Emerging from the Pack

Written By Serena Drake

Once you make your mark in the TDL Pack, it’s your pack for life! My journey began late in 2012. I was the new Groomer at Val-u-vet (later named Newman’s) and quickly became acquainted with Gisele and her rescues. I became an essential part of the pack by ensuring the new arrivals were prepped in the hygiene area. It’s also a great way to determine their behavior for grooming in general since most collies breeds do need regular hair maintenance and care. It takes a gentle yet firm hand to groom shy/fearful dogs and it was immediately recognized that my hands, were just the right amount of gentle and the right amount of assertiveness to assist Gisele with her toughest of rescues.

Although my career at Newman’s came to a halt, my consistent contribution to help TDL did not. I continued to make regular visits to Gisele’s pack to meet her new members. Anytime there was a pup who needed extra attention, Gisele knew just who to call. My visits ranged from puppy play time, TDL events to extreme grooming needs. Needless to say I have been behind the scenes since my pack initiation.

Serena and Little Grace

Serena and Little Grace

My own passion for dogs started at a very young age. I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a dog in my life. When I was old enough to get my first paying job, I knew I wanted to work with animals. My first opportunity was working at a Pet Boarding Facility in Deland. Quickly I learned that dogs were the gift of life! Knowing how important my own dogs were to me and knowing how awful it must be to have to leave your pet behind at a boarding facility. I would make sure those special pets who weren’t dealing too well, got the extra attention they needed while the family was away. At the age of 14, I was building packs. I would pick and choose which pets got to go out together for play time. The owners were impressed by my ability to observe the animal behavior and know instinctively which dogs were best with other dogs and which pups were better left alone.

As life progressed, my experience with canines grew as well. By the age of 18 I was a bather for a local Groomer in Deland FL. I spent about 16 months doing the hard job of scrubbing the dirt off of our clients. From giant Schnauzers and giant Poodles all the way down to Maltese and Chihuahuas. I enjoyed doing my job and soon wanted to learn more. After I was done with my work, I insisted on watching my mentor groom. My employer soon realized I was interested and capable of studying the way of the clippers. With close instruction and hands on training by both of my mentors, I was able to learn all I needed through experience. I was given more tasks and soon was performing full grooms on several breeds and continued to groom for several years.

Throughout those years of grooming there were many opportunities for me to work a second job while working at a doggie day care as well. This environment really help me developed my canine behavior skills alongside the ability to increase my training skills. My dog, Bernie, and I attended several basic obedience classes as well as a couple agility and advanced agility classes. Working side by side, Bernie and I became a dynamic duo. On those days Bernie wasn’t able to tag along with me, he would hang out with his canine buddies in doggie day care. There were swimming pools as well as a gymnasium with lots of ramps, tunnels and toys! We had the best of summers splashing with the Party Pack.

After some time, and through rough experiences, I realized that grooming for a career was pretty stressful. Having to rush through dogs so that I could keep up with my quota was not what I wanted. Not only did it put stress on me but on my fur clients as well. I soon realized I couldn’t allow the quality of my personal relationships with my clients suffer. I wanted each dog I took care of to know I truly cared, not that they were some object on a production line with deadlines to make money. This environment took away the personal aspect of grooming and I was not okay with that. I made the tough decision to depart from grooming as a career and instead I offered it as a specialized service. Being able to build a trusting relationship with my clients immediately returned the JOY of grooming to me. Although I do have a full time job during the week, I once again have the time I need to give each dog the love and gentle touch they deserve while being pampered and massaged.

I’ve spent countless hours in the company of the TDL pack and in the home of Gisele. Every time I visit, I get a new experience and joy in engaging with the dogs. My favorite dogs to bond with are those that need it most. Those beaten souls who have suffered trauma and who appear to have a brokenness about them, are the ones I am drawn too. My gentle approach opens up their willingness to trust while my assertive commands and gestures let them know I am a leader and they are safe with me. I allow them to make the choice. I allow them to come to me, all at their own pace. I encourage them to push the limits of life and teach them to trust again. That is what is so rewarding, being able to play a role in healing a soul and watching the transformation.

bath time Cortez!

bath time Cortez!

There have been many dogs I have assisted Gisele in healing. My most memorable was Boo Boo. She was shut down emotionally, did not want to be on a leash and tended to freak out when touched by a human. After much dedication by Gisele and her team, Boo Boo was soon ready for her first trip to the vet, which included a visit to me for a bath. If I remember correctly, my kennel assistant James and I had to muzzle her and use a lot of patience to work around her moments of terror. Once we were able to get her settled in the tub, we started lathering the soup into her, she soon realized this was nothing to be terrified of. Even though she never completely relaxed, she did allow us to tend to her completely and even leaned into the towel for some more drying love. Days later Gisele asked me to come over and spend some extra time with Boo Boo before her potential adopter arrived. This day was Boo Boo’s break through. I spent time walking her on leash, putting the leash on and off, and encouraging her to make contact with me both physically and with her eyes. She did it all. She choose to let me pet her, she choose to lay her head on my leg to fall asleep and she choose Leslie as her new Mom later that day. It was an amazing turn around.

Claire and Serena

Serena and Claire Bear

Throughout my participation in the TDL, I have always longed to do even more, to really be fully involved. Life recently has been very eventful for Gisele and myself on a personal level. With Gisele’s on going health issues she has been needing more assistance in taking care of the rescue. Our team has really stepped up and helped delegate responsibilities to other officers in the committee. I have chosen a more personal approach in my decision to become more involved in TDL. With Gisele’s approval, I am now an official part of the packs home life. I get to spend every day with the dogs that I adore. The best part for me? My dog Bernie gets to be a part of this journey with me.

Together Bernie and I are able to make sure Gisele has all the paws she needs to keep things running smooth day to day. I couldn’t be more excited to be emerging from behind the scenes and becoming a full-fledged Pack Leader. Due to Bernie’s extreme exposure to the Pack Life environment he is very well socialized and can blend into any pack presented to him. Bernie is also already marking his flair for being a Pack Leader alongside Lady Di at the TDL household.

Bernie and I couldn’t be more excited to divulge into our new roles at TDL. We hope to add a lot of spunk to the pack! To make ourselves readily available to assist with any aspect that we can and to keep the TDL alive and thriving. Thank you to Gisele for taking us in, and allowing us to help the pack grow! I know this will be an adventure and an opportunity to make life long impressions on all those around us! May anyone who meets the amazing TDL team know they have a pack for LIFE!!!

You can visit Serena and TDL’s Snap Chat by downloading the App or contact Serena.thedogliberator@gmail.com

Sheila Coffman Joins TDL

2011 Sheila adopts Samson

2011 Sheila adopts Samson

Sheila Coffman comes to TDL from the healthcare industry where she works for Abbott Point of Care in Princeton, NJ and also serves as a consultant for Goodmark Medical in Longwood, FL.  Sheila and her family moved to central Florida from South Texas, San Antonio in 2009.  This Texas native now lives in Sanford, FL with her husband Greg and son, Cole Coffman.

Sheila meets Laddie at our 2013 Reunion

Sheila meets Laddie at our 2013 Reunion

Sheila is a former adopter from TDL, having adopted Samson, now named Kodiak Bear ‘Kodi’ Coffman in October 2011.  Sheila and Greg had two Border Collies, Abbie and Sydney, that both lived to 16 years of age.  When looking to fill that hole in their heart, they found Kodi  who was a   black bundle of fur delivered with his siblings on a flight from Alabama.  A year later, when looking for another addition to the family, Jake was adopted with the help of TDL.

In November 2013, Sheila stepped into a position as Vice President of TDL.  In February 2014, she took on her first foster dog, Pepito.  She is excited about the opportunity to promote TDL through her tenure as VP and support.  Please joins me in welcome Sheila to the pack!

Doctor Doctor Give Me the News

Future Liberator

Future Liberator

You may remember I posted that my son, Ryan, was sick with the flu on Thanksgiving Day.  Angry with the amount of leftovers I had, my daughter, Sarah and I went about doing chores, and being quiet as not to disturb him.  The fever that consumed his body was quite amazing.  I kept him covered and listened to him moan and groan and teased him, until it happened to me!

I remember going to bed at 8:00 PM on Friday… with sweat pants, a sweat shirt, a large polo jacket, a huge housecoat, one quilt, three blankets, and a blanket over my head.  I never got out of bed until Sunday around 2:30 in the afternoon.

I vaguely remembered a few knocks on the door, and remembered getting up once, but I wasn’t sure it if was a dream or not.  When I looked out onto our porch, I noticed one dog was missing – Boots.  Then it all came back to me!

What a pro she is, eh?

What a pro she is, eh?

When the doorbell rang late Saturday afternoon, I told Ryan to get Boots out of his crate, I instructed Sarah to get Boots’ folder, and made sure the paperwork was in order, and went back to bed before telling Sarah, she would have to do the adoption.  I guess you would suspect that Sarah would say something like “are you kidding me”?  But she didn’t.

She greeted the Van Dorns on the porch, Ryan brought Boots on leash, and Sarah, poised and confident did Boots’ adoption in my chair!  She said they talked for about an hour, sharing stories, and just talking, she went over the paperwork with them, explaining what she could, and of course, she told them that if there’s ever an emergency, our Vet, Newman was open until 1:00 Am 7 days a week!  She also didn’t forget to mention our upcoming reunion!

Sarah then reviewed the contract with them, but said that they could finalize it when I get better.  They asked her for some Petco coupons that I had mentioned, an Andi Brown’s Whole Pet Diet Book, Sarah found everything.  She also got out my camera, and took a few photos, shook their hands, and walked them to the car, making sure Boots loaded up, and he did.

What blows my mind is she even remembered to ask for an in case of emergency phone number!

When I shared with Sarah Buxbaum that Sarah had done her first adoption solo, she gasped a bit.  When I shared the news with Anita, her response was, “she’s probably witnessed over 450 adoptions in her little life!”

So, there you have it.  My ten year-old daughter just did her first adoption – solo!

So while Mr. Boots was Jeff Bennett’s 2000th rescue, he was my Sarah’s first solo adoption!

Whoot Whoot!  That’s all I have to say about that!

Click here to read more about Sarah!

Click here’s Sarah’s Fundraising Campaign for the Deaf Dogs!




Sarah Veilleux

Chef Sarah at Three!

Chef Sarah at Three!

I’m not one to brag, but it’s amazing to look back over the past four years and realize that my children have had as much of an impact on our rescue efforts as I have.

With regard to Sarah, at first, letting go was hard for her. She would say goodbye, one dog at a time, sometimes she shed a tear, but the more dogs we rescued, the easier it became for her to process. I think after she experienced our first reunion, and she got to see all of the dogs again, she realized that it’s never really goodbye… it’s more like, I’ll see you later!

Sarah with a Shwestie Puppy 2009

Sarah with a Shwestie Puppy 2009

Speaking of reunions, Sarah would pride herself at being able to “name that dog” as they arrived. One by one, she knew them all… well, except for one. When Ron and Dawn Sweeney arrived with Baby Bling, we were all stumped!  The last time we saw Bling she was just a fluffy little white bundle!

Sarah with Jet 2009

Sarah with Jet 2009

As a Mom, it was really hard to keep Sarah away from the new arrivals. I remember reviewing Jet’s intake paperwork, and there in large print, it stated “not good with children.” I looked over at my daughter hugging Jet, and shared with her what the paperwork said. “Seriously, Mom?”

You know how at school, kids always talk about what their parents do – my Dad works at the hospital, my Mom works at the bank.  When Sarah shared with her friends that we rescue dogs… the conversation got a bit complicated.  She explained to her little friends how important it is that we spay/neuter all of our dogs, and that generated even more questions.  When one little boy raised his hand and asked the teacher what spay and neuter meant – the teacher was not very pleased!

Sarah and China 2010

Sarah and China 2010

As Sarah got older, she invited many of her friends to our house to meet the dogs, which gave me a break!  I may have had to put more hot dogs on the grill or peel a few more potatoes for them, but watching a bunch of kids play with the dogs is awesome!

In August of 2010, we rescued a deaf Aussie, China, and something happened.  Sarah and China had a bond.  At the time, Sarah was being picked on at school, and her whole world was all about China.  China, on the other hand, needed Sarah, to the point where it looked like China was surgically attached to my daughter!

Mother's Day 2010

Mother’s Day 2010

While China was terrified of every human being on the planet, she was not afraid of Sarah, but she used Sarah has her shield.   What I noticed when I snapped the photo shown on the right was Sarah’s self-esteem.  China did something for Sarah that no one ever could.  She gave her unconditional love, and a sense of pride.  They were bonded.  Several months later, against my will, I told Sarah that China belonged to her, permanently.

Eventually, China learned to trust other people, especially adults, and her story was so compelling, I actually published, Deaf Dogs Hear with their Hearts.

Sarah, Baby Ga Ga and China 2011

Sarah, Baby Ga Ga and China 2011

Since 2010, Sarah has taken a personal interest in all of the deaf and/or deaf/blind dogs we have fostered.  She simply doesn’t see the glass as half empty!

With the number of dogs we have fostered and adopted, it’s amazing that Sarah has not been hurt. Dogs that come here have been through a lot, they are scared, nervous, and unsure. Even though I have warned her about specific dogs, asking her not to interact with them unless I am there with her, for the most part, she listens to me… but not always!

Sarah with Marbles, 2012

Sarah with Marbles, 2012

As in the case of Boo Boo, no one could put a collar on her, or a leash.  Boo Boo was terrified.  I told Sarah numerous times to give Boo Boo her space and not to interact with her.  One morning I woke up a little bit later than Sarah, and she was sitting on the couch playing with my Ipad.  She informed me that all of the dogs had been let out  (in shifts) and they had all been fed.  I thanked her, and walked into the kitchen to make coffee when I quickly back tracked and asked, “what about Boo Boo?”  Sarah didn’t even look up at me when she blurted “I let her out too”.

“How?”  I asked.  She looked up at me like I was an idiot.  “I opened her crate, I put a slip leash on her, and let her out!  I fed her, and put her back in!  Mom, this isn’t rocket science,” she answered.  “But how?”  I asked her again.  Sarah went back to playing on the Ipod and without any emotion she answered, “she trusts me.”

This is a private party Mom!

This is a private party Mom!

We fostered Boo Boo for a few weeks, giving her the time she needed to trust humans, so she could go to the Vet.  While at Newman Veterinary Center, Boo Boo would not let anyone put a collar, leash or muzzle on her.  Nope.  It was not going to happen!

Ryan with Bart 2012

Ryan with Bart 2012

Many have left comments on Facebook that Sarah is a natural, and in many cases, she is!  While my son Ryan loves the dogs we foster, and he has his favorites, he doesn’t gravitate to them like Sarah does.  Ryan focuses on fixing things, moving things, cleaning and making things better!  Can you imagine how many holes he’s filled with dirt?  Ryan would rather not get his picture taken, and prefers doing behind-the-scenes stuff!

Sarah holding Ralph

Sarah holding Ralph

The Dog Liberator truly is a family affair, we talk about the newbies that are coming, and brainstorm on finding new names for them, we discuss the music we will use when it’s time to publish the dog’s video, and we share our opinions with regard to what the dog needs to become balanced.

Recently, we rescued a little Poodle, Alfalfa.  Clearly, Alfie has learned a lot from Sarah, and in the past few days he is eating, playing, and has found his joy, all because of Sarah’s efforts.  Recently, Sarah has been taking Alfie for walks with the pack, and that really helped Alfie’s self-esteem.  It’s amazing!

Sarah and China 2013

Sarah and China 2013

We have written many touching stories about our volunteers, and every time I marvel at the amount of sacrifice people will make for our dogs.  They drive to Timbuktu to transport, or foster for us.  Some deliver donated items to my door, while others have clicked on a button from their computers to help us out… but I can’t ignore and must share who really has become quite an important figure at TDL… my Sarah!

Sarah been asking me if I can teach her some of TDL’s administrative tasks.  She wants me to teach her how to update the calendar.  Maybe one day she will want to tackle more duties, like keeping up our micro-chip database, and possibly one day, she will post for TDL!  I’m not going to push it though, I know that Sarah’s dream is to become a chef, but in the meantime, helping Mom with the dogs is fine with me!

Sarah solicits friends to show Alfie how to walk with the pack!

Sarah solicits friends to show Alfie how to walk with the pack!

How many ten year-old kids would do this?  I’m not sure, but I bet it’s more than you think!  So if you’re a friend of Sarah’s and you want to come over this weekend, just be warned, you’ll be taking a dog for a walk!

Kids have trouble in school, they have a hard time fitting in, maybe they have low self-esteem or even the opposite!  Maybe they are full of themselves and think they have nothing to learn… but when a kid bonds with a dog, everything changes.   I’ve seen it.  I’ve seen Sarah have a bad day, and come home straight to China!  The right dog can help a child feel proud, yet humble at times.  When a child earns the love of a dog, they aren’t as afraid to try new things, because should they fail, their dog still loves them!

I always have my camera handy, and if I don’t, there’s always my cell phone, but I rarely can get a photo of Sarah without having China in it!

Sarah and China 2013

Sarah and China 2013

So, cheers Sarahlooch, for letting the dogs out late at night, long after I’ve gone to bed, and for getting up early to a crying puppy that needs her company.  For leash training a dog just because she feels like it, for giving a dog a bath so it will smell nice for its new people!  Now if only I could get her to empty the dishwasher every day!

Click here and Read about Sarah’s first solo adoption!

Click here and read all about Bennett’s Boots!

Sarah loves her Shirley Temples!

Sarah loves her Shirley Temples!

BoBo Gives Back

TDL Transporter, Laura Leigh Burke

TDL Transporter, Laura Leigh Burke

Written by Laura Leigh Burke

Sometime in 2011, my Facebook feed introduced me to the Dog Liberator with the story of Chance (Rhys).  I remember reading his story and sobbing at my computer desk.  I could not comprehend how anyone could do such a thing to any living creature but I was so happy to know that he was safe now.

From that day I frequented the Dog Liberator blog and Facebook page taking turns sobbing and laughing.  I always found it comforting in this crazy and most often un-explainable world that no matter how desperate the situation or how far away the dog was, the people here found a way to help.

In March of 2012, my daughter brought home a stray black lab she rescued from being hit by the school bus.  I had always had dogs but I was not prepared for the bad habits this one brought with her.  Gisele was a wonderful source of support and information.  Things went back to normal and I often stalked her page liking this and commenting on that.

In April of this year The Dog Liberator posted Bobo’s need for transport from Lake City to Deltona.  I felt so sorry for this beautiful boy home alone all day because his owner, Sherilyn was in the hospital.  I was sure that someone would come through to transport BoBo to Gisele.  I watched and I waited and still no transport and I finally realized why.  I had been praying to find a way to help since I read Chance’s story and this was it.  So nervously I emailed Gisele and told her that if it was ok, I would transport him.  She emailed me back to let me know that she was trying to put together something and would let me know when.   Well, I thought, she did not tell me no so I emailed her back to let her know that if she could not find anyone else to help, I would go get him and bring him to her the whole way.  And that is just what my son and I did.

On April 7th we arrived in Lake City and met with the woman, Belinda, who had been checking on him every day.  It was emotional.  She was crying and I was nervous.  BoBo suffers from separation anxiety, and he cried every time Belinda would come to check on him.  BoBo needed more than a kind person to visit him, he needed to be in a home where he could feel secure.  Once I got BoBo in my car, the further we got from his house, the more he cried.  He knew, we were taking him away from his home.  I called Gisele, I didn’t know what to do except keep driving.  She reassured me that he would be fine and so it was.   It was a long day but it was such a great feeling to know that I helped him and he would not be alone anymore.

Strangely, once BoBo arrived at Gisele’s house, he wasn’t nervous anymore.  He walked in, greeted her dogs, and acted like he had been there forever.  Her house is where BoBo started.  He was rescued from Panama City, Florida and was fostered by Gisele for a while back in 2010.

Osbourne transported from Alabama

Osbourne transported from Alabama

Since then I have helped Gisele with the transport of Osbourne and Maggie May.  It gave me a chance to see and check on my very first passenger.  Osbourne looked wonderful and was much happier than that poor boy who cried all the way from Lake City to Deltona.

BoBo had a blast at Gisele’s house, and when things got busy for her, Bart’s Mom volunteered to foster BoBo.  BoBo and Bart had daily frat parties!  Funny how Bart made BoBo play, and BoBo taught Bart some manners.

Bart and BoBo, BFFs

Bart and BoBo, BFFs

On Friday, June 21st I got the privilege of bringing this story full circle.  I got to take Bobo home to his Mommy in Lake City.  To top it off, I brought him a wife as well.

Gisele called me Friday morning about my trip to Deltona to pick up Bobo and we discussed the fact that his Mommy had decided to get a foster dog to keep him company.  That same morning Gisele had been contacted by a woman in Marion County who could no longer keep her 8 year old Border Collie female due to divorce and the resulting housing issue.  She had taken her to Marion County Animal Control and they referred her to the Dog Liberator.


BoBo going home

We discussed how perfect it would be if this girl could go home and be fostered by Bobo but Gisele did not want to just send this dog to Lake City without having the chance to evaluate the situation and I agreed.  So I reminded her that at the moment I was in Marion County at work (I live in Citrus) and could go pick up the dog on my way to get Bobo and we could see how things went from there.  We made contact again with the dog’s owner in Marion County and at 4pm I was there to evaluate things.  She was very stressed about having to rehome her dog.  She had been with the family for 8 years and I could tell she was loved however, the stress was tangible.

BoBo and his new foster, Lovey

BoBo and his new foster, Lovey

I could feel it, the owner was overwhelmed with it and the dog was being affected to.  The dog’s name was Shebba and she seemed to know why I was there.  I got the necessary paperwork, loaded her into my car and we were off to Deltona.  I can not say it was love at first sight.  They sniffed and circled for a moment but Shebba was still overwhelmed and needed to adjust.  So, after a wonderful dinner with Gisele and her family, it was back in my car with both dogs this time and home to Crystal River.


The next morning we were all loaded up into the car by 9am and headed to Lake City.  Like dogs do, Bobo and Shebba took turns creating nose art and sleeping.  For the most part the trip was uneventful, that is at least it was until we got to Lake City.  We were about 7 minutes from our destination and my daughter opened the window.  Suddenly Bobo looked like he’d just drank cappuccino.  He began to excitedly sniff the air and pace my back seat.  We looked at each other and I said “Do you think he knows?”.  The closer we got, the more excited he got.  In fact, due to parking issues I had to pass his house and turn around on another street and he nearly went crazy.  BoBo started crying!

Bobo was one happy boy to be home.  He pranced around his living room while Shebba, now called “Lovey”, explored the house.  When I finally said my goodbyes, Bobo and Lovey were laying on the living room floor in front of the air conditioner side by side.  This was the happy ending I had hoped for for BoBo, and a great new beginning for Lovey!

Shebba now Lovey

Shebba now Lovey

06/26/13 Update:  I received a photo from Bobo’s Mom, (Sherilyn) of his new foster, “Lovey”.  The two dogs are getting along very well, but BoBo is a bit shy.  BoBo would like to proudly introduce to you, his new foster, Lovey, who is available for adoption!



Click here to read BoBo’s original post.

Leonard Sharp Needs Our Help

Leonard Sharp has volunteered transported thousands of dogs from hell to safety

Leonard has transported thousands of dogs from hell to safety

  We have a FRIEND in need.  His name is Leonard Sharp.  Ohhh, you may know him just as “Leonard” . . . .but he is a dear friend to all who know him.  He is a crusty, old, retired Army pilot but a pussy cat, really, especially to the animals.  Last weekend, Leonard’s house burned.  If there is a “fortunate” to this story, Leonard and all his animals and foster animals were not harmed.  For that we are, eternally, grateful.

Attached are pictures of the fire.  It destroyed his kitchen and part of two living areas.  The rest of the home is smoke and water damaged.  The city inspector said the entire home will have to be repaired AND brought up to code.  Unfortunately, Leonard had just cancelled a “full coverage” insurance policy less than a month ago, to a basic . . .  which means, not much coverage . . .  to save money. Therefore, Leonard will be bearing a large part of the expense to satisfy the city inspector.  Leonard is 83 years old.

Since 2004, Leonard has traveled from Wisconsin to Maine to Florida in his own van, at his own expense. . . . .  driving animals to safety for Southern shelters who would have had no choice but to put the animals to sleep.  The number is in the thousands as his van will hold about 50 dogs each trip and Leonard, now,  has 260,000 miles on that old “dog” van.  But just mention a transport to “it” and “it ” is up for the job because Leonard has replaced the transmission, wheel bearings, tires many times and made front end and back end repairs. . . . again, with no help from any of us.

Leonard can be caught helping people, too.  He’s been encouraging and mentoring a few troubled youths in his neighborhood; friending a mentally handicapped youth who has no Dad and when adults stop by asking for work . . . .he can always “find” a project they can complete, for which he gives them a good day’s wage.

Now, Leonard needs us.  He is retired and has only his military pension which isn’t much since he retired many years ago.  Since his wife passed away several years ago, it is only Leonard and the dogs . . . .but they need their home back.  They will not be allowed back in until the house is repaired AND brought up to code.




    If you have been blessed by circumstances or by God and able to share your “wealth” . . . please think about giving a donation to help Leonard repair his, and the dogs’, home.  The collection plate is passed every Sunday for just this purpose . . .except to whom your generous gift is going, you do not know.  This time, you do.  He is “one of our own” and he needs our help.

Thank you for caring.  Please make a donation using one of the following three methods :

1.  A Savings Account, set up in Leonard’s name with a routing and account number at the Navy Federal Credit Union
2.  A PAYPAL Account that Kym Grogan, another rescue friend, has volunteered to sponsor for Leonard on her website   www.divinebigpawzrescue.org
3.  USPS regular mail



HOW TO DONATE to the Savings Account using: 

Bank to Bank Wire;  Bill Pay Online; Electronic Transfer ACH, by check, or visit a Navy Federal Credit Union near you.
ADDRESS:  Navy Federal Credit Union, 621 Boll Weevil Circle, Ste 6, Enterprise, AL 36330
PHONE: 888-842-6328, ask for the Ft. Rucker, AL, branch.ACCOUNT NAME    Leonard Sharp
ROUTING NUMBER:  256 074 974    for Wire, Bill Pay, ACH, to Navy Federal Credit
SAVINGS ACCT NUMBER:  3038609065HOW TO DONATE using the PAYPAL on this website, simply click on the link  www.divinebigpawzrescue.orgHOW TO DONATE using:   USPS Regular Mail:

  Leonard’s Home Address:
    Leonard Sharp
101 Kentucky Street
Enterprise, AL  36330
Cell:  334-389-3474

Signed // Leonard’s Rescue Friends

Prayers for Paul

Dawn, Cooper, Nougat and Ron Sweeney

Ron & Dawn Sweeney have been very active in our rescue for many years.  They adopted Bling, now Nougat in 2010 and then Noah, now Cooper.  I can always count on their support.  Recently they have been donating Baseball tickets for TDL to Auction, and during Earth Day, Dawn made home made doggie treats, they were a major hit!

The Sweeney’s are very family oriented.  I always get an update on their nieces, whom they adore, and their brother, Paul.  Two days ago, however, I received a horrific email from Dawn, that her brother had been attacked by a gator.  I didn’t hear from Dawn again until last night.

The Dog Liberator folks are very close, a family in and of itself.  I’ve seen what prayers can do, so I’m asking all of you to sending healing thoughts and prayers for Paul’s recovery.    Here’s what Dawn wrote to me last night:

Paul, and daughter Lily

Here is an update on my brother, Paul, and a clearer picture of what happened and how lucky we truly were that there wasn’t a different outcome.

He was fishing from his kayak in one of his favorite spots, over at the Space Center. He was straddling the kayak with his feet in the water and a fish brushed by. Then Paul felt a thump on his foot, thought maybe he had hit a log. Felt pressure but no pain. Pulled his right leg up and found a gator attached, it’s head was about 3 feet, so that puts its size at 8 to 10 feet. It was a male gator that mistook his foot for the fish, much better than a nesting female. Then the gator started to pull him under, he grabbed hold of the kayak to keep him self above up. The gator started to roll, ripping open his foot. He’s not clear how or why but the gator let his foot go. Luckily, with being in shock, he didn’t feel any pain and paddled to a father and son who were out there. In his 15+ years fishing there this was only the 2nd time someone else was out at this spot.

Earlier he had seen the father wasn’t have much success so Paul showed him the path to his secret spot. Fishermen reluctantly give away their fishing spots but in this case it helped save his life. He knew exactly where they were, they helped get them into their truck. The father had to put wading waiters on the floor of his truck to catch the blood and then rushed Paul to the hospital. Before leaving Paul gave his truck keys to the son who packed up all of their belongings and Paul’s and then brought Paul’s truck to the hospital to meet up with his dad.

the other photo, prior to the stitches, was too graphic for me to post

Regarding the injury, there are puncture wounds on the bottom from the gator’s teeth which were the size of Paul’s index finger. The top of the foot was torn off, baring all the bones, ligaments and such (this happen when the gator started its turn). From what they could tell from test so far, remarkably no bones seem to be broken. Other damage is unknown until swelling and infection go down. He has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow but not sure if they will know anymore damage wise plus the focus needs to be on getting the infection out. We do have photos but thought we should ask before sending them since they aren’t pretty to look at.

 I’m so tired from little sleep overnight and emotionally and mentally exhausted from the weekend’s events. 

Congrats on Yaz and Jeter being adopted.   ~ Dawn

Since Dawn sent me this email, her update says that Paul’s foot is swelling at an unbelievable pace.  “Gators have one of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom 500 PSI,” she wrote.  Paul survived the gator attack, now he must overcome infection, countless surgeries, and therapy.  Please send your prayers for Paul’s speedy recovery.

The Wilson Pack

My Sarah saying goodbye to Nitro on November 29, 2009

On November 24, 2009 a gorgeous Aussie boy, that I named Cool Hand Luke, was surrendered to me by his owner.

After he was vetted and neutered, on November 29th, I posted his photos on Facebook.  I immediately received an email from the Wilson Family.  They dropped everything and drove to my home me meet the dog and arrived within the hour!

At first, I was concerned… this 12 month old Aussie was big, strong, and had a lot of energy.  I viewed him as a handful.  But the moment Bill met him, he was in love.  “I’m surrounded by women, I have a daughter, a wife, and two female dogs at home… I want a dog that can play with me, be rough, and watch football games with me!”  It was done!

It was about two weeks later, Bill notified me that they had renamed him Nitro… Nitro Wilson.  Nitro has been a gracious foster host ever since!  Here’s a closer look at the Wilson family through the eyes of their daughter, Kierstin:

Written by Kierstin Wilson:

My parents both grew up in Daytona beach, where we currently live. I am their only child, so naturally I have always had pets. My freshman year of high school, my mom found Nitro on The Dog Liberator page, through a mutual friend. We had already had 2 Australian Sheperd dogs, and we felt the time is right to love another.

Nitro Wilson

My parents warned me about going to meet with Nitro- typical parent stuff. “Don’t get attached he might not like us, we might not adopt him today..” etc. But of course, all of us fell in love with nitro as he did us.

On the ride back home to Daytona I sat in the backseat with Nitro, happy and excited! Nitro quickly took to our other dogs, and things became normal. About a year and half later my mom and I started to pay close attention to The Dog Liberator’s page, noticing Lethal Whites (blind/deaf) Aussie puppies.

These dogs were so beautiful yet their stories were laced with stories of heartbreak. My mom and I fell In love with Baby GaGa(So gorgeous), but the timing wasn’t right.

About 3 months later my mom spotted Fiona on Gisele’s page.  Terry Watts, rescued Fiona.

Kierstin and Fiona

Gisele put us in touch with Terri, and the deal was sealed!  My mom and dad drove about 4 hours, in the middle of the night, to Tallahassee Fl to get Fiona and transport her home.

I stayed up of course and out of the car popped this little white fluff ball. All of us were fairly nervous because owning and deaf/blind dog was never something we planned. Outsiders have this vision that all deaf/blind dogs act differently or feel differently than other dogs, but we have come to know more than anyone that they certainly do not- and they certainly LOVE the same.

Fiona quickly took to hand motions and movements and trained very easily. Today, triple the size the little fluff ball once was, she is a typical mommy’s girl.

Bill Wilson and Puppy Fiona

After having Fiona and leaning more about our true love of deaf/blind dogs, we agreed to foster, Chance and Indy (Dundee and Irwin).  We saw photos of these dogs, our hearts hurting. Once cleaned up they too took to our pack like it was no big deal.

Dundee, now Chance, was adopted by my mothers parents in the same week – who can stop love!

Indy was also adopted a few weeks, which was one of the hardest moments of my families life.

We had never truly fostered a dog, trained them, fell in love with them and have to watch them go. It was heartbreaking, but the feeling you get when you see a dog happy because of you is like no other. But things didn’t work out with Indy, and he was returned.  We decided never again, so we’ve kept Indy!  He is Fiona’s (and my dad’s) best friend.


A short time after we rescued Shrek ( AKA Falcor).  My mom and I drove a little while to meet him and take him home. The poor guy had a bladder infection and peed- EVERYWHERE.

Regardless, Falcor was one of my favorite dogs to foster, When he first came to the Wilson ranch he had no idea what a bed even was, and after the month with us, he became a bed hog!

Seeing him be adopted hurt a lot less; not only was he happy, he made his new family happy. My mom still gets the cutest pictures with Falcor and his forever family!

My parents and I have fostered many others for the Dog Liberator, (Lilly, Knish, Delilah), and just recently my mom and I rescued Anderson Cooper!

Jennifer with Anderson Cooper

The day we met him was a life changing moment. Sitting in a dirty, loud, smelly animal control office was definitely short of a good time. It was heartbreaking. I sat outside with Anderson for about an hour, while my mom wheeled and dealed with paperwork so we could bring this guy home for a bath- which he needed BADLY.

Anderson was a little defensive meeting other dogs, but he got used to them, and was trained (and washed) very well. He was adopted a few weeks ago, and I’m hoping he is having the time of his life with his new family. Deaf/blind dogs are no different than other dogs and I’m wishing people would understand that.

While at the shelter with Anderson, a man came up to me and made the comment,  “He’s a sweet dog, but you can tell he’s deaf so…”  SO what?  This should have no impact on a dogs life whatsoever.

I am going to be attending college next year and I plan on becoming a vet, and saving these animals will always be in my family’s heart. While it can be a tough thing to do, fostering, adopting, donating, ANYTHING you can possibly do help and animal in need is the most rewarding experience. A dogs love is the best-because if you love and help them, they love and help you right back.  ~ Kierstin

More About Fostering:

You may or not realize that while all of the dogs that the Wilson’s have fostered may have been able to be fostered by me personally, the fact that they weren’t allowed another dog to be fostered.  While Anderson Cooper was safe with the Wilsons, I was able to foster other dogs!  In rescue, it’s all about funding, space, and foster experience.  Space is valuable in rescue.

I don’t think that on that day, back in November of 2009, the Wilsons thought they would ever be fostering, but look at the impact that they have made.  They have not only saved these gorgeous and deserving dogs, they have made many families very very  happy!

Today, Jen and I are working on adding new four-legged members to our rescue!  We’ll have more news in the upcoming days!  Stay tuned!  ~ Gisele

For more information about Deaf/Blind dogs, click on “the Chosen Ones“.

Now Available, “Deaf Dogs Hear with Their Hearts” by Gisele Veilleux

Also, Visit “Preparing your dog that is going to be blind or deaf” by Cesar Milan.

Read about ALL of our rescue’s Deaf/Blind Dogs!

Donate to Rescue a Deaf Dog!


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.

I was Just a Kid

How to Adopt From Us

Our Favorite Things

The Chosen Ones

Read our Reviews

Amazon Gives Back

Ebay Helps Rescue

Hate Mail and Adoption Fees

About Gisele

Over-the-Counter Medicine for Dogs

Sophie’s Choice

Murphy in 2010

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

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

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

Dear Dog Liberator,

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

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

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


Sophie Litzenberg – 11 years old


Sophie and Murphy

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

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

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

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

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

I’m speechless, Thank you!


Volunteer Spotlight on Jackie Duenas

Jackie Duenas


Jackie Duenas has always been the “can do” contact for dogs in the Miami-Dade area.  Every time TDL wanted to rescue a dog from the Miami-Dade shelter, it felt like pulling teeth!  The shelter itself has gone through many administrative and procedural changes, and we can tell the difference.  Their protocols lately have produced healthier dogs.  For example, allowing a dog to be fostered until it’s ready for spay/neuter.  In the past, the old administration would spay/neuter dogs that were medically fragile, Miss Miami, Joey and many others.  But that’s a thing of the past now.  Click here for a list of the dogs we have pulled from this shelter.


The assistance that Jackie has offered us makes a huge difference.  I’ve always said that pulling a dog from death row, getting it vetted and adopted was the easy part.  The hardest part of rescue is finding fosters and transporters.


Jackie writes:

My love and passion for animals has greatly influenced my life and has made me who I am today. At a very young age I decided that I was going to become a veterinarian. Any my choice to do so has never wavered. I am currently a student at Florida International University and working towards my Bachelor of Science in Biology. I am very excited to be graduating in December. After graduation, I will be applying to veterinary school.   

I have extensive experience working with a variety of animals but I decided that I wanted to become more involved in the animal rescue community. I began by networking the animals at my local high kill shelter, Miami Dade Animal Servies (MDAS). Eventually I decided to take a more active role and began fostering and rescuing dogs on my own. That is how I came in contact with Gisele. I myself have had a border collie and two collies that I have rescued.I am completely in love with both breeds and have a soft spot in my heart for them. Gisele and the DogLiberator have been such a blessing as she has helped me save so many deserving dogs from the shelter and given them a second chance at life. 

As I started rescuing I realized how much homeless pets need our help. Every year millions of dogs are euthanized because they are not adopted. I want to be the one to change those statistics. I plan on dedicating my life to homeless pets by specializing in shelter medicine while in veterinary school. Keep an eye out for me because I plan on changing the animal rescue world!  🙂

Jackie Duenas
I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Jackie for all of her hard work and dedication.  Here are the dogs that Jackie has rescued from MDAS:
12/08/12 Update:  Jackie came to our 2012 Annual Reunion, and she did get to meet a few of her past rescues.  It was awesome!

Volunteer Spotlight on Mariacristina Nieves

Maria, Luis and Foster Dog, Shane

When I was first contacted by Maria to foster, we didn’t know each other very well, but I had an idea that her pack could help a lot of rescued dogs feel at home, and that’s exactly what happened.  Her pack has a playful yet calming energy that is perfect for fostering.  What I admire the most about this fantastic couple is their ability to recognize when they can foster and when they can’t.  Taking breaks is a must in rescue.  Making sure you balance your home, personal life, work and efforts in volunteering is very important to prevent burn-out.  I take breaks, and beg my fosters to take breaks as well.  Every time I have come back from a break I feel like I can do an even better job.  Each dog that we foster, we learn from, and if we can force ourselves to take a break and reflect, it just makes us better fosters!

The one and Only, Elwood!

Maria writes:

Luis and I are originally from Puerto Rico but we’ve lived in Florida for most of our lives! We currently live just south of Downtown Orlando and own two dogs (while fostering a third!). I got Elwood (Yes, he’s named after the Blues Brother!), a short-haired border collie, from a breeder in Oviedo and it was love at first sight! He’s smart, sensitive and is absolutely obsessive about tennis balls!

We later acquired Shelby, a lab mix, from a friend who had a litter of puppies. He’s practically Elwood’s shadow and loves to roll around with new fosters, chew ice and roll up into a ball for movie nights!

We love animals and we’ve always had a soft spot for working breeds and herding breeds so after seeing a friend on Facebook adopt a beautiful Aussie from The Dog Liberator, I convinced Luis that we had to help out with the organization! In the past, we’ve fostered Lady Trulove, Shane, Dr. Pepper, Casey Rose and now Knish! It’s been quite the learning experience with lots of up and downs but the real reward is finding homes for these animals that are so incredibly smart and loveable! My only regret is that I don’t have more time and resources to devote to the organization that helps find good homes for these awesome dogs!

The Pack!

As a photographer, I also try to give each of our fosters their best shot and bring out the best in each of them! I’m available for portraits and can provide discounted rates to The Dog Liberator fans! Just email me at mcshibooya@gmail.com


Maria and Luis fostered Knish for about a month, and we received no inquiries on her whatsoever.  All of a sudden, I was swamped with emails from potential adopters, and they were all great prospects.  It was hard for us to choose.  But together, Maria and I acknowledged that Knish needed a pack, and that’s what she got!  With every home Knish has lived in, she has picked up new skills and training.  I knew that Knish would be a challenge for Maria and Luis, and I was honest with them, but she welcomed the challenge with open arms.  They worked with Knish, never gave up on her, and learned her quirks!  Every one of us has a gift to give, and Knish ultimately learned something from each of us, thus making her one awesome little dog!  Knish’s adopters report in with great news and progress.  I think Knish if finally home!  Thank you Maria, Louis, Elwood and Shelby!

Volunteer Spotlight on Dawn Chapelle

Dawn on a TDL Transport!

Dawn is originally from Ohio but lived and worked in St Petersburg, Florida for 25 years until moving to Georgia a few years ago.

In 2000, she took an evening class to obtain a certificate for “Animal Hospital Assistant”.  She quickly realized that the medical field was not her cup of tea but it was then that she was introduced to the SPCA of Tampa Bay where she began to volunteer on weekends.  “I walked dogs and worked with prospective adopters, ” she explained.

Over the years, Dawn learned a lot about different breeds of dogs and just how many “purebred” dogs ended up in shelters.

“It was always rewarding to see a dog go to a loving home.”After moving to Dahlonega, GA, Dawn worked with PAWS and the Lumpkin County Animal Shelter for several years.

“My involvement with rescue comes from my natural love for dogs.  Fostering makes the most sense for the dog and the prospective owner.  Knowing exactly what you’re getting increases the chances of a successful adoption.  I am able to do a tiny part to help save a few dogs. Those few dogs go on to have good lives with people that need them.  Everyone wins!”

Dawn and Anita

It was our lucky day when Dawn answered an ad I had put in the vet’s office.  She called me and said she would like to help foster dogs.

Dawn is a wonderful foster.  She provides them with love, good food, exercise, and a routine.   Every dog is crate trained and house trained before they leave.  If there are issues such as food aggression, resource guarding, dog aggression, she works with me to correct it right away.  Her love and understanding for dogs goes beyond most.  When asked to provide information for potential adopters she is honest and on the money as far as their personality.  She teaches basic commands and leash walking, takes pictures and provides timely and important updates.

In addition to her fostering, Dawn has transported dogs, picking them up where ever they may be with short notice to get them to safety.  She is a caring and loving person and TDL is so lucky to have her.  Angels are hard to find!  ~Vicki Truelove

Dawn and Baloo

To date, Dawn has fostered Princess Leah, Rocky Road, Gingerbread, Sugar Plum, Cindi Loo Hoo, Judge Baloo, Serena, Dolly, Denver, Sundance, and she is currently fosteringFrenchy!  That’s a lot of dogs!



What’s New?

Ryan, Lady Di, Gisele & Sarah

We Did It!

Not only were we approved by the State of Florida to receive donations, but we have been recognized by the IRS as a charitable organization, i.e., a 501c3 tax-exempt rescue.  Woo Hoo!  This took a lot of work to prepare and file.  I want to thank Jennifer Grady for her help in getting the ball rolling, and my CPA/Accountant, Kingsley Shinner for his help.

Being approved as a 501c3 generates a lot more paperwork and fees, but the dogs we rescue will not know that anything has changed.  The general public believes that if you’re not an approved non-profit organization you’re not a reputable one, and that isn’t so.  If you find a dog or stray cat on the side of the road, bring it into your home, care for it and find it a good home, believe me, you are reputable!

I want to thank all of our volunteers, for their work is appreciated.  In the next few days, I will be announcing new members of our team, which I’m very excited and proud of!  I especially want to thank all of our new Georgia volunteers!  Their help and impact for Georgia dogs has been huge!

Since mid-December, I’ve been trying to scale down to take a much needed break.  During this time, I will be working on increased communication, and reviewing our procedures and protocols.  This will help us make an even greater impact in the rescue community.

We are always looking for volunteer transporters, and fosters, but no offer to help is too small.  If you are interested in volunteering for The Dog Liberator, please review Volunteering 101, and send me an email describing your interests, thedogliberator@gmail.com.

We are also looking for ways to increase funding, by requesting Grants so that we can create new programs that will help our communities.  If you have experience in Grant writing, and are interested in helping, please email me!

In the past few months, we’ve experienced many set backs:

McCartney‘s botched neuter produced a high fever which took one week of hospitalization to control

Boyd being heartworm positive

Curry’s Leg Surgery

My deep sadness when we lost the Christmas Collie

Parvo Exposure with the Top Gun Puppies

Einstein’s unexplained fever

Magpie’s disappearance (she was stolen and returned)

The recent news that Bonnie Collie will not only have to have surgery on her knee, but doctors will have to explore why her spay surgery was unsuccessful.

All of these incidents are normal in rescue, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not emotionally and financially draining.  Even though we’ve had to take our lumps, we did place many awesome dogs in wonderful new homes.

Like many other organizations, the economy has effected rescue.  Adoptions are slow, vetting prices are hard to afford, gas and food prices are going up, and the challenges are great.  Yet more and more people are leaving their animals behind as they find that they can’t afford to keep them.  There simply aren’t enough rescues, and until the general public cries out for affordable spay/neuter, until we stop supporting pet stores and the puppy mill industry, the help that we offer is a drop in the bucket.

I’d like to thank all of you for your prayers, support, and donations.  I looking forward to the new and improved Dog Liberator!


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Holly Ryerson

Holly and Sassafras

After fostering for The Dog Liberator for over a year, Holly Ryerson has decided not to return.  Holly has fostered and re-homed at least 100 pups.  Her professionalism and experience in rescue has been valuable and appreciated.   Because of Holly’s passion, TDL hopes that she remains in rescue in some fashion.

Holly has graciously given TDL access to her gmail address so that TDL can continue to provide adoption updates, answer questions, and deliver the same level of support to our rescue community.

We wish Holly the best in her future endeavors, she will be missed.

Marjie Wolfe, Volunteer Spotlight

Marjie with Timmy and Sherman


I have known Marjie Wolfe for at least ten years now.  Our paths would cross as rescue volunteers. Marjie has been volunteering for her local shelter, taking photos of dogs in danger, and writing about them in an effort to give them exposure.  Marjie’s efforts have paid off, we recently rescued Sherman, Timmy, Justine Time, Dr. Pepper, and Ramonefrom Brevard County shelters.

Born in Miami Florida and always interested in nature and animals, Marjie has volunteered for many helping groups over the years. She has a passion to help people, animals and the environment. Helping the environment, nature, wild and domestic animals seems to be inherited from a great Aunt Adele who was ahead of her time as an animal advocate in the1920s. Marjie’s Grandfather’s stories about his sister and the things she did to help animals are lasting memories to this day.

Within the community Marjie helps with Church projects, The Love Alliance, School projects, animal help groups, SACC, and the Nature Conservancy lagoon restoration Oyster mat project.

DJ and Skye

Marjie’s first experience with animal rescue groups was in the late 70’s when a co-worker had a pup he kept tied in his kitchen all the work hours long. It was a little boy Lhasa mix, 2 1/2 months old.  She was so annoyed about the pups living situation she asked for the dog. The co-worker gave the pup to her, and she had the local area rescue group re-home the puppy. Marjie volunteered at a local open intake shelter while attending community collage. Years later, when looking for a new pet, Marjie discovered Breed Rescues on line. She adopted a border collie and soon began to volunteer for her local shelter.

Marjie volunteers 1-2 times a week with hands on help at SACC in Brevard County FL.  She also helps transport animals to nearby rescue groups when needed. One of her goals is to make things the best they can be for the shelter animals as they wait for homes. Another goal is to help educate the public about the many responsibilities pet caregivers need to consider before and after adopting a pet of any type. Most important is responsible care for the life span of the pet.  She lives with her devoted husband Don, and has four grown daughters. The youngest, Donna Jean, has special needs, lives at home, and loves being in the company of the family dog, Skye, who is a family member first! Skye is also a service dog who takes her job of helping Donna Jean very seriously.

Lady Melbourne, and Lady London

Earlier this month, Marjie began to advocate for two dogs at her Shelter in Brevard County, one a female Aussie and the other, a female Border Collie.  As their story unfolded, she learned that they were both heartworm positive.  Shelter protocol dictates that positive dogs can not be adopted without heartworm treatment, but there is no immiticide to be found in the country, due to a nationwide shortage.  Now what?

I posted the dogs on my Facebook page, asking for fosters and although we did get a response, we needed to be sure that we had long-term commitments. Luckily, Teresa Lenz and Ruth Peterson raised their hand and the dogs were given their freedom (with no time to spare).  The folks at Brevard County Animal Services gave these two girls countless reprieves, giving Marjie the extra time she needed.

Lady Melbourne, leaving the shelter

Lady Melbourne and Lady London are safe in foster care, preparing for their slow kill heartworm treatments, and there’s no doubt that their updates will show that although it took almost a month to save them, they’re worth it!


Lady London, "Step on it!"



Spotlight on Kathy Keith

Kathy Keith

Born and raised on a rural farm in Northern Alabama, Kathy relates that she has never been without a pet in her life, except for a short time during her military and college years.   Much of her young years were spent growing up with their farm dog Brownie, who was a beautiful, gentle red-haired “squirrel” dog, as described by her father and brother.  Because of Brownie’s gentle, loving soul, she learned to love the companionship and loyalty of dogs.  Thereafter, they had several other dogs that came on to the farm as strays, but Brownie was the beginning of her love affair with dogs.

After spending 3 years in the military, Kathy moved from the small town of Rainsville, Alabama, to Huntsville, AL to begin her studies at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  During that time, she took in her first rescued dog.  A solid black, young female German shepherd, given to her by her brother.  He told her it wouldn’t be easy because the pup had a horrible fear of men, and especially men wearing baseball hats.  She found this to be a truly fundamental fear in her beautiful Midnight, but never gave up on her.  Midnight became devoted to her and became her constant companion and protector.

Kathy with the Spice Girls

Soon after graduating college with a BA in Criminal Justice, Kathy met her husband Tom.  It took some time for Midnight to completely gain trust of Tom, but Kathy says Midnight knew a good thing when she saw Tom, and it has proved to be true over their 30 years of marriage.   Not long after meeting Tom, they married and moved to Atmore, AL where Kathy accepted a job with the Alabama Department of Corrections, and hubby began school at the University of South Alabama.  Their son, David was born in Atmore and they remained in the Mobile area until her husband accepted a job in Decatur, Alabama ten years later.

They purchased a small farm near Decatur and along with the farm, they added two beautiful Airedale Terriers, Dixie and Dexter who patrolled the boundaries of their farm and delighted the local delivery men with their antics.  During this time, Kathy made a career change to Information Technology and began a job with the Marshall Space Flight Center’s NISC  (a one call help desk for IT issues over the NASA campus).  An opportunity arrived that would soon put Kathy into the dark world of backyard breeders and puppy mills.   Kathy accepted a transfer to a position in Duluth, GA.

Kathy with Bibbity

After settling her and her son in their new home in Cumming, GA., she saw a sign while driving through a neighborhood advertising “Free Puppies”.   She didn’t stop right away, but as a week or more went by and the sign was still there, she decided to stop to see what “free puppies” meant.  What happened next left a lasting impression of just how terrible humans can be to animals.  The owner took her out to his back yard and around a corner she saw a car hood on the muddy ground with 3 small black puppies and one brown and white pup underneath.  The man told her they were Border collie mixes, and that people came from miles around to get his pups.  Kathy was so horrified by what she saw, that she couldn’t believe it.  The man asked her which one she wanted.  Her eyes were so filled with tears that she couldn’t see clearly, but just reached down into the wiggling bunch and grabbed one.  “How I wanted to take them all, but I knew I couldn’t”.   She walked away with a small black female, shivering, wet and nearly listless.  That small pup she named Yaya, and she is still with Kathy today as a companion and family pet who especially loves Kathy’s husband and son.  But, YaYa’s story wasn’t a perfect one.  YaYa went through basic obedience training, and the trainer said she seemed a natural for agility.  Kathy enrolled her in the upcoming obedience course.  At her second class, YaYa fell off the balance beam and yelped in pain.  Ex-rays revealed both her hips had hip dysplasia and she had floating patella’s on her front knees.   YaYa was treated, and while her agility days were over, she is still able to hike, swim and take long easy walks.  Kathy interjects at this point, “Please Spay and Neuter your pets, and don’t buy from backyard breeders, or puppy mill sellers!” 

Kathy reassures Doc Holiday

In 2006, Kathy again became active in rescue while seeking a perfect companion for their YaYa.  “We knew we wanted a BC mix, so I began searching the rescue pages.  We came across our now Milah at a tiny, rural shelter in the NW GA area, near Calhoun.   The moment we saw this terrified, shivering beautiful dog, we had an idea she was going to be perfect”.  And she was.  It was clear from looking at her that she was pure Border collie, and not a mix.  From that day forward, Kathy knew she wanted to help in animal rescue, but didn’t know where she could help.

The answer came when her friend Cindy Allen called her up one day in 2010 and asked her if she wanted to ride on a rescue transport from Commerce, GA to McMinnville, TN.  Kathy said yes, and from then on she knew what her passion was.  Kathy came in contact with The Dog Liberator’s Vicki Truelove and Khaz Brooks on the very next transport from North GA.  That was TDL’s Rex (Bolt).  Since then, she has transported, assisted in transports, and on occasion provided overnight fostering for both TDL and Good Karma Rescues.   Kathy says “It’s addictive, the great feeling you get, knowing you are doing just one tiny part in saving these wonderful dogs from death and putting them with a caring group of rescues that will place them with the perfect family.  And the puppy breath is a treat too!”

Kathy & Steve Golden

Kathy currently lives in Cumming, Ga., with her husband Tom (who tolerates puppies, sometimes unexpectedly), YaYa (BC/Chow mix), Milah (smooth coat BC) and her current foster, Caylee (BC/Newfie mix) and 3 rescued cats.  She works at an International school cafeteria software company doing Tier 1 technical support.  She enjoys hiking, reading, watching baseball, and most of all, being a part of saving every rescue life possible.  Saving one, four feet at a time.

The current list of dogs that Kathy has helped pull, foster, transport and rescue is too long to include here, but at first glance, I’m counting a minimum of 20!  She is primarily our representative for the shelter in Gordon County, Georgia.  The last two dogs she helped us rescue from that shelter was Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp.  But let’s not forget Lady Truelove!
All of these dogs are pulled at the last minute.  Just because we want to rescue a dog doesn’t mean we have an available foster for the dog.
When we arrange a transport, we try to squeeze in as many hitchhikers as we can.  At times I feel like an air traffic controller!  This is the case with Doc, Wyatt and Lady Truelove.  Kathy was literally walking out of the shelter, clutching her phone, hoping I would call!
Kathy has been instrumental in transporting dogs throughout the state of Georgia, including the Spice Girls (Saffron and Sage), and Lady Priscilla.  She also had the opportunity to meet Rhys when he was transported from Kentucky.  It’s obvious in all of the photos of Kathy, that she makes a special connection with every dog she helps rescue.

Kathy Keith, the dogs, our adopters, and I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Volunteering 101

Wyatt Earp with Madison

It’s not just about fostering or doing doggie doo doo duty!

When you visit my TDL Peeps page, you’ll see a gallery of photos of our awesome volunteers.  What do they do?   You name it!  No matter how small or how enormous the job is, if you want to volunteer for your local shelter, pound, or rescue, you can!  Even if you want to volunteer for a rescue that is far from you, with the internet at your fingertips, there’s nothing you can’t do!

Supporting your Favorite Rescue, let me count the ways:


Several months ago, Anita’s vet, Dr. Elliot Stetzer with Central Animal Hospital decided he was going to switch products, and had a case of unwanted flea preventative!  Anita snatched it for us!  Thank you Anita!

Andrea Rigler’s friend, Maren Jensen of Keegan’s Corner donated gorgeous custom-made collars, and let me tell you, they are stunning!  Thank you Maren!

Last July I posted the need for used crates, and out of nowhere, Kimberley Nykanen donated four brand new crates to me, and believe it or not, I put them to use right away when I picked up the backyard breeder dogs.  These new crates allowed me to give my larger crates to other fosters who really needed them.  Thanks Kimberley!

Sarah’s Transport Buddies


Although Sarah White-Bauxbaum wishes she could adopt and/or foster, her current situation does not allow that option, so for almost a year now, Sarah has been transporting for us… transporting from Orlando to Ocala, to Volusia County, and even to Clearwater.  Sarah has created a Blog about being a volunteer transporter, hoping others will see the joy and importance of this act of kindness in the rescue community.  I don’t know what we’d do without Sarah!

To date, most of our volunteer transporters and fosters are former adopters.  People like Laura Watson, Marjie Wolfe, Erica Brilliant, Anita Barber, Megan Richardson, and I can go on and on with dozens of names.



I don’t know where to start because fostering was something I thought I’d never achieve.  By December of 2009, I had re-homed dozens of dogs, I was on my own, and very overwhelmed.  A few people contacted me and offered to foster, and when Holly returned from Jacksonville in May of 2010, she too wanted to get back into rescue.

We support our foster homes with whatever it is they need to be successful.  Our dogs are rarely in foster care for more than one month, which gives our fosters breaks.  Fosters like Amy Benz, Khaz Brooks and Vicki Truelove rescue with very little supervision, they have access to everything The Dog Liberator has to offer.  If I was still the only foster like I was back in December, 2009, I would’ve never been able to save over 400 dogs to date.  Supporting and training our fosters is what makes us different.

Cristina & Luis with Shane

There are many behind-the-scenes fosters that few even know about, for example, Lynne Flannery.  Lynne has fostered dozens of dogs for me, and I hope all of you meet her at our next reunion!

Cristina & Luis thought they wanted to adopt a dog from us, and offered to foster (shown right with Shane).  To date, that have fostered at least five dogs in just a few short months!  Just like many in rescue, they have taken a break from fostering for a while!

Recently, Kevin & Mel who adopted the Spice Girls insisted that they give back, get involved, and experience the joy of fostering.  They have fostered Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp and many more! Way to go Kevin & Mel!

Office Equipment and Technology:

Many supporters have offered cameras, video cameras, printers, computers and monitors for our rescue, and they have all been appreciated!

Vicki Truelove


Both Vicki Truelove and Paul Pipitone are trainers and behaviorists, and when I have a question, they are always available to provide suggestions!

We are blessed to have agility experts who help us evaluate our dogs, along with Disc Experts, like Jason & Andrea Rigler!  We are very excited about our new relationship with Mark Lucas with Soccer Collies!




Love to Shop?

A few months ago, my long-time friend, Susan Berry, founder of Chubby Chicks Health Club, was cruising the thrift stores and when she stumbled across a ton of Halloween doggie costumes!  She bought them all and dropped them off to me just a few days ago.  I’m going to be shipping them off to our fosters and hope that we can really create a hilarious photo album!  Thanks Susan!


Emily Kennedy

At this time, my friend and neighbor, Emily Kennedy comes to my home several times a week to input Adoption information, micro chip numbers, fill out micro chip registration forms, make folders, file folders, email adopters, update our calendar, and soon we will be entering all of this information in an online database.  Emily is unbelievable!  She knows every dog’s name, when it was adopted, who adopted the dog, and the dog’s history!

Veterinary Care:

Can you introduce your rescue to your vet and help create a relationship?  Many times we have fosters who volunteer in a certain area where we do not have any relationships with local area vets.  Months ago, Larry & Joyce Ashlock introduced us to their vet, and it made a huge difference.  We now have an awesome relationship with Country Oaks Animal Hospital & Boarding Kennel, and they have done an outstanding job taking are of our dogs!

Speaking of Vets:

We are always looking for vets who are ready to help our rescue, and without our vets, we couldn’t possibly be effective.  The team at Aloma Jancy and Val-u-Vet are always there for us, saving dogs and maintaining our core principals.

Mr. Breeze by Olivia


There is a real need for great photographers and now videotographers.  Here’s a great article posted on CBS News explaining why!  I believe that bad shelter photos prevent dogs from being saved.  This is why my rescue takes literally dozens of photos of each of our dogs, always thriving to get that one awesome shot that represents the dog’s spirit.  Our photographers, like Cristina Nieves, Olivia Frost, and Dianna Noreen have really made a difference in capturing a our dogs thus getting them more attention.  Today, our shelter and transport volunteers provide us with a huge advantage when they take photos of the actual journey from beginning to end.  As our dogs inch their way to safety, our volunteers photograph each leg, which includes photographs of each volunteer, from town to town until they reach their temporary destination – foster care!  It’s quite amazing!

Spice Girl in the Tub!


What Else?

If you’re a dog groomer, why not consider dedicating a portion of your time for your favorite shelter, pound, or rescue?

So, what can do you for your favorite rescue?  Can you offer to do home visits?  Drive dogs to and from the vet?  Run errands, or make phone calls?

If you’re handy on Facebook, you can offer to post updates for your favorite group.

Volunteers Supporting Shelters & Pounds:

I have been blessed working with people like Becky Harshman who volunteers for Chilton County’s Humane Society, Dale Parent from Texas, who volunteers for Athens Dog Pound in Alabama.  Hope Master of Florida who volunteers for shelters in Georgia.  How can this be?  It happens!  Once you select a shelter in a rural area, one where dogs have a slim chance of being adopted, you can make a difference by connecting with rescues, identifying volunteers, coordinating transports, raising funds to sponsor dogs, and creating relationships with shelter volunteers by introducing adoptable dogs.

Marjie Wolfe, for example, focuses on her local area shelter in Brevard County.  Although Amy Benz has rescued dogs from all over the Southeast, she also supports and visits her shelter in Citrus County, FL.  Kathy Keith focuses on Gordon County, GA and Vicki Truelove assists the shelter at Hall County, GA.

Dedicating yourself to a specific shelter or geographic location really does help everyone, especially the dogs!

Kathy Keith with the Spice Girls


Transporters nationwide work together getting dogs out of shelters to waiting rescues.  Pilots-N-Paws welcomes volunteer pilots that do the same.  There are so many networks of volunteer transporters out there.  All of them mimic the original efforts created by Brandy Holleran founder of of OTRA.  OTRA (On the Road Again) created an innovative way of creating yahoo groups, identifying volunteers and putting together legged transports.  This effort was published in a book called “Fifteen Legs: When all that stands between death and freedom is a ride“.  Today, thousands of volunteer groups work together moving dogs that are at risk to the safe haven of rescues.  Whether you can drive 20 minutes, 200 miles, or 2,000 miles, transporters truly make a difference in rescue.


Cross-posting can be an effective way to match a shelter dog to rescue.  The birth of the internet, sites like Petfinder, and Facebook have all made a powerful impact of saving dogs.  However, cross-posters who forward massive amounts of emails every day, are literally marked as spam by rescuers, and their emails go straight to the delete folder.  Cross-posters who take the time to forward dogs that are a fit both by breed and geographic location are very important to rescues.

To date, I have at least a dozen cross-posters who, even after I have requested that they remove my email address from their list, forward hundreds of emails each day.  Waking up to thousands of emails identifying dogs I can’t rescue is, unfortunately, a waste of time.

Effective cross-posters not only take care in creating geographic-specific and breed-specific mailing lists to rescues, but are also available to answer questions and obtain additional information for both the shelter and the rescue.  Effective cross-posters serve as a liaison for both the shelter and the rescue, and that simple and quick introduction can be all it takes to save a dog from euthanasia, when it’s done right.


Sarah with China and Baby Ga Ga

It’s been only two years since I started to rescue, and The Dog Liberator has identified and tapped into multiple solutions that can increase effectiveness, and efficiency.  We are always looking for great people who can volunteer a few hours of their time a week.  Breaking apart complicated tasks into manageable chunks has been the key to our success, not to mention I love to delegate, even my children volunteer for the dogs!   If you think you can find a few hours to spare and would like to help, please email me at TheDogLiberator@gmail.com.

Here’s a great article published regarding tax breaks for volunteers.

We have so many awesome volunteers now, and I can’t possibly mention them all in one post, so to all of you, thank you for everything you do and all you have done for TDL in the past!



The Dog Liberator of Georgia

TDL Georgia

We are proud to announce that we can rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home from Georgia, in Georgia!  Thank you for all of your hard work, dedication and professionalism!

I have been pulling dogs from kill shelters in Georgia for over two years now.  Getting them transported to Florida has always been in a challenge.  Lately, we’ve been contacted by Georgia residents interested in Adopting our dogs!  Because of the hard work and professionalism of our Georgia volunteers, we can now offer the same level of rescue in the State of Georgia.

TDL of Florida has been working in tandem with our Georgia representatives, and their effort is obvious when you count the number of dogs that have been saved and found wonderful homes.  Please join us in celebrating this awesome collaboration of effort!

Spotlight on Emily Kennedy, the Multi-Tasker

Emily, a Future Dog Liberator

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

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

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

just a baby!

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

Tut (Shown top) and his new pack!

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

Emily’s dream dog

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

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

Emily & Strudel, a puppy mill dog

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

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

Emily & Carlisle

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

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

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



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