Spotlight on Vicki Truelove

Vicki Truelove began training dogs when she was born! That’s right, she was given a purebred collie pup as a present the day she came home from the hospital. She and Rex were inseparable and they say she was giving him commands at age 3 and he always obeyed. The grandparents told stories of the connection these two had and how Rex never left her side.

Vicki was told by an animal communicator once that we all have the ability to communicate like the animals do, but that we lose it by age 5 because we don’t use it. Vicki believes it is because of Rex that she is still able to use hers. She has always had the ability to understand dogs and horses in a way others don’t.

Vicki grew up in Gainesville, Georgia, graduated Gainesville High School and the Univ. of Georgia in Athens, Ga. Dogs and travel having been her passions she found a way she could do both. She became a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines and began training dogs for obedience competitions. All the family dogs had been trained by her and her first two obedience dogs were her Yorkshire Terrier “Muffin” and her dad’s rotti “Jag” Vicki is a certified Dog Trainer and has continued to train dogs for the last 20 years. She currently is the lead trainer at Petsmart in Gainesville.

Upon moving to a real “farm” about 23 years ago, Vicki began working with border collies on the farm herding the cattle. Vicki and Sox began training for herding competitions. Sox was the subject of some children s books she wrote about life on the farm.Vicki and Sox would entertain at local schools by reading the stories about Sox while the children petted Sox and listened intently to the story about the dog in front of them. Sox would then perform tricks for them and scenes from the book. This was before they had hippo-therapy in schools!

Vicki then began an Equestrian Center where she took care of 50 horses and provided training, boarding, and hosted shows for hunter/jumper, dressage, and cross country. Her business was so successful she had 30 horses at the end of her first year of business, which had been her goal at 5 years! During this time, along with dog rescue, cat rescue, Vicki also rescued and re-homed horses mistreated by their owners.

Vicki and her horses, Tuffy, Ace, and Susie competed around the state in jumper and dressage shows and won various championships thanks to her wonderful horses! During this time she was also training with her Austrailian Shepherd “Avalon’s Driving MIss Daisy” in Agility and Herding. She and Daisy went on to win multiple titles and championships in AKC, USADA, NADAC, Culminating with their qualifying for Nationals in the Grand Prix for the United States Agility Dog Association.. They were never able to compete because shortly after qualifying Vicki was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo surgery and chemo.Having lost her mother and aunt one month before to breast cancer Vicki set out on an aggressive surgery and treatment of her cancer. Nothing was left to chance. But Daisy was right by her side. Daisy and Kyma her two aussies were both rescues from breeders.Kyma is agility trained as well as her grandpuppy Raider. Kyma and Daisy do frisbee,obedience, and agility demos at Petsmart. Sox her border collie was a rescue who was found dropped off at a flea market.

Rescuing dogs has been something she has always done and her home was never with out one. Countless dogs that just showed up on the farm have been rehomed. Dogs from the side of the road, the dump, Vicki has always had a heart for rescue. Having cancer had made Vicki realize that she had been given a gift of time and wanted to leave this earth having made a difference here, not just existing. So once she had won her battle with cancer she started a new one. The battle to save the lives of dogs in our shelters. During her life Vicki has felt abandoned by people she cared about, some walked away and never looked back, as if she meant nothing to them. They went on with their lives as if she never existed and cared not what happened to her.

Vicki began working with Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, transporting, fostering, and cross-posting, never stepping foot in a shelter except to pick up a dog and run. Then one day Hall Co. Animal Shelter called her. They had noticed how many dogs she had saved and wanted her help at the shelter. They had virtually no rescues pulling from there and a high number of euthanasia’s. In fact, that year, out of 6,000 dogs that came into the shelter, over 5,000 were put to sleep. The vet at the shelter was organizing a transport North to Connecticut for a big adoption event and they needed fosters desperately to save dogs. Vicki agreed to foster and made her first trip inside the adoptions rooms, with a list in hand of dogs who were in danger, but had a chance at a life if someone would foster them.

As she walked thru the rooms, time stood still. She could hear the pain, anxiety, and feel the fear of these beautiful angels who had been tossed and forgotten by those they trusted and loved. Her heart ached, she knew what that felt like, the confusion of why, she ran from the rooms in tears, bent over in pain, because somehow she had felt the emotion of each dog she passed. She could hear and feel their pleas for help, she could feel the desolation of those who had given up. How could she pick? It was impossible, the vet offered to go with her, so trembling she went back in. Five souls spoke to her so she took them out to the yard to watch them play and see how they might be in a pack. Those 5 went home with her and then to Connecticut to amazing homes!

The next time she walked thru the adoption room there was an 8 month old austrailian shepherd. He was beautiful. She went back a few days later to get him and was told he had been pts. Devastated she walked back to the vets office in tears, the vet smiled and said, “you mean this guy” and walked her over to quarantine. There he was, she told the vet, give me 24 hours, i’ll get him out. I’ll show you what rescue can do.!” It was Thurs afternoon, Cosmo had until Friday afternoon. By noon on Friday, Vicki informed the shelter that she had Foster, transport, and rescue for Cosmo thru New Spirit for Aussies. She had sent out a video and pics of him to an email list and Facebook . The help poured in but so did the complaints. People in Hall County did not realize they euthanize dogs there. They took offense to a video of a happy young pup playing when he was going to die the next day. The shelter chastised her for telling people that they kill dogs there.

This begs the question, if dogs are not at risk for euthanasia, why do rescues and their volunteers work so hard to save them?

A mass email was then sent out by Vicki explaining what “rescue” is and how it works. That, yes, dogs die in shelters. She asked the question, “is it easier to turn your head and pretend this problem doesn’t exist? Yes. But can you in good conscience ignore it now that you know the truth.  Instead of complaining, do something about it!”  She then gave a list of volunteer opportunities at the shelter, the Facebook page was started, pictures were finally taken of the dogs, kennel cards made, fosters found, and rescues started coming in.

After begging for a euthanasia list from the director she finally got one, all were saved….the next one came, all were saved….the next one came and at the end of an adoption event at Petsmart Vicki knew that any dog that went back to the shelter without adoption, rescue, or foster commitment would be euthanized. She went to the table and asked “How Many without commitment?” Eight was the answer, “Show me which ones please”, so they walked the row of happy dogs in their crates and she looked in the trusting eyes of those who had no one…”I’ll take them all!”  Hence the rescue barn was born, and what started as 8 ended up to be 13.  A local rescue had worked with a rescue in Vermont and had told them of this crazy volunteer that took all these dogs. Vicki was posting videos and pics of them daily on Facebook so Teal took a look.

Good Karma contacted Vicki and said they would like to help. The first transport to Vermont to Good Karma on P.E.T.S., LLC was an exciting one! 6 of Vicki’s dogs went on that trip. Well, its a year later and Vicki has sent 6 dogs every two weeks to Good Karma Rescue in Vermont, fostering them until they could transport, nursing them back to health, teaching some manners, potty training and loving them. At the same time, still rescuing and fostering with Angels Among Us.

One day, she posted a border collie that needed rescue. That dog was Bolt (Rex). A performance friend on her Facebook sent her a message and said, “You need to hook up with Gisele and The Dog Liberator!” So she sent Gisele a message on fb and the rest is history! Vicki has always rescued herding dogs from the shelters and now she had a rescue that could help her do that!!!! Together we could save these wonderful smart dogs from these horrible places! So Vicki, Kathy, Khaz, Holly, Gisele, and Larry teamed up to start a freedom train from Georgia shelters to safety in Florida.

Along the way, another rescue Second Chance had come in to the shelter as well, transporting dogs north to good homes. Vicki worked with them all. Through the work of great volunteers, committed rescues, and volunteer held adoptions the dogs saved at Hall alone tripled and quadrupled.

People are always asking her how many dogs she has saved. Her answer is simple ” I don’t keep count, if i counted it would be discouraging, because the number would be so small compared to the the thousands every day that die with out rescue……”

We are honored to have Vicki, not only help us rescue dogs, but represent our rescue in such a professional manner.  Her honesty and hard work is appreciated.  We are blessed to have so many volunteers work together to pull, transport and foster our dogs. For me, watching the way Vicki, Kathy Keith, Khaz & Steve, Larry, Amy, and Courtney work together to save these dogs is like watching an underwater ballet!  They are our TDL Peeps!

Email us for more information: TheDogLiberator@gmail.com







3 Comments

  1. Martha elmes

    07.09.2011

    I am surrounded by three shelter dogs right now. Teal and Vicki have given us such a gift.

  2. Leigh Stewart

    11.24.2011

    Hi,

    I am interested in Rocky Road. Is he still available? I am in Florida (Melbourne). I am assuming from your update that you are in north GA? I had two Aussies that both died last year, one from natural causes, the other from a broken heart (I am convinced!) We have a fenced yard and I am a retired, at home “mom”. I could really use a new friend.

    Please let me know how to proceed from here.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    Leigh

  3. Amanda Stearns

    12.03.2011

    I’m interested in Rocky Road and would like to know if he is in GA or FL.

Leave a Reply

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: