Irish Rose Marie ~ Adopted!

22Rose Marie has our Irish eyes smiling!

She’s a beautiful 3 year old purebred Border Collie who was given up by a breeder because she couldn’t have puppies. 

Rose Marie just arrived on March 14th, so we are still getting to know her, and will update as soon as we know more about her. Check out her Photos on Facebook!

If you are interested in adopting Rose Marie please read our adoption process and follow the steps in the post.

10410336_10153031944834792_5776699040512864740_n3/23/15 Update:  We are getting to know Rose Marie and learning all about her. She is timid and while she seems shy fearful she is gentle. She has met a few dogs and did well, even sharing a water bowl with one and drinking at the same time. She also met a cat and had no interest in it. She would do best in a home without young children as they can make her nervous.

Rose Marie has been spayed, and is getting some basic training and learning how to be part of a loving family. This beautiful girl will need a family who can provide some boundaries/consistent rules so she can feel comfortable. We have found that when timid dogs know what is expected of them they are able to blossom and often come out of their shell. So don’t let her timid nature make you shy away, This girl is stunning on every level.



4/15/15 Update: Rose Marie went home with Harriet of Central Florida! So Happy for them both!




First flight but she did well! Here is Rose Marie coming off transport!

   More updates coming soon!

Help your Dog have a Safe Holiday!

As we come up on another holiday, we have a few tips to help you and your dog stay safe and happy.

Monitor the Grill – The food you are cooking is very attractive to your pup. They can burn themselves on the hot grill. Also be careful where you dispose of any coals you may have used. They smell like meat juice and can be a tempting snack.

No Cooked Bones – They are choking hazards and can result in dental and mouth injuries, and intestinal blockages and perforations. Ouch!

Watch the Trash – Whether it is the tinfoil you wrapped the steak in, a corn cob, a bamboo skewer, or plastic, your pup might make them a snack and that could land you at the vet.

A Warm Day Warning – Warm temperatures can cause your pet to overheat. Have water available to your pet, provide shaded areas if you are going to be outside, or let them stay inside instead.

Watch What They Eat – Table scraps may seem like a nice treat for your pet but be careful what you share. Fatty foods can upset their stomach and sometimes lead to pancreatitis. Additionally some BBQ foods are toxic to pets including onions, garlic, alcohol and the artificial sweetener Xylitol. Here is a link of Foods Hazardous to Dogs. Instead, consider a special dog treat, or sharing a more pet safe and healthy food, like a carrot!

Monitor Chemicals – Lighter fluid, bug spray, alcohol, sunscreen, you never know what a dog will eat, lick or chew on. Make sure you store them safely out of reach.

Additionally, holiday fun can also lead to lost dogs. Some locations celebrate with fireworks which can be frightening to many dogs.  For tips to help deal with thunder, fireworks, and other situations your pup might find scarey, check out the following articles: Helping Your Dog Relax, More Great Ideas for Calming Dogs, and consider using a product we love,  The Thundershirt. We strongly suggest making sure your dog’s tags and microchip information is correct, legible, and ready in case they happen to decide to go on an unplanned adventure.

Also remember that a backyard party may result in a gate being left open or a pup slipping out the door.  Make sure your guests know the dog is lose in the yard and/house. It is better to be prepared for the chance of your dog running away, and implement preventative measures where you can, so please check out the following articles: How to Prepare for the 4th of July, Lost and Found – The Stray Dog, and Dog Catching Tips. Additionally our 4th of July post may be helpful.

Have a safe and Happy Labor day!

Dog Catching Tip

Brittney's Mystery

Brittney’s Mystery

You might have noticed the leash that Marlo was wearing in her photos, it’s made of chain! When we tried to catch Brittney’s Mystery, we learned a valuable lesson! After she snapped the leash in half with one swipe of her teeth, we had to come up with plan B! The flimsy leash we had was an epic fail! When we came back the next day to trap her, we had a braided nylon leash! She still could’ve bitten it, but it would’ve taken her a little bit longer to chew out!

Recently when I picked up William Wallace, in two seconds, he too snapped the leash in half. It happens! Several years ago, we rescued a Golden Retriever, Gracie, she too snapped her leash off like a pro.

After our encounter with Zsa Zsa the Poodle, I was prepared, and I suggest you do the same. I had a chain leash in the car!

Recently everyone has been reporting finding stray dogs! If you think you’re the type to try to rescue, do yourself a favor and arm yourself with a braided nyson slip leash (in case the dog does not have a collar, and then, once you can place a collar on the dog, use the chain leash. How would you feel if you helped a dog get to safety, only to watch it bite, snap, and bolt? It happens!  I actually went to a local petstore and paid a fortune for one of these leashes, only to find them reasonably priced on Amazon!

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

Helping Your Dog Relax

Ginger Doodle

Ginger Doodle

When we first saw Ginger Doodle (now known as Spec) on TDL’s site, we were hooked –  I mean look at those sweet blue eyes! We had been looking to rescue for several years, and found Spec (a Deaf Mini Aussie) to be the perfect fit for us. I work from home, and she has become my best coworker. We usually spend all day together, and she gets me up and away from the computer for walks and fresh air. She is the perfect companion as she can usually be found sound asleep, curled up on her bed.  The hard part comes in when I have to leave the house.

We initially bought a crate and “conditioned” her for weeks – only feeding her in the crate, petting her in there, leaving for 5-10 minutes, etc. After a few weeks we both decided to leave the house while she was crated. We are fortunate enough to have webcams set up around our house (we use a free webcast program) so we can watch her from our phones while we are away. Thank goodness for the cameras, because the first time we left she was barking, howling, biting, and thrashing against the cage within minutes. When I got home it was plain to see that both physical and psychological damage had been done. I never wanted to leave her again – but I knew that I would have to get out of the house eventually! Enter big bills on sprays, treats, jackets, toys, and our dog behaviorist.

We started on a budget, ordering Composure Treats and a Thundershirt . We also stopped by the pet store and grabbed a phermone releasing plug in type device that they recommended. After about a month of conditioning her to the Thundershirt and trying the treats, we started to see an improvement. Because we wanted to be sure we were doing everything right, we contacted a behaviorist for a single session to work on her separation anxiety.

The behaviorist (Paul Pipitone) we used had our dog sitting in the crate (while we pretended to leave) within minutes! I was totally hooked and wanted to learn everything he had to share. He did great work with the dog, but his most valuable lessons were imparted upon us as owners.

Thanks to the behaviorist, we try not to leave for a long time without first going on a long, brisk walk (at least 20 minutes). Once we return and I am ready to head out, I calmly call her to her favorite spot, make her sit, and give her a special treat that she only gets when she is alone. I wave goodbye and that’s that. We leave a fan on (to help her feel less alone, similar to leaving a TV on for hearing pups) and have put an ottoman in our window so she can people watch, and see us getting into our cars. More often than not she is still in the window looking for us when we get back, but she is calm, cool, and collected.

Perhaps the biggest piece of the puzzle comes into play when we return home. We have learned to completely ignore Spec until she has settled and sits. She is to the point where when we get home she has about 15 seconds of “OMG MOM AND DAD!!!” and then she will sit and wait for one of us to acknowledge her. Our first instinct was to give her all sorts of love and attention when we walked home – she did just spend a couple of hours alone after all – but that was our downfall. Every time we left her she would get more and more excited for our return – because to her that meant playtime, treats, walks, and belly rubs. Now we wait until she is 100% relaxed before petting and playing – and it has made all the difference.

I want to encourage anyone with a dog that gets separation anxiety to formulate a plan. We do our “morning walk” with Spec to a local coffee shop – that way we get our day started with sunshine and caffeine and she gets a nice long walk in with us. It helps her to chill out once we get back home, and helps us to have a more invigorating start to our day! We have also worked hard to let go of our own guilt and anxiety when we have to leave her. Dogs are incredibly smart, and they can sense (and feed off of) those emotions from a mile away. Finally, we always give Spec plenty of love and affection when she is in a calm, laid back state of mind. All of these things were a change for us, but they have all paid off – I can leave her for 4-5 hours at a time now without a single peep! Good luck with your pups, and don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional for advice!

Paul Pipitone, trainer and behaviorist, Dogs Best Friend of Central Florida

Remember, when ordering products from Amazon, bookmark Amazon Smile and your purchase will help The Dog Liberator’s Rescue or visit their Amazon Shop that Contains all of their Recommended Products!

Come On Eileen – Adopted

Come On Eileen

Come On Eileen

This gorgeous young female comes to us from Becky in Alabama.  She has been groomed, had all of her shots, is heartworm negative, and  has been spayed and micro chipped.  James, an employee of Newman Vets wanted to adopt her so bad, but his landlord would not allow it.  Sad.  Details coming soon!

Stunning Collie!

Stunning Collie!

Come on Eileen hanging out with her new BFF (Big Fluffy Friend)!

Come on Eileen hanging out with her new BFF (Big Fluffy Friend)!

You can see her photos on Facebook.

Update:  I sure gave her the perfect name, Come On Eileen!  She is terrified of everything, enjoys being with other dogs, but very fearful, therefore she is NOT ready to be adopted.  She is being fostered by Sherri, who adopted Prince Harry from us a year ago.  She is doing very well with Sherri.  Updates coming soon!

05/13/14 Update:  After hanging out with Sherri’s pack for about two months, Sherri and her husband have agreed to adopt Eileen!  Her shyness comes and goes, but they are working with increasing her confidence and self-esteem.  Eileen adores her two male Collies.  Together, they make an awesome pack!  I’m so happy!!!  Eileen is very cautious around men, Sherri’s husband Dave has been working hard and getting her though her issues.

Mr. Spock… Fascinating – RIP

Gregg contacted me yesterday, and gave me the news, Bailey passed away suddenly. He apparently ripped his spleen, but the complications were originally due to cancer on his pancreas. This is a real blow to the Carlson family, they recently lost their other TDL dog, Iris. Our prayers are with them, and Bailey will always be remembered.

History:  Spock was transported to us by Michael McGrath, a Pilots N Paws pilot, who after weather would not allow him to fly Spock, he literally fostered Spock over night at his home, and drove him for us! Serena had the privilege of meeting Mike after several hours of being on the road!

We want to thank Mr. McGrath for his dedication and efforts to help this young boy, known as Bailey, and now renamed Spock.
Spock is approximately 2 years old. He is fully vetted and neutered. I’m waiting to receive details regarding his history, which is still a mystery. Regardless, today is a new day, and today he starts his new life here with us, and has nothing but hopeful and positive days ahead of him to look forward to.

I did not name him Spock because he has large pointed ears, I named him Spock because even though he does not show emotion, it’s obvious that he processes every sight and sound around him. Nothing escapes Spock. Right now he is spending every second absorbing his surroundings and determining if we are “good people”.

I can’t help but be reminded of our Flash Gordon every time I look at Spock.

Because Spock is not an excited playful dog (instead he is cautious and reserved) I will give him plenty of time before I introduce him to the pack.

Spock will find his grove in due time, and he will show me what brings him joy. Until then, we’re going to give him his space, and allow him to relax and put behind him the trauma of being at the pound, and allow him the time that he needs to forget his past, and move on.

Update: Mr. Spock is adjusting quickly and showing a lot of affection. I do not believe he was ever abused in anyway, I believe he was unsure of all of the changes that were taking place, and needed time to feel safe in his new surroundings. He is very cautious but wants to please and be loved.

Update 12/3/09: Mr. Spock was surrendered by his owner, after his owner became very ill and hospitalized. He came to us at the request of his rescuers. His moments spent at the pound, surely affected him, however, we believe that Spock has never experienced a well-balanced life, in short, never experienced other dogs, and travel in general.

Mr. Spock spent his first few days at The Dog Liberator’s Border Collie Boot Camp just getting used to his surroundings and the founder of the rescue, but now it’s time for him to be properly socialized.

Paul Pipitone helps The Dog Liberator by introducing Spock to different experiences. Much to their surprise, Spock responds well, as he learns to play and trust unknown humans.

Spock is very intelligent, fully vetted, and neutered. He is housebroken, very calm, quiet, and would make a great companion to anyone who is looking for a trained Border Collie.

Update 12/10/09: Spock (Bailey) was adopted today by the Carlson family who drove from Cape Coral to meet their forever dog! Looking forward to receiving updates and photos!

Update 12/20/09: Spock, whose real name is Bailey, is enjoying being the puppy he never was. We do believe he experienced some sort of abuse, through simple training errors that left him afraid and confused. Now, he is learning to play with balls, frisbees, brooms, plastic bags, and stuffed animals – which is exactly what he needs.

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.


Boo Boo~Adopted

08/09/13 Update:  I changed Boo Boo’s status from On Hold to Available this afternoon.  Her progress has been amazing!  She’s seeing the vet very soon and will be ready for adoption!  She is going to make someone very very happy.

She is going in and out of her crate, without a leash.  She sticks close to me outside.  She doesn’t cower as much anymore, because I’m ignoring it.  She found a stuffy toy last night, and played with it… that’s HUGE!  She has found her joy!

08/19/13 Update:  A few days at the vet for a much needed bath, all of her shots, and spay proved to be stressful on Boo Boo.  I can’t blame her.  The folks at Newman Veterinary Centers insisted that she meet new people, be petted, and get used to getting attention!  Boo Boo did very well.  She proved to everyone how fearful she really is, but she did it… she pulled through, and overall she had a good experience there.  It took a few days for her to recover from her surgery, and feel at home again, but now she is her normal affectionate self.  She adores my daughter, Sarah, and comes to me easily for kisses.

Boo Boo has a long road to recovery, she needs routine, a quiet home where she can slowly explore and gain her confidence.  If pushed, she will regress.  Whoever adopts Boo Boo will find themselves owning a velcro dog!

Showing her love and affection, Boo Boo learns to trust a stranger

Showing her love and affection, Boo Boo learns to trust a stranger

08/22/13 Update:  The stars all lined up properly for Boo Boo Monday night.  I was told there was a blue moon on Monday, it was gorgeous.  So if the expression is true, “once in a blue moon” that’s how Boo Boo’s adoption can be described!

It was so perfect, it’s hard for me to explain!  When Leslie and I talked about possibly adopting Boo Boo I said to her, “don’t expect Boo Boo to come to you, to have eye contact, to take a treat from your hand.  She will be very scared.”


Serena Drake had come over an hour before Leslie arrived.  She spent time with Boo Boo de-sensitizing her.  You see, Serena had bathed Boo Boo just a few days ago, so Boo Boo was a bit familiar with her, so Serena was not a total stranger.  Serena walked with her on leash, got Boo Boo to sit close to her and let her be touched, and practiced taking the leash on and off, on and off.



It didn’t take long before Boo Boo actually fell asleep with her head on Serena’s leg!  It was a great exercise for Boo Boo to learn to trust someone she didn’t really know.

Then, the time came for Boo Boo’s new family to appear in Act Two!  I asked Leslie to sit in “my chair”, her husband Jack sat next to her, Serena had Boo Boo on leash (Serena was on the floor) and I vanished!  I didn’t want Boo Boo to use me as a shield.

When I returned a few moments later, I sat far away from everyone and Boo Boo was on her own to make her own decisions.  I gave Leslie and Jack treats, and much to my surprise, Boo Boo approached Leslie, sniffed her hand, and licked it!


"Are you here for me?"  ~ Boo Boo

“Are you here for me?” ~ Boo Boo

Then, Boo Boo and Leslie made eye contact and they stared at each other.  “She is so beautiful,” Leslie said.  And something happened.  The connection was made.  Boo Boo took the treat, then Jack presented a treat as well…. wait for it…. and Boo Boo took the treat from Jack’s hand.

I nearly fell over.

The meet went perfectly.  Boo Boo was not afraid, she was curious, she was calm, she was… perfect.  We completed the adoption… now to get Boo Boo through the yard and into Leslie’s car.  That again, was uneventful.  Boo Boo was afraid to get in at first, and I picked her up.  Did you hear that?  I said I picked her up!  She did not snap at the air warning me not to, she let me pick her up.

"Step on it Dad"  ~ Boo Boo

“Step on it Dad” ~ Boo Boo

On the way home, while in the back seat with Leslie, Boo Boo gave Jack, the driver, a kiss. Once they arrived, she and Leslie went for a walk, and as of late yesterday… it’s a match made in heaven!

Boo Boo still has to learn to get along with Leslie’s cat.  She is doing very well with her new Dad, Jack, and I just love getting regular updates!  Woo Hoo Boo Boo!  Oh, and her new name is Bella!

What an awesome save!

Boo Boo’s History:

She looks like an Aussie, but I’m not convinced. She does have a tail, and that happens, but there’s something about her face… I see Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever… is that rare? Yes, but I still see it! And what about those blue eyes?

Note:  I will retract the Duck Tolling comment below!

This young girl has totally shut down emotionally. She would avoid eye-contact, freaked out on leash, and freaked out when she entered my home. She was happy to go into her crate, and she is resting.

Eye-Contact, is a great thing!

Eye-Contact, is a great thing!

She did make progress and took hot dog bites from my hand.  After a while, she did take the bone I offered her, and ate some kibble, but she had to feel safe first. This morning when I made eye-contact with her, she wagged her tail! That’s huge! I’ll give her a few more days so I can earn her trust and let her come out of her shell… on her own time. Emotionally, she reminds me of Les Paul. I’m sure she’ll come around.  You can see more photos of her on Facebook.

She will see our Vet on Monday, and all of these dogs are currently being fostered in Deltona.

Special thanks to Pilot, Ed Golly and his team of volunteers, to Becky Harshman who coordinated the rescue, and to all of our wonderful supporters who donated to our Veterinary Care Fund. This is why we need and depend on your help!

08/03/13 Update:  Becky provided me with a little bit more information about this pretty red girl.  She wrote:

Seriously?  I don't want to come out!

Seriously? I don’t want to come out!

“Second Chance Rescue is a boarding facility that doesn’t adopt dogs, just holds them until a rescue can be found.  They are part of the Butler Co. Humane Society.  Red girl was found in the woods with her sister by a member of the organization and the dog was boarded in a kennel until real rescue was found.”

She hits in the ground in fear

She hits in the ground in fear

This piece of information makes total sense.  This little red girl is our Brittney’s Mystery.  So, I called Brittney and begged her to come over last night.  She did!  You can see some of the photos on Facebook.  Boo Boo refused to come out of her crate, and I had just fed them a large meal with their capstar and de-worming medicine… it was time she goes outside.  The last thing we want to do is set a dog up to fail.


Without any history, we have to be careful.  Boo Boo does not do well on leash so I wanted a harness on her.  Brittney slowly got Boo Boo out of her crate, we muzzled her so that we would all remain calm (a Mystery move!) and we placed a gorgeous leather harness on her.  Realize that this is not something I would do while home alone with my two children!  I needed Brittney!

"You're going to be just fine!  What a pretty harness you have!"

“You’re going to be just fine! What a pretty harness you have!”

While Brittney is very confident about her approach, we are much the same… we are both stubborn!  I would use the no touch, no talk, no eye-contact, while Brittney does the opposite.  Regardless, we both agree that we remain patient, yet firm.  Calm yet assertive.  It’s a dance, it’s a form of communication.  We have to let the dog know, “you’re okay, but we have to do things to help you.”

It worked!  Out in the back yard late last night, while it was dark, the pup licked Brittney’s hand, I got to hold her for a bit and give her a massage on her back, and yes… the pup rolled over on her back, exposed her belly, thus inviting Brittney to rub her!  It was awesome.

This morning, again, she wagged her tail when she saw me.  The harness was there for me to leash her up, and we went outside.  No Problems!

"Now, we are going outside, and we are going to love on you!"

“Now, we are going outside, and we are going to love on you!”

One thing I forgot to mention is that this pup is in heat.  Which puts her at 8 months of age.  If she continues to make progress, we’re going to the Vet on Monday!

Do I think that sharing her story, and telling the truth about her will reduce her chance to be adopted?  Maybe!  But it’s the way we do things at TDL.  We are honest about our dogs, their issues, and we know the type of homes they need to be successful.

Boo Boo really likes it when Petunia comes close, she wagged her tail, licked Petunia in the face, and rolled over to show her belly.  Being with other dogs will be good for Boo Boo.

What I can tell you is that I never saw the dog have the desire to bite.  She is just scared.  She is Les Paul scared, she is Shy Sharon scared, she is Brittney’s Mystery scared.  She doesn’t know if we are nice people, or if we want to eat her!  So, let’s move on, give this girl a chance, and hope for the best!

08/04/13 Update:  I didn’t use the muzzle this morning.  When I walked out to greet the pack, she stood up and was very happy to see me!  She went outside on leash with little resistance but isn’t walking around and investigating.  I hope today she will get a bath.  That’ll be a scary experience for her… but she has to have one.

ACD/Aussie puppy is getting fixed!

ACD/Aussie puppy is getting fixed!

08/05/13 Update:  Last night was amazing.  Brittney came over, and lured Boo Boo out of her crate.  She wanted Boo Boo to do it on her own.  This woman has patience!  I was very impressed with Boo Boo’s progress.  She has joy in her eyes now, and her trust factor has improved at least 50%.  I video taped a lot of the session and took a lot photos that can be seen on Facebook.  But one mystery is solved.  Brittney sees Red Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog) and Aussie in this girl, and she is spot on.  I retract the Duck Tolling Retriever comment!

08/06/13 Update: Boo Boo continues to make a lot of progress. She will let Sarah put a leash on her, she will go out of her crate, into the yard and come back into her crate for my daughter, Sarah! Woo Hoo!

08/08/13 Update:  Well, isn’t this a kick in the pants?  My daughter, Sarah, has been letting Boo Boo out every day.  She can get her out of the crate, put a leash on her, let her out, and bring her back in!  Boo Boo is walking with much more pride, and doing her business outside like a good girl.  Her heat cycle is almost over.  She due for a much needed bath, and she will be ready VERY soon to go to the vet.  She’s doing great!


"We're not broken!"  ~Cecilia

“We’re not broken!” ~Cecilia

July 12, 2013

This dog’s owner wanted to drive the dog personally to me.  Passing up on a chance for me to meet her somewhere off I-4, she wanted to see my dogs, check out the place… she needed assurance that choosing me was the right choice.  She met Lady Di, and China and witnessed Ozzie’s humor.  We talked about some of my hard cases, and I evaluated her dog while we talked.

We may have sat and talked for about an hour, maybe two, and during the entire time, she fought back her tears.  As she gave me the dog’s bed, toys, treats, etc., it became harder for her to hide her sadness.

I sat close to the dog, she started to shake in fear.  I offered her treats, and she would not take them, not even when I put the treat on the floor would she take them.  She also would not have eye contact with me.  The owner indicated that the dog would not take a treat from her husband, but was very close and bonded with her 17 year-old daughter.

What I know:  The dog is a young female, born in November of 2012.  She originally came from a shelter in Georgia.  She and her litter mates were transported to a rescue in St. Petersburg, Florida.  She was estimated to be 4 weeks of age at that time.  Her mother was also transported to the rescue, but the mother was euthanized.  Why?  I don’t know.  She was adopted when she was about 3-4 months of age.  The dog continues to live in total fear.  She is afraid of everything.

She is great with other dogs, loves young women, is afraid of men, is great with cats, loves toys, is afraid to go on walks, and is afraid of being in the car.

Cecilia the Border Collie

Cecilia the Border Collie

Late tonight, my son’s Dad came over, and I asked him to sit in front of the dog’s crate, and give her hot dog bites.  The dog avoided him, having no eye contact.  He threw a hot dog in the crate, and she ignored it.  I instructed him to let her see my pack take hot dog bites, and the dog watched.  He offered her the treat, she refused, and he gave the treat to one of my dogs.  We repeated this several times, and eventually she ate the hot dog that was in her crate.  He continued to put little hot dog bites in her crate, and while she would not take it out of his hand, she would eat them once they were placed on the ground in front of her.  We did this for about 15 minutes, but she never made eye contact with him.


July 13, 2013

During my first  day with the dog, I noticed she was very relaxed here at my home.  I watched her, trying to give her space and time to get used to the sights and sounds of my home.  She greeted my pack with incredible manners, she enjoyed the safety of her crate, remained unusually quiet… her owner said she has never barked.  

I took her outside on leash for her to relieve herself, and just as she squatted to pee, I said “good girl”…. she stopped.  She would not pee for another 15 minutes.  When she did squat to pee, I stayed quiet, not wanting to alarm her.  But, the dog would not poop – she just wasn’t comfortable enough in this new environment to allow herself the freedom to poop.  This dog is incredibly sensitive, emotional, and fearful.  She has certain fears, fears of new things, yet her owner said she plays with toys, and other dogs.  I have to come up with a plan.  I have to create a plan based on my past experiences, but the plan has to be flexible to accommodate the dog’s issues.

Later that day, TDL Foster, Laura Burke delivered Shakira and Tiramisu to me to be spayed and vetted.  It dawned on me that maybe, because of my deep voice, or maybe because of the color of my hair, the dog was cautious around me, especially when I speak directly to her.  Laura has young boys, a husband, and a young daughter at home.  She also has her own dogs and a cat… I wondered if Laura was a better foster option than me.  Once I asked Laura if she would consider fostering this shy and fearful girl, her son sat in front of the dog’s crate and worked to get eye-contact.  He succeeded.  Laura spoke with her family, and they were up for the challenge.

Laura and I created a plan for this new dog.  It was very important that the men in her home take the lead with the dog, and while we are sure that the dog will latch on to Laura’s daughter, we’re going to try to avoid that co-dependent relationship from developing.  Regardless of what we have planned for the dog, Laura and I agreed while watching her avoid eye contact with us, “she is broken”.  Something went wrong with this little pup and we’ll have to figure it out.

I have tried to get as much information about the dog as I can, but nothing makes any sense.  Laura and I have decided to just tell ourselves that she was a stray, found on the side of the road, has no history, and to start from scratch.  If her past, and the details that we have don’t make sense, I think it’ll impact our ability to rehabilitate her.  We need to let the dog tell us what’s wrong so we can fix it.

On the way home, no fault of her own, the dog just couldn’t hold it any longer.  She pooped in the car.  But what happened afterward was heartbreaking.  The dog hid in fear, shook and trembled, sure she would be reprimanded, and emotionally shut down.   After pulling over and cleaning up, I  hope the dog learned she wasn’t in any trouble, nothing was said, no one reacted, and the trip continued.

Arriving at her new foster home, the dog shut down again, dropped to the ground and wouldn’t budge, but with coaxing and firmness, she was brought into the home, and found safety in her crate.

July 14, 2013

I’m getting updates from Laura, and the progress is amazing, however, in cases like this one, sometimes it’s three steps forward and two steps back.  The dog has taken a piece of cheese from Laura’s husband’s hand (that’s huge) and is rubbing against Laura’s son (contact with a male is huge).  She has met Laura’s daughter, and immediately made friends by giving her her paw.  The dog feels better being around Laura’s dogs, it’s as if she can relax when other dogs are around her, she feels safe being part of a pack.

Josh decides to climb into Cecilia's kennel and read a book!  That'll Work!

Josh decides to climb into Cecilia’s kennel and read a book! That’ll Work!

I suggested that the boys put one of their old shirts inside of Cecilia’s crate… they took it one step further!

Fostering a dog like this is like a dance.  You have to be patient yet firm, you have to wait for the dog to be ready, but sometimes you have to push them, you have to push them without setting them up to fail.  We have named her Cecilia.

August 2, 2013 Update:  Cecilia is ready for her new home.  Cecilia is a very smart and sensitive girl.  She must be adopted by a home with another dog who wants to play.  She is also very good with cats.  Cecilia loves women, teenage girls are her favorite.  She was afraid of men at first, but she has warmed up to her foster Dad and her foster boys.  She is a real joy!  She is fully vetted, heartworm negative, spayed and microchipped.

I get emails all the time asking for a dog that’s good with cats and good with other dogs… here’s your chance to adopt the perfect dog!

We will be providing updated photos on Facebook and hopefully a video soon!

Email for more information.

Cecilia's first morning with her new family

Cecilia’s first morning with her new family

 August 10, 2013 Update:  CC (Cecilia) was adopted yesterday by the McCarthy family.  It was amazing!  I received an early morning update and her new Mom reports that she is sitting close and nudging her new Dad a bit!  She is very fond of her new boys, and playing with her new dog!  She’s even going for walks!  Looks like her adjustment to her new home isn’t going to take long.

I can’t thank the Burke family enough.  They did everything right.  The were patient, yet firm and they showed her to face her fears and move on.  Thank you Laura!  You’re her true rescuer!

Cecilia warms up to her new Dad

Cecilia warms up to her new Dad

Reba McEntire~Adopted

Her Freedom Ride to Rescue

Her Freedom Ride to Rescue

This gorgeous little red girl is probably less than a year old.  She comes to us from Brevard County, thanks to Marjie Wolfe for transporting her to us.  She can jump in mid air from a stand position, and has incredible focus and drive.  I scrambled to think of a name for her, when Reba was suggested by both Nicole and Brittney!  Reba it is!

Her coat tells her story; she has been on her own for quite a long time.  Considering how young she is, I suspect she escaped when she was just a pup.  She is very affectionate and great with my kids.  She is guarded about her food, but that is understandable, she doesn’t know that there is a never-ending supply of food here.  She cried at first when I put her in a crate, yet one firm Tssshhhht and she stopped!  Reba is a listener, she gets it!  She aims to please, yet her contact with humans has been very little.  She was someone’s puppy at one time and craves your love.

I don’t think Reba knows what dog food is.  I gave her homemade dog food last night, and she didn’t know what to do with it.  I’m sorry girl but dirt, grass and rocks are no longer on the menu here!  She didn’t even know to chew on a raw beef marrow bone.  She’s just never had it before.  Amazing as it may sound, she is very content in her fancy air-conditioned and padded crate, and is having many power naps!

everything a performance dog needs to be a star

everything a performance dog needs to be a star

Normally, I would wait to have her professionally groomed by Serena at Newman Veterinary Center, but I think this girl might need a few baths just to give her coat some moisture, it’s extremely brittle from the weather.  Brittney will come over today and together, we will scrub this little girl from head to toe, check her ears, and check for ticks.  Maybe then she will be magnificent in her photos, but for now, she looks really scruffy!  As a side note, I don’t think Winter’s or Mystery’s coat was this scruffy!

If you’re looking for a performance dog for agility or frisbee, this is your girl.  She has drive, focus, speed and is quick to learn.

Her photos can be viewed on Facebook, and we will be taking a lot of new photos of her shortly!

05/26/13 Update:  Okay, this isn’t not my first rodeo, and who ever owned this dog, I can only say that one day, you will face your Maker… but we believe that she was left in a crate way too small for her little body for too long.  Her tendons have been shortened probably from being left in a crate way too small for her for too long.  This will get better with good diet and exercise.  I believe this was early in life, when she was very young.  Therefore, I would like to think she was a breeder’s dog, but she has not yet had puppies, at least there is no evidence she has had a litter.  Regardless, she has not had the freedom to stretch.  That combined with my other suspicions that she escaped, and has been on her own for a while, I still believe is true.  Am I completely right?  Maybe, but I don’t think I’m very far off.

She is starting to eat, and she pooped today for the first time!  She is a bit fearful, but she was also very interested in the sounds of very young children… she longed for them, so tomorrow we’re going to dig deeper, and test her with toddlers.  She just might shock us and really want to be with iddy biddy kidlettes!  We’ll see!  She is very affectionate with Sarah.

DSC_00025/27/13 Update: Okay, Okay I finally made it to Gisele’s to bathe Reba. Boy! Was that a job! She was a HOT MESS! It wouldn’t hurt her to have 3 more baths. I have to admit when I met Reba for the first time I wasn’t thrilled with what I saw. She jumped on everyone and was uncontrollably running wild all over the porch/yard. Almost to the point of annoying. Okay it was annoying!

Today, However, Gisele and I drew her bath and prepared for what we just knew would be a rodeo. We picked her up and put her in the doggie bath tub, she struggles. I rush to snap the restraint on her so that we can safely get this over with. I take the head, Gisele takes the rear. We lather and lather and lather and rinse. Oh My! There is white under there! Reba wasn’t thrilled and UGH! There was hair everywhere.

We towel dried her, no way I was blowing her dry she is unsure of everything, She is stressed out enough. She cringes at the thought of anything touching her. I don’t want to push her too far the first time it could cause a lifelong fear of a bath. Something I definitely do not want.

Three towels later Gisele carries her out to the back yard and sets her down. She sprints like a bolt of lightning! You can see she feels soooo much better! She comes back to me; I block her and give her a firm verbal correction. Much to my surprise she Freezes and sits patiently at my feet. Gisele and I brush her out the best we could and we sit and watch her run FREE and with joy!

Fluffy... can we play now?

Fluffy… can we play now?

She returns multiple times for some more lovin’ each time waiting patiently next to me to be petted. I was incredibly proud of her. After a moment, I realized she was COMPLETELY focused on what I was telling her to do. So I started to work on sit, a few seconds later she had it! Next she ran to the far side of the yard I whistle, she turns on a dime and recalls directly to me. YAY!!! Luck of the draw? Nope! I asked her to go play and we tried again! Yep you guessed it! She recalled directly to me! WOO-HOO! This girl has an incredible NEED for a job! She would make an amazing agility or Frisbee dog or any other action packed sport! Oh, and she LOVES her tennis ball too, the purple one in particular.

After playing for a few moments I called her back, she sat relaxed at my side while I pet her. When it was time I called her to the door and opened her crate and pointed and she went right in no hesitation!

Reba and Brittney

Reba and Brittney

This girl has a lot of potential, she will need a stern, confident yet loving voice and a firm precise hand to guide her but she shows the want to please (something I didn’t see the first time I met her). I love when a foster gets their first bath; it establishes Trust and Respect, both are essential in the rehab process. Once she gained a level of respect for both me and Gisele, she was a totally different dog! She is a very good girl just doesn’t know what us “Humans” want from her! It will take a special person and she isn’t for just anyone but when that person comes along we will know and so will she! She is going to make a fantastic dog for someone that knows how to properly guide her.

Looking at her more closely today I agree with Gisele’s theory that she was crated for a long time and then escaped and lived on her own for an has been on her own for an even longer time! That didn’t stop her though she wants to learn she just doesn’t know what is expected. It hasn’t taken me any longer than 5 minutes to teach her any one thing so far! She is extremely smart! She doesn’t like to be restrained, and that comes from fending for herself for so long. It will pass and she will overcome it, She is going to shape into a great dog! ~Brittney

Reba McIntire is adopted

Reba McIntire is adopted

06/22/13 Update: Reba has left the building! She was adopted by Mary & Steve of Clermont, Florida… Mary writes on Facebook, “she acts like she’s always lived here!” Woo Hoo Reba!

Brittney’s Mystery

This is the story, written in real-time, is about one loose stray that we attempted to catch for almost two months. While residents have reported seeing her for many months, we were determined to bring her to safety. At first, not knowing if she was feral, we kept her whereabouts a secret. We decided if she was feral, we would spay/neuter, release. We didn’t even know if Mystery was a male or a female. I asked Brittney to document her experience, in a diary format.  I’m glad she did!  While this story is very long, please note that Brittney does update it several times a week. You may want to bookmark this page, and come back to it occasionally to learn more about Mystery’s progress.



She did it!

If you follow Brittney Myers on Facebook, you know who Mystery is.  Brittney has been working for almost two months now trying to catch a stray dog that she almost hit one early morning.  With the help of Volusia County Animal Control, we successfully trapped and caught her this afternoon.  She is currently at Newman Veterinary Center in Deltona, relaxing!

Beautiful Mystery

However, while I was filling out Mystery’s paperwork at the Vet’s office, two ladies engaged Brittney in conversation, and mentioned that they too had seen a loose dog in DeBary days ago.  The dog darted across the road, and ran into the woods.  Could it be the same dog?  When one woman said it was a blue merle, we had a match!  So Brittney’s Mystery has been sighted by many people that travel through that area.

I have to tell you that every single day, Brittney had new news to report.  She found every one of Mystery’s hiding spots, learned where she darted off to, and panicked when Mystery didn’t come back to her den to eat.  “She’s gone Gisele, she hasn’t eaten in days.  We may have scared her off, what if she never comes back?”  I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights Brittney has had these past few weeks.

Brittney’s Mystery

Just several days ago, we got her… but when we opened the trap door, and put a leash on her, she bucked and panicked, and bit through the leash.  ARGHHHH!  We thought she’d never come back, but she did.

While this cat and mouse game was going on, Brittney documented everything so that we could share her story with you!

This little girl has been a stray for approximately 6-12 months now.  We estimate her at two years of age.  She is very scared, but she is not feral.  At this time, she is not available for adoption.  We will give her some time to adjust.  Written on her kennel card in big bold letters is, “DO NOT REMOVE”!

However, being on her own for this long poses the question, how is her health?  I’m cringing at the thought of hearing my phone ringing with her medical condition, and worried that we will not be able to afford it.

If you can spare a few dollars toward Mystery’s Veterinary Care, we sure do need your help right now!

You can view more photos of Mystery on Facebook.  Special thanks to the folks at Benson Junction for their help and patience!
What we have not yet discussed is how Mystery is a shining example of why we must be thorough when we approve an adoption.  Mystery was probably purchased from a breeder, to be a guard dog.  Once the company folded, she was left behind on the properly, to fend for herself.


Mystery’s Daily Journal

Everyday when I visit, I follow the same routine

1. Pull in turn the car off, remove the key from the ignition so that the door does not ding!

2. Leave door open

3. Sneak around the backside of her den

 4. Check to see if she is in her den

5. Feed and water

Last but not least and the second most important thing, I yell out “Mystery, Come and eat girl!”  I then head back to my truck, start the truck and yell, “I’m leaving girl come eat!” most times she will return to eat exactly 1 hour after I leave.

You will notice that throughout this journey I do my best not to leave food if she doesn’t see me there. Even if she see’s me and runs, that is okay.  I do my best to make sure that if there is food left there, she knew who left it there for her, and it paid off in the end!

The Mystery Starts Here

March 6th

  • 5:30 am spotted a loose dog coming out of Benson Junction’s parking lot toward the Moose Lodge.  She went behind Moose Lodge into tall woods/weeds toward power lines. She ran when I opened the car door.
  • 6:30 am went back down with hotdogs.  There was no sign of her.  I took my son, Jorgen to school and went to Gisele’s house to talk to her about what I had seen.
  • 2:30 pm I went back to where I had seen her, and walked through the weeds with Gisele and Dale Johnson.  Dale had recently adopted Winter, who was also a stray on his own for many months.  While looking for Mystery we found her up on the path, standing on the concrete, looking right at me.  “She’s an Aussie,” Gisele whispered.

the woods


March 7th

  • 5:30 am I through hot dogs to Mystery from the Moose Lodge side of the fence, and watched her run away.
  • 8:30 am I left 3 pieces of hot dog for Mystery, walked to end of the path.  She was on the hill side.  She spooked me and I spooked her!  She ran toward power line and disappeared in the tall grass.
  • 4:30 pm The hot dogs are gone, and there is no sight of her. I left 3 more pieces of hot dog.

one of her paths


March 8th

  • 5:30am Last night’s hotdogs gone left 2 more pieces.
  • 8:30 am The hot dogs still there
  • 2:30 pm I left a shirt that I had slept in overnight in her den.  Gisele suggested she needs my scent. I also left a bowl of water and some canned dog food.

her den, my orange t-shirt

March 9th

  • 10:00 am I refilled her water and left beef stew at her den.  I then walked the path with my mom.  We walked back to eagle tree and there was no sign of her.  We saw multiple beaten paths in all different directions.  The grass was plowed down from frequent travel.
  • 3:00 pm The beef stew still there but all of the meat is gone.

March 10th

  • 8:30 am- Mystery was in her den I spoke to her. “Mystery, are you hungry?” She ran out of sight.  I left her food and water, and I left.  I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is every single time I have to leave, knowing that she is totally alone.

March 11th

  • No morning visit.
  • 2:00 pm I didn’t have a car to drive, but Mystery is still hungry and I still need for her to see me today. So I hopped on my bicycle and rode  3 miles round trip to feed and water her. She was not in her den but she was at the mouth of the trail and she was watching me. In any event she keeps her distance.


March 12th

  • 8:30 am I fed and watered her, but no sign of Mystery.
  • 2:00 pm I got video from over the fence from Moose Lodge parking lot of Mystery. I fed and watered her early since she was there and she saw me, trying to associate food with my presence.


March 13th

  • 11:30 am I found her second den today.  It is in the back near the power lines.  She has bedded down here frequently. It was well hidden and surrounded by trees and tall grasses. I left treats along the way and left her a few treats in her bed.

March 14th

  • 9:00 am Left food for Mystery at the mouth of the trail, no sign of her.
  • 2:30 pm The food that I left at end of trail is gone. I left food in her den and walked the paths for a while.  I came back to her den and found baby raccoon eating her food, so I left more food out in the path.


March 15th

  • 8:45 am I was inches from catching her with slip lead while she was in den.  I used a crate divider and held it in front of the opening to her den.  I used a braided rope slip lead and dropped it over the opening.  I spoke to her, and she ran out.  She took her nose and flipped the leash out of her way and ran down the path. I left her food and water, and discouraged again, I left.  She had eaten last night’s food, or at least I think she did!  The food container was up along the fence at the mouth of the trail.
  • 4:00 pm There is no sign of Mystery, but no food left.


March 16th

  • 8:30 am There is no sign of her. Left food and water.
  • 3:30 pm There is no sign of her, but she had eaten her morning meal.  I left her more food and water.


March 17th

  • 3:30 pm There is an empty food container moved alongside of the fence, but no sign of her. There is no food left.

March 18th

  • 3:30 pm I was inches from catching her with a cloth slip lead while she was in den.  I spoke and she ran out again shoving the leash aside.  I left her food and water, and I left.

March 19th

  • 9:00 am No sign of Mystery but she moved her empty food container to the side of the fence. I did not leave food because she wasn’t there.


Halt, Who Goes There?

March 20th

  • 5:45 pm There is no sign of her.   I snuck up from behind and blocked den with crate divider to restrict her exit points. She was not there.  I left food.
  • I went down during the Tornado warning; we had heavy rain, strong wind and a lot of lightening. The storm started at 6:30 pm and continued throughout the night. The rain washed out all of the old footprints. Including those of the unknown man’s tennis shoes.  I blocked the den to see if she was in there. No sign of Mystery and no food left.

March 21st

  •  9:00 am There are no footprints in sand, so she didn’t come in last night. In the past she has always returned to her den for shelter, especially in the event of a storm or even a light rain.  There is a new fallen tree in the path at the mouth of the trail, from the storm.  There is no sign of her.  I left her food and changed her water.
  • 11:00 am No sign of her.  The food is still untouched.
  • 1:00 pm Mystery has been here and moved her empty food container to the fence.  There are new prints in the sand.
  • 4:30 pm This time, I went with Gisele and Ryan.  We spread out, and I checked her den.  Mystery was not there.  As we continued to walk down her path, we saw her sun bathing in the open.  Gisele and Ryan and I walked up on her before she saw us.  She ran out the path and turned toward the left.  Ryan was excited to see her for the first time.
  • 6:15 pm Mystery was not in her den but she was out to the left of the trail toward Shell Road.  This time, we brought Lady Di with us.  Amazingly, Lady Di tracked her scent and Mystery was found laying just ahead of us along the edge of the tall weeds.  Mystery saw us, looked at Lady Di and ran. We followed keeping our distance. We didn’t want to chase her and scare her.  It didn’t take long before Mystery was out of sight in the tall grasses. We all dropped and sat in the middle of the beaten path and waited to see if she returned.  Gisele went back to her van and Ryan and I stayed sitting and waiting, Mystery did not return.   Gisele came up the road in her van to flush Mystery out of hiding.  We closed in on the area we had last seen her from both directions.  We did not see her.  We returned to the van with heavy hearts.  Gisele took me back to my truck.   But before we left, in an effort to give Mystery a sense of safety, we left a wire crate in a hole next to her den.  We put a piece of plastic over it, and I started feeding her in the crate.  


March 22nd

  • 10:00 am  No sign of Mystery, she hadn’t eaten last night’s food.
  • Ryan and Gisele wanted to try again this evening but I asked that we not go until morning.


March 23rd

  • 8:30 am, Mystery was not there, she had been there yesterday, an hour after I left.  Kristen from Benson Junction Trading Post let me know she had seen her and spoke to her.  Mystery stared at her for a minute and then Mystery ran off. There were foot prints in the sand and she moved her empty food container to the fence. I fed and watered at her usual spot.  While walking around, I found her third den today.  I followed tracks left behind from the truck coming in off the road near the power lines. Up on the top of the hill over in the tall grass she had dug out another den.  There were foot prints in the sand.  I left treats and food in her new den. 
  • 6:00 pm There is no sign of Mystery.  She had eaten her food from this morning as usual.


March 24th

  • 8:45 am Again, no sign of Mystery, other than she moved her empty food container to the fence.


March 25th

  • 8:30 am Still no sign of her.  She had been to her den during the night and had eaten but she was gone already this morning.  I am really getting discouraged.  Sharing my failure to capture her with Gisele, I’m more determined than ever before to catch her.

March 26th

  • 10:00 am I walked the paths out near the power lines and there is no sign of Mystery. I did not leave food and water.
  • 4:00 pm I left her food and water, but no sign of Mystery.  Has someone taken her?  How?

March 27th

  • 8:30 am Mystery ate last night’s food but there is no sign of her this morning.  I did not leave her food, I want her to be hungry, and come to me… maybe even wait for me.
  • 4:15 pm Still no sign of Mystery.  I  did not leave food, hoping she was watching me from afar leaving. There are new foot prints in the sand; a man’s tennis shoes.  Someone is snooping around back here. I brushed all foot prints from the sand with fallen palm frond.  I feel invaded, even though it is not property, I feel like someone is stalking my dog – but she is not my dog – yet.  I called Gisele frantic, that someone else is trying to catch my Mystery.  Gisele assured me that if I couldn’t catch her, no one could.

March 28th

  • 8:45 am I fed and changed her water.  I walked the paths, and no sign of Mystery.  She had been on the path, there are new foot prints in the sand.
  • 4:45 pm There are no new foot prints in the sand, but the food was gone.  I did not feed her.

March 29th

  • 8:00 am I left her food and water.  There is no sign of her.
  • 4:00 pm I found an empty food container up on fence line, but she was not here.  I did not feed her.


March 30th

  • 11:00 am I left her food and changed her water.  There are new foot prints in the sand. She has been running the power lines.
  • Skipped evening feeding.


Someone’s Been Sleeping in My Bed

March 31st

  • 8:30 am I quickly checked for her she was not there.  I left her food and changed her water.
  • 11:00 am This morning’s food is still where I left it – untouched. I walked to the mouth of the trail and found tire tracks from a full- sized vehicle.  I assume the vehicle was a truck. The tire tracks showed that the truck backed up as far as it could to the trail (it narrows the further up you get) and the truck entered from the power lines.  No one has any business driving back there.  I am livid.
  • 5:00 pm I left Mystery her Easter dinner at the mouth of the trail and checked her water.


April 1st

  • 8:30 am Mystery didn’t touch her Easter dinner but the food from yesterday morning is gone.  I believe the raccoons ate it.  I walked the path and looked for her.  I did not see her.
  • 2:30 pm She still hasn’t touched her Easter dinner.
  • 4:30 pm She still hasn’t touched her Easter dinner.
  • 7:00 pm There is still no sign of her.  She still hasn’t been to her usual den nor has she eaten her Easter dinner.  I’m in tears.

April 2nd

  • 9:00 am Mystery finally ate her Easter dinner late last night or early this morning.  I left her more food and water at the den, and brushed away all foot prints at the mouth of the path.
  • 5:50 pm  Mystery came back for dinner this evening.   I saw her at the end of the path so I left her more food and water.

Because of the man’s foot prints and the tire tracks, I am desperate to get Mystery out of there.  I discussed options with Gisele, and we agreed to get animal control involved.  The caveat is if she is trapped, she is ours.  Our biggest fear was that Mystery would be caught, and taken to the pound.  She would then be labeled as a fear biter, and be put down.


Stop, Thief!

April 3rd

  • 11:00 am   I called animal control and spoke with a wonderful lady named Laura.  I explained my situation and requested the use of a trap. She explained that she would have to have an authorized representative of Benson Junction sign for the trap and allow me the use of the trap on their property.
  • 11:45 am Mystery was sleeping in her crate, when I called her for her morning feeding she darted down the path it  was very hot out this morning.  I was very happy to see her using the crate.  Then maybe, the trap wouldn’t be a strange thing for her, when it arrives.
  • 3:30 pm I arrived to feed for the evening and realized that her crate was gone.  Someone has stolen her crate that was hidden behind concrete walls and covered with random brush.  I spoke to Benson Junction Trading Depot and they said that a black truck left with it about an hour before I arrived.  They didn’t know that they were not with me, so they didn’t stop them. They pulled their security cameras and reviewed them to see if they could see anything but the tapes showed nothing.  It was too far away from their fence line.  I immediately called Gisele, alerted her and went to the scrap yard that was across the street. I spoke to several different people in the scrap yard, but no one has seen Gisele’s  crate.  A gentleman named Dan took my name and number and was going to call me at the first sign of our crate.  I also called Laura from Animal Control and alerted her that our crate was stolen.  I expressed my concern with their trap being left in the same area.  What if it also gets stolen?  Her response, “Just chain it to the fence, or a tree.”  Laura was such a huge help in this process.  Foot prints, tire tracks, and now a stolen wire crate.  I’m furious.
  • 4:00 pm I did not feed Mystery today, she wasn’t there.

April 4th

  • 5:00 pm The food was gone but she didn’t eat it. It was just knocked off the cement block and possibly the raccoons ate it again.  I left food and water again, but no sign of her.

April 5th

  • 10:30 am I took my dog, Lola with me, and she tracked Mystery’s scent down the trail and back up toward the road. There was no sign of her.  She ate last night’s dinner. I fed and watered.
  • 4:30 pm Mystery ate her morning meal.  But I don’t see or hear her anywhere.

April 6th

  • 9:00 am I fed and watered her.  I saw her today, she was at the mouth of the trail.  The moment she saw me, she took off.
  • 3:30 pm Mystery has eaten her morning meal.  I did not feed her today.

April 7th

  • 11:30 am I took Lola with me again.  She tracked Mystery back up to where Lady Di found her last week.  Lola found every path, every den, every bed and every hole made by Mystery!

April 8th

  • 11:00 am I fed her this morning, but not much.  I plan on setting the trap that Animal Control will leave for me today.  I appreciate the support from the people of Benson Junction, allowing me to put the trap on their property.


An Adreneline Rush!

April 9th

  • 10:30 am Benson Junction called me to tell me that Animal Control left the trap for me. It is waiting at the shop.
  • 11:00 am I set the trap up with Gisele.  Neither of us knew how to use it, however my daughter Jaidyn really enjoyed testing it out!  We chained and locked the trap to the fence where Mystery moves her food to.  We agreed that we would check the trap in shifts, checking it every two hours.
  • 11:30 am The food was eaten trap still set.
  • 12:00 noon The food is gone, but the trap is still set.   How is she doing this? She was eating but not triggering trap!  I realized that the trap wasn’t working on the ground because it wasn’t level.  Thanks to my daughter, Jaidyn, I found a piece of rubber to put under the trap and I reset it. Little Jaidyn crawled in the trap, and it worked! I baited the trap again and I left, calling Mystery to come eat and telling her I was leaving.
  • 1:50 pm Trap set food untouched.
  • 2:30 pm Trap set food untouched.
  • 4:00 pm She is not here.  I had an appointment and would be gone from 4:45 –  5:30.  I asked Gisele to check the trap at 5:30 for me.
  • 5:30 pm Gisele checked in at 5:30.  Mystery was at the mouth of the trail sunbathing, at 5:45.  Gisele left to go home.  She called me on her way out asking about the Black truck, she passed a black truck coming in on her way out.  I panicked!

What if they take trap owned by Volusia County Animal Control with my dog in it?  I load up my daughter and we rushed down there.  It is 6:00 pm on the dot!  It’s time for Mystery’s dinner and she came to eat!   Just as I look up, I hear the trap door slam shut and I see Mystery scratching, pawing, spinning, running from one side to the other.  She was panicked.

So I literally ran to her, and she growls (she is scared).   I approach her anyway.  She is unsure looking at me from the corner of her eye! I am on the phone with Ryan, Gisele’s son and I am saying over and over and over she is in the trap she is in the trap SHE IS IN THE TRAP!!!! Gisele made a u-turn and came back.  Mystery is still spinning in panic.  I talk to her, “Mystery it’s okay girl.”  She immediately stopped and looked at me.  I was so excited, but tried to remain calm.  In an normal voice, I asked, “are you hungry girl?”  She immediately sit down, and looked at me calmly.  It was as if she said, “oh, it’s you!”

I kept saying to myself, she isn’t going to hurt me I know her! I know who she is.  I’m fine at this point.  I am calm!  I am petting her and scratching her ears, scratching her side, her shoulders, and the top of her head without hesitation.  I am sticking my fingers through the crate and it dawns on me, we can’t move this trap with her in it! She is too heavy! The bottom of it isn’t strong enough to hold her! What are we going to do?

Gisele and Ryan are here and we decide that we are going to have to leash her and take her to the car.  There is no other way.  Ryan is totally against our decision.  He votes we carry the trap into the van, with the dog in it.   

I am freaking out inside because I know the risk of opening that trap even an inch! She is going to see a glimpse of her  freedom and she is going to bolt through that door!  One of the trap doors opens on the inside.   I will leash her first, that way and get her out.  I ask myself in doubt, “She is okay with me right?”

So I get the leash on with no problem! She didn’t care at all!  I give it a tug with the trap door still shut! She does nothing.   I really pull hard on the leash, she still does nothing!  So I did it dropped the trap door and coaxed her out.  She took forever as the door opens inward.  Her body was in the way and she wouldn’t move, despite my pushing the door.

Gisele and Ryan went to the other end and used food to move her.   I got the door part way opened, and she still wouldn’t move!  I said fine.  I forced the door the wrong way past the clips etc., and opened it toward me coaxing her with a hamburger patty.  She is hesitant to exit.  I waited a good five minutes with the trap open to the inside and she still wasn’t coming out!

Finally, her feet hit the grass and she tries to bolt.  But she is still on leash, and I have the other end of it.  She goes about four feet, and the leash stops her. We were prepared, or so we thought, when she turns and spins.  She spins violently in the air at least five times.  She flopped and spinned like a fish out of water, and she did the alligator roll vertically in the air.  “Fine,” I said to myself.  “I can hold on for the ride.”

Gisele and I step forward and point to her and said shht! It’s a quick procedure that means NO! In the dog world you don’t know what the sound of the word NO may trigger in the mind of an abandoned dog.  In rescue we train ourselves not to use the word NO,  because it may have used before while the dog was beaten or abused.  You never know how that simple word can take a dog that appears calm and collective to defensive and protective. 

Mystery immediately responded to our command, and she sat nicely for a split second.   I needed the chance to get her focus back on food and keep her attention! With that said either Gisele is reading my mind or I am reading hers, because Gisele offers a piece of bacon!

Mystery accepts the bacon.  I am still holding a piece of  hamburger as well.   As I stepped toward her, offering the hamburger, without warning, she immediately goes into an alligator roll.  In a flash of an instant, Mystery grabs the leash,  closes her mouth and starts to bite it.

Both Gisele and I have the same instinc –  to grab the leash out of her mouth, knowing that the chance of being bitten is very high.  Gisele and I look at each other briefly, and we keep a safe distance to protect the dog.  Why?  Because if she should bite us, and have absolutely no shot records, she will be quarantined for at least ten days.  

She takes that leash in her mouth and gives one quick snap of the head and she severs the leash in two! She has direct eye contact with me, and I throw the leash on the ground.  I don’t want her to see me with the leash.  I don’t want her to process that she won.  I held my hands up and she saw me empty-handed.   

I’m hoping she believes that I let her go.   I want her to trust me, but now I’m wondering what if she doesn’t.  What if she never comes back?  What if, what if, what if, what if?  A million thoughts ran through my mind but all I could do was say we all learned a lesson today!  I feared that Mystery learned a lesson too.  She learned not to go into a trap anymore!

Gisele saw the disappointment in my face.  Ryan was frustrated with us.  Saying over and over that we should have just carried the trap into the car.  The terrain made it impossible.  We were next to a deep gully, tall stumps, vines and roots.  We had a teenage kid, two Moms and a toddler.  That’s not a professional dog-catching team!

I went to home.  There was no sense in sticking around.  Mystery isn’t coming back.  She is going to retreat to a new spot and stay out of dodge for a while.  Gisele drove home with Ryan, and had to listen to Ryan saying, “I told you so repeatedly.”

I was home pouting in my kitchen while making dinner when my mom called. “Did you catch your dog?” …. so I start to tell the story – the story of our failure, when she cuts me off.  “I saw her just now!” My Mom said with excitement.  I was confused my mom lives far from Mystery’s den, how would she have seen her?


Haven’t We Met Before?

Mom explained she had gone shopping and passed “Mystery’s Place”. She said  while driving in the far lane, a feeling came over her to check on the dog (something she has never done before).  She pulled into Benson Junction, and there was Mystery! Mystery looked at her and trotted off calmly.  She did not run this time. My Mom got in her car and started to leave only to find at the end of the road stood Mystery again! My Mom got out of the car, and slowly approached Mystery.  Mom knelt down, and spoke to her softly.  Mystery looked curious.  My Mom whistled at the dog, and Mystery continued to have eye-contact with my Mom.  But Mystery did not run away.  This time, Mystery looked around and calmly walked away!

I called Gisele immediately.  I was so excited and talked so fast!  There is hope!  Mystery is not feral.  She is not afraid.  We did not scare her today.  We will come up with Plan B and next time, we will be successful!

While it is a sad day and we lost what we worked so hard to save, we didn’t really lose at all!  We gained the unimaginable, we gained her trust.

While I finished making dinner, I wondered how many chances is this dog going to give me until I get it right?  Will she hunker down someplace else and we never see her again?  


Plan B

April 10th

  • 8:45 am I wanted to keep her comfortable with the area and the trap so I released the trigger switch and locked the trap door up and continued to feed her inside the trap. She was eating but she was taking the food out of the trap to eat it.
  • 5:00 pm I held evening food I am going to re-bait the trap in the morning I have to act FAST!

April 11th

  • 8:30 am My daughter and I baited the trap and I called Mystery to come and eat, then I left. Went to breakfast with Gisele and went back to check the trap.
  • 10:45 am Mystery was waiting patiently for someone to notice she was in the trap to let her out!  I walked over and sat down next to the trap stuck my fingers inside and pet her telling her she was a good girl!  I immediately got up took pictures and posted to Facebook! WE DID IT!  This time there is no way that I am removing the dog from the trap so I called Animal control and spook with Laura again, “Laura, its Brittney, (yes animal control now knows me on a first name basis), I have a favor to ask. I trapped her! But because I lost her on Tuesday, I will not take her out of the trap here and I can not transport her in the trap.  Is it possible for you to dispatch an officer out here to help me transport her to the vet?”  Of course they had questions!  “Why can’t you transport her, what happened last time. etc.? The verdict was “Of course we will help you, I will dispatch someone out to you now!  Good luck!” 

I have to take this opportunity to Thank all of Volusia County Animal Control Officers for their help.  We couldn’t have done it without them!   We waited patiently for the officer to arrive, I took the opportunity to take photos and videos of us waiting and to bond more with Mystery since she was stuck in that trap with no choice in the matter.

I called Gisele to alert Newman Veterinary Center, that we were bringing her in via Animal Control.

I talked to Mystery while I waited.  I explained to her what was going to happen when they got there and that I WAS NOT going to leave her side, and that I would be there when she arrived to the vet.  It was all going to be okay!

Animal Control officer McNally arrived she was AMAZING to say the least. She, like me, did not want to use a catch pole but given the scenario of Tuesday’s events, Mystery really left us no other choice. Together we agreed on a plan and executed it!  I opened the trap to the inside officer McNally got the loop around her neck and cinched it up, making it snug while she commented, “I don’t think she missed a meal!  Her neck is bigger than her head!”

When she gave the okay I pulled the trap door out toward us and the rodeo began again. Halfway to the truck I used the Sshht sound again because Mystery was rolling herself up in the catch pole and really beginning to choke herself.  Mystery immediately sat and looked at me waiting for my instruction on what to do next.  The only thing I could do was tell her “I am right here; you’re going to be fine let’s go for a walk.” Off we went again making it only a few feet before she laid down and froze.  We coaxed her just a little further and she laid down again.

At this point we decided we would just pick her up and put her in the truck so I held the catch pole, took the rear and Officer McNally took the head and we lifted her into the truck. Removing the catch pole was a bit of a chore (not because she was struggling but actually just the opposite.  Mystery was sitting on it and wouldn’t get up!  We wiggled, jiggled, twisted and turned while I held the door,  for Officer McNally to maneuver the pole we eventually freed the pole!

We arrived at Newman Veterinary Center, and Gisele met us there moments later.  We put Mystery on the catch pole again and open the door to the crate in the truck.  Gisele arrived but she is still nervous.  I was smiling, so happy and so relieved.  Mystery was safe, was going to see a Vet, and she was enjoying human affection.  Officer McNally assured us, “This dog is going to be fine!”

We muzzled her to prevent her from chewing a leash and debated back and forth whether to leash walk her in or use the catch pole and we after a long debate back and forth used both. Once inside the building we removed the catchpole and the vet tech carried her to her cage in the ISO room

Gisele, my daughter and I went upfront to sign our lives away and there sat an elderly woman and her friend/daughter.  As Gisele and I were asking Amanda to make sure them microchip Mystery in 10 different places neck, each leg, eyelids, ears (just kidding).  The expression of concern on this poor woman’s face was priceless.  As I began explaining that we were only kidding and that she was a stray we had rescued, the woman shared that they  too had just seen a stray on Doyle Road.  Of course the first question out of my mouth is what kind of dog was it? And she replies with exactly what I thought she would! “Blue Merle Australian Shepherd.  She darted across the street and into the woods. We were so afraid we were going to see her hit by a car one day,”  the lady explained.  “No need to worry she wasn’t hit by a car and she is safe and in a cage in the back now!” 

Her first day at the Vet

It was Mystery that they had seen, I asked “When was it that you saw her?” already knowing what her answer was going to be she replied,” it was late last week, maybe Wednesday or Thursday.  “Of course!  That was when Mystery wasn’t at her den for 2 days last week; Wednesday and Thursday to be exact! She was a mile away and the only way to get from her den to where the lady spotted her was to cross the very busy four-lane State Route 17/92.  A very scary thought!  

I think it was then that I realized how lucky Mystery really was.  Living on her own for who knows how long, she had no fear of cars, yet she was alive.

We insisted that Newman Veterinary staff include DO NOT TAKE OUTSIDE on her cage card.  We took several pictures, spoke with the Veterinarians and left to prepare a plan for what we would do, and how we would do it!


 Unraveling Her Past and Starting a New Life

Mystery, Safe and Sound


April 13th

Mystery was picked up by Brittney from Newman Veterinary Center in Deltona.  She was spayed and had all of her shots.  She is also heartworm negative, which blows my mind.  Mystery has also been micro chipped.  She is resting comfortably at Brittney’s house.  Brittney notices that she has started to shut down emotionally, getting used to being a domestic animal.  Her recovery will be slow.  Much like my experience when I rehabilitated Shy Sharon, Shy Shannon, China and Nutella, not to mention my current foster, Les Paul, who has totally shut down emotionally, we will experience good days and bad days.

The Dog Liberator is not set up to take in long-term fosters, it can be very stressful, time-consuming, labor-intensive, and costly.  However, once we make a commitment to take a dog, we do it, and we do it right.  If you can donate to Mystery’s care, we really appreciate it.

In the meantime, her progress will be documented on this page, and her photos can be viewed on Facebook.

"Whats it take for a girl to get some alone time around here?"

“What’s it take for a girl to get some alone time around here?”


April 16th

The last few days have been uneventful with Mystery.  She is rarely coming for a pet.  She really just wants to be left alone, while I would love to just leave her alone, I know that isn’t going to make any progress, so I push on (tough love girl).

We made a few trips outside.  She walks out my back door straight into a very large crate.  Her favorite thing to do is sunbathe, but when she gets too hot she will come to the crate door and sit until I bring her back in.

She has learned she really enjoys Velveeta cheese as a yummy treat when she gets something right, like walking nicely on lead.

Today she blessed me with a nice surprise!  When it was time to go outside we went out into our crate as usual.  It wasn’t until we started back in that she wanted to make me proud!  She walked behind me, still a little unsure, she weaves from side to side behind me, but never passes me.  Then as we entered the living room she didn’t head straight for her crate!  Instead she went toward the actual living room.

I sat on the couch petting her head, when my phone rang.   I turned away to answer it, and she is still sitting in front of me waiting for me to give her direction.  The doorbell rings!  Really? What timing these people have!  My Lola begins to bark and growl.   Mystery is still sitting in front of me!   stand and start toward the door all the while still holding her leash, I asked her to come with me and she follows!  I crack the door and explain I can not open it.  The man understands and holds the signature pad so that I can sign one-handed.  Mystery is starring just waiting for that door to open, but much to her surprise, it doesn’t open!
Mystery looks back to me for direction and we walk back toward the couch.  I sit down and start to scoot back and she gently helps herself to the couch, squeezes behind me and lays down, her head resting up on the armrest.  I was so excited!  She just took a huge step forward all on her own and really enjoyed the Velveeta cheese she got for all of her bravery today! 
Hey! This isn't so bad....

A girl could get used to this!

For about 20 minutes we sat watching TV and working on the computer.  I needed to get up so I asked her to come with me.  She hesitated, I insisted, and she complied.  We started toward the garage to do laundry and she started past the living room chair when she leaped up and parked it!  She is now permanently attached to the blanket on the chair and the cushion of the recliner.  I asked her to come down and she just stared back at me!

What don’t you understand? I’M NOT MOVING!

Nope! Not even for a pork chop!

My attempts to bribe her down failed miserably, pork chops, Velveeta cheese.   Nothing worked!  I eventually just picked her up and put her down myself.  We started to the garage and she was beginning to be very distressed and was frantically searching for her cage.  She stopped and looked out the sliding door, seeing the outdoors, maybe she thought about running and I said HUH-UH and gave her leash a slight tug.  She sat down and looked to me while scanning the room, unsure of how or where to bolt to.  I continued toward the garage and called her as we passed by her crate.  She sneaked into her crate, where she is resting quietly now.  She had a huge morning and was so brave!  Despite the fact that I know she is terrified!  She has never hinted that she has wanted to bite, snap or even growl at me no matter what I do, or how scary it may be.  We are finally gaining more of that much needed trust!

April 17th

Mystery is full of surprises.  She is doing much better in the house.  She is right by my side everywhere I go, that is unless she is on the couch.  We have arguments daily about her being on the couch and obeying me when I tell her to get down. She is no longer showing signs of resource guarding.  Every time I fed her today, I held the bowl and she showed no signs of aggression or even any concern.

Woo hoo right?  I made a big stink over her not guarding her things?  Keep reading!

Nothing can touch me here!

Guess I will be rewashing those….

Late morning I asked Mystery to the garage with me (somewhere she has never been). She followed me despite the fact that she was overwhelmed with concern. After sitting out there and folding laundry, she was becoming less nervous the longer we sat. At one point she decided that the basket of clean fresh clothes I had folded just moments before looked like a nice bed. I asked her to follow me back inside I shut the entry door to the garage, opened the garage door, and asked her out again. Triple leashed and hesitant she followed. She was concerned again but intrigued. We sat in the same chair just sitting, watching and listening.

After a few minutes of watching and folding laundry, I asked Mystery back inside.  She was more than happy to follow,  we moved in to the couch and sat down.  We talked (well I talked she listened) about how things were just a week ago and what I was thinking, what I knew she could do and how scared she was of  any human interaction.

Doing a little work and talking about what life was like for her a week ago…

I was thinking about a phone conversation between me and my mom from yesterday. We had been talking about Mystery still wanting to RUN when she looks out the slider or a window to the outside and that I just can’t bring myself to take her out without the crate.  My mom made a statement “I think it is more you than her”, that statement stuck with me through the night and into the morning I had to try, but….  Okay ENOUGH!  As long as I am afraid Mystery will be I have to suck it up!  I mean really if she gets loose she is going to run and when she gets hungry she is going to come back,  if I leave the front door open she will come into her CRATE and eat, right?  A million scenarios ran through my mind as I sat there and thought of what COULD happen when I expose her to the outdoors with no barrier!


It was then I realized,  it was time I put my big girl pants on.  So I stood up and off to the front door I went, Mystery right by my side.  I reached for the front door and she flinched.  I said “It’s okay girl, I am right here”, she looked at me the

“What do you want me to do now?”

concern and anxiety just poured from her eyes.  I cracked the door and she backed up to get out of the way of the door.

I opened the door the rest of the way.  She took 3 steps forward to the threshold of the door and she SAT DOWN!  I was shaking with so many emotions running wild through my body, I literally sat down with her!  I was excited, proud, terrified, relieved and many many more!  The great outdoors was just over that threshold and she is just sitting with slack in the leash!



April 18th TODAY WAS HUGE!
After yesterdays adventure to the garage and the front door, I decided this morning we would actually go OUTSIDE! After our morning routine I took her leashed her up all 3 leashes and collars and she started for the garage door 🙂 “Not this morning girl, come here” I called, she followed willingly. We walked directly to the front door, I open the door and she is literally cringing with every inch it opens. She immediately sits and looks to me, but she was SHOCKED when I stepped out the the front porch and called her to join me! She hesitated and then followed nicely she got a little flighty at first I gave her a “Shh…”, she sat and looked for direction! She continued to sit a couple of times she would try to stand and I would just simply say “Shh…” and she would sit right back down we had slack in the leash we sat out on the sidewalk for a bit and she listened and smelled. She would flinch when the birds chirped and literally jumped when a lizard ran across the yard. After a short period of time, she was more than ready to retreat back to the house where it wasn’t so scary!

A bit different from exactly one week ago, Isn’t it?

Later this evening, the neighbor came over and knocked on the door, Larry and I stepped outside to talk to them. I haven’t allowed anyone in my home since she has been here that she doesn’t know. This needs to continue to be her “Safe Haven”. My neighbor and I had last spoken the day that Mystery freed herself from the leash, and got away. So I asked her to stand just outside the garage door and I went back inside I leashed up Mystery and I opened the door and said “Come Girl” she followed hesitating with every step. This is the first time she has met a stranger here, but remember they were outside not inside. We took 3 steps out into the garage and I sat in that chair and she came in close (she usually sits on my right side and on top of my foot she stays very, very close). The neighbor said quietly, “Oh! You caught her! She is so scared?”. I explained that she has only been outside without her crate this makes the 2nd day. Just then I felt Mystery begin to shake. It dawned on me the neighbors husband was out front and talking to larry, he resembles Ryan. If you remember she was very concerned about Ryan when she was in the trap. So I leaned down, she had her head buried and hidden between my leg and the empty chair next to me, and I said “Its okay girl, I am right here!”. When I raised up she followed me putting both front feet on my lap and burying her head between my arm and my stomach! At that point it hit me I AM FINALLY HER SAFE PLACE! I took her leash and I said “Come girl lets go inside”, she darted through the door and was headed straight for her crate, I kneeled down and said “It’s okay girl you did great! I know its scary out there but you made me proud!” She sat down in front of me waiting for the pat that she knew was coming and I got my first OFFICIAL KISS!

“Ok, I guess I will say Hello!”

I put her back in her crate and gave her dinner my son Jorgen (6) was sitting at his desk, between her cage and my Lola’s doing his homework. I told him as I always do, “Leave Mystery alone don’t touch her, don’t bother her. Okay?”. “Yes, Mommy!” he replies, and I go back outside. I step back in to check on them and he is still sitting in his chair but he is smiling ear to ear and he is doing homework? Something is very wrong with this picture! “What are you smiling about?” I ask. “Watch this!” he says, and he reaches down into the side of Mystery’s cage and he is PETTING HER! He stops and she looks up at him! She is doing it, the kids aren’t so scary anymore!

Mystery has shown great improvement in the last week, However, she still has a long way to go if outside more than a minute or two she will fight to get back INSIDE to SAFETY!  The wind, the birds, the lizards and all the other sounds of the outdoors Terrify her!  We will work daily going back outside, in and out, in and out.  My focus is on desensitizing her to everyday sounds in and out of the home she is spooked very easily and when she gets spooked you better have a good hold of her.  Despite all of that I can say shht!  and she will give me an immediate sit and she will look either to me or straight to the ground.  We are working on Confidence and Self Esteem.  She is getting there slowly but surely.  One Baby step at a time!

Nothing can touch me here! Cant see me either

She has taught me so much, and while all of you see what I am teaching her, I don’t think anyone has stopped to think about how much she has taught me. The very first day,that dark morning she ran out in-front of me, I said “we will never get close to this girl but I am going to touch her or die trying!” After seeing her several times at her den, on the trail, etc… watching her run at the first sight of me, and seeing her now run to me when she is scared is such a rewarding feeling to know that I have shown her how to trust me. It is up to her to trust everyone else and she is working on it one baby step at a time. It was up to her to change and she just needed someone to show her the way! She chose what to do with what she was shown, and so far she is doing AWESOME!  She has shown me such an INCREDIBLE amount of Bravery and TRUST in the last week!  The photo below tells it all!

Happy Smiles

Happy Smiles!!! What a difference in just a week.


April 19th

It was a fairly uneventful day today, Mystery and I made several trips out to the garage with the garage door open.  Today was a day for her to become comfortable with all she has accomplished and gain some confidence in what she can do already.  Without this confidence I don’t want to ask her to do more, she is only doing it because I want her to and the only thing she will learn is the trust, we have that now (Maybe even a little too much).  I need her to start gaining self confidence and being a little more sure of herself and her actions before we go too far forward with new things, so today we will not change our routine or do anything new.  Just lots of repetition, Reassurance and LOVE!


April 20th

Today was a CRAZY BUSY DAY!  I had the Central Florida Earth Day event in Orlando with TDL and lots of our TDL Peeps, so I was out most of the day.  As usual Mystery started me off with a SMILE this morning.  We went out back to potty and rather than going directly into her cage she went to the right of it and she squatted to potty in the yard OUTSIDE OF THE CRATE!  Yay! Lots of praise for her today!!!

She returned to the door and in we went. I was pressed for time this morning so we had little time to just sit and relax together.  She wanted in her crate this morning so that is where we went.  I removed her leashes and she laid down, I stayed to love on her for a minute before I had to go let Miss Lola out.  I took Lola out and came back in. When I got back inside Mystery was watching the door waiting for me, as I entered the dining room (where the crates are) she stood and came to the crate door to greet me!  Great way to start my morning! I gave them each  food and water in their crates, gave them hugs and kisses and off I went.

Before I walked out the door I stopped to entertain my thought “Should I take her? I could put her in a crate next to me and it would be good exposure for her”.  Following my gut feeling I decided that I wouldn’t take her while it would be good exposure it would be forced and I don’t know what the surroundings will be like but what i do know is I would be  STUCK in Orlando in a park if she really gets overwhelmed and upset I would have no way to remove her from the situation.  So I made the choice to leave her home this time she isn’t ready, even though I push her hard, I think that would have been too hard and we would have moved backwards.

Several of us TDLer’s spent most of the day and early evening at the event, and while I had a great time and it was a great experience, I was missing my Mystery already!  Just then Dusty arrived with his Lilly who is a smaller version of Mystery, and she loves me as much as I love her!  I referred to Lilly as my therapy for the day…

As the day went on we had a great turn out and several inquisitive minds ,but I also had a few  people approach us just to ask “Where is Mystery?”.  One stood out in particular.  Gisele, Dusty and I were standing around talking amongst one another and a gentleman approaches out of the crowd “Brittney?” I turned to look, I don’t recognize this man and would be safe to say I have never seen him before… “Yes?”, I replied.  “Where is Mystery?” he asked.  “Oh! She is at home I don’t think she is ready for all of this yet.”  I am still standing there looking at him as if he were a ghost, I still have no idea who this man is!  Later in our conversation I learned that it was a gentleman who works with my mom who is also following Mystery’s Journey. It was a proud moment to know that we were making such an impact, and not just here in Florida as Mystery has followers countrywide.

After a long day at the event in Orlando I invited Gisele to my house to visit with Mystery for a moment on her way home and allow her children to meet the New and Improved Mystery.  So everyone stepped into the garage and sat down scattered across the garage, I went inside and got Mystery.  I leash her up and said “Lets go say Hi”, to the garage we went.  I open the door, she is so focused on me and where we were going she failed to notice that there were 4 other people out there.  As I turned to close the house door behind me she seen them, she looks to me like “Really??? Why? Ahhhh!!!”  I asked her to come I start to sit down in the infamous chair and she walks up to Gisele to greet her!  Is this really happening?  She really just greeted someone face to face without burying her head in my lap and showing them nothing but her rear end? YAY!!!  I was so proud of her and her confidence.  <– There is that word again.

After a short lived visit with Gisele she returned to me and sat to my right as she always does.  After a few moments of conversation I approached the children with her, two on my left one on the right, they were very close to the open garage door.  I asked that they be very still and not make any sudden movements.  I start to approach she follows very close behind, I kneel down and she moves in close.  Gisele looks to me and says ” She is shaking…?”.  I reply with, “Yes, she is too close to the door.  She is terrified of being outside.”

Gisele was baffled, I mean just a week ago she was terrified of being inside or near ANY OF US.  Now she wont leave my side and doesn’t want anything to do with being outside.  Before I took her back in I made it a mission to have Ryan, Giseles son, touch her.  If you remember when I first caught her she was very leary of him and she was frightened by him Amazing what a little Trust and CONFIDENCE can do!

*Just wish I had my phone on me during all of this because we didnt get any photos of her while meeting all the strange people…*


April 21st

Today was another cram-packed day for me, so I was in and out most of the day.  I had considered bringing her along, but i just didn’t feel in my gut that she was ready for such an overwhelming adventure.  When I would come home in between errands I made sure to stop for a moment and spend just a moment with her.  Before I knew it the day was coming to an end, it was starting to get dark outside, so I hurried to take her out one last time.

I don’t like to go outside with her unless it is well lit,  so that she can better see her surroundings,  it helps to keep her calm.  We leashed up

OUTBACK for the first time out of her crate!

At the end of her leash =)

(only using 2 now) and out the back door we went.  Just outside my back door is the bottomless crate she has been using to go potty.  Normally she would walk right out the door and straight into the crate, but NOT TODAY!  Today she decided she wanted to go into the back yard instead!  I was still a little nervous, I am still nervous anytime we are outdoors, she still gets scared so easily and she will start to back up and spin.  NOT TODAY!  Today she walked around her crate in through the lattice gate to the small makeshift fenced area (This is not securely fenced, It couldn’t hold a turtle let alone a dog )   she walked around sniffed a little and turned to look at me.

Okay, This is better… I think I’m close enough now!

What Now?

She realized that she was at the full length of the leash, that was short lived.  She sprinted back to me sitting at my feet to look up for what to do next.  I gave her a nice rub and asked her to go potty.  She stood walked two steps to the right and done just that.  When she was finished she returned to me sitting and looking up to me she let out a whimper and then a loooooong drawn out whine, She wanted inside!

Scary over there…

Scary over there too…

We walked back to the door and in we went, but not before we sat outside and took in all the sights and smells.  She needs to touch all that is out there to help her to overcome her fear. When she realizes that those leaves are there everyday and those squirrels aren’t leaving anytime soon, the grass is going to touch her and the birds are going to chirp; it won’t be so scary anymore.  It will take several trips but today was a great start to this next step.  She sat quietly watching listening and smelling in every direction. Making me proud!

We walked back to the door and in we went.  When we come in from outside she knows that I have to be sure the doors are secured (no escape routes for her), and so she comes in and immediately sits, facing me, waiting for the command “okay, lets go!”.   At which time she walks, in a bit of hurry, to the glass sliding door.  I ALWAYS enter the door first (I am pack leader) she will follow behind and then immediately sit so that I may shut the sliding door.  Where we go from there depends on her mood she has been wanting back in her crate lately so I have given her her space over the weekend but TOMORROW is a new week and we are going to work more on laying on a doggie bed/pillow in the living room FLOOR and not the couch.

Before heading to bed my son Jorgen (6) asks me, “Mommy, can I feed Mystery tonight?” and much to his surprise I relied with “Yes, you may!”  He was recently bitten by a dog and now has a fear of them that we are working to overcome.  I explained he needed to move slow and she would take a few bites and then take it away from him, and that when she does he needs to let her have it and close her crate up.  “Okay..”  I filled her water bowl and opened her food for him and he done the rest!  She did everything she was supposed to, she hesitated at first to eat from his hand.

I will take it from here =)


Jorgen waited with patience, and once again patience paid off! I was so happy to see them both face their fears together and overcome them because of each other. Jorgen had a fear of being bitten and she had a fear of him altogether, but because of patience they both realized it was worth a shot. Jorgen whispers “Mommy, she’s doing it! Mommy Look!” Even if it was just for a few short moments seeing them both face their fears head on and to have it pay off in a HUGE reward for both of them was well worth the wait!

From Gisele:  While this story is going viral, please remember that it’s because of your kind donations, donations of all kinds that keeps us going.  We receive donations from our Amazon Wish List, through the United Way, and through Paypal.  Used items are welcomed here at TDL, every little bit helps.  We had a raffle not long ago where TDL made $50.  To us, that’s huge for that pays for a round of de-wormer, some flea preventative, or maybe an extra large bag of dog food!  Every little bit helps.  I want to thank all of you who have donated to help one of our dogs.  Look at how we started, and where we are today.  It is truly amazing, we are truly blessed to have you!  Mystery’s story is far from over, but there are many dogs out there just like her to end up at the pound.  We want to be able to have the funds, and the manpower to rescue them.  Please, help us if you can!

April 22nd ~ There is such a thing as JOY!I left you with a lot to take in yesterday with all that we accomplished over the weekend.  Monday left me with even more to share!  What a great day it was here.  Morning routine started to take place and it was time for potty breaks (Mystery appears to now be FULLY housebroken).  We walked out back I was curious to see will she go to the crate or will she go to the yard?  Without hesitation she walked into the back yard, YAY!!!  After she finished her business we walked, yes you heard me correctly.  We took a WALK around the back yard,  she has never been more than 3-4 steps inside the gate.  Watch this video you won’t believe the amount of devotion she has to pleasing me.  Just a short time ago I didn’t dare walk her 3 inches outside the door, and we are now walking all over the yard!!!!After our first walk and some bonding time, I had a few errands I needed to run so off I went… I returned home in the afternoon around 3:30.  Upon walking in the door I noticed she was fidgeting in her crate??? This was abnormal she ordinarily wouldn’t acknowledge I was coming or going with anything more than a lift of her head, this triggered a bit of curiosity on my part.  So I approach her crate and I couldn’t believe my eyes!!! I got a tail wag, I got an Aussie speech (whines and whimpers) and I even got a kiss!!!  What did she get out of it? She got Yummy people food! =)  This was very short lived but it was HUGE!!!! SHE FOUND HER JOY!  I don’t think very many of you understand how incredibly happy that made me!  Whatever I am doing (I have no idea) something is right she is learning to be a HAPPY DOG!*The video is pretty dark but you can see the butt shakes and the kisses and you can hear her talk to me*~Brittney~ Proud Foster =)April 23rdToday we worked a lot on off leash walking (inside the house of course) Mystery done well.  Took some coaxing to get her off the couch but once she was off she done well.  We even visited Jaidyn and Jorgen in their rooms to tuck them in for their naps.  Mystery helped herself to Jaidyn’s bed getting her down from there was kind of like getting her off of the couch!   We walked back down the hall stopping to work on our focus and sitting.  She is getting to be pretty good at an automatic sit when we stop!  She is shaping up quickly. Oh! and boy does she LOVE her couch!

We are getting better and better outdoors and going further and further from her comfort zone.  i don’t have a lot of interesting news to share today as I have been giving her time to become accustomed to routine and taking in all the new things she has learned.  I have pushed and pushed I want her to process all of this before we move on!  She is still struggling with other dogs I get a low growl and then she will retreat to the corner of her cage when that is corrected.  She is so sensitive to correction a simple “Ahht!”,  and she is hunkered up in a ball and hiding in the back of the crate. =( poor thing… right?  NOPE!  She needs to learn boundaries and limitations, and she must learn that guidance and correction is a part of everyday life.  When she realizes I am not going to hurt her but yet show her the right way she will slowly start to let go of the fear of consequence.  Of all the things that I have done with her, you will notice, none of them is feeling sorry for her.  We move forward here not backwards =)

April 24th ~ “Are You Insane?”

So this morning after our routine, I got a phone call, I needed to meet Larry to pick up the key to his truck.  Mystery and I were sitting on the couch working on a post when the call came in, I only had 5 minutss to get there (he’s working and was just passing through).  So I asked Jaidyn to go get in the truck and I grabbed 2 leashes.  After leashing Mystery up she ran straight for the glass slider, as that is where we normally go outside, not today!  I asked her to the front door she followed we stepped out she done her business (she will go every time I take her out).  I opened the  door to the truck curious how she will react, I looked down to her only to find her looking back up at me.  “Load up!”  I said, and much to my surprise she jumped straight in.  YAY! Mystery!


I started the truck, she jumped.  I backed up, put the truck in drive, she jumped.  Got out to the stop sign and it was getting a bit warm so i cracked (and I mean cracked) her window and the rear windows, she jumped.  It was a touchy ride for the first little bit but before we arrived to the gas station she had settled down.  I pulled in and parked and she was very scared she started to look around and I kid you not she knew where she was.  She was very nervous and she was using that nose like crazy!  she would watch out of every window her eyes were big almost to the point of CRAZY EYES!  I snapped her out of that real quick, and it was up hill from there.


Crazy Eyes…..

Larry arrived with the key it was now 8:30am I started back home but to get there I have to pass where I originally found Mystery.  Just yesterday the friends at Benson Junction Trading Depot had asked for an update and photos of Mystery, I will do them one better we will just stop in and say Hello.  Benson Junction doesn’t open until 9 so we had a little bit of time to kill, I said “Hey girl, lets check something out!” and I drove her back to the woods where her den was.  She got a little nervous and I could see her mind racing again she was sniffing the air and she knew.  She starts to breath heavier and she starts to pant, her pupils grow and I say “Shht!” and she sits down and looks at me.

looking at her old den…. Does she look scared or is it just me?

No, I don’t want to go back there I want to go HOME!

We did it!  I have complete control over her at this point!  We waited in the parking lot for the employee’s to arrive we said our Hello’s, and she got her “Oh my goodness look at her eyes” and her “I can’t believe how well she is doing.” speeches.  She was unsure but accepting as usual, While our visit was short it was a nice test and was good to see how she would react in HER TERRITORY!  She done GREAT!

This afternoon I had a visitor, a friend of mine has a new baby (human), and she brought him by for the first time.  Of course my dogs were locked up I walked up to each crate with the baby and allowed them to sniff, both done very well.  The baby and I sat on the couch and he laid in a soft fuzzy chair and at one point he laid on Mystery’s blanket on the couch for a moment. Why is that important?  Because, she is going to be on that blanket later and the scent of that baby will linger all new sights and smells and now they are indoors!

Picked my son up from school and after coming back home a friend of mine wanted to come get their mower from my house.  When they arrived and loaded everything up Mystery and I went outside.  She walked out into the garage with NO HESITATION.  Even approached the both of them politely and on her own!  So Proud!  She was insecure about the whole situation but she was GREAT!  She followed commands and she  sat to be petted and only a few times did she stare them in the face (I do NOT allow her to look anyone in the face but me especially when they are kneeled down to pet her. )  She was proud of herself and I was really proud of her!  EXPOSURE!  EXPOSURE!  EXPOSURE!

Home Sweet Home…. You can literally SEE the relief!

April 25th

This morning we woke up continued with our morning routine but when Mystery and I went outside straight to the back yard as usual and then instead of coming to the door we walked completely around the house and entered in the front.  All new territory and she done very well she is starting to get a little pushy with the leash she is no longer extremely fearful of the sound of the tags clinging or the sound of the chain collar cinching up.  However, when she is interested in something she is starting to pull on the leash a little we will work on this over time but, the way she has been progressing, I don’t see any issues.  I allowed her to sniff and explore most of the side yard. She has recently taken up a vegan diet =), Seriously she loves vegetables and anything else green. Before we went inside I wanted to show you all how well she loads up and jumps out.

After our test run with the truck we came inside, just inside the door she sat on her own while I removed her leash.  She, immediately, retreated back to her safe couch.   I left her there off leash.  She was acting very strange this morning, periodically whining and whimpering, she was restless but the heavy breathing she has exhibited from day one has stopped.  Now, we are dealing with whines, restlessness and whimpering???  What is going on? I noticed on the floor there was a baby doll.  She was watching it and she would whine, and toss and turn, at one point she actually scooted her entire upper body off the couch sniffing the baby doll, you could see the concern in both her body language and in her eyes.  So i got up picked up the baby doll and laid it on the couch.  She immediately sniffed the baby, licked it and then sniffed the blanket where the REAL baby had laid yesterday.

So now the question stands is she familiar with babies was that why she was abandoned?  I seen nothing from her that would make me believe she ever harmed anyone.  However I can see her becoming possessive of the baby.  I tested her several times picking up the baby and holding it like a real baby rocking it and cradling it in my arms.  She showed much concern during all of this,I made sure to pick up the baby and lay the baby down again and again.  Several times we did this and each time she would investigate the baby.  at one point she scooted the baby to her never using her mouth she just scooted it.

Now, I haven’t mentioned this to anyone except Gisele and Jen, but Mystery’s teats are a tad bit saggy and her nipples show signs of being nursed.  She has birthed at least one litter possibly more.  I don’t believe she had puppies in the wild as she doesn’t appear to be retaining any milk.  So was she a breeder that didn’t mother her pups well?  Did she have an issue with a newborn family member?  Did she have a majority of deaf /blind puppies?  There are several scenarios that I can play out in my head in just a matter of minutes.  Added to the fact that we believe her to be partially visually impaired in her left eye, I am sure she has been misunderstood, mistreated and mistrusted.  While I would like to know what happened to her puppies and where she came from I can’t let that cloud the achievements we have already made or the rest of our goals.

On a brighter note we go to the groomer in the morning at 9. Pun intended. Cant wait to see how she does walking across that parking lot and in those doors.  To be honest I can’t wait to see their faces when they see her coming in that door walking on leash and following command.  I am going to talk to Serena to see if I cant snap a few pics during her bath.  I am most curious about how she is going to do without me there during a bath with a strange person all over her and even more so the blow dryer. Yikes!  Rest assured just as I done last time, I will  ensure that my girl is NOT taken outside, for any reason.  The only chances to be taken with this girl will be taken by me, I just don’t trust anyone else with her.  Can you blame me?  I mean even Gisele questioned my own sanity just yesterday. =)

Next time you see her she will hopefully be Brighter than bright, smellin’ pretty and CLEAN!

April 26th

We started our morning just as we always do only today is Spa Day!  We carried on with our morning routine and then I leashed her up, double leash.  She knew we were going to go somewhere, I leashed her with the dreaded chain leash. (The sight of the chain leash terrifies her)  We walked out front and loaded up in the truck.  On the way there I continued to reassure myself that this was going to be flawless.  I talked to her on the way there explaining that she was going to be walking out there and she is to walk like a big girl.

Once we arrived I asked my daughter to get out first I handed her my keys and my phone and she started to the door to be ready when Mystery and I got up there.  As I got out of the truck Mystery followed me flawlessly we stepped on the grass and she got a little fidgety and I corrected her.  We continued to walk forward once we reached the sidewalk she froze.  I asked her to come on and she of course complied.  She was hesitant but she listened.  We traveled up the stairs and to the door.  Jaidyn opened the door for us and I walked inside, mystery hesitated but with one “Com’on Girl let’s go!” she followed.  She was glued to my side as the other clients and especially employees of Newman Veterinary Centers watched in awe.  What an improvement from the last visit.  Afterall, she was brought in on a catch pole last time and left being carried out the back door to my truck.  As we started to sit down, Serena noticed us, she looked and looked again, we got several double takes as we entered the office.  What a big girl she was!

We sat waiting our turn she was nervous a couple of times she was on the chair next to me and I would put her down as she was not invited.  Once she decided my lap was a good place to be and again I placed her on the floor as I did not ask for her to be in my lap.  It was our turn now, Serena came over to say hello and sneak a pet or two Mystery was accepting looking back to me for reassurance.  I explained a few quirks to Serena, she took over the leash and they walked away (or at least Serena did).  Mystery was not liking the idea of leaving my side she fought Serena with every step of the way.  Serena was firm but kind, It was heartbreaking to watch her have such a hard time with leaving us, but she has to learn to trust other people.  She can do this I said to myself as I gathered my things and we left.

Serena called this afternoon and said that Mystery was ready to be picked up.  She reported “She done very well she freaked out about her bath but by the 3rd one she realized what was going on. Oh yeah and she is WHITE! Yay!”  I picked her up this evening because I had plans for after I picked her up.  When I arrived to get her Lani said to me “She looks so pretty!  I tried to pet her but she wouldn’t let me she moved away?”  I smiled and said, “Don’t worry you get her out here to me and I will let you pet her.”  Knowing now that she was being stubborn and treating them the way she had treated me in the wild.  I couldn’t wait to see the expression on Lani’s face when she seen the real Mystery the one that was hiding inside, behind the scared Mystery.  A few moments later Lani went back to get her.  I could hear her practically begging Mystery to cooperate and let her get her out of the cage.  Someone ended up helping her (stubborn? and aussie? NEVER!)  I could hear down the hallway Lani still begging and coaxing her out to the lobby I listened to the struggle long enough and I said “Hey Where are you? Come On Girl!, Mystery” then you could hear her tearing into the tile floors.  Was she dragging Lani?  Sure enough they rounded the corner and she WAS practically dragging poor Lani to get back to me!  I was videoing all of this for you to see (I apologize for the period of nothing but wall and floor, she knocked me down) she got close and Lani dropped the leash and she flew into my lap, Lani continued the video for me so you could see the excitement this girl had!  Lani got to see the real her and sat in amazement as she seen what the REAL Mystery was like, oh and yes, Lani got to pet her too.

Boy do I look and feel better!

We completed our paperwork and headed out.  We struggled a little on the way to the car she was confused and excited and just overwhelmed.  After a few HEY!’s she got it and we walked to the truck got in and we were going to visit my mom!  Unsure of how this would go she has never been here and there are several people over there my grandparents my brother, my mom and her husband.  SINK OR SWIM GIRL!   We arrived I ha`d Jaidyn make sure my moms dogs were outside, and we went inside.  After sniffing everything she crossed paths with she went to greet EVERYONE!  I was proud of her.  She even sat on the couch with my mom and grandmother eating pill pockets (Yes, pill pockets) and string cheese getting compliments on her beautiful coat and how soft and clean she was.  We visited for a while and then we headed home.  She had a BIG day today and handled it well considering.

I was a good girl Mum…

As we arrived home she seen the familiar sight of the trees in our driveway and she stood up in her seat you could see the happiness pouring out of her eyes!  She was THRILLED to be home. I have never seen her this Happy or Excited!  She is JOYFUL! It is so rewarding to know that I have helped her from the Terrified stray in the wild to a prospering family pet! Its amazing what a difference a little leadership and structure makes. =)

We’re almost HOME!!!




April 27th ~ It’s touching me!

It’s touching me!!!

Today was really just a lounge day. The only thing we did today was introduce the girls on leash out of the crates. They done well. A lot of avoidance but avoidance is good. They gave a few sniffs more Lola than Mystery but after a few moments they both sat down and somewhat relaxed! At one point Lola was closing her eyes because Mystery was touching her. Mom! It’s touching me!!! Get it away!!! Okay, If I close my eyes it will go away… Nope! It’s still touching me!




April 28th ~ What A Day!

I had a dinner commitment at Gisele’s house this evening. As I began to gather my things to leave, I thought, Hey! Why not take her. There are going to be a few people there that would love to meet her. So I grabbed yet again the chain leash and called her to come along. Once the leash was attached she remembered where we were going. She went straight for the front door. After getting through the door, she stopped wait for me to get the door closed. She loaded up perfectly, my son asked if he could tag along, she sat quietly in her passenger seat as he climbed in and buckled up (even when he shut his door). As I started the car and began to exit the driveway I thought I would test the waters a little, I rolled the window ALL THE WAY down. Would she try to jump? Would she get scared? How would she react?

She investigated the new sights, sounds and smells and laid down to enjoy the ride. She never lays down for an entire ride she will go back and forth sit, lay, sit, lay. She was especially nervous on this ride because my son was with us. She is,understandably, very unsure of him. He is a high strung six year old boy, who doesn’t always think before he acts. She is an amazing dog! Several times he has ran up behind her and touched her with both arms extended and she will whip around, and just when any scared dog would bite, she spins away from him and just moves away. She has so much patients and just aims to please!


On the drive to Gisele’s I found myself a little anxious about taking her someplace new. What will she do? How will she take to Gisele’s pack? I didn’t notice my level of anxiety until I looked over to her and noticed she was no longer riding comfortably she was panting, breathing heavy, her heart was racing and she was extremely nervous. It was then that I said out loud, “you know what? NEVERMIND all that! We are going to get out of the car and walk up here like a pro! You are going to do fine.” She settled back down and rode the rest of the way just looking out the window.

When we arrived to Gisele’s several people were already there. Les Paul was being adopted, and everyone was in the side yard. I heard Gisele ask Les Paul’s adopters if they had been following Mystery, they said “No?” Gisele responds, “There she sits!” pointing to my truck. I waited in the neighbors driveway until Les Paul and his new family left and then I pulled in. As Mystery and I got out of the truck and approached everyone, Mystery stuck to my side. Gisele asked me to pull forward so that Dusty and Sarah could move their cars to the driveway. I handed Gisele Mystery’s leash and asked Mystery to stay. With each step I took to my truck she became more and more concerned. Was I leaving her? Where was I going? Why isn’t she with me? She gave a few whimpers and managed to prance in the sitting position, but never took her eyes off of me. As Gisele stood there with her hand wrapped up in the leash prepared for a rodeo and ready to control with the other hand, I heard her say “She acts just like China!” and she does! China will do whatever it takes to be with her person, who just happens to be Giseles daughter, Sarah. When I started the truck she stood up. Gisele tightened her grip on the leashes. I pointed one last time and said “Stay!”. She did, as I pulled forward and shut the truck off I told Gisele to loosen her grip and just watch. Knowing that they were about to witness first hand just how HAPPY she is when I come back for her! I stepped out of the truck and shut the door and started to walk toward them she stood with her entire body shaking and she even gave another whimper!

We see dogs everyday that have no joy, dogs in the shelters, puppy mills, dogs that weren’t ever family dogs. We see them do miraculous things we see them make changes we never expected but I think all of us, myself included, are in awe about the multitude of her devotion and will to do ANYTHING I ask of her. She has such a STRONG personality and a KIND HEART! She really is a GOOD GIRL! Well now that the show was over, we needed to figure out where we were going to sit. The back yard it is! and we will introduce one dog of the pack at a time. Mystery and I went through the side yard into the back yard and sat down to wait for everyone else. When I chose a chair she claimed the ottoman. Okay fine, as long as you aren’t in my lap that is fine with me. A few moments later everyone came out. With her being in a strange place she cringed when the door opened and when people started out the door she took one good leap and was in my lap with her head buried under my arm. They can’t see her there ya know. I removed her from my lap and placed her back onto the ottoman. We let Ozzie (Gisele’s brainless Border Collie) out the door he walks up to sniff her and she jumps with every sniff. I am correcting but it is too much she can’t handle it she leaps back into my lap yet again. Afraid of her CLAIMING me more than being afraid, I remove her once again, and place her back on her ottoman and ask Ozzie to leave her alone for now. While Ozzie is playing frisbee with my son and chasing squirrels she is watching closely to everything that is going on.

We let BoBo out, she did a lot of the same things but BoBo kept his distance and I was able to prevent her from leaping into my lap. After a little while she looked to me and I called her to my lap (on my terms), she of course accepted the invitation. She sat for some time when Gisele suggested we get a crate and set it out on the porch and let her have the crate for comfort and let her meet the girls of the pack. Dusty and Gisele brought out a crate for her, I got her a blanket and a toy and she went into her crate we let out Lady Di and China. As Lady Di approached the crate I could see Mystery cower but her body language told me she was going to growl. So I gave an “Aat!” She looked at me and I said “Be Nice, NO GROWLING!” She laid her head down and dealt with it. When China approached barking at her (China cant hear herself she is deaf) Mystery gave a growl, I corrected her. Gisele said let her growl. Lady Di approached them head and tail held high, letting everyone know she is LARGE AND IN CHARGE! Moments later Mystery had calmed down a little not as stressed and China approached again Sarah B. watched Lady Di get up and correct China, telling her to leave Mystery alone!

We had many conversations about how I caught her what led up to where we are today. How did I go from a dog who was afraid of her own shadow to this in just 3 weeks? A lot of HARD work and repetition. Stopping behaviors before they start, and reading her body language it requires a lot of attention to subitle messages given by Mystery. Not many people know how to properly read the body language of a dog, it was imperative that I properly read what she is telling me each time, one misunderstanding and it could end in disaster. I was fortunate with Mystery she is very caring and tolerant.

When it was time to eat I brought Mystery to a crate inside the house. She could not see me from her crate from the moment I sat down she whined and BARKED! I remember Dusty making the statement that she barked like a little girl. She does have a rather prissy bark. As we continued to eat I shushed her several times, she would stop for a second and then bark again. Normally when she whines like that she is thirsty, so I gave her a bowl of water, she drank it and then started again. What? Really! Why won’t you be quiet? I happened to glance over at the stove it was six o’clock on the dot! She was hungry! Yes, she still eats at six o’clock on the dot. I got up once again from the dinner table and gave her food, but she wasn’t happy that she wasnt in her crate at home with her bowl of food. The minute I placed the food in her crate she took her nose and dumped it out! She is hungry but, she wasn’t interested in that food (its the same as hers) and she wasn’t eating out of that bowl! I took her outside for a minute and then brought her back in and put her in the crate. What does she do? She lays down and waits patiently for me to tell her it is time to go HOME!

Finally! I could sit down and finish my dinner. I had to hurry though I had other plans and Mystery wasn’t going to wait patiently, forever. I finished my dinner and said my goodbye’s. Outside Dusty and Sarah were able to pet her and tell her goodbye, she stayed close to me but was happy to get a pet or two from the strangers. She has done so well today, with the new environment, and all the new people/dogs touching her. We loaded up in the car and off we went.

I had to stop at Autozone on the way home, I didnt think they would appreciate her joining me inside so I asked my son to get out first and then I snuck out. She watched me through the store window until I disappeared and she began to pace back and forth, back and forth, front seat, back seat, passenger side to driver side. My son watched her from the window as I grabbed what I needed practically running through the store.


I did it!

With the employees looking at me like I was absolutely NUTS, I explained the short version of her story they were amazed! She acted as if she had been with me forever, once she regained sight of me through the storefront, she settled back down and waited patiently never taking her eye off me. We completed our purchase and my son and I left the store trying to figure out how we were going to go about getting back in. I asked him to wait until I got in and got ahold of her before he opened his door, he did just that and it worked flawlessly. She is very observant in the car and she doesn’t miss a beat! We neared our STREET and she sat up, I’m almost Home!!!

Inside she was more than ready to retreat to dinner in her OWN BOWL! What a Day we had, but a GREAT DAY!

April 29th ~ Getting to know you…


Today we worked a little more with introducing Lola and Mystery!  We lounged around the house, we are still working on laying on the floor and not on the couch.  Don’t get me wrong she will at every given chance LEAP onto the couch and hide her face.  If she buries her head in the blanket its okay because I wont see her, Right?  She is getting pretty good at getting down when I tell her to, a big improvement from before when I had to literally pick her up and move her.  The girls have done very well over the last few days and today, I will take a big risk and I am going to turn them out and see what happens.

Finally starting to relax!

April 30th ~ Remind me not to do that again!

Coming soon! Update coming in the morning.


May 1st ~ Patio Picnic, Anyone?

Coming soon! Update in the morning.


Sarah and China, Fall of 2010

Recap Mystery 05/10/13:  Gisele here!  I’m stepping in here, to write a bit out Brittney and her Mystery.  If you have been a TDL follower for a while, you know the story about China, and my daughter Sarah.  You’ll remember that  on Christmas day of 2010, I gave China to my daughter as a Christmas present – meaning she was no longer available for adoption.  It was the only time that my family used the word “keep” and I listened.

While in foster care, China truly created an incredible bond with my daughter.  Even though Sarah asked me several times a day if we could keep China, it wasn’t until I saw this photo that I realized that it was my daughter that needed the dog, almost as much as the dog needed my daughter!  China gave Sarah self-esteem, and unconditional love.  Even though three years have passed, Sarah adores her dog, does everything for her, and we love her.

Brittney was working at Newman Veterinary Centers when I brought China in to be spayed.  She remembers how scared China was, and Brittney fell in love with her.  Months later, Brittney and I became friends, and she came to my home to meet China again.  China was still afraid.  It took several visits before China trusted Brittney, and of all of the gorgeous dogs I have had come through my home, China is truly one of Brittney’s favorites.  Is Mystery Brittney’s China?

The Keep Look!


When I was looking through Brittney’s photos last week, I saw it.  That one photo where the dog’s expression (Mystery’s) was that look I have been waiting for – the “Keep” look!

Oh sure, I tease Brittney about keeping Mystery, and we have discussed it a few times, but no decision has been made either way.  However, last night, I really pushed the envelope.   It’s time for Brittney to give this a lot of thought, just like I did three years ago!


05/12/13 Happy Mother’s Day!  It is official. Mystery is Brittney’s for keepsies. “I could never let her go. I thought many times about how an adoption would go and all I could think about was Dale’s Winter and Sarah’s China… I just can’t do it! We built each other… and she is, believe it or not, an inspiration for me!” Brittney said this morning.

Brittney, her Mother Brenda, and her new dog, Mystery!

Here is Brittney, and her Mother Brenda, and her new dog, Mystery!

Welcome to The Dog Liberator Mystery!

From time to time, we do update Mystery’s Photo album on Facebook, so for the latest updates, visit her album!

08/29/13:  Completely off leash in a strange area with nothing but thick brush and dunes surrounding us! Mystery did great! ~ Brittney Myers

08/29/13: Completely off leash in a strange area with nothing but thick brush and dunes surrounding us! Mystery did great! ~ Brittney Myers

Les Paul~Adopted

Jake’s Original Shelter Photo

When my daughter goes with me to get a dog, she has some input in giving the dog a new name.  This time, my son Ryan went with us to the Vet to pick up this little pup, and he insisted that we name him Les Paul.  So, there’s my reason for that!

Hope Master contacted me a few days ago, and asked me if I remembered a dog named Jake.  Unfortunately, I didn’t.  It appears that a month ago, on March 3rd, a rescuer pulled Jake from Floyd County Animal Control in Rome, Georgia.  The dog was transported to Aloma Jancy Animal Hospital on March 12th, waiting for his rescuers to pick him up.  It never happened.  Jake stayed at the vet for an entire month!

Hope called me, and asked me if I’d take him.  I don’t have a foster for the pup, and money is tight but what’s a girl to do?  I can’t let him stay there… it’s just wrong.  We picked him up last night, and he is terrified.  When I say terrified, I mean TERRIFIED!

With help, we got him in the car, but he’s afraid of everything.  We managed to get him into a private room here at my house, and he is sleeping.  This little guy is exhausted.  The sound of dogs screaming at the vet has taken its toll on this little guy.  Ironically, Ryan’s Dad came over for a visit last night, and the dog responded very well to him.  Yet, the dog is not sure of me yet!  We don’t want to push him, so he can decompress for a few days and we’ll slowly introduce him to new things.

Heartbreaking Photo from the Vet

I think that all Les needs is time, food, and sleep!  He does have some hair loss, due to stress and that’s not something I’m concerned about.  Again, it’s all about nutrition and environment.

I will provide updates on his progress, but in the meantime, Les if very quiet, shy, and unsure.  He is about 7 months old.  

When he met my Lady Di through the fence yesterday, I saw him wag his tail…. this is a great sign!

You can see many more photos of him on Facebook.



Les Paul meeting Lady Di!

04/16/13 Update:Yesterday, I posted on Facebook that I got my first tail wag from Les. It was awesome. Here’s what I know:

When I let him loose in the yard, I’m not sure if he’ll try to jump my fence or not, so I’m very cautious. He runs to the corner, and hides under some bushes. He loves to dive into his crate, as soon as possible, but he will not leave it. I have to pull on his leash to get him to leave the safety of his crate.

Yesterday, I left the porch door wide open, and asked BoBo and Lady Di to come out with me. I opened Les’ crate, and he came out on his own! He made a little pee pee and ran back inside, and dove into his crate. UGH!

I do believe, however, that the in the next few days, I will get to witness a lot of improvements! Why? Because in his crate yesterday, I left six toys in a dog dish. After I returned to check on him, every toy was scattered in his crate, and he was chewing on a dog bone! Woo Hoo! He also enjoyed a bowl of ice to crunch on. But that’s not all!

Last night I was watching The Voice, and I heard a soft woof. I stopped, and wondered… could it be? Then, I heard it again. I walked out to him, and he wagged his tail. Les was standing up doing the “I have to pee” dance, so I let him out, and he did his business. How wonderful it was that he communicated with me! He also enjoyed some tender attention from my daughter Sarah, but what he wanted more than anything was to get back into his crate!

At first, I really thought that Les’ progress was going to be slow, and that he would require a lot, but last Saturday, I received an email from Bill. Bill is from Fort Lauderdale, and his email was inquiring about Serena. We all know that Serena was adopted last month, but instead of sending Bill on his way, I shared what I knew about Les Paul with him. After Bill and I talked over the phone, he shared with me how scared and shy his female was… his female that he unfortunately lost to renal failure last Wednesday. Ironically, I picked Les up from the vet last Wednesday.

Is Bill going to adopt Les? I don’t know, but I sure hope so. We have a meet scheduled for this Sunday. He has a secure fence, and most of all, experience with shy fearful dogs. I’m off to take Les to the vet this morning. It’s not going to be an easy task, but I’ll take my time and help him get through it.

Newman Veterinary Centers Update:  We discussed the hair loss around Les’ eyes, but to be honest, he had it in both eyes when I first got him, now it’s just his right eye.  I believe that diet and a stress-free environment will make this puppy mange go away on its own.  For now, I don’t want to add any more stress by adding meds or treatments.  Dr. Kim believes that Les might be around 18 months of age, but I’m still wondering if he’s barely 12 months.  Does it matter?  Les is going to be neutered soon, he will receive any shots that he has not received yet, and he will be micro chipped.

The good news is…. Les Paul is Heartworm Negative!  Woo Hoo!  I’m doing the happy dance!

He did very well on leash walking into the Vet’s office.  After a few minutes of getting used to the sounds, and the people walking by, he did relax.  Ray, the Veterinary Technician, feels that Les has been abused, or at the least, neglected.  Les is very submissive, still afraid, and shy, yet when strangers approach him, he allows them to have contact, and once he is petted he feels much more comfortable!

I used a crate in a car, knowing he is cared being loose in the car, but comfortable in a crate.  He did pee pee a bit in his crate, I guess the turns I had to take to get there made him nervous.

Relaxed and feeling safe

04/21/13 Update:  Les Paul was adopted by Bill today.  Bill drove all the way from the Fort Lauderdale area to meet Les.  Bill’s experience with Shy Fearful dogs is incredible, and he is up to the challenge of rehabilitating this little pup.  I learned a lot about Les while he’s been with me.

I learned that the reason he is afraid of leaving the crate is being he has been pulled out of it, and has repeatedly gotten his feet stuck in-between the poles.  Ironically, Bill had bought him a plastic crate which will alleviate those fears for good!

Bill experienced the same types of issues with his dog, Lettie.  She passed away on April 10th, the same day I picked up Les Paul from the Vet.  Bill also has an incredible knowledge of Renal Failure.  Something that he shared with me, and his devotion to his dear dog friend Lettie, allowed her to live longer than expected.

Eating the first night!

I talked to Bill once he arrived back home, and he reports that Les, renamed Rack, is doing great.  He is curious about his new neighborhood, “my neighbor couldn’t believe how beautiful Rack is.”

It took me several days to get Les to eat at my house, yet he ate fine last night with Bill.  Les would not sleep out in the open, always looking for the safety of his crate at my house, yet at Bill’s…. well, the photo says it all!

Like China, I wonder if Les had been abused by a woman.  It wouldn’t surprise me one bit.  Regardless, we will be getting updates on Les, now named Rack!  I’m waiting for reports that Bill got that “first lick” from Rack, or the first time he rolls over to expose his belly!  That will be a grand and glorious day.

Special Note:  I want to thank Anna from Aloma Jancy who went above and beyond to help TDL get this pup.  She has been following his progress, and so proud (relieved really) that he has a home now.  We love you Anna!

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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Over-the-Counter Medicine for Dogs


Winter, now Rider

02/26/13 Dale Writes: Yea, so… cool is it that after only a week & a 1/2 Rider has learned my work schedule and is waiting out by the gate every day when I turn up, the driveway. Okay, now here’s the downside – cute but downside = It appears that when he comes out to sit & wait for me, he doesn’t care that it’s POURING DOWN RAIN !!! Yep, there sat my dedicated son, just as happy & excited to see me……soaking wet but he didn’t care – Daddy was home !

Winter has a home of his own!

02/16/13:  Winter joined us in DeLand.  Visit White Dog Day and see more photos and video of him at the dog park!

02/08/13:  Winter has been adopted by Dale and Brenda, and living in DeLand with Dales pack!  Can’t wait for updates!

02/14/13:  Winter got a bath yesterday!  Doesn’t he look awesome!  You can continue to see updated photos of Winter on Facebook.

all clean and white!

02/05/13 Foster Update:  Winter is wonderful.  He has the self-confidence he needs, he is playing like a maniac (thanks to Digit) and is just a very good boy!  He’s great with kids, unsure about cats, and loves dogs… all dogs!  He, like China, has incredible recall (most deaf dogs do).

Here’s his latest video.


Winter, Scared at the Shelter

Dave told me yesterday there was a white Aussie boy in Seminole County’s Animal Control.  I got in touch with Kim Litz, Aussie rescuer, and offered to take him.  She sent me a few photos of him, and said he was a good boy.  He reminded me of Dundee (Chance) who was adopted by the Wilson family.  He looked familiar to me, as if he and Dundee might be related.

They estimate he might be four years old, but today we wondered if he was two.  Who knows, he might even be older, I’ll let Dr. Oliver decide.  He’s also heartworm negative!  Whew!

Judging by his dirty feet, he’s been on his own for a while.  Rumors have it a local farmer was looking for an un-socialized dog to work with his cattle, so he bought this dog from a breeder.  Woops!  I don’t think he meant to buy a totally deaf and visually impaired dog.  Well, obviously it didn’t work out!  I was also told that this boy has been a stray for a month or so.  Seems like animal control has been getting calls from people who have spotted him.  I don’t know if any of these facts are accurate or not, so if I hear something different, I’ll update it here!

I had a choice to get him neutered at the county, or just pull him right away.  I figured I had a appointment already, and I really wanted to meet him first, so I opted to proceed with my plan… off to Val-U-Vet.

When he walked in the door, the staff at Val-U-Vet popped their heads up, and were curious about this slow moving Aussie.  One by one, the ladies joined me in the main lobby, and we sat on the ground evaluating him.  It was really cool, because first Serena came out, and evaluated the condition of his coat.   His coat is dry, and full of sand.  It didn’t take long before several of the staff were interacting with the dog.  We did a rough test of his eyes, they both blink!  But we don’t think he can hear… at all!

He wasn’t afraid of us, but he was cautious, and he was a bit confused; unsure of his surroundings, which I would expect.  What we did notice is he did not want to left alone.  He followed whoever moved, and when he couldn’t find a human, he hugged the wall.  I video taped it to share with you, even though I know that this video may decrease his chances for adoption.  After all, it shows him being unsure and lacking confidence.  But that’s okay, I’ll also be sharing video of him a few days and weeks from now, which I’m sure will be totally different!

By the way I’d like to apologize, because I’m typing this so fast, not taking the time to proofread!

Kim recently wrote:  Evaluated this 3 yr old male and what a sweet thing! He was good with the two dogs he interacted with, an older male corgi mix who kept trying to get him to play and then wanted to hump him, it didn’t bother him, he just sat down. He also was fine with the young Catahoula mix girl who sniffed him all over (she is disabled so not able to run around). He just sniffed the cat and didn’t really pay her much attention after that (she hissed at him but of course he couldn’t hear that). He is deaf and does have some limited sight although when I dropped the leash he could follow me around and did so several times. He was quiet, I went slowly at first as not to startle him. I really liked this boy, he was sweet and gentle, no jumping. He let me look at his teeth, his ears, his toes and touch him all over.

I shared with the staff at Val-U-Vet my name ideas for the gentle boy.  You see, on the way to meet Kim, I had a bunch of names in my head!  I had emailed a few people today asking for name ideas.  Here’s was my list!

If he was lovey dovey I was going to name him Diamond Dave.

If he was regal and sophisticated I was going to name him Elton.

My son, Ryan first wanted to name him Chrome.  I saved that name in case he was playful.

Then, I thought if he’s super smart, I’d name him Anderson Cooper.

But none of those names will do.

My son begged me to name him Winter.  He said there was a song that he loves, called The Sound of Winter.  While the five of us standing in a circle, surrounding the dog took a vote, and we all voted unanimously; Winter.

Not scared, but unsure and confused

He’s staying at Val-U-Vet tonight.  Tomorrow morning he will be lovingly groomed by Serena.  She will make him so white I’ll need sunglasses!  Also tomorrow his vision will be evaluated by Dr. Pinzon.  On Friday, he will be neutered.  I suspect that by the time I see him again, he’ll be a different dog!

I’ve asked the Wilson family to foster him for me, but whether he stays with me or stays with the Wilsons, he will get the best of care, and he will be introduced to play.  We will work on trust, and expose him to new things, and hopefully increase his self-esteem.

One thing is obvious, Winter is a velcro dog.  He needs the closeness of a human.  And please don’t tell me that deaf dogs don’t make good guard dogs, because it’s my China that’s the first to bark at a stranger (ferociously I might add).  I think because Ozzie and Lady Di can actually hear the intruder, or maybe they can see the intruder from the window, they don’t even bother to get up!  Because China can’t hear them, or see them very well, everyone is a stranger to her, until she can smell them, and until that happens, she guards her castle!

I’ll be anxious to update Winter’s page, I’m confident that we can help him, and I’m confident he will find the perfect home.  Thank you Kim!  I’m also glad that I made the decision to keep my appointment.  I know that at night, when the crowds leave, the folks at Val-U-Vet really interact with my dogs!  You can see more photos of him on Facebook.

I was getting ready to publish this post, and when I looked on Facebook, Kathy K. left a comment:
Kathy K:  If so, I am so thankful. I have seen him late at night on my way home from work and tried to catch several times. Took food I left once but other times just ran. Followed him once during the day for about an hour until he ran into the woods. No one seemed to know where he came from but talked to several people that tried to catch him. If not, still glad another baby has been saved.

So it’s true, it takes a village.

Dusty and Lilly

Update:  Winter’s veterinary care has been sponsored by Dusty, who adopted China’s Twin, Lilly!  Woo Hoo for Winter!  He’s getting the full spa treatment today, bath, ears, nails blow-dry and comb out!  Tomorrow he gets neutered.  Thank you Dusty!

Winter Comes Home

01/31/13:  Winter will not get a bath today, and his surgery has been cancelled. He is having an upper respiratory infection.  Some vitamins, antibiotics and cough medicine are in order. I’m picking him up shortly and he’ll chill out and relax for a few days before we reschedule!

I brought Winter home.  He does have a pretty hefty cough, and I’m glad he was not neutered yesterday by Animal Control.  My vet said he wouldn’t really eat, so I popped open a can of Andi’s chicken stew… he gobbled it!  I’ve taken him outside, he’s very needy, and starting to show affection.  He follows me around everywhere, like I’m his security blanket.

Winter is a love

I picked up the girls from school, and we took Winter outside to introduce him to the yard.  He is shy at first, but once he gets a chance to smell you, and knows that you mean him no harm, he warms up VERY quickly, giving kisses and wanting to hug.  You can see more photos of him on Facebook. 

02/01/13:  Winter is doing well, very well!  He’s eating good, so I’m not concerned, but his cough is bad.  He is starting to play, and he barks for attention!  What a great sign!  He is very affectionate, and he licks my feet just to tell me he likes me!  I will share more very soon!


Winter is Comfortable in Foster Care

02/03/13:  Winter’s cough is almost completely gone.  He loves to run with the pack, and is very playful.  He does not try to escape from the yard; so why was he on the run on his own for so long?  Maybe a female in heat caused him to leave the safety of his home?  Maybe he was dumped.  Winter is great in his crate, and barks occasionally to check if we’re hear!  I’ve been leaving the light on for him at night; it helped!  He is great with the kids and is gaining a lot of self-confidence.

We have many new photos of him on Facebook.



Flash Back:  It’s February 11, 2013 and I’m just going through all of my old messages.  I re-read Kathy’s comments on Winter’s photo album on Facebook, when it dawned on me.  Last November, she sent me a private message:

November 30, 2012: Not sure that you can help but maybe you have heard if someone is missing this dog. I saw a white with small gray markings and very light blue eyes, Australian Shepherd running loose in the Longwood area. He/she was running on Rangeline road and then onto Church Ave. He/she is very dirty. Does not seem aggressive but would not come to me. I followed it for a ways with food and it would just cross the road and kept running. It was running in traffic. Several of us tried to catch it to no avail. I followed it to the woody area by Pet Country ( a boarding place on Church). I asked if they were missing a dog and they said that it had been running for about 4 days and that no one has been able to catch it. I then spoke to another lady walking a dog and she said the same thing. I checked with the Vet I take my kitties to and they did not know of anyone missing a dog. I now have to go to work and sadly I don’t live in the area the dog is running in or I would leave food out. It is a dirty beauty and i am so scared it will get hit. I will look for it again tomorrow. Please let me know if you have heard of anyone missing such dog. Thank you for your time. Kathy


Not knowing if the dog was a male or a female, I wrote her back, giving her some advice:  Keep looking! If you see her, sit on the ground, and turn your back on her, avoiding eye contact. Extend your hand out, and see if she’ll come to you. If she’s scared, she will approach from the back or the side. Bring food. Bring a braided slip leash, it’ll take time.  You can call my cell if you need me.   Also, she may have puppies so check her belly if you can. If she’s nursing, you can not remove her.

Now it all makes sense, why Kathy was so excited when we got Winter.  I have chills!


All photographs and articles are copyright protected by The Dog Liberator. The Dog Liberator is a registered Trademark.

The Dog Liberator is a foster-driven non-profit, 501c(3) charitable organization.  All dogs are fostered in a home environment, which enables the dog to show its true color. Founded in 2009, The Dog Liberator has successfully rescued and adopted nearly 700 dogs.

TDL dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. TDL does not receive government funding of any kind, and relies on individual donations and corporate sponsors.  By using Paypal, you can donate to The Dog Liberator’s Veterinary Care Fund.

The Dog Liberator focuses on rehabilitation, taking in deaf and/or blind dogs, dogs that need social skills, fearful dogs, and dogs that suffer from depression. They also focus on educating the public regarding medical issues, like heartworm treatment, parvovirus, adopting senior dogs, Addison’s disease, pneumonia, and proper diet.

The Dog Liberator prides themselves at creating the perfect match for dog lovers. Their adoption updates are shared on both Facebook, and their website thus creating a professional and personal relationship with their adopters. You can help Save a dog’s life today by donating.

There are a host of options to donate to The Dog Liberator, which are detailed in “The Promise“.


Bailey’s Irish Cream~Adopted

Bailey is not ready for bed…its play time!

1/18/13 Update: Today, Baileys has all of the self-confidence a good dog needs! He has learned a lot of social skills with Mary, and his time in foster care has been time well spent. He is a love bug, and is incredibly smart. Mary, and her dog Gidget (Jalo) are enjoying his company, and he is getting used to Mary’s cat!



Simply Stunning!

11/19/12:  Mary Burns was very interested in adopting Baileys.  She brought him home for a few days to see if he would get along with her pack. Unfortunately, the pack was too much for him and made him nervous.  The cat added to his nervousness as well.  Bailey’s is now available for adoption again but we’ve learned a lot more about him in just one week.  Baileys needs a structured environment and a routine to increase his sense of security.  I just love this dog, and I’m anxious to foster him again.

11/16/12 Foster Update:  Running a rescue is hard work, but what I love about it the most is I learn something new every single day.  I visited Dr. Dario Pinzon, an eye specialist for Val-U-Vet.  Bailey underwent a thorough examination.  He is losing his sight in both of his eyes, his left eye being worse than the right.

It’s called the Collie Eye Anomaly

I felt very sad for Bailey’s family, that they had to give him up after seven years.  I was surprised that they were not aware that he was blind.  If they would’ve known he was blind, a lot of incidents could’ve been avoided.

I  had a blind Sheltie many years ago.  I too didn’t know she was blind… it was my Aunt Gerry that told me!  I denied it, took the pup to the vet, and it was confirmed that my little Sheltie was blind.  She was only three years old.  She never missed a beat, and didn’t need her sight.

Blind dogs do need a special home, and here’s what Dr. Pinzon shared with me:

Install outdoor lighting.  When your dog wants to go outside at night, his vision will be even worse.  He will need lighting or he will be afraid to go outside.

Install nightlights and leave them on in the home, this will help the dog get around.

Do not allow strangers to approach the dog from behind, it will spook the dog.  Allow the dog time to use his ears and nose when meeting strangers.

The good news for Baileys is that by the time his sight is gone completely, he will be established in his new home, will have developed his new routine, and will have met a lot of new people!

I don’t feel sorry for Baileys.  He is the most intelligent dog I have ever rescued… and I’m serious.  Baileys is a brainiac and a real problem solver.  He could easily be certified Canine Good Citizen… he’s that good.  I also don’t feel sorry for Baileys because I think I know whoever adopts him, they will be awesome!  Stay tuned!


11/13/12 Foster Update:  It took a few days for Bailey to decompress.  All he knows is his home and his family.  He was scared, and didn’t know if he could trust us.  He first started with me, then the kids… to seek attention.  But today, he wanted to play, and he played with the entire pack!  I had my phone fully charged… and caught some video!  Woo Hoo!


This gorgeous boy is here with me, in Deltona.  He is 7 years old, very quiet, and very shy.  He’s getting used to live at the Border Collie Boot Camp, and it won’t be long before he finds his joy.  It’s hard to say where he’ll be best suited, so for now, I’ll just guess that a quiet home with an older couple would be awesome!

Bailey’s has a doctor’s appointment this Friday.  When I met him, I immediately suspected that his left eye was blind.  After watching him closely, I know I’m right.  You can see all of his photos on Facebook.

If you are interested in meeting him, please email and 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,

what you are looking for in a dog,

do you have a pool

what contingency plans do you have in place should you no longer be able to care for your dog,

What a handsome boy!

if you rent, do you have landlord approval,

and are you prepared to bring your new dog home if you are approved during your meet?

have you or anyone in your family ever been bitten or traumatized by a dog in the past?

also, provide us with your phone number, home address, including county and zip code, and then we’ll go from there! The more you share the better!


Wanna Play?

Gentle Jerry~Adopted

Gentle Jerry

Jerry is a gorgeous 2 year old Australian Cattle Dog rescued from death from Miami Dade Animal Services. He is an outstanding pup, with so much love to give. He loves being with his human and furry companions. He is great with people, kids and dogs. He is potty trained, crate trained and wonderful on the leash. He is eager to learn and eager to please. Jerry picks up on training extremely fast (something Cattle Dogs are known for). he would make a great addition to any family especially a family with children. He would make a great companion or service dog because he brings so much joy to those who meet him. He is an all around perfect dog that is grateful to have been saved. If interested in adopting Jerry, please email

You can see more photos of Jerry in his photo album on Facebook.

Free Kisses!

If you are interested in meeting her, please email
and share such information as:

where you live,

your household composition,

your yard/fence/exercise plan,

pets you have and/or had,


Do you have a pool

what contingency plans do you have in place should you no longer be able to care for your dog,

Gorgeous Boy!

if you rent, do you have landlord approval,

and are you prepared to bring your new dog home if you are approved during your meet?

have you or anyone in your family ever been bitten or traumatized by a dog in the past?

also, provide us with your phone number, home address, including county and zip code

and then we’ll go from there! The more you share the better!


Shy Sharon~Adopted

Little Red (Shy Sharon) now Ayra with Andres!

August 23, 2012: It happened! Sharon was adopted last night by Andrew Spilling and his girlfriend Melissa. I had a feeling it was a perfect fit. They live in a small apartment, (perfect) will be using a lot of leash-training, (perfect) and have many friends who will provide Sharon with play dates (perfect). Sharon has used my pack as her shield, not really bonding with her human (yet). While she has tolerated me kissing her, etc., she prefers the company of her pack. I am confident that Andrew and Melissa have what it takes to take her to the next level. I may have turned her into a good dog, but they will turn her into a great pet. It took a while sitting on my couch the first night they met, but once Sharon got into Andrew’s lap, and felt the comfort that Melissa provided, she was quite content sitting with the two of them. She actually fell asleep before this photo was taken!

Andrew has that calm energy that everyone talks about! You know, that energy that is not nervous or anxious (like mine). Sharon will gain a lot from this adoption. I can’t wait to get updates!  You can see more of her photos on Facebook.

Shy Sharon

She’s Ready!  Shy Sharon is ready for her new home.  Three months ago she was a feral dog, afraid of every noise, movement and human being.  She adores other dogs and loves to play.  She is only 7 months old.  She has given me permission to cuddle her, kiss her, play with her feet, her ears and her tail.  She is even coming to me when called and taking treats from my hand with ease.  She has also bonded with several of my friends, and especially, my daughter Sarah.  I do not believe Sharon should be adopted by a family with young children.

There are only two things that set Sharon off, and that’s if she is huddled in her crate and you try to put a leash around her neck.  This triggers a very bad memory for her, and she will let you know how uncomfortable she is.  She also needs to be picked up calmly and slowly.  There is no spooking the Little Red.  She needs someone who has a lot of experience rehabilitating a dog, someone who is patient and understanding.  She should always be treated as a flight risk and will need a very safe environment until she is completely rehabilitated.  I adore Shy Sharon.  I hug and kiss her constantly, and I know that when the right person comes along, they will fall head over heels in love.  I realize it might take months before I find the right person to adopt Sharon, and I’m in no hurry!  If you are interested in her, please email me at

Introduction to Rehabilitating Shy Sharon and her History:    I guess it’s Deja Vu week. Shane reminds me of Charlotte, so much that even Charlotte’s owner, Donnie Smith, couldn’t believe it. Chaz reminds me of Jake. Polly Pocket reminded me of Nutella, both were alleged fear biters… yeah, right!  It’s a real joy to foster a dog that you’re familiar with.  You let them go, with a bittersweet feeling, and when they come back to you, as a different dog, it’s just wonderful!  When I first saw Chaz, I said, “I know you, you’re my McDreamy!”

08/2009 Shy Shannon, TDL’s Icon

But Deja Vu week wasn’t over, and this time, I had to take a deep breath when I saw a photo that Vicki sent to me.   What I saw was a terrified, emaciated tiny Border Collie, with giant ears, and stunning green eyes.  She had that look that I had seen before, a look that I’ll never forget.  “That’s Shy Shannon,” I told Vicki.

Shy Shannon was one of my first rescues, and definitely the first dog I had ever rescued from Alabama.  She came to me with Flash Gordon.  She was known as the Pet Store Inmate, and it took me months to rehabilitate her.  She came with an impressive pedigree.  I couldn’t believe the champion bloodline she possessed.  She was no ordinary pet, she was a true herding dog.  She had never touched grass, had very little contact with humans, never played with other dogs, was trained to relieve herself in the pet store’s bathroom (on the floor) and was fearful.  I still have the crate that she was transported in.  Written in big black letters, “DO NOT REMOVE”  She was so underweight, I couldn’t even get her spayed until she gained at least 12 pounds… yet she was only a few months old.  Shy Shannon, now known as Hannah Banana was adopted by retired Veterinarian, Sherry Lee and is now herding sheep on Sherry’s 65 acres!  While I was making copies of Shannon’s paperwork for Sherry, I’ll never forget how hard I was crying.  But I knew I wasn’t the right home for her.  It was the last time I cried during an adoption, and that was on November 15th, 2009.   If you have any doubt how much this scared little pup meant to me, just look at my logo, or look down on your t-shirt because you’re wearing Shy Shannon!

Click here to read about the charges filed on Shannon’s Pet Store Owner.

Shy Shannon

I guess I never realized until now, how much dogs like Shannon and Nutella have taught me.  Again, I was anxious for the challenge.  Vicki shared that this pup has actually nipped and bitten several people.  No one knows why.  No one knows why she’s so afraid of everything.  My job is to figure it out, and correct it.

Sunday, May 13th:

She arrived late Sunday evening, on Mother’s Day, thanks to transporters William, Michelle and my friend Irma!  When I saw her in the back of her plastic crate, I was ready!  She didn’t have on a collar, and being a flight risk, I had to put a slip leash on her right away.  I spent a few minutes trying to get her comfortable, but who was I fooling?  She was so afraid, she had buried her head down into the crate, and her back legs were up in the air, as if she was standing on her head.  “Please don’t touch my face,” she was begging me.  “Please don’t take me out of this crate.”  She had traveled from Atlanta to Orlando, she had to come out and relieve herself, drink some water, and have a bite to eat before calling it a night.  I offered her some hot dog bites, but she would NOT take them.  I caressed her with the leash, and attempted to slip it over her head, and the inevitable happened.  Bam Bam Bam, She rapidly bit me three times… but did not break the skin.  Now just wait one minute!  It’s Mother’s Day, and today I had a flat tire, no flowers, and now a dog just bit me!!!!  Unlike her other humans, I didn’t back away, I was not freaked out, I was ready.  I did not move my hand in fear.  Then I gave her a gentle poke on the side and said, “Ah Ah!  No!”  I left my hand there for her to bite again, but she didn’t.  I attempted to get the leash on her again, and this time, I was successful.

Shy Sharon on Transport

My son and I lifted the crate out of the truck and placed it on the drive way.  I opened the door, and slowly pulled on her leash and until she came out.  She was terrified, but Sgt. Pepper, the puppy who was her transport buddy, came up to her and soothed her.  We gave the dogs some time to do their business, but the shy red girl would not relax enough.  So, Christopher, Irma’s friend, took the shy pup around the house and talked softly to her.  Within a matter of minutes, he picked her up (without being bit) and carried her to my front door.  We gave her some time to meet my Ozzie, and it was time to come inside the house.  We opened the door, and she and Ozzie came in together.  She resisted the leash quite a bit, but I had to move forward.  I brought her to my bedroom, where her crate was ready.  Not a plastic crate, but a wire crate.  I was told that she never leaves the safety of her crate.  Maybe a wire crate would help socialize her rather than a plastic crate, which isolates her.  When I began to put her in her crate, she peed on the floor.  I suspect she peed out of fear.  Again, Christopher spoke to her in an assuring voice.  I put food and water in her crate, and just a few minutes later, I went to bed.  I never heard a sound out of her, but in the morning, she had peed in her crate.  I guess I didn’t wake up early enough?  I noticed that she had not touched her food.


“I’m not budging!”

Monday, May 14th

That Monday morning, when it was time to take the dogs out, again, she resisted leaving her crate.  I noticed that her fear escalated when her front paws left the crate and felt the floor.  I gave her time to leave her crate, but I had to execute.  I could not allow her to flea back in.  When her front paws left the crate and onto the carpet, she peed again… fear.  I lead her to the door, and I let my pack outside into the backyard.  As I sat on the porch, I noticed that she would not leave the cement slab.  When the dogs ran around the yard, happily barking, she cried as she stood on the slab, afraid to leave it, afraid to put her front paws on the grass.  She peed on the concrete!  I called on Ozzie, and attached her leash to his collar.  Ozzie walked her around the yard, where she did her business in the safety of his presence.  Irma and Christopher came over to check on the little red girl, and Christopher noticed her gate, and we wondered if she had sustained an injury to her front legs.  I called my Vet right away, and made an appointment for Thursday.  Again, I offered her some hot dog bites, and she would not comply, however, Ozzie was thrilled to take what she refused.  It was time to come in, and when I opened the door for the pack to come, she bolted through the door and dove into her crate.

Shy Sharon & Sgt. Pepper

I saw a bit of an improvement on Monday evening.  Again, I tethered her to Ozzie, and she did well.  Once I fed all the dogs and let them out in shifts, my kids were fed, the dishwasher was full and running, I sat down on the couch with the remote control and thought to myself, It’s Time!  I got a blanket, asked my son Ryan to hold her leash.  I guided her out of her crate, again, she freaked out once her front paws left the crate and landed on the ground, I handed Ryan the leash, and placed a blanked around her, and picked her up.  I thought sure she would try to bite me again, but she didn’t.  I sat on the couch and placed her on top of me.  She was NOT happy!  She shook in fear, constantly looking around with incredible nervousness.  I rubbed her body and felt which areas made her shake more, and which areas helped her to relax.  Definitely the back of the neck and the base of her skull was her favorite place.  At times I had to hold her tight, to prevent her from escaping, but she did very well.  After about ten minutes, she relaxed, and I felt that I had succeeded.  I wasn’t going to push my luck, so I let her go and she eased over a bit on the couch near Ozzie, and they placed kissy face for about 20 minutes. But before leaving, she had to eat.  I got some canned food, put it in a bowl, and asked my daughter’s friend, 9 year-old Danielle to give the pup the bowl.  Danielle is a very soft, patient child.  She moves slowly, and respects the dogs.  She did very well helping me socialize Polly Pocket last week!  She presented the bowl of food, and the pup wouldn’t eat.  I asked Danielle to turn her back to the pup, don’t look at her.  The moment Danielle ignored the pup, she cleaned her bowl!    I let the pack out later that evening for their last run, and she did well, this time her feet left the concrete and she ran around a bit!  Before coming in for the night, my neighbor came over to the fence and I asked him to tell me who this pup reminded him of.  Immediately, he shouted, “That’s Shy Shannon!”  I knew I wasn’t crazy!  You see it’s not just what she looks like, it’s her condition, her age, and her demeanor.

Later that night I called Vicki, proof positive that I know what happened to this pup, and why she must bite.  It was obvious to me.  Vicki agreed, it all made sense.  The pup gave me all of the clues, I just had to put the puzzle together… and in my opinion, all of the pieces fit.  I’m waiting for Thursday for the vet to confirm or deny my suspicion.  But one thing is for sure, I don’t blame this pup one bit!  I also called Khaz, asking about the pups interactions with the people at K9 Coach which confirmed my suspicions even more.


Tuesday, May 15th:

Tuesday morning I decided that I will no longer guide her outside by her leash.  I will open her crate door, and she can come outside when she’s ready.  I also did not use Ozzie.  I let the pack outside, and eventually she left the safety of her crate, ran back to it, left it, ran back to it again, until she finally walked out the door.  She bolted freely around the yard.  It wasn’t long before she was running like the wind.  Greeting every dog, and inviting them to play.  Sgt. Pepper was at the vet, so she had to find another playmate.  My volunteer, Emily Kennedy came over for a visit, and wanted to help, so we cut up some hot dogs, and with time and patience, the shy red girl took a hot dog from her hand.  That was a huge step.  I decided that very soon, I would leave the crate door open for her, so she can come and go as she finds her courage!

Those Green Eyes

Tuesday evening, I watched her run just like Shy Shannon.  As if she just got brand new legs, had never used them before, and thought they were awesome, so awesome that she was really going to try them out!  She invited each dog to play with her, and this time China joined her!  I lost count of the number of play bows the two of them exchanged!  This pup so desperately wants to be loved, get attention, and be accepted, but only by dogs, not by humans… yet.  Once again, everyone had been fed and let out in shifts, and it was time for America’s Got Talent.  I figured it’s time to take this to the next level.  I opened her crate door, and let her exercise going in and out as she pleases.  Realize that my place on our couch is right next to the crates, so I never miss a thing!

I watched her take one step into the living room, then dart back on the porch, then two steps, peeking into the kitchen, and fearfully running back in the porch and diving into her crate.  This went on for twenty minutes, and I couldn’t take it anymore.  I couldn’t sit there and watch this little pup’s insecurities and fear get the best of her.  She was stuck and she needed help.  I picked up her leash, and guided her onto the couch again.  Realize that I ask my fosters not to allow dogs on the furniture!  Woops!  This time, she made herself comfortable immediately!  She stretched out and relaxed.  There was a pillow next to her that she used as a shield, and that little pillow made her feel safe.  Ozzie jumped up for a few minutes, they played kissy face again, and he disappeared.  She was very content, I even stretched out next to her, her face right next to mine, and she sniffed me quite a bit.  Again, I’m not going to push my luck.  We watched the show for a bit, as my kids took turns sitting next to her, being careful not to make eye contact, and extending their hand toward her so she could sniff.  At one point she licked Ryan’s hand.  Several times she leaned her head back and sniffed my face, and I even began to play with her snout, and she play bit my hand a bit, very gently.  It was late, and time for bed.  I guided her off the couch, and she dove into her crate.  I think it was a very good day!

I don’t think she will bite anyone in my home, but her visit to the vet is Thursday.  It will be a test.  I have specifically asked for Dr. Oliver, and hand picked my Vet tech, Sean.  I think Sean has the energy she needs.  She has shown me that she is not as afraid of men as she is with women.  When I bring her home from the vet, I will decide if I will tie her leash around my waist to help her get to the next level, which is housebreaking.



It’s Wednesday morning, as I’m writing this.  I knew that so many things would happen so fast, I had to write it down before my Mom-nesia kicks in and I forget everything.  So what’s the point of sharing all of this?  Do I think that my honesty about this little pup will prevent her from being adopted?  No!  When I started this rescue, I wanted to give as much information about each of my dogs as possible so adopters can make informed decisions, not impulsive ones.

Shannon Today

My point to this post is to help others who just might be thinking about adopting a shy fearful pup, or rescuing one from a pound, or maybe taking in a terrified stray.  Give yourself time to observe, ask yourself a list questions, and wait for the dog to answer them for you.  In the case of Shy Shannon, she had not been abused physically, but she was not valued or respected.  Shannon was a commodity, she was revenue.  Her breeder sold her to a pet store, and left her there for months.  Why?  Was her split face not desirable?  Seriously?  If Denise Pruitt Hoyle would not have purchased her from that pet store, in an attempt to buy her freedom, I don’t know what would’ve happened to Shannon.  Her muscles were starting to atrophy, she was consumed with worms, and terrified.

This little red girl, whom I’ve named Shy Sharon, was owned, and her owners had high hopes for her, yet surrendered her to Vicki Truelove.  I can not share any more details about her past at this time.

“And that’s all I’m going to say about that”  Forrest Gump

Does The Dog Liberator take in dogs that bite?  We do not take in adult dogs with a bite history.  All of our dogs are carefully evaluated and temperament tested before we rescue them by our awesome volunteers.  But in this case, this is just a young pup, not even six months old.  This is what rescues do!  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  Sharon is a treasure!


Wednesday, May 16th:

Shy Sharon has big ears to fill!

I’m almost up to speed documenting the events that have happened so far.  This morning, I opened her crate, and let out the pack.  Again, she ran around with joy, initiating play and if no one wanted to play with her, she ran anyway!  This time, when I let the pack inside, I did not close her crate door!  It has taken an hour, while I type this post, for her to come all the way to my computer, but she did it!  She sniffed around, and managed to get past the couch, to join Lady Di and China who are at my feet!  Now she has retreated to her crate for a nap!  Today should be a blast.

Toward the end of last year, this rescue suffered quite a bit.  It seemed like a black cloud was following me.  While I may appear tough on the surface, I’m really not!  I took almost three months off just to grieve, and have a pity party.  Fostering Pippa was my first day back to work, and she was a big help.  She brought me joy, but not purpose.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my foster dogs, but fostering Shy Sharon is my calling!  Everything else I do running this rescue, is my job, but rehabilitating a dog like this is the real reason why I’m here.  We all want to be needed, wanted and appreciated.  Finally, because of Shy Sharon, I’m in the zone!  Some dogs are just clearly TDL dogs, and that’s all I’m going to say about that!

~Stay Tuned!

Wednesday evening was no picnic.  Mom always said be careful what you wish for!  Sharon has found so much joy, it’s created more work on my part.  Tonight, the pack didn’t want to go outside, it was raining.  But Sharon did.  The problem was getting her back in.  I guess Sharon decided to play tag.  She ran back and forth, around and around, looked back at me a few times, and asked me to chase her.  After an hour of this I said, ENOUGH!  I used treats with no success, so finally, I asked Ryan to stand watch, and ran around Sharon, copying her, darted inside the house, and she followed as Ryan quickly closed the door!


Thursday, May 17th:

Ozzie, a true friend

It’s vet day!  I got everything ready, and at the last moment I decided to take Ozzie with us.  What a life-saver he is.  Sharon was not nearly as stressed having Ozzie with her.  I picked her up and put her in the back seat without any problems.  Getting her out of the car, however, was not that easy.  When I sent to pick her up, she did her quick sharp look, and thought about biting my hand before it got too close to her.  I corrected her, and she got out of the car on her own.


At the vet, she did very well.  Ozzie just stretched out on the cold floor, and she did the same.  When it was my turn, Sean and I walked down the hallway to the weigh scale.  It’s a very confined area, and I expected Sharon to freak out.  She hopped up on the scale, a whopping 14.8 pounds.  Dr. Oliver estimated her age to be 5 months.  He thinks she is stunningly gorgeous.  She is very underweight, and we will schedule her spay maybe next week.  Sean and George did a fecal, and she tested positive for hook worms.  I started her treatment and I also asked for Mirtazapine tablets to increase her appetite.

One thing we did discuss was her front feet.  While Dr. Oliver confirmed that they have not been broken in any way, and she is not experiencing any pain, her front feet are extended a bit.  I believe that she was handled roughly while being removed from her crate, her front paws got stuck, and caused her quite a bit of pain.  This explains everything.  Why she does not want to be physically removed, why she only feels safe while in the crate, and why she desperately does not want to be removed from the crate.  Whatever happened to her, it created quite a bit of trauma.  Once I noticed her fear of being removed from the crate, I put her in a crate that has a Kuranda bed in it.  This helps her transition from crate to floor.  It’s working!

She was awesome Thursday evening.  She ran with the pack and ate very well.  When it came time for me to sit on the couch and relax, she slowly approached me, looked at the couch a few times, wondering how she could participate in her nightly routine of sitting next to me.  She didn’t have the courage to just make herself at home and jump up, so I guided her with the leash, and when she was close to the couch, she willingly and happily jumped up.  This girl gets it!  She is smart as a whip.  When I offered her some hot dog bites, she ever so gently removed them from my fingers.  I could not believe how softly she took treats, which clearly tells me she doesn’t mean to harm.  She will accept Ryan but she has not yet accepted my daughter, Sarah.  Every day is an adventure!


aka Little Red

Saturday May 19th:

Friday was very uneventful, except that I can’t get her to really eat, even with appetite stimulants.  UGH!  She is getting out of crate with more ease, and following the pack nicely.  Saturday morning, however, I woke up, opened my bedroom door, and was greeted by my daughter Sarah, and Shy Sharon, on the couch together, watching cartoons!  Sarah… she’s one determined little 9 year-old!


Monday, May 21st:

Marjie Wolfe brought KiKi today.  When we finished taking pictures of Kiki and talking about her history and medical status, Marjie wanted to meet the little red girl.  I brought her up on the couch, and with patience, Marjie got to pet her.  We chopped up some hot dogs, and even though it took almost an hour, Marjie managed to get Shy Sharon’s to take her medicine.  This little girl inspects every bite she eats, and spits her pills out with precision!


I just love her!

Wednesday, May 23rd:

What the heck happened?  I worked all day on the computer yesterday, letting dogs in and out all day long, but something happened.  Shy Sharon is almost right back where she started from.  I invited her on the couch to share our evening routine and she was scared, nervous, and unsure.  She acted like she has never seen me or Ryan.  I was devastated.

I called Paul Pipitone this morning, and it’s time to tether her to my waist.  As I write this, she is wearing a leash, that’s attached to a leash which is tied around my waist.  She’s not happy about it, but let’s give this time.  I’m not giving up on her.  Paul could not believe that she was so terrified and only 5 months old.  I CAN turn this around!

Noon: I had a handful of left over turkey, and a few steak bites (my son Ryan rarely lets leftovers survive in the fridge) and I sat down and…. TAUGHT SHY SHARON HOW TO SIT!!!!!

that little fox look

Wednesday, May 30th:

So much has happened so quickly. Sharon enters and exists door ways now, she wanders freely from her crate to the living room. She has jumped up on the couch without coaxing for her regularly scheduled human cuddle time. She has been getting my attention when she needs to relieve herself (great sign). She has snuggled up to Sarah, putting her head in her lap and falling asleep. She has nuzzled herself between me and the couch, sticking her nose in my armpit, and snoozing for an hour or so. She is NOT afraid of thunder, which is awesome.  She is still afraid to quick movements, and loud noises made by people, but it’s getting better.

At this point, Sharon’s desire to run is unbelievable!  She will need a lot of land to play in, should have one or more dogs to help train her, and should only be adopted by a family with older children.   I absolutely love fostering her!

Saturday, June 2:

Emily and Sharon!

I got it!  A wag!  Sharon wagged her tail for quite some time yesterday, while playing with Ozzie and China in the living room.  It was awesome.  She is also really starting to play with her ball, and of course, I’m playing with her too!  She gets very nervous when people walk up to her too quickly, but once the person sits down, she’s okay.  I think seeing people so tall, intimidates her.  She is checking out the rest of the house slowly, one room at a time, and doesn’t hesitate to get out of her crate to explore!  It’s all good!  She met with Emily again, and this time after a noise scared her, she landed in Emily’s lap! So the trust factor is in the works!


Friday, June 15th:

Two days ago, I realized that I’ve had Sharon for one month.  I still see three steps forward and two steps back,but there are a lot of improvements in certain areas.  I had a lot of the kids’ friends over lately, and she is getting used to strangers and mayhem!  But with BB out of the woods, KiKi and Jubilee adopted, I’ve had more time to spend with Sharon, so it’s back to my bedroom every night (on leash of course).    She did really well the night of the 13th.  At one point, I felt her paws rest on my hands, and she stayed close to me.  Again, last night, she slept with me, and this time, I didn’t hold the leash.  She was quite happy being close to me.

We still have our own personal time every single night, on the couch.  We watch shows together, and she watches as people travel throughout the house, still a bit fearful.  Megan, my dearest friend from Boston, spent a few days with us, and Sharon accepted her without any hesitation.   Wow!  Danielle and Emily have visited as well, and it doesn’t take long for Sharon to remember them.  One thing is for sure, she is madly in love with my Ozzie, Lady Di and China.  Without my pack, she would’ve never come this far.

It will take a special person, with experience, to adopt Sharon.  I don’t think we’re just dealing with an abused shy fearful dog here, I think she was feral, and we are both traveling down a road, one that we have never been.  I’m confident that we’ll get there and I’m enjoying every minute of it.


Monday, June 25th:

It was last week that I noticed Little Red was really coming around.  I’ve been calling her Little Red, I guess to prevent myself from getting too attached…. it hasn’t worked one bit!  Little Red has been sleeping with me every night, getting closer and closer, and sleeping with ease so I know she’s not scared of me at all.  She has jumped up on the couch without being dragged over to it.  She has slept on the couch with both my daughter Sarah, and her friend Danielle, and she no longer gets jumpy when my son, Ryan stomps into the room and plops on the couch.  In short, she’s okay with us.  But what I realized was when I looked at the calendar, it had been seven weeks.  Somewhere seven weeks meant something to me… but what?

It took seven weeks exactly for my China to let me touch her.  During those seven weeks she stayed hidden in my daughter’s closet.  So maybe seven weeks is a magic time frame that a dog needs to feel safe?  I’m not sure.  Regardless, Little Red is ready.  Is she fully rehabilitated?  Absolutely Not!

Little Red needs a special home, and must be adopted locally.  I have made a lifelong commitment to her, and like all TDL dogs, she will not fall through the cracks.   It’s time for her next Vet visit, and if I can afford it, I’d like to have her DNA tested!

I love Little Red.  She has this softness to her that is hard to explain.  When she takes a treat, she is the most gentle dog I’ve had.  When she leans her head back onto you, asking for her neck to be rubbed, she is genuinely reaching out.  She even exposes her belly for a rub now, it’s so cool!  All she needs is a few minutes when meeting new people, and if you give her time and patience to figure out for herself that you mean to harm, she is fine!

I’m in no hurry to re-home her, but it’s time to start interviewing prospects, she deserves the best!


Shy Sharon with our newest pack member, Rocco

Saturday, July 14th:

I knew that once Little Red felt safe here, her progress would be fast, and it really has been.  She has not had the courage to visit the right side of the house, the long hallway where my children’s bedrooms are.  But Sarah thought it was time, so she took her into her room, and Red loved it.   What’s more important is that Red felt safe, and now she has conquered the entire house without being harmed, so her self-esteem sky rocketed through the roof!  That night she ran all over the house, playing catch me if you can, with my pack, jumping on the couch, off the couch, and taking hide and go seek to a new level!  It was the first time she played in the house with ease and freedom, and I know that she felt joy, real joy.  Even thought she has a long way to go, I think she’s ready to bond with her new human, and adjust to her new home!  Woo hoo Little Red!



Polly Pocket~Adopted

Polly was rescued by Jackie Duenas from Miami Dade.  She was a joy to foster, and she was adopted by Erica Brilliant’s Mom, Erica adopted Flash Gordon from me almost three years ago!  I get updates often, and Polly now Molly is doing awesome!


Her photo album can be seen on Facebook.

Mistletoe, The Petite Border Collie~Adopted

Mistletoe, the petite Border Collie

Foster Update:  Wow!  This little girl is full of joy!  She is so happy to see her people, she does a little dance and wants to please.  She is smart smart smart, and has become quite affectionate.  I played ball with her this morning.  Her joy and playfulness made me laugh!  She’s a real gem!

Mistletoe is a tiny 27 pound Border Collie with a wonderful disposition.  She was owner-surrendered to Brevard County Animal Services.  Marjie Wolfe took one look at her, and labeled her a TDL dog!  She is being fostered by me.  She is crate trained, housebroken, and very quiet.  She feels the need to protect her home.  Her family describe her as an awesome pet.

I can’t put my finger on it, but I see a touch of Kelpie in her!  We have rescued many Australian Kelpies, and know them to be outstanding dogs.   Kelpies, like Border Collies, are known to compete in agility, flyball and frisbee.

Mistletoe reminds me of Blink, Pebbles and Nutella!  All were described as Pocket Border Collies, what we call PBCs!!!

Her photo album can be viewed on Facebook.  More details about her temperament coming soon!


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