENDLY” Color Coded Green Semi-Choke Dog Collar & 4 Foot Leash Set (Known As Friendly) PREVENTS Dog Accidents By Warning Others of Your Dog in Advance!

Here’s a great idea, just in time for the summer.  Whether you order one from the company, or shop around for collars like these, it’s a great idea to label your dog when you’re out in public, especially when those tiny humans want to pet your dog! Personally, I was  happy to see one that says “Deaf” or “Blind”. The company is called Friendly Dog Collars, and they are based out of the U.K. Friendly Dog Collars

Free PetFirst Pet Insurance for Adopters

Effective immediately, your pet is insured!  Just call this number, and sign up!

Your recent adoption includes 30-days of pet insurance from PetFirst. You must call 855-710-7387 in order to activate the insurance, so don’t wait.   Your 30-day pet insurance covers your pets for accidents and illnesses, and reimburses 100% of vet bills incurred during this time up to $500 per incident after a $50 deductible. It is effective at midnight EST following activation and is not retroactive to the date of your adoption, so call as soon as possible to ensure your pet is protected.

PetFirst allows you to extend or upgrade your pet’s coverage with affordable monthly payments.  Call 855-710-7387 to activate your coverage or discuss plan options.

But don’t stop there, if you’ve adopted from us recently, visit our Welcome Home page for tips on starting your dog out right!

Also, before your purchase any pet insurance, you might want to visit to review what’s covered and what isn’t.  You can also review deductible and coverage amounts!


The Dog Liberator, Inc.

Help for Digestive Disorders in Dogs

Digestive Disorders in Dogs (or Cats) Become a Thing of the Past!

Dogs with IBS (and Cats With Furballs) is Easy to Correct!

–          By Andi Brown, author of The Whole Pet Diet

Andi Brown The Whole Pet DietSo many people contact me; concerned that their dogs have trouble relieving themselves, experience bouts with IBS and constipation or diarrhea.  Cat owners often find themselves picking up messy fur-balls from around the house and notice their cats vomiting after they eat.  While all these symptoms may have become typical, they are by no means natural!  These pets all have one thing in common.  They’re experiencing chronic digestive disorders and are missing out on one fundamental thing. The good news is that these symptoms are really easy to correct, the solution is inexpensive – and will leave your pets feeling and looking better than ever before! 

The Dry Food Factor 

Dry food is dry; it’s not a misnomer. Dry food has less than 10% moisture, and is generally coarsely ground grain or starch in the form of pellets. It may start with decent enough ingredients, but it’s cooked at very high temperatures and then dried into a hard nugget. Even natural brands bake at such high temperatures; the beneficial fats and oils (critical to the coat, skin, digestive system and overall health) break down during the process and are rendered mostly useless. Think about it: dry food in, dry skin and hair out. If it’s hard, dry and crunchy, how is it going to provide beneficial oils to the body? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand dry foods cause many hair, and coat issues, but have you ever thought of what it’s actually doing to the digestive tract? Fortunately the Holistic Veterinary community has been vigilant about recommending that people supplement their dog or cat’s diet with high quality Essential Fatty Acid Oils (EFA’s) to help them enhance not only the coat and skin, but to also remedy digestive disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrom (IBS) chronic diarrhea, constipation and vomiting.

Here’s what happens.  Every time your pets eat highly processed commercial foods –  it literally dries out the digestive tract.  Every day your pet eats “dry, dry, dry”… it dries out the skin, the coat and causes a kind of plaque that quite literally blocks up the intestinal tract and inhibits the course of healthy assimilation and elimination.  By adding high quality, wholesome and fresh human-grade oils to the diet – you can help your pet to process the food properly through the system and have healthier elimination activity.  They’ll be more comfortable and you’ll notice improvement in a very short time!


Hairballs don’t have to be the norm, and cats that are fed a healthy natural diet, complete with a daily dose of essential oils, will rarely have this problem. Long-haired cats that groom themselves may experience an occasional fur ball during the shedding season, but remember the shedding season should be only twice a year. Nature intended a summer coat and a winter coat to accommodate the temperature changes. If your kitty is vomiting hair balls all year round, she’s most likely exhibiting dry skin, and excessive shedding too. You should be able to run your hand over your cat’s back and come away with little to no hair either on your hand or floating in the air. If you’re coming away with a handful of hair, your cat is an ideal candidate for our essential fatty acid program.

Andi with Rascal and HolidayLet’s look at the problem from the cause. Hairballs are clumps of fur that may be stuck in the digestive system.  They can clog up the body and could cause blockages. Hairballs are created when kitty cleans herself and ingests loose hair. Addressing the cause is the surest way to eliminate the problem. When you add the important fats and oils back into the food, you’ll eliminate the excessive shedding and loose hair that your cat is accidentally ingesting. Don’t be tempted to just treat the symptom with petroleum based hair ball remedies or hairball formula food. Get to the cause of the problem, understand the tremendous role that dry food plays in creating this problem and make the necessary dietary changes to support the body to function more efficiently. (Everyone who knows me understands that I only recommend a homemade diet).

Stay on a healthy grooming schedule. Brush regularly during season changes and give your long haired cats daily attention. Stay on the side of prevention and you will never go wrong. Diet and grooming should do the trick.

Added Benefits for Senior Pets 

Like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, senior pets need a good oiling to help with joint and heart health. So many health problems associated with EFA deficiencies are exacerbated as our pets age: susceptibility to infections, kidney degeneration, behavioral disturbances, liver diseases, arthritic conditions, heart and circulatory problems, and overall weakness. In short, it may not be the age of your pet but the lack of high quality essential oils that’s contributing to the problem.

Andi and Holiday, a former TDL dog!

Andi and Holiday, a former TDL dog!

You’re welcome to make your own Essential Fatty Acid Supplement, using a recipe from my book, The Whole Pet Diet. (click here).  This formula was designed to not only eliminate digestive disorders in a very short time, but also give your dogs and cats the healthy coat and skin you’ve always wanted.  Give your pets a brand new coat for the Holidays!  You’re going to see the great results and your pets will love it too!

Make Every Day a Holiday With Healthier Pets


Andi Brown & “Doc” Holiday

–          Author of The Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks To Great Health For Dogs & Cats





The Mixed Breed

Tiny Tim the Corgi-lier (Corgi Cavalier)

Tiny Tim the Corgi-lier
(Corgi Cavalier)

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time, but just couldn’t figure out how to explain what it is I want to share.  This post is written specifically for shelters and pounds, and I hope those of you who work hard to save dogs, make sure that my message is delivered to the top of your organization.

It’s all in the label.

A few months ago, we helped a purebred Boxer find a new home. We posted Wrangler through our Canine Connect program, and he was adopted right off of our Facebook post. The problem was after he was adopted, we received about ten requests from qualified adopters wanting to adopt a purebred boxer.  I found that strange since there is a Boxer rescue not far away.

Over the past few months, we received notifications from shelters and pounds throughout the southeast who had advertised a homeless boxer in their care that needs a home.  The problem was every listing showed “mix”. So while I was looking at a photo of a purebred Boxer in their shelter, on Petfinder and other rescue sites, the dog was labeled a mix.

KiKi, the Shorgie (Sheltie/Corgi)

KiKi, the Shorgie (Sheltie/Corgi)

I have spoken to several shelter volunteers and employees about this. Why do you do that? Their answer is very disturbing. If they can’t prove that the dog is a purebred, they can’t mark it down as such.

petfinder CaptureLet me explain something about posting on Petfinder. You have a drop down menu where you insert the dog’s breed. Border Collie!

Then there’s another drop down menu where you can insert a second breed.

Then, there’s a box you can check, mixed breed where the options given are Yes or No!  What shelters and pounds do is automatically check the mixed breed box with the Yes option. Why? Do you know, proof-positive, that this dog is a mixed breed? Their answer is no, but we don’t know proof-positive that it’s a purebred either.

The Borgi Puppies (Border Collie/Corgi)

The Borgi Puppies (Border Collie/Corgi)

My question is, what would it take for you to know proof-positive that it IS a purebreed? Their answer? Papers!

This is not only insane, but it’s hurting the dogs that are truly purebreds.

Katy Perry was adopted yesterday. I am very confident that Katy is purebred. Do I know that for a fact? No. So why would I profess that she is? Because I don’t see anything else. She does not present any other breed.

When I looked at Boo Boo, I saw Aussie, but I knew she was not a purebred, yet I couldn’t put my finger oni t.  After a few days, and hearing Brittney’s opinion, I saw Aussie and I saw Red Heeler, so I labeled her as such.

White Fluffy Puppies (Aussie/Catahoula)

White Fluffy Puppies (Aussie/Catahoula)

I’m not saying that purebreds are more attractive, and I’m not saying that mixed breeds are less desirable, all I’m saying is I am not going to check the mixed breed box with a Yes unless I know it is, think it is, or suspect it is.

Shelters and pounds claim that their hands are tied, and that they are forced to label every dog that comes into their shelter a mixed breed.

So if you’re cruising Petfinder or other rescue sites, and see that nasty little box checked, ignore it. They don’t know, the dogs are strays!

In cases where a shelter receives an owner-surrender. The owner brings in a puppy, and the owner claims it’s let’s say Border Collie. The owner claims it has a male and female Border Collie on the property, the two dogs were breed, and the pup must be a Border Collie. In this case I would agree, if those were the only two dogs the breeder had, and those were the only two dogs on his property the entire time his female was in heat.

Lady Victoria Collie Mix?

Lady Victoria Collie Mix?

In many cases, Hobby Breeders own several different breeds of dogs. If there is a Sheltie or Great Pyrenees on the property, you can’t guarantee that the puppy is a purebred Border Collie. In many cases, what really happened is the breeder whelpt five wonderful Border Collie puppies, and three that were not. One may have looked more like a Sheltie, and two may present Great Pyrenees. Now, the breeder is stuck. The breeder has three pups that he/she can’t pass off as a Border Collie, i.e., the pups have no value, hence they go to the pound.

I personally could case less if it’s a mixed breed, the purpose of sharing this with you is so that you do not look at that box that is checked.  If you are determined to adopt a purebred, use your own judgement, do not rely on the shelter’s assessment, after all their hands are tied.

One of the reason some people love TDL so much is because we do take in the mixed breeds.  Dogs like Kudos just melted my heart.  There’s no doubt when we rescued dogs like Tim TebowTrixie BelleJakeLady TrueloveZiggy, and even Bart, they were all probably labeled as mixed breeds.  Hogwash, and  I will not drink the Kool-Aid!

Tim Tebow and Lady Truelove (Ignore the Box!)

Tim Tebow and Lady Truelove (Ignore the Box!)

Back in the late 90s I was contacted by a lady who had purchased a Border Collie pup, and she could no longer take care of it.  She described the pup to me over the phone, and I wasn’t interested.  She called me day and night, begging me to take the dog.  We went to see her, and as she came out of her house, one look at the pup and I knew it was a Sheltie mix.  Even though I was looking for a Border Collie, my then husband convinced me to take her.  The woman swore that she bought it from a Border Collie Breeder, and met the parents of the pup.  I asked her if there was a Sheltie on the property.  She said yes.  I rest my case.  Did it matter?  Not really, I loved the Sheltie, we named her Mischief and later I found an awesome Border Collie.  It was meant to be.

While we listen carefully to what a shelter or pound shares with us, and we do share that information with you, we also share our opinion with you! We won’t drink the Kool-aid!

Denise Novros sent me this video on Facebook this morning, and it blew my mind! If you volunteer or work for a shelter or pound, you have to watch this brilliant video!

Protective or Scared

Lady Di

Lady Di

When people describe their dogs to me, even people I have never met, for example, while I’m waiting at the vet, they will explain that their dog is “protective”.   So while their dog is growling and showing its teeth at me, and trying to lunge at me, the owner writes it off and gives the dog not only an excuse for its behavior, they give the dog permission to act inappropriately by label the behavior as “protective”.

People humanize their dog’s behavior.  Your Dog is NOT Protective!

What is Protective?  Should someone enter into my home with a knife, or a gun, or an aggressive look on their face, my reaction would be to cover my children, and get them out of harms way.  I would use my body to block my children from this intruder.  I would try to protect them.

A dog that is standing between it’s owner and a dangerous snake, dodging back and forth to block the snake from attacking its people, is protecting.  A dog that lunges at a person who is harming its human, is protecting.

Scared:  Dogs that growl, charge or bite strangers are not necessarily protecting you, they are more than likely scared and because you are not showing your dog that you are in charge – the dog is in charge, and tries to correct the situation the only way he knows how.

Ziggy at the shelter

Ziggy at the shelter

Dogs that do not want strangers in their yard, home, or near their owner are dominating their property.  They think they own the house, they think they own you.  A well-balanced dog knows that you own him.

While my bark at strangers, warning me someone is at the door, when I open the door, they immediately back off.  They know that I am in charge, and I do not need them to make decisions.

Barrier aggression:  Ziggy would act vicious when anyone came toward his crate.  Vicki explained he had barrier aggression.  Ziggy created an imaginary line, and was afraid.  His show of force was designed to keep you at a distance.  Ziggy did not do well with strangers, however, once you met him and made friends he was fine.  Put him back in his crate, and he would repeat the show!

Ziggy with me

Ziggy with me

We believe that Ziggy was owner by an older gentleman.  It was just the two of them.  The owner had become ill, and could no longer care for Ziggy.  I’m confident that Ziggy was the man of the house.  His owner properly never corrected him for being rude to strangers, his owner probably enjoyed his alleged “protectiveness”.  Ziggy was not protective, he was not socialized and was afraid.  All Ziggy knew was that house, and nothing else.

After Ziggy was adopted, I suggested that his owner keep him in his crate when company came over.  Wait until the visitors were seated and relaxed.  Wait until Ziggy was relaxed in his crate, and ignore him!  Once he is relaxed, you can release him, and present him with a treat for good behavior!  It made a huge difference, but more importantly, it showed Ziggy who is the boss.  While he is in his crate, his owner is showing him that she does not need his help.  She is showing Ziggy that this is her visitor, a visitor that is allowed to be in the house, and it’s not his decision to make.

Today, Ziggy greets visitors nicely.  Sure, he barks at the door acting like he’s going to bite your leg off, but once the door is opened, he stops.  Perfect!

Dogs that have barrier aggression are never adopted.  Who would adopt a dog that’s lunging at them from a kennel?  The dog is simply insecure, unsure, and nervous – not aggressive and not protective.

Fearful dogs:  China was the only dog of mine that gave me the impression that she might nip at a stranger.  I am constantly watching and correcting her.  Why China?  She is incredibly fearful, because she is deaf and visually impaired, but more importantly, my daughter Sarah, babies her.  China is the only dog allowed to sleep with her human.  Every once and a while, China thinks it’s her job to protect Sarah, and she is corrected with a simple finger point!

Co-sleeping:  Co-sleeping sends the wrong message to an unbalanced dog.  Co-sleeping tells the dog you are equals.  It keeps an insecure dog insecure.    Co-sleeping does not increase a dog’s self-esteem.  The only dogs I have slept with were dogs that were borderline feral.  Sleeping with them, while holding on to their leash, forced them to experience human contact, showed them they would not be harmed, and it fast tracked their rehabilitation.  But once the dog was no longer afraid of human contact, it did not continue to sleep with any of us.  Can you imagine how many times we get a new dog and my daughter immediately asks, “Can I sleep with it?”


Sarah and Marbles "Can I sleep with her?"

Sarah and Marbles
“Can I sleep with her?”

If there is no harm being done to you, and you are not in fear of anything, your dog is not protecting you!  Your dog is scared.

So if it doesn’t happen in my house, it doesn’t have to happen in yours.  My dogs aren’t special, and I am not a trainer or a behaviorist.  Most of the dogs I foster are broken… they have been abused, neglected, yelled at, and handled improperly – yet they don’t charge strangers in my house or my yard!

When dogs come here, after a very short period of time, they learn that I am in charge.  If I’m not around, my kids are in charge.  All of my fostered dogs do not lunge at potential adopters who come to meet them, for if they did, they would never get adopted!  So why is it that the dogs that I foster, and the dogs that I own do not show this behavior?  Because they don’t need to.  They know I’m going to take care of them, and they don’t need to correct the situation for me.  I won’t allow it.  I don’t need to be protected!

A Protective Dog:  In my 51 years of being a dog owner, there is only one time I witnessed a dog protecting.  I had interviewed an at-home daycare when my son was only 3 years old.  In the backyard were swing sets, and a lot of wonderful toys.  The woman baby sat about 8 children every day.  In the backyard was a huge yellow lab.  The moment I went out the door to the yard, the lab tried to dominate me.  She jumped up on me, and wouldn’t get down.  She wasn’t excited to see me, or didn’t want to play, she just wanted to own me.  I refused her repeatedly and pushed her off of me.

Ozzie, not a protective dog!

Ozzie, not a protective dog!

As we went into the yard, at one point, my son tripped, fell onto the ground and started to cry.  I ran to pick him up, and the dog ran in circles and knocked me down from behind.  The dog continued to run circles around the yard, each time running a wider and wider circle to gain speed, and must have knocked me off my feet at least four times.  At one point, the dog actually trampled over my sons head, which made him cry even more.

The owner stood in the middle of the yard yelling at her dog, and trying to get her to stop but she had no control over the dog.

What I had witnessed was a very noble and loving dog, protecting it’s lamb – my son.  Protecting my son from me, and a dog owner who was clueless.  No matter how noble the dog’s intentions were, you can’t allow a dog to be in charge.  A dog can’t understand that I’m the mother of the child.  The dog doesn’t understand that I mean no harm, the dog doesn’t understand that stepping all over the child is wrong.

My son Ryan was fine, just very dirty!  Needless to say, I kept looking for other daycare alternatives!

Click here to read all of the articles we have written about Shy/Fearful Dogs, Feral Dogs and Fear Biters.


Let it Go – Stop Feeling Sorry For Your Dog

This article explains why it is unhealthy to pity or feel sorry for your dog. No matter what your dog has been through, pity will create behavioral issues. This article explains that most dog-owners, especially those who have adopted a rescued dog, don’t realize that feeling sorry for your dog does emotional harm.

All Dogs Should Be Expected to Behave


I was listening to Cesar Milan on a radio station a few weeks ago trying to answer the question, “why do you think so many dogs get returned from shelters and pounds?”  What Cesar tried to explain was that people feel sorry for the shelter dog, and when they bring the dog home, they treat it with a tremendous amount of pity, they treat it like an orphan, and let it get away with very bad behavior.   They won’t correct the dog, because it has been through so much. As I was listening, I realized that he really wasn’t explaining it well enough for the average person to identify with.  I felt that people listening would say, “oh, I would never do that,” when in fact they do!  I don’t think people truly realize what they should and should not do when they bring a dog home.


Be Proud of Your Dog

If you think about it, and you purchased a pup from a phenomenal breeder, you would be proud of your new pup, showing it off to everyone and bragging about its bloodline, the titles its parents have won, and your dreams for your new pup.  But that’s not how people act or feel when they bring home a pup from the pound; a pup that is emaciated, maybe is full of worms, has runny poop, cries all night long, and is confused.

Do Not Reward Fear

People who see a dog cower at the sight of as human hand for some reason want to embrace it, pet it, tell it it’s okay, and that just makes the dog even worse.  The dog has actually been rewarded for being afraid of the hand. I have had many people come to my home with their adopted dog, asking to adopt a second dog from me to keep their dog company.  Many times the potential adopters discuss in detail the horrible conditions that their dog originally came from.  They treat their dog like it’s still being abused, in other words, carrying the pity that they have for their dog in their heart and on their sleeve.  It doesn’t take me very long to realize that their dog is neurotic, and stuck.

Don’t Make Excuses For Your Dog’s Behavior

What I witness is a very nervous and unsure dog.  The owners make up excuses for their dog.  Their dog may growl at another dog, or show it’s teeth at me, and they make excuses for their dog.  Their dog may be food-aggressive, and they make excuses for their dog.

Is Your Dog Stuck, Living in the Past?

A few times, I’ve literally asked the couple to leave their dog with me, “go have lunch and leave me alone with your dog for an hour so I can properly introduce the two dogs to each other,” I beg, because I know that it’s their energy that’s preventing the dog’s joy.  They refuse to leave, they refuse to give me a chance, they refuse to give their dog a chance, because they enjoy seeing their dog needy, confused and unsure so they can be their dog’s savior. Their dog is stuck living in its past.  To the dog’s owners, he’s always seen as the pathetic, needy, starving dog they brought home from the filthy pound, and that’s NOT what your dog wants – and that’s not what your dog is today.


Make Your Dog’s Pity Party Brief

Since I recently worked with Winter, Shep and even before then Shy Sharon, I go overboard with potential adopters explaining to them that under no circumstances are they to feel sorry for their dog.  Even in the worse cases, like Bart and China, for example, I too feel a lot of empathy for the abused and neglected dogs that I rescue… but only for 24 hours.  After that dog is with me for a day, I brush it off and the dog and I begin a new day, begin a new journey, and the dog knows that there is not one ounce of pity in my heart for him any longer.  Those days are gone, it’s time to move on and be proud.

They call it tough love

Only on a few occasions I’ve allowed someone to adopt from me not knowing that they want the dog because they felt sorry it-it always ends in disaster.  Yet people are more attracted to the damaged dogs than the perfectly fine dogs.  Dogs like Chaz, for example, has never been in a pound, he was never abused or neglected, he’s just a great dog.  Yet 99% of potential adopters want to adopt the sad abused and neglected dogs, like Shep. While I was trying to explain this to a friend last week, I used an analogy that just came out before I realized I had just had a major Ah Ha moment.

Tiny Dancer

Your Dog Is Not an Orphan Anymore

As a young teenager, I was quite a handful.  I was disrespectful and rude to my parents; I thought I knew everything.  I didn’t appreciate how hard they worked for the family, and how lucky I was.  Every heated argument ended with my Mom or Dad saying, “if it wasn’t for us, you would have died; we saved your life.” Those words always ran through my veins like ice.  Instead of being grateful that they adopted me (a sickly three month-old baby abandoned by her mother and given to a catholic orphanage) it did the opposite-I resented it.  I did not ask to be there, I did not ask to be adopted, and at three months of age, I certainly had no say in selecting my family.

My Collie, when I was just a kid

My Collie, when I was just a kid

The statement itself infuriated me.  Why?  Because I did not want to be seen or treated like that pathetic and unwanted orphan.  I wanted to be appreciated for who I had become.  I did not want to be a sickly orphan, I wanted to be their healthy yet combative teenager daughter! I remember thinking to myself, if they were so unhappy with me, why did they adopt? Today, of course I realize that this was normal teenage rebellion and if we wouldn’t have fought about that, we would’ve fought about something else!

But I do understand that when a dog is adopted, he should be adopted because he is wanted.  He should be adopted because he will add to the family, not give the family a sad story to hang onto.  Stop the Drama!


If you have ever met me, and met China, you’d understand my energy.  China is probably one of the most abused dogs I’ve ever rescued, yet when I introduce her and show her off to people, I do it with great pride.  I don’t dwell on her past, I don’t want people to feel sorry for her, I want people to see her beauty, recognize her intelligence, and more importantly witness her incredible loyalty and joy. Yes she was unwanted, abandoned, surrendered to a kill shelter, scheduled to be put down and deemed un-adoptable.  Yes, she was beaten and took months to rehabilitate, but that shroud does not follow her because we will not pity her.

I work very hard when I rescue and foster a dog with a horrible past to close that door and lock it permanently.  If you are thinking of adopting a dog from a shelter, rescue or pound, or if you are getting a dog off of Craig’s list, or a parking lot, realize that if you’re stuck in the dog’s past, your dog will never grow emotionally, because of you.

It matters not where your dog came from, it’s up to you to undo the past, and help your dog find joy.

There is no joy in pity.

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The Chosen Ones, Owning a Deaf Dog

Skate as a puppy, now Ludwig

Regardless of the dog you have today, the dog your friend or neighbor has, or the dog you may adopt tomorrow, one day you will encounter a deaf and/or blind dog.  The information in this article will help you and your dog tremendously!

Written by Christopher Chosy

My wife and I have a beautiful 2 1/2 year-old Aussie named Ludwig (though we call him Luddy) that we adopted from The Dog Liberator Rescue (Skate) when he was just a pup. Almost every time we take him out someone will stop us the conversation usually goes like this:

Person: “Your dog is beautiful what kind is she?” (they always think HE is a SHE)
Me: “HE is an Australian Shepherd”
Person: “But he is all white”
Me: “Yes he is Deaf”
Person: (Usually raising their voice or switching to a pity voice) “OH POOR THING well he is very cute”
Me: “We adopted him from a rescue The Dog Liberator they do great work.”
Person: “So you knew he was Deaf beforehand how sweet of you!”
Me: “Trust me, he chose me and I wouldn’t trade him for anything!”

This humorous conversation is played out over and over again. I don’t get upset or frustrated because I understand preconceived notions about Deaf dogs; they are similar to those about Deaf people.

My wife and I became involved through our church to work with the Deaf and hard of hearing community. At first we were apprehensive; especially me.  I had conjured what Deaf people must be like in my head before even meeting one Deaf person.

When we decided to move forward one of our instructors for ASL (American Sign Language) ended the first day with an illustration I have never forgotten. He said:

“the Deaf live their life in a box especially when they interact with the hearing world.
When they are around other Deaf persons or those in the hearing community that learn their language,
they are able to get out of the box, always let them out of the box.”


When we put our new ASL skills to practice I learned not only that my preconceived notions were off base, but they were completely wrong. Now I cherish all of my close friends who just happen to be Deaf!

Ludwig and Meja

Perhaps you feel this way about Deaf dogs.  Maybe you have preconceived notions in your head about what they must be like. Could be that you did research on the Internet or spoke to someone who told you negative things. Naturally such things would leave you feeling apprehensive and it’s okay to feel that way.  I have to tell you from experience, you are missing out on some great dogs that will give more love than you could give them, for their entire life!

What are the basic differences between a hearing dog and a Deaf dog?

Deaf dogs are not distracted by sounds.
Deaf dogs are constantly focused on your every move, thus easy to train.
Deaf dogs are not thunder-phobic!

So what is it like to have a Deaf dog?

Deaf dogs are constantly focused on you; not being able to hear, they are always  looking at you for direction; this makes them a delight to train. Our dog Luddy knows as much ASL as I do! I have lost count on how many signs he has learned. What was amazing is the number of things he does all by himself. If we open the door he will stay no matter what, he will not go through the doorway unless signed to come.  The same goes when we travel to the park; I open the car door and he will wait until he is told to come out. These aren’t things we taught him, these are things he learned on his own.

Chris and Ludwig

Luddy loves kids!  If he could be surrounded by kids at all times he would be in heaven. We have some friends with younger kids and he is very gentle; even when they pull on his tail and ears.

If we take him to the dog park, he will play, but he always keeps one eye on us. A simple wave to come and he will come running. If we play in the backyard and we walk inside he will be right next to us. They are definitely companions for life; true Velcro dogs.

Fireworks, thunder, loud noises etc. Luddy could care less; doesn’t spook him at all.

Velveteen, Adopted in 2010

He is a great guard dog, I am not a scientist, but my Deaf friends swear their sense of smell is very sensitive and heightened.  Also, they pick up on vibrations quite easily. This must be the same for Deaf dogs having a heightened sense of smell compared to other dogs. Luddy can smell someone as they walk through the doorway. The most incredible thing is when my wife or I are coming home from work.

One time he and I were in the backyard playing when he pause and bolted inside the house and stood at the side door. I looked out and didn’t see anything but about 30 seconds later my wife, driving home, was pulling onto our street.  I thought this was a coincidence until two days later the same thing happened again. How he knows is a mystery to me, but he does.

We also give him a “sign” for when someone comes to our door; that’s when he lets out his “scary bark” and runs toward the door!

Yes, Deaf dogs do bark, his normal bark is quite and high-pitched, and as I mentioned his scary bark sounds like a normal dog. Luddy can’t hear it but he knows we can.  No need to worry that Deaf dogs will leave your house unprotected; quite the opposite.

Knish, Adopted 2012

Some people will tell you not to get a Deaf dog because they will snap, there isn’t anything behaviorally or mentally wrong with them they just can’t hear. With that being said, it is cruel to sneak up behind a Deaf dog and scare them or jolt them out of their sleep. If you choose to do that to any dog you may get bit; can’t say that you don’t deserve it though.

There is so much more that I want to share with you about owning a Deaf dog.  What’s amazing is that once you own one, you will never own a hearing dog.  It’s true.  People who have owned a Deaf dog will adopt another Deaf dog!  So what are you waiting for?

Note:  The Wilson family have adopted and fostered many deaf/blind dogs, and their extended family and friends have personally adopted several.  Their first was Fiona.  After adopting Fiona, everybody wanted one!

Because of greedy and irresponsible breeders, deaf dogs are on the rise.  Breeders lie about the dog, in an effort to get rid of them, and sell them to unsuspecting dog-lovers, or they abandon them.  It is doubtful that we will ever be able to put them out of business, but with great rescues like The Dog Liberator, some of these dogs have a chance.

China and Baby Ga Ga

Deaf Dogs Hear with their Heart

So if you took the time to read this article, or if your on this website looking to adopt a dog, I ask if you see a dog that may be Deaf or vision impaired don’t look and say “oh they are cute” and pass them over. Imagine them living in a box, and your the only one who can let them out, for that I can promise, unconditional love will be yours for their entire lifetime.

Please let them out of the box.  ~ Christopher Chosy

Click Here for our Latest Book, about rescuing Deaf Dogs.


Everybody Lies

Several months ago, I went to a dog show in DeLand.  All of the dogs there were AKC registered purebreds.  A woman had two collies, and was ready to “show” one.  Asking a friend if she could hold the leash of her female, I volunteered.  Before she went into the ring with her male Collie, she warned me that her female was “in season” and to watch her carefully.  I just smiled.  My girls, Sarah and Danielle joined me (only 9 years old) and they bent down to pet this little Collie girl I was holding.  Sarah looked up at me and said, “Mom, she has China eyes.”  I smiled at her, because I knew that dog was blind.  I could also tell the dog was deaf.  When the owner returned, she thanked me for my help, and you know I had to be me!

“You have had her eyes looked at right, and her hearing checked, right?”  I asked her.  I kid you not, the woman backed away from me in total terror.  It was as if I had sprayed her with mace.  She knew, that I knew.  And I knew, that she knew.  She scrambled for words, looked down at the ground for a moment and said, “Oh, my vet has checked her out, there’s nothing wrong with her,” then she vanished.

Do I care that she is competing with a deaf/blind collie?  No!  Do I care that she is breeding her?  Seriously?  Do I really need to even answer that question?  Seriously?

Sassafras, Adopted 2010

When Miss Fritzi wanted to adopt Sassafras from us, we were shocked.  She was in Connecticut, why would she want to adopt a Deaf Old English Sheepdog from Florida?  Because she did!  She had deaf OES before, and the woman knew what she wanted.  We didn’t argue!  After talking with Fritzi over the phone, she explained to me that she had purebred Old English Sheepdogs, and she entered them into competitions, they won quite often, but no one knew that there were deaf.  She explained that deaf dogs could not enter agility competitions.  “I will not drink the Kool Aide,” she told me.  “I entered my dogs in competitions, I just never told anyone, and I certainly didn’t breed them.  No one knew my dog was deaf.  I didn’t tell anyone until after she passed away.”


Don’t Love Me Just Because I’m Beautiful!

China and Sarah


Last week, after we enjoyed ourselves at the DeLand parade.  Brittney Myers and my daughter, Sarah took turns holding China the leash.  China was stunning, dressed in pink!  Many people asked if they could pet her, and of course the answer is yes.  They would bend down, rub her little head and talk sweet to her.

“Oh how sweet, are you a good girl?  Would you like a cookie?”  All the while China is focused on her handler, not on the stranger.

“She can’t hear you, she’s deaf,” we explain.  The admirer then gets confused, and wonders how they couldn’t tell.  “She’s the most highly trained dog here, but she can’t hear you.”  So it appears that Chris experiences the same reactions in public with Luddy, as we do when we are out with China!

Kiss, Adopted 2010

After the parade, we went to DeLand Skydive for a bite.  I noticed through the smoked glass of the restaurant, a puppy outside.  I saw it from that distance, the pup had a China eye; meaning it was blind.  I approached the man, and politely asked if I could look at his pup.  He agreed.  The pup wouldn’t sit still, but when I finally got to look at his eyes, I was right, his left eye was blind.  Again, the girls, Sarah and Danielle came over to pet the puppy.  Once again, Sarah looked up at me and said, “Again Mommy?”

Yes my dear Sarah, again!



I informed the young man very politely that his dog was blind in one eye.  He was devastated.  He shared that he had just purchased the pup, for a large sum of money.  I told him the pup was lucky that he bought him.  I told him not to be concerned, the blindness matters not.  I did tell him to train the pup from the right side, and not to let anyone, especially children spook the pup from his left side.  He told me he had taken the pup to the Vet, and that this can not be.  Once again, the man quickly left.

Maybe I should learn to be quiet?  If I do, this pup like many deaf and blind dogs, might be punished unfairly (many deaf/blind dogs are abused).  Can I prove this?  Of course I can!  China was severely abused, by a mom who didn’t know she was deaf.  China was beaten, and it took me over six weeks for her to even allow me to touch her.

Hey Mister!  Your dog isn’t stupid, your dog isn’t ignoring you; your dog is deaf!

Bill Wilson and Fiona, Adopted 2011


So this begs the question of the day… to Veterinarians know but don’t tell?  Do they not see it?  Do they turn a blind eye to the condition (pardon the pun).  This begs the question, why is it when I walk into my Vet’s office, they can see it from down the hall!  They know I have just brought in a deaf/blind dog!

“Where do you find these dogs?” Dr. Pinzon, who is a vision specialist, asked me last year.
“I don’t find them, they find me!”  I answered.

Note to Self

I can tell you that it was my Aunt who told me that my three year-old Sheltie, Mischief was blind.  I didn’t believe her.  Mischief never missed a thing.  My Aunt insisted, and I was floored.  I took Mischief to the vet, and my Aunt was right, she was completely blind.  Mischief had a great life, and lived to be 12 until seizures took her life.  Her blindness never stopped her!

Full Disclosure

Jalo now Gigi with Mary

We don’t always go out of way to rescue deaf and blind dogs!  Just a few months ago, Jalo was pulled from Miami-Dade and her owner, Mary, discovered she’s deaf.  I took Baileys in from his owner, who didn’t know he is completely blind in one eye, and has poor sight in the other.  What’s important to understand is no one is complaining!  In none of these adoption photos are the adopters disappointed in anyway!  These are all really awesome dogs!



More than Just Great Dogs

Falcor, adopted 2011

I hope that we continue to share our experiences with deaf and/or blind dogs.  They are truly amazing.  As I was reading what Chris wrote for this post, I couldn’t help but smile.  Everything he said about what Luddy does, is what China does!  China is the first to bark at the door at strangers.  Why?  I think my dogs hear the car’s engine, they recognize the sound of that car door, they know those footsteps, and they simply just lift their head up.  They do not run to the door, because they know who it is!  China, however, doesn’t know who it is.  A stranger is a stranger, and someone is that the door!  She runs and barks ferociously, protecting her home.  She doesn’t recognize me through the glass, my other dogs do.  She doesn’t stop barking until she can smell us.  She is an awesome watch dog!

With regard to their clairvoyance, China lays by the front door 15 minutes before I pick Sarah up from school; 1:45 every day.  Prior to 1:45, China sleeps on a comfy bed or the couch.    On Wednesdays, however, she lays by the front door at 12:45 for early release!  She does this so she doesn’t miss Sarah’s return, for if she sleeps somewhere else, she will not feel the door open!

Jen and Fiona

Not all Deaf dogs are Blind.  Not all White Dogs are Blind or Deaf.  We do not believe that Dundee, aka Chance is deaf or blind, yet he is a solid white Aussie.  If he is, he shows no signs!  Not all Blue-eyed dogs are Blind!  Not all Deaf dogs are visually impaired!  I agreed to rescue China’s Twin, Lilly, because I was convinced she was deaf and/or blind.  She isn’t!  She isn’t!


Winter, abandoned and forgotten


Today, I am fostering Winter.  He is a stunning dog, and I believe that after just one day, I have found his new home.  The Dog Liberator has followers that will trip over themselves just to adopt one of our Deaf dogs.  Why?  Well, the proof is right here on this page, isn’t it?  They are a lot like Potato Chips, you can’t have just one!

Click here to read more about our Deaf/Blind Dogs.  While you will notice that most of these dogs are breed for looks, they are adopted because of their incredible intelligence and intense love!

You can also visit

Help us Rescue and Save the Life of a Deaf Dog Today!

Help us Rescue and Save the Life of a Deaf Dog Today!

Adopting a Senior Dog

Click here to learn more about all of our Senior Dogs.

Music in this video can be purchased below:

How to Surrender Your Dog

Canine Connect Shelter Prevention

There are a million reasons why people have to give up their pet.  Some of the reasons are good ones, and some are not.  Regardless, if a person doesn’t want their dog anymore… why wouldn’t we want to help the dog find a home where he’s wanted?

In today’s economy, it’s getting harder and harder for families to keep their pets.  Prices are going up, and joblessness is going up as well.

Whatever the reason is, I hope that you will find the information in this post useful.


If you are giving away your pet because of behavior issues, understand that it is very doubtful anyone else will be able to help your dog, and your dog will probably end up at the pound after its new owner is fed up.

At The Dog Liberator, we focus on behavior modification on a full-time basis, a new owner won’t have the time or experience that we do.  If you can’t find a trainer, behaviorist, or you just don’t know what to do, take a moment and try to find some training material that could help you.  Searching your problem on YouTube or Google may provide you with some great advice from a professional trainer.

Note:  Shy Sharon had behavior issues, but was not made available for adoption for several months, until I was convinced that we had rehabilitated her.

If your dog has bitten someone, and you do not warn the new owners in writing, you are liable.


Medical Issues

If your dog has medical issues, discuss the issues with your Vet.  Many dogs are surrendered to shelters that are terminally ill, and they are put down.  It’s not fair that your dog spends his final hours with total strangers in a concrete building and on a cold metal table.  Be a responsible pet owner, and follow the advice of your Vet.  Re-homing a terminally ill dog without full disclosure is wrong.

Note:  Logan was given to me by his owners, he was terminally ill with a cancerous tumor.  At his age, it was unfair that they shunned their responsibility to him.



If you have an awesome dog, and think you’ll never find him a new home because of his/her age… think again.  While that may be true with some rescues, pounds and shelters, it’s not with ours.  We have adopted some wonderful senior dogs who lived long and healthy lives.  Little Nitro, Jaffe, and Big George are just a few of them!


When to Start Looking

When should you start trying to find your dog a new home?  When you first suspect that you won’t be able to keep you dog!  It may take weeks or months to re-home your dog.  You need to start making arrangements right away.  Many dog owners wait for the last minute, and this is unfair to the people who are trying to help you.  Rescuers have dozens of dogs to take care of, you only have one.  It may take time to arrange transport, get the necessary paperwork, etc.  Do not delay.

I believe that dog owners wait for the last second to avoid the sadness that they will feel when going to an empty home.  That’s NOT in the best interest of the dog.

We are not miracle workers, and there is no magic wand.  Rescue is very hard and time-consuming work.



The first rule is honesty.  You must share everything you know about your pet, regardless if it’s good or bad!  Your job is to find him the perfect home.  If you lie about his temperament, age or health, the dog will be returned or worse, dropped of at a shelter/pound.


Medical Records/Care

You must have your dog’s veterinary records, and they must be up-to-date.  If your dog is due for shots, get them done.  If you can’t prove that you’ve had your dog on heartworm preventative, you should also pay for a heartworm test.  If your dog is not spay/neutered, you should take care of that too.

If you can’t afford to do all of these things for your dog, why should you believe that someone else should pay for this burden?   Proving that your dog is healthy makes him much more valuable and therefore adoptable.

Whatever it is you can or can’t do for your dog, remember that the first rule is honesty.  If your dog is heartworm positive, for example, tell the truth.  Heartworm is not a death sentence, it’s curable.

If you do all of these things, and call rescues in your area, or find a breed-specific rescue for your dog, tell them you’ve done all the vetting, offer them a donation, and they just might help you, even if they are full.  If you offer them a dog that has issues, has not been vetted, spayed or neutered, you’re closing the door in your own face.

How Can We Help You?

The first thing we are going to do is ask you if you are sure.  We are going to uncover every stone to make sure you have no other options.  Please review Canine Reboot for more information.

The Dog Liberator has re-homed many dogs that have owner-surrendered.  There are many advantages to using our Cannine Connect service.  You will be able to take part of your dog’s adoption, meet his potential new owners, and receive updates on how your dog is doing.    If you’re a good dog owner, and you have a great dog, there’s no reason why people should judge you for having to surrender your dog, so let’s leave the drama out of it!

What you Should Know:

We will require a donation from you before your dog is surrendered.  The donation will be based on if your dog is not up-to-date on shots or if your dog is not spayed or neutered.  You will also have to agree that your dog will be exclusively listed with The Dog Liberator.  You can not list your dog under multiple rescues (PetFinder does not allow it).  If someone you personally know wants to adopt your dog after it is listed with The Dog Liberator, you will direct the potential adopter to The Dog Liberator so we can screen them and facilitate your dog’s adoption.

Once your dog is successfully adopted, the adoption fee is paid to The Dog Liberator.

We will post your dog on our Website, Petfinder and Rescue Groups for you and coach you on how to showcase your dog’s full potential and attract dog owners that match your dog’s temperament.

We will help you screen potential adopters, conduct interviews, verify Vet references and discuss home visits with you.


Why should there be an Adoption Fee?

Very rarely do Free-to-a-good-Home dogs get really good homes, and here are some reasons why:

  • We have dozens of horrible stories about Craig’s list dogs listed as free.
  • Professional Dog Fighters comb through Craig’s list looking for free dogs to use as bait/practice.
  • People who pose as adopters may re-post your dog for an adoption fee, posing as rescuers.
  • People will sell your dog for experimental purposes, even if it’s only $5 a dog.
  • If your dog has no value to you, why should it be valued by someone else?
  • 90% of the dogs we rescue from kill shelters were free.
  • Your dog’s adoption fee goes into the rescue’s Veterinary Fund, which helps future dogs that have been abandoned and are sitting in kill shelters.


If you want your dog to have a long healthy life and live in a great home with loving owners, it starts here.


While this video is shared among rescuers, and it is pathetically true, it is not suitable for young viewers, but it can explain to you the frustration you are going to encounter when trying to re-home your dog on your own.

Feel free to review all of the dogs that we have successfully re-homed for their owners by clicking on our Canine Connect Category.  Any feedback or comments left on this post will be shared to increase our effectiveness and the dogs’ success.

If you are reading this post, and you personally found and adopted your dog from Craig’s list, and you are thrilled with your dog, I would like to congratulate you and your dog!

For more information, email

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





What is a TDL Dog?

My Pack!

I’m asked this question quite often.  How do I know which dog to pick and not to pick.  I don’t!  I go by instinct and past experiences, but more importantly, I know what my audience is looking for.  Sometimes I’m wrong, sometimes I’m shocked!

There is no magic formula

It’s not about size, color, coat type, or age.  It’s about the whole dog.  Dogs in danger of being euthanized have first priority.  Dogs that are being owner-surrendered, that I believe have a reduced chance of being adopted, or that I believe will shut down in a shelter, are also considered.  Many times I have looked at a dog’s shelter photo and I’m confident that it will be adopted quickly from the shelter, like our newest SunKissed.  Much to my surprise, they aren’t adopted, and that’s when I move quickly to pull them before their time is up.

I’m also asked quite often, what’s the hardest part of rescue.  Everyone assumes it’s finding the dogs’ new homes, or letting them go.  Wrong!  That’s the easy part!  The hardest part really is transport. People, like Rebecca Harshman, who volunteers for Chilton County Humane Society in Birmingham, Alabama (and many other shelters as well) makes it look easy, but it can be a real nightmare.

Shy Sharon

As I’m trying to write this, I turned and asked my daughter, what is a dog liberator dog?  She answered with a chuckle, “A smart dog that isn’t a dufus!”  Amazingly, she’s right!  I asked my son, Ryan the same question, he answered, “A dog that doesn’t bite and isn’t mean.”  Ryan is right, but how do you explain Shy Sharon?  She is a known fear biter and I am fostering her.  Here’s the caveat!  We do rescue dogs that have issues, if we have the right foster home for the dog, I personally specialize in the deaf dogs and the fear biters.  And of course, we have rescued many dogs that have medical issues, when we can afford to do so.  See what I mean when I said there is no magic formula?

So here’s the bottom line.  A Dog Liberator Dog is one that is intelligent, eager to please, easy to train, attractive or unusual!  It’s that simple!  A Dog Liberator Dog is a dog that I personally want to invite into my home.  A dog that I would personally foster, no matter how long it takes for them to find their forever home.  A dog that I enjoy so much, I’m proud to parade him through my neighborhood!  A dog that I want to pet, hug, and spend time with.  A dog that I can brag about, a dog that if I could, I would keep for myself.

But it’s not about me

Lady Truelove

There are many dogs that I adore that I never got to foster, like Kudos, Doc Holiday & Wyatt Earp, Bowie, Huckleberry, Lady Truelove, and the list goes on!  But that’s okay!

What people tend to forget is that I’m not just rescuing dogs to save their lives, I’m rescuing dogs that I believe will rescue people.  The joy of seeing our adoption updates, and knowing that one of rescued dogs as given a family joy, or has become someone’s best friend and companion is my reward.  Saving the dogs life is the bonus!  I had my heart dog, her name was Reckless, and when she died, I started this rescue, to find dogs that could give to others what she gave to me.

You’ve got to take your lumps

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I understand that, but there are many times I personally think a dog is gorgeous, but I know that it will have a slim chance of being adopted from my rescue.  When I rescued Zeus, the Chinese Crested, I thought he’d be adopted immediately, along with the Japanese Chins and the Cavaliers.  They are in fact very popular breeds, yes?  I was wrong!  They were all rescued from the same backyard breeder and they were all in horrible condition.  Even after they were nursed back to health, they did not get adopted quickly, and we were concerned.  Regardless, without rescue, none of these dogs would be alive today.

But what does adopted quickly really mean?

When I was talking with Mariacristina this week, about Knish, we talked about how all of her previous foster dogs were adopted within 7-14 days.  Even Luis was wondering why Knish didn’t have any interest.  The reality is, she was adopted within one month, and in rescue, that’s fast!  So while I moan and groan about dogs that are not adopted quickly, I really need to conduct my own reality checks and admit that one or two months is not a long time!  I’m just very impatient!  The truth is, Knish was not adopted quickly because she needed time with Maria and Luis to finish her rehabilitation!  She clearly was adopted at the right time, her time, not ours!

To The Max

It makes sense that the faster we can promote, share and post our dogs, the faster we can find quality homes for them, and the more dogs we can save.  When it comes to “To the Max”, I’m stumped.  He is by far, one of the most awesome Aussies I have ever fostered, and he’s still with me.  He’s totally trained, won’t jump on you like some dogs do (how rude) won’t get into your face and lick you, he’s not overly excited, and relatively calm, he’s what we call easy peasy, and he has not been adopted.  But when that right person comes, Max will never look back!

Update:  The day I wrote this, Max was adopted!  Hoping he fits in well with his new family and we get some great updates shortly!

No, we’re not a fast-food, drive through rescue, but nothing irritates me more than watching a rescue take on a lazy attitude about their foster dogs that do nothing to get them homes.  If you build it they will come.  Not in today’s world, not while millions of dogs sit and wait in kill shelters!   We can’t save them all, but surely we can work hard for the ones we have saved!

The photos below are a very small sample of what I believe is a Dog Liberator Dog!


Everything in rescue is subject to change.  The more fosters we can identify that can help our cause, and the more transporters we find, we are always flexible to what’s waiting around the corner.  Personally, I’ve always wanted to launch other breed-specific rescues, but I guess the time isn’t right.


Over-The-Counter Medications For Dogs

It’s 9:15pm on a Sunday night and your dog has developed diarrhea.  What do you do?  Rush to the emergency vet?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  Dog owners know that sometimes a simple over-the-counter med will do the trick, at least until their regular vet is open.  Here is some advice concerning medications that may help, obtained from Walker Valley Veterinary Hospital. Please check the site directly before giving your dog any meds in case it has been updated. And, of course, consult with your personal vet whenever possible.:

You may help to ease your pet’s symptoms with the use of some over-the-counter medicines.  However, it’s never a good idea to just assume a human medication will be a safe and effective treatment for your pet.  Contact your veterinarian before starting any medical therapy, to discuss your options.  Always let the veterinarian know your pet’s symptoms and what you have been treating it with.  As with all illnesses, persistent symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor’s office.

Acetaminophen(Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) are toxic to both cats and dogs, even in small doses.  Pepto Bismol can also be highly toxic in cats.

Here is a list of over-the-counter medications that can be safely used for your pet.  Please read everything before administering an OTC medication to your pet.  If it is not on this list — do not give it!

Can be given to some dogs and cats for diarrhea.  WARNING: Certain dog breeds related to Collies may have adverse reactions to Imodium (loperamide/ivermectin).  Do not give this medicine to Collies, Shelties, Australian Shephards and Long-haired Whippits. See this site for more detailed information.  (Thanks to Ken Brookner for this correction.)

For those animals for which this medicine is appropriate give 1 teaspoon for every 20 pounds.  This dosage can be repeated every 4-6 hours for 24 hours, or until symptoms begin to resolve.

Can be administered to dogs (never cats!) with upset stomach or vomiting.  Give one teaspoon per 20 pounds of weight every 4-6 hours for 24 hours, or until symptoms begin to resolve.

Benadryl is an antihistamine that helps relieve swellings and itching from allergic reactions and is used long-term to treat allergies.  The dose is one milligram for every pound given twice daily.  (Although safe to use, Benadryl is not very effective in cats, and other antihistamines are more commonly prescribed.)

Benadryl Dosage for Dogs,
1 mg per pound, Twice Daily
weight     /          amount
12 lbs      /            12 milligrams (pediatric dose)
25 lbs      /            25 milligrams (1 adult capsule)
50 lbs     /             50 milligrams (2 adult capsules)

Can be given short term to dogs (never cats!) to help relieve inflammation and pain.  Buffered Aspirin (Bufferin) is easier on the stomach but regular (non-coated) aspirin can also be used.  Aspirin may be given once or twice a day.  Always give aspirin with food.

Aspirin has potent blood thinning properties, and continued usage may be dangerous in some animals. For long term pain relief there are safer veterinary-specific alternatives.

Aspirin Dosage for dogs
Once or twice a day, with food
weight                     /   amount
less than 10 lbs   /     ½ baby aspirin
10-30 lbs              /      1 baby aspirin
30-50 lbs              /      ½ regular aspirin
50-100 lbs           /       1 regular aspirin
over 100 lbs        /       2 regular aspirin

DRAMAMINE (Dimenhydrinate):
Dramamine is an antihistamine that works well at preventing motion sickness in both cats and dogs.  This drug works best if given at least ½ hour prior to travel.

Dramamine Dosage for dogs
½ hour prior to travel
weight     /   amount
small        /   12.5 milligrams
medium  /   25 milligrams
large         /    50 milligrams

Reduces the amount of stomach acids and can be dispensed to dogs and cats suffering from ulcers, acid reflux or belly ache. Sometimes they are used to prevent ulcers in animals taking other medications. These medications are given once to twice daily. It’s best to discuss the exact dosage with your veterinarian.

Tagamet/Pepcid-AC/Zantac Dosage for Dogs
one or twice daily
weight                       /     amount
less than 20 lbs     /      ¼ tablet
20-60 lbs                 /      ½ tablet
over 60 lbs             /        1 whole tablet

Can help to relieve itchy, raw or irritated skin. It can be used topically to reduce itching from hives, hot spots, and insect bites and stings. Apply a small amount up to two times daily.

GAS-X (Simethicone):
Simethicone is used in dogs to help with unusual flatulence or gas discomfort. Any dog suspected of Bloat should get 2 doses immediately before transport to the Emergency Clinic.

GAS-X Dosage for Dogs
weight         /     amount
small           /      ¼ adult dose
medium     /      ½ adult dose
large           /       1 adult dose

Glucosamine (and glucosamine in combination with chondroitin sulfate) is used to treat joint pain associated with athritis. This is a long term treatment whose effects may not be immediately noticeable.

Glucosamine Dosage for Dogs
weight                /     amount
under 25 lbs    /    500 milligrams
25-50 lbs          /   1000 milligrams
over 50 lbs      /    1500 milligrams

Are helpful in the treatment of small wounds, bites or minor infections.  Always thouroughly clean the wound with soap and water first.

Can be use to clean any wound or injury.

1 – 10 teaspoons given orally will induce vomiting.  (See toxicities.) Hydrogen peroxide is not as effective to clean wounds as antibacterial soap and water.

Saline nasal spray and pediatric nasal sprays (Little Noses) can be given in kittens, cats, puppies, and dogs to alleviate dryness and nasal congestion associated with a cold.  No other type of OTC nasal medication should be used unless prescribed by your veterinarian.

More Helpful Information

Save Money on Prescription Medicine
I was Just a Kid
How to Adopt From Us
Our Favorite Things
The Chosen Ones
Read our Reviews
Amazon Gives Back
Ebay Helps Rescue
Hate Mail and Adoption Fees
About Gisele

Bringing Your New Dog Home

So, you’re considering adopting a dog from The Dog Liberator.  If it is one of the puppies that I foster, we’re going to spend some time talking, and I’m going to share with you a lot of tidbits that I have learned over the years.  And then you’re going to get home with you puppy and not remember any of them!  And that’s okay; it is my expectation and my hope that my adopters will contact me with questions.  But just in case you are adopting a dog that isn’t one of my fosters, or you’re too embarrassed to call, here is a summary of some of my tidbits.

Cost: First and foremost, can you afford a dog?  Let alone a puppy?  They cost more than just the adoption fee and a bag of Old Roy dog food (more about that later).  Any dog will require both flea and heartworm preventive, each running around $50 every six months.  With a puppy, you’ll probably have to finish out the series of puppy shots plus a rabies shot at four months.   And then what happens if the dog gets sick?  It is very common for puppies, and even adult dogs, to become ill the first month in their new home due to all the stresses.  Indeed, coccidea (primary symptom sever diarrhea) most commonly appears in the first 21 days after a dog has changed owners or residence.  If you’re scraping together the money to pay for an adoption fee, you’re not ready for a dog.  Wait until you are in a more financially viable situation.  And consider pet medical insurance from a company such as ShelterCare.  It isn’t as expensive as you might think and can more than pay for itself.

Crate Training: Crates didn’t come in to common use until around 20 years ago.  They will make your life much easier.  First, you may see it as a cage, but your dog will see it as a den, its “safe” place.  Put the dog in the crate at night.  With my puppies, I go a step further and cover it with a sheet.  Don’t put the crate in your bedroom; every time you roll over, you’ll wake up the dog who will then wake up you!  While housetraining, put the puppy (or dog) in the crate when you are busy and don’t have “eyes on” it.  Crate the dog when you are gone for the first year.  You know that the dog is home forever, but the dog doesn’t.  When you leave, he doesn’t know you are coming back.  He may panic and destroy your great-grandmother’s chair.  Additionally,  puppies, like children, can go through fear stages; you don’t want to come home and find out that your 7-month-old dog had an anxiety attack and ate your couch.  Get a folding, wire crate, so you can easily take it with you when you are invited to your friends beach cottage for the long weekend; put the dog in it when you are at the beach all day so it doesn’t eat your friends couch and so mark the last time you are invited!  Most importantly, put your dog in a crate if a hurricane comes through.  You need to know it is safe (my friend who runs Used Dogs rescue in New Orleans still has Katrina dogs 5 years after the hurricane).  If your dog is used to its crate, its anxiety will go down.  If it hasn’t been in a crate in years, then its anxiety level will go up and you will spend a fortune in dog therapy for years!

Housetraining: Even housetrained adult dogs commonly have “accidents” the first few days in their new home.  Sometimes it is marking, but most commonly it is just stress.  If you focus in on housetraining for three days, you should be just about done.  It is a pain for three days, but is worth it.  Here’s what you do for a puppy; use a variation on the theme for an adult dog:  Day one, set the timer on your stove to go off every hour.  Every hour take the puppy outside through the same door and tell it, “hurry up.”  The next day set the timer for every 90 minutes.  The third day set it for every two hours.  Also, every time the puppy goes near that door, let it out.  By the third day, the puppy will know that if it has to go out, to go to that door.  It might only give you 10 seconds to notice, but you are well on your way!  Put a little towel or such at the door to catch accidents.  Don’t leave the water bowl down until the puppy is housetrained. Only give the puppy water when you are ready to go out for 30 minutes ~ puppies piddle 3 times within 30 minutes of drinking.  Don’t give water or food after 6pm, so the water has time to work its way through its system.  When you can’t pay attention to the puppy during the housetraining phase, crate the puppy ~ you don’t want it to find a secret spot behind the piano to piddle!  Remember, use the same door and the same command during this time.  You can give a small treat for proper performance, but you’ll learn quickly that your puppy will start to pretend to piddle just to get a treat!!!  Once the puppy is fully  housetrained, then you can give free access to the water bowl.

Note:  I have never played tug-of-war with any of my dogs, adult or puppy.  It’s just not a good game to start playing.

Baths:  If your dog has recently been spayed or neutered, you should not give your dog a bath until the stitches have been removed and your vet indicates that you can.  Usually you can bathe your dog 10-14 days after surgery.

Worms: Puppies have worms.  Period.  Because of the life cycle of a worm, they are dewormed and then dewormed again three weeks later.  But expect them to test positive for worms every time you take them to the vet.  Don’t panic ~ it’s just standard in puppies.  Watch for the signs of worms.  If you see what look like pieces of rice on the outside of their poop, that is tapeworms.  The worm itself is very long (12” or more), but is segmented, like pieces of rice lined up.  What you see in the poop is segments that have broken off.  Dogs get them by ingesting fleas.   If you see a long solid worm in the poop that forms a kinked circle when you pick it up (yuck) this is a roundworm, called round because they tend to form circles with their bodies.  Hookworms and whipworms are too small to be seen, but bloody diarrhea is an indication.  Again, your vet will probably do a fecal test each time you take your puppy in just to be safe.  Adult dogs are less inclined to worms, perhaps because heartworm preventives treat them as well.  The exception to this is tapeworms.   I treat tapeworms with a dewormer I buy in the pet section of Publix grocery store, saving me  a vet visit.

Heartworm Preventive: All dogs need to be on a monthly heartworm preventive, obtained from your vet.  Heartworms are  passed through a mosquito bite, therefore a severe problem in the south.  Puppies younger than 6 months are not tested for heartworms because the heartworm must be 6 months old to show up positive.  I recommend Heartgard for the first 6 months since the active ingredient, Ivermectin, not only prevents heartworms but kills them as well, therefore it will kill any juvenile heartworms that a puppy might have.  That being said, if you adopt a collie, use it with caution: about 45% of collies lack the gene that prevents Ivermectin from passing into the brain.  This can cause a reaction varying from mild to seizure, coma or even death.  Watch your dog for a reaction (your vet can test for the gene as well).  If necessary, switch to an Ivermectin-fee alternative such as Revolution, Sentinal or Interceptor.  Be aware that Ivermectin is also the common treatment for “puppy mange”, generally  brought on by stress.   You may need to use an alternative treatment such as as sulpher dip.  If you have multiple dogs and they do not have an ivermectin sensitivity, you may want to save money by buying Ivermectin in the liquid form from a feed store.  A bottle costing less than $50 can last years.  Generally, the recommended dosage is 0.1cc per 10 pounds of dog, but be sure to discuss this alternative with your vet.

Food: I estimate that at least 10% of dogs have food allergies.  I suspect that it is much higher.  The better quality food you get, the less likely you will have to deal with this.  Get a food that doesn’t have additives, fillers or grains.  Watch for food allergy symptoms: loose bowels, lack of appetite, itching, hair loss, coughing, mange, ….  Trust me, it is more than worth it to invest in a quality food!  Oh, and when you first get home, expect the dog to not have much of an appetite the first day or so, a normal reaction to change in environment, especially if this is the first time away from littermates. If, on the other hand, the dog gobbles its food, you may want to help slow it down by scatter feeding (scattering the kibble on your deck for him to hunt up) or wetting it, packing it into a Kong, freezing it, and then giving it to him.   If you already have a dog, be prepared for some food guarding at first too.  If such is the case, you may want to feed the new dog in its crate until everyone understands that they won’t go hungry, then slowly move the food bowls into the same room. One more thought: always keep a can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) on your shelf.  If your dog develops diarrhea or constipation due to stress or something it ate, mix the pumpkin into its regular food.  There is something about canned pumpkin that helps stabilize their systems.

Chewing: Puppies chew.  Adult dogs chew.  And they always seem to chew your favorite things.  First, don’t let them chew on your hand, ankle, etc.  Correct them and put something allowable in their mouth instead (“no” is not enough; you have to give them a substitute).   My number one recommendation to help with chewing is that you go to the butcher section of your store and get a packet of marrow bones.  Freeze the extras for later and give the dog the raw bone.  He’ll eat the marrow right out of it in no time flat.  Dogs have an enzyme that allows them to eat raw meat, and the marrow is very good for them.  Then allow them to keep chewing on the bone.  Don’t throw them away.  Wolves don’t lose their teeth because they chew on raw bones.  My back yard looks like a dinosaur burial ground, and my house looks like a scene from a horror flick, but my furniture isn’t chewed!  Dogs seem to prefer marrow bones over anything that the pet store wants to sell you.  The first time you are gone for an extended time, put the dog in its crate with a new marrow bone (still frozen is fine).  It’ll keep him busy and happy.  Very rarely dogs get their lower jaw stuck inside the circle of the marrow bone.  To avoid this, you might want to pick bones that are either too big or too small, or have the butcher cut them into semi-circles.

Bordetella :I have found that about 20% of puppies develop a mild case of kennel cough after getting their bordetella shot, just as people often get the flu after receiving a flu shot.  If your puppy starts to cough, keep an eye on it.  If it develops other symptoms such as a colored nasal discharge or fever, go to the vet and get an antibiotic like doxycycline.  Most vets do not recommend antibiotics for the cough alone since they will wipe out the effectiveness of the bordetella shot.

Antibiotics: If you live near a Publix, get a copy of the antibiotics that they provide for free with a prescription.  They will honor a ‘script for a pet, so if your dog needs an antibiotic, ask the vet if one of the ones on the list will do the trick.  Why spend money you don’t have to?

Veterinarians: If you do not yet have a vet, please don’t pick one based on convenience of location.  If I have learned one thing, it is that all vets are not created equally, and price is no indication of quality.  Ask friends for their recommendations, but also call the office and ask for pricing.  For comparison purposes, ask for the cost of an office visit, spay, neuter, rabies, annual shots, x-ray, fecal exam and heartworm preventive.  You won’t need all these things, but it will help you gauge what the vet charges.  And you will be shocked at the range that you will get.  Resist allowing a vet to guilt you into an expensive procedure on the spot.  Go home and research  it.  I’ve known way too many people guilted into paying for everything from the repair of an umbilical hernia (which almost always heals itself) to fast-kill heartworm treatment (slow kill is a viable and less expensive alternative).

If you feel like your vet is strong-arming you into an expensive procedure, stop.  Many vets panic when they hear the word “rescued” or “adopted”, and assume there must be something terribly wrong with the dog, not knowing we have already spent a fortune in vetting.  Stress diarrhea is common.  A fecal check, metronidazole and canned pumpkin is all you need.

If your puppy has just received its parvo and distemper shot, he will test positive, not because he is, because he was given the live virus.  If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation while at your vet, do not panic, just call us!

Training: I strongly recommend that you provide some kind of training for your dog.  It isn’t so much a matter of teaching the dog to sit, as it is assuring the dog that you are in charge.  If a dog knows that its people can be trusted to lead, then it will relax.  If it perceives its family as being weak, it will believe that the protection of the home is on its shoulders and will become more high strung and nervous.  Training is about you, not your dog.

Life: Expose your dog to as much of life as you can.  Take it to Petsmart, to the beach, to Lowes, everywhere that you can.  Introduce it to adults, kids, dogs, cats.  The more new experiences that it has and “survives” , the less fear and anxiety it will have, the more well rounded it will be, and the better it will be able to cope with the changes that you and it will go through in life.



Giardiasis (GEE-are-DYE-uh-sis) is a diarrheal illness caused by a microscopic parasite, Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia or Giardia duodenalis). Once a person or animal has been infected with Giardia, the parasite lives in the intestine and is passed in feces. Giardia infects older dogs but more frequently infects puppies. Because the parasite is protected by an outer shell, it can survive outside the body and in the environment for long periods of time (i.e., months).

Can humans be harmed by Giardia?

Giardia is a common cause  of diarrhea in people, but dog Giardia is not generally considered to spread from animals to humans. While human Giardia may infect dogs and then be passed on to humans, the majority of human cases are of human origin.

How can I prevent a Giardia infection?

Practice good hygiene. Wash hands thoroughly after handling animals or their toys, leashes or feces. (Be sure to avoid contact with the feces by using gloves, a bag over your hand, or a scooping device.)

Make sure that your dog has safe, clean drinking water. It is important not to allow dogs to drink water from areas where other animals have left their feces.

How is Giardia treated and is it expensive?

Metronidazole is an antibiotic that has been widely used to treat Giardia in dogs as well as in people. This drug has reasonable efficiency against Giardia and has the added advantage of being effective against other parasite protozoa and some bacteria that may also have contributed to the diarrhea. It is also very inexpensive. Recent studies show that pyrantel is also effective against Giardia.


Giardia is a very treatable condition. Most dogs recover quickly and do not have additional problems. However, if proper preventive steps are not taken, it is common for dogs with a previous history of Giardia to become re-infected.

  • Giardia in dogs can cause diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, poor condition, or death. However, many infected dogs show no symptoms.
  • People can get giardia, causing diarrhea or other problems, but rarely from dogs.
  • Dogs get giardia from water that has been soiled with feces.
  • The incubation period is usually 1 to 25 days. Some cases can exceed 25 days.

Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC)

Division of Parasite Diseases (DPD)



Parvovirus or Parvo, is life threatening virus that affects dogs. It is the most common viral disease in dogs. It primarily affects puppies. The most common age for infection is between 2-6 months of age, but infection can occur at any age. All breeds are susceptible to this virus. Some breeds such as Dobermans, rottweilers, and Labradors are more susceptible to Parvo than others. It is not known why this is.

Parvo is spread through the feces of dogs infected with the virus. The dog does not actually have to come in contact with another sick dog. While Parvo cannot be spread to or from humans or other pets, the virus can be carried in to the dog’s environment on someone’s shoes, or by birds or other animals who have come in contact with infected feces. Parvo can survive in an environment for as long as 9 months. The only disinfectant known to kill Parvo is chlorine bleach. A 1:30 ratio of chlorine bleach in water has been known to be effective for sanitizing contaminated area. Any area known to be contaminated should be thoroughly sanitized.

The disease usually enters the dog’s system by oral ingestion. It attacks the digestive system, inhibiting them from absorbing nutrients. It also causes severe diarrhea and often vomiting, dehydration is common. It also suppresses white blood cells and may attack the heart as well.

Symptoms of Parvo include high fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting. There is not cure for Parvo. Veterinarians can help infected dogs by treating the symptoms and dehydration. Most dogs die if they do not receive veterinary attention. With veterinary attention, a dog has a reasonably good chance of survival. Early detection is important. Some vets have been trying antioxins and antiparvo serum with some success.

In some cases, dogs can have Parvo without showing any symptoms. They will not be affected by the disease, but they are capable of spreading it and their feces will be contaminated with the virus.

A vaccine is available for Parvo. The vaccine is usually given with several other vaccines, including distemper. Vaccination usually begins at 8 weeks of age, and repeated every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is sixteen weeks old, and then given annually. There is some controversy as to whether vaccinating too often may actually weaken a dog’s immunity to Parvo. Research is currently being done in this area. Until then, your vet will help you decide what is right for your dog.

Veterinarians can run a titre to determine the strength of a particular dog’s immunity to Parvo. Dogs should be tested for immunity to Parvo before being brought into an area where a previously infected dog has been.




*This is only treatable with Doxycycline*


The Influenza (H3N8) virus causes symptoms that mimic traditional “kennel cough”


If a pet puppy/dog exhibits coughing, nasal discharge or fever, the puppy/dog should be put on doxycycline by a veterinarian immediately.


  • The H3N8 influenza virus has jumped from horses to puppies/dogs
  • This H3N8 virus causes “dog flu”
  • Initial findings of H3N8 infected puppies/dogs were at a Florida grey hound racing track
  • “Kennel cough” is typically caused by bordetella bronchispetica bacterium
  • Other symptoms of H3N8 infection are nasal discharge and fever
  • Both H3N8 and bordetella are contagious between dogs
  • Approximately 80% of H3N8 infections will be mild
  • A small minority of infected dogs may experience complications such a pneumonia
  • A small minority of infected dogs will also be asymptomatic and will not show any signs of the infection. However, it is believed that asymptomatic dogs are infectious
  • The H3N8 virus has never infected humans
  • H3N8 causes a mortality rate of 5 to 8% in infected dogs
  • There have been verified occurrences of H3N8 in dogs in South Florida shelter, boarding facilities and veterinary clinics

If a pet puppy/dog exhibits coughing, nasal discharge or fever, the puppy/dog MUST be put on doxycycline by a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

Doxycycline will also treat “Kennel Cough.”

Traditional medications like Cefa drops, Amoxicillin, and Clavamox WILL NOT help/treat INFLUENZA. If your puppy/dog begins to show signs of “Kennel Cough” or INFLUENZA  and is not put on DOXYCYCLINE  within 1-3 days, the puppy/dog will continue to get worse and will develop pneumonia and/or die.


Puppy Worming Schedule

Initiate treatment from your vet at 2 weeks; repeat at 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 weeks of age and then monthly until the puppy is 6 months old. Thereafter, use a heartworm preventive medication that is also effective against hookworms and roundworms.

How Your Puppy Gets Hookworms

Hookworms are tiny, threadlike parasites that affect puppies and adult dogs. They are a particular problem in areas with warm, moist, sandy soil. They cycle begins when hookworm eggs are passed in dog’s stool to the soil. Your dog can swallow the young hookworms or they can penetrate its skin, usually through the foot. Hookworms are also passed from females to their young. Hookworms present a slight risk to humans if larvae (young hookworms) in the soil contact skin. Painful skin sores can result.

Signs of Hookworm Infection

Hookworms feed on blood and tissue by piercing your pet’s intestinal lining with tooth-like hooks. As a result, hookworms can cause severe blood loss. As few as 100 hookworms can kill a puppy. Dogs with heavy infections often have bloody diarrhea. Other signs include anemia, dehydration and apparent weakness. Some dogs show no outward signs of infection. This is why it is important to de-worm your puppy at an early age and to have the stool examined when recommended by your veterinarian. The veterinarian will examine the dog’s stool under a microscope and look for eggs. If your veterinarian can catch the eggs before the symptoms appear then your prêt doesn’t have to suffer the symptoms.

How Pets Get Roundworms

Nearly all puppies and kittens have roundworms. In many areas of the country, up to 70% of adult dogs are also infected. Infection usually begins when your pet accidentally swallows roundworm eggs in soil. These eggs hatch into tiny worms that move from your pet’s intestine to its liver and lungs, and then back to the intestine where they mature. The adult roundworm lays eggs that are passed in your pet’s stool to the soil. Roundworms can lay up to 200,000 eggs per day! Female pets can also pass roundworms to their unborn young or through nursing.

Signs of Roundworm Infection

Left untreated, roundworms can cause a potbelly and diarrhea, vomiting, a rough coat and poor growth are other signs. Heavy infections damage your pet’s liver, lungs and brain.  Death is possible.




There are four types of tapeworms in dogs. Tapeworms hook onto a dog’s small intestine with its mouth. Tapeworms can be as long as 8 inches to 2 feet long. One unique characteristic of these worms is that they are made up of 1/8 inch segments that break off over time and end up in your dog’s stool. The pieces that break off contain eggs that are released as the broken off segment dries. Pieces look like dried pieces of rice or cucumber seeds. The four type of tapeworms are:

  • Dipylidium Caninum—Most common. Contracted by eating fleas.
  • Taenia Taeniaformis—Contracted by rural dogs show are around farm animals such as sheep, rats and mice.
  • Echinococcus Granulosum—Found in mice and humans.


What Causes Tapeworms in Dogs

Tapeworms are most commonly spread when a dog swallows a flea that contains the tapeworm eggs. It usually happens when the flea is biting the dog. Since dogs try and remove the fleas with their mouth, they may swallow some of them. This is how they get dog fleas worms. There is another kind of tapeworm called Echinococcus that is found in small rodents. If a dog bites into or eats an infected annual, they can get tapeworms. Hunting dogs can contract up to 12 varieties of tapeworms.

Dog Medicine Tape Worms

All types of tapeworms in dogs can be treated with tapeworm tabs for dogs (Droncit Canine Cestocide Tablets and Tapeworm Tabs for Dogs and Puppies) cause the worms in the intestines to dissolve. Treatments are very effective and include praziquantel and epsiprantel. Although single doses are usually sufficient, an additional dose may be needed. Since fleas spread the worms, a flea collar is helpful in preventing the problem. Note that pinworms are often confused with tapeworms. While humans can get pinworms, dogs do not.

Human and Dog Tapeworms

Children can get tapeworms if they swallow fleas while playing with a dog or if they come in contact with partially digested fleas in a dog’s mouth. A child may have no symptoms or suffer from diarrhea and itching around the anus. Tapeworm is not passed between adults or children. It must come from an infected flea such as in a sandbox. Treatment is effective using the drug niclosamide.


About Black Dog Syndrome

Arnie now Romeo

Arnie now Romeo

A great article, even though it was written over ten years ago, very little has changed with regard to the criteria that shelters and pounds euthanize, Death by the Pound.

More about Black Dog Syndrome.

Our Intake Process, for Shelters, Pounds, and Owner-Surrenders

China the deaf/blind Aussie from Camden County Humane Society

How we Pull Death Row Dogs:

As much as we would like to say “yes” to every dog, we realize that we can not. Every dog is worthy of being saved, but we can not save every dog. To help us determine if we can accept the dog(s) you have contacted us about, please provide us with the following information, along with recent photos* and then e-mail it to us at

The more detailed information you can provide about the dog you would like for us to take into our rescue, the more we can find the right foster home, and start working right away to re-home your dog.

Thank you,
Gisele, founder, THE DOG LIBERATOR

We require a heartworm test be performed by your vet, or one of our vets before accepting any surrendered dog. If your dog is heartworm positive, we will require a donation to cover the dog’s heartworm treatment before accepting your dog.
NEW:  We require a donation or sponsorship from our supporters before accepting any dog.  The amount of the donation is dependent on whether or not the dog has had its shots, been heartworm tested, or if it’s been spayed or neutered.  
We require health certificates for all dogs crossing over the Florida State Line. All records and health certificates must be faxed to us PRIOR to transport. Out of State Transports must stop at the Department of Agriculture where indicated.

If we do not have space available, consider fostering your dog, until we can help you re-home it.
Name/Organization’s Point of Contact/email address,
Name of dog
Breed(s) If a mix, please specify and provide your best guess as to the combinationGender
Current Weight
*Heartworm Positive or Negative*Heartworm test is mandatory before we can accept the dog.

Please briefly describe the condition of the dogs coat, if there is any hair loss or if mange is suspected. Describe the condition of the dog’s eyes, and teeth. Is the dog coughing, or displaying runny stool? Provide any details of the dog’s overall health.

*When emailing photos, only email recent photos. Placing a ruler or yardstick in front of the dog is very helpful. Also, prepare to send several recent photos.

Clearly does not belong in a high kill shelter!

Has this dog been tested for heartworms? If yes, positive or negative.

What shots, vet care, etc., has this dog received?
How did this dog come to your shelter?
How long have you had the dog?
Have you personally met this dog?
Do you have transport for this dog? If so, who is your transport coordinator?

Indicate Yes No or Unknown for the following. Elaborate as needed:

Good with Dogs

Good with Cats

Good with Kids
Good with Adults
House trained
Food Aggressive
Escape Artist

Flight Risk







Suspected Fear Biter

Has Bite History

Herding Nipper

Please simply copy and paste these questions either into a Word document, or an email, and forward it to us.

Attention cross-posters: Do not expect us to take in a dog if you do not personally know or have met the dog. Before we will accept any dog into our rescue, we must personally speak to the individual who has possession of the dog.

Be sure to provide the contact’s phone number.

Then What?
If you are an owner that is surrendering your dog, you will foster the dog for TDL until it is successfully re-homed.
If you are a shelter or pound, once we can accept your dog into our rescue, it is required that you fax the dog’s health certificate and medical history from your vet or shelter to our vet PRIOR to transport. Depending on the transport location, we will provide you with the animal clinic that we have chosen for your dog.
All dogs must have our phone number and The Dog Liberator written on their collar with a permanent marker.


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