The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.


"We're not broken!"  ~Cecilia
“We’re not broken!” ~Cecilia

July 12, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Cecilia the Border Collie
Cecilia the Border Collie

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


July 13, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 14, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Email for more information.

Cecilia's first morning with her new family
Cecilia’s first morning with her new family

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

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

Cecilia warms up to her new Dad
Cecilia warms up to her new Dad

One thought on “Cecilia~Adopted

  1. I like that letting the dog show you ,rather than go on what people say. Someone needs to look into the children’s welfare in the former home!

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