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.

Spike’s Miraculous Journey

Spike’s Miraculous Journey
Spike at the Shelter


Spike’s Story, by Darcy Heston

A few of you might remember this beautiful baby boy named Spike.  He was inmate number A12258259 at Hall County, Georgia doggie pound.  Spike has an amazing story to tell and I can tell you, I couldn’t be more thrilled and overjoyed with the outcome!

I posted Spike and a few other puppies who were in the puppy room at the shelter.  Spike was maybe around 6 months old.  A rescue effort was arranged and we worked on having 7 + puppies pulled for a rescue in PA.  Spike was one of them.

When the call was made to the shelter to place a hold on the 7 + puppies, the rescuer was told that Spike “was no longer available”.  I can tell you that usually means only one thing.   I literally cried as this boy had my heart.  I moved his picture over to my RIP album.  Quite a few of us was very sad for Spike.

About 6 weeks later, I am looking through Hall’s albums and I SAW SPIKE!!  He had apparently “gotten lost in the system”!!  I could not believe my eyes!  I vacillated between being angry at such a careless mistake and relief that he was still alive.  The poor little fellow had been sitting in a cage somewhere marked off as “no longer available” in the computer system…  How he wasn’t actually euthanized is a miracle in itself as pups do not last that long in that place, in the system or not!   HE WAS ALIVE!!! AND HAD GROWN INTO SUCH A HANDSOME LITTLE MAN!

The mad scramble was on to save his life because now that they ‘found’ him, he didn’t have much time until D day.  A woman in Florida wanted to adopt him.  The Dog Liberator offered transport to Florida, and Vickie Truelove offered to foster Spike in Georgia while arrangements were made.  Just one week later, Spike was transported to The Dog Liberator, and Maria DeRosa stepped up to the plate to foster him while he waited to go to his new forever home.

Then the next ‘hiccup’ happened….

…. the ‘adopter’ never followed through for various reasons (or excuses).  Maria was now holding Spike until a new forever home could be found for him.  There was a slight problem:  Spike did not like her husband.  He was fearful and didn’t like men.

Maria sent me this in a PM and has given me permission to share Spike’s story and “Why We Kept Him”.  This  story had me crying tears of joy and gave me goosebumps!  I just had to share Spike’s story with you… I hope you find it inspiring too!  We need to read the good stories to balance out the bad ones we read about every day.


Why We Kept Him, by Maria DeRosa

You have been following him pretty closely, so I am sure I don’t need to tell you everything…. well that little guy hid under the furniture and wouldn’t let anyone touch him other then the kids for 3 days. On the 4th day, he reluctantly let me touch him….. after 10 days, he would still run and hide if my husband came into the room. 10 days and my husband still wasn’t able to touch him at all…. as much as I loved him and wanted to keep him – I wouldn’t consider it. 1, it is not appropriate for me to ask my husband to live with a dog that fears/doesn’t like him and 2, it is not fair for Spike to have to live in a home with someone he is afraid of. I had come to terms with the fact that mine was not the right home for Spike and I released him for adoption through The Dog Liberator after 3 days of consideration. I cried my eyes out. I also advised them that he had absolutely no training and was not even housebroken….. if we adopt him out, he is going to come right back or worse….. we collectively decided that he would stay with me for a month to be trained before listed on the website. I cried some more….

My husband kept telling me to keep him because I loved him so much and was so upset by it but I was sticking to my guns on it and would not even consider changing my mind.

Rescue is my project…. not my husbands. He tolerates me bringing all of these animals in and out of our house. We had decided that even though we are dog people and missed our dog (she died 2 years ago) we were not going to have a dog right now. Fostering is the best of both worlds because I can still go on vacation, don’t have a vet bill, etc. We still have a dog around the house, etc but every few weeks we can enjoy an empty house…. my husband could care less if there was a dog around….I sort of need them around.

So, I share something I learned at rescue training with my husband…. when a dog has been abused and fears you (after a few days of settling in, of course) the best thing you can do is either use a leash or wrap them in a blanket and hold them close to you…. hold them close and hold them down. Do not speak to them, pet them or look at them…. watch TV while you do it. When you feel the animal relax, give a treat, pet and say good boy/girl. Repeat the process 2-3 times a day for 15 minutes each, until the animal will stay with you willingly. I asked him to do this for Spike… he was so terrified of men… he needed to get over it. My husband said no, understandably. He said that if Spike were a bigger dog, he would be scared of him because of the way he looked at him….it was a mean look out of the corner of his eye. He said he would just leave him alone until he found a home but he didn’t feel comfortable with it…..and he ignored him.

The Dog Liberator asked me to foster Cream Puff.   Cream Puff’s introduction was a blessing in disguise. She taught him how to be a dog…. my husband observed them together and said “Its a shame he doesn’t like me – he is a really cool dog. Great with the kids and loads of personality….”. I reminded him what needed to be done…. he still wasn’t interested.

I have 2 little girls – they are 7 and 10. Every day they come home from school at 2:30 and they walk Spike. They take turns….because they enjoy it. Then they take him in the back yard to run and play. Since we got Creme Puff in, they each have a dog to walk. Last Friday the girls came home from school…. they each took a dog, walked down the driveway and parted ways.

My 7 year old had Spike…… my husband said within minutes of them leaving, he heard a big dog barking, snarling and growling – attack language. He said the growl was big and had base…. he expected to see Rottweiller, Pitt Bull, etc – mean large breed of dog when he looked outside. He expected to see a very large dog attacking either Spike or Creme Puff; with one of his daughters holding the leash…. he ran to the door and looked outside. There was a car stopped in front of my house and a man had gotten out and was standing in front of my daughter (the 7 year old). All that noise was coming out of Spike…. she had both hands on his leash and was leaning all the way back to hold him back from this man, who was not at all afraid of Spike….. and Spike wasn’t afraid of him either – Spike HATED him…… but when my husband opened the front door – the man was suddenly startled and jumped in his car and drove off. Spike snarling and growling in the rear view….. I cannot think about what was about to happen to my little girl. My husband went outside and asked my daughter what happened. She said the man stopped the car to ask her about her puppy and Spike went nuts. He looked down at Spike, who this time did not cower. He stood proud and wagged his tail for my husband and then walked up to his feet and sat.

He is very proud of his “sit” and the night he learned sit, he ran the house sitting for everyone, except my husband….. he had a happy “look what I can do” face on and just ran around planting his butt in front of everyone.

My husband scooped him up, brought him inside and sat on the couch with him, telling him he was a good boy and he fed him almost an entire bag of his favorite liver treats.

When I got home, my husband was sitting on the couch, with Spike stretched across his lap, on his back, getting a belly rub.

I knew nothing of what had happened….. I smiled and asked him, “You made friends???”  He said “This dog has found his home – he goes NOWHERE. Happy Birthday.” Then he told me what he did….

I have always believed that a rescued dog is more loyal then any other…. they will love you and protect you more then any other dog could even dream. Spike is proof. He earned his keep 🙂

He was also the best birthday present I have ever gotten 🙂

We have found a home for Creme Puff and she is to be picked up tomorrow night. Spike’s “boot camp” will start weds morning. My goal is to get him housebroken completely by the end of the month while we finish obedience training. He can get lots of 1 on 1 attention then.

Loyalty and love for a child is what brought him home. He did it all himself … I deserve no thanks for this.

Spike now follows my husband around the house, he listens to him, he wags his tail when he sees him and when he is feeling intimidated, he will hide behind him. His fear of my husband is all gone…. its only the rest of the world to contend with now but I know that when it counts, he will not fear the person trying to hurt our family. In Spike’s mind, he put his life on the line for her. You cannot ask for more from a dog.

I LOVE YOU, SPIKE!!  You’re a good boy and you found your Mommy and family, as that was where you were meant to be ALL along <3  You were resurrected from the RIP album to pride of place in my Happy Tails album and I couldn’t be more excited and happy for you little man. 🙂  Woof!!


5 thoughts on “Spike’s Miraculous Journey

  1. What a tear-jerker! I remember when Steve brought him home from Kathy, a trembling ball of fear. He wouldn’t leave his crate even for treats, and he certainly wouldn’t leave with Steve.

    To know he has made a comeback warms my soul. Animals are magnificent judges of character, and I shudder to think what could have happened to that little girl had he not been around. This is a wonderful success story, from every perspective. The rescue found him, his family found him, and he found in himself his ability to conquer his fear. That is good dog karma, right there.

  2. Oh lord I cried through just about every part of this. Thank God for mix-ups, blessed mistakes, and for people willing to save the life of a little dog who was willing to return the favor for their daughter.

  3. More tears here! What a fantastic story! Even though your husband wouldn’t follow thru with the wrapping in a blanket & holding Spike, he obviously (unwittingly) sent the right message to Spike. I hope your family has many happy years with Spike!

  4. This is such a wonderful story…I watched Spike for a long time when he was at hall….thought he was such a handsome little guy….I am so glad you have decided to keep him forever….and that he finally chose his “DAD”…..

  5. Wow – I didn’t see all of this until just now. I was looking at my new fosters page and I saw the link and clicked it….tee hee hee. I feel like a celebrity…
    “Ball of fear” is the truth! I have never seen a dog so damaged before I met him. He didn’t know how to play; I dont think he had ever seen a toy or a ball before and he certainly didnt know what to do with them either. He was afraid of both my hands and feet. The only thing he wasn’t afraid of were my kids and my cat.
    Can I just tell you that he came to me on April 14th, just 6 weeks ago….. He can sit, shake (give paw), lay down, he “loads up” (command for get in the car), “wait”, “stay”, he now plays ball and isnt afraid of anything. I took him to the doggie beach (New Smyrna) on Saturday and taught him how to swim. By the end of the day, he was body surfing!!! He approached 3 different strange men and sniffed thier hands and let them pet him….
    He barks his head off when strangers are in the house (men or woman) and is very protective of our home and our children. He and my husband are friends now and they play together. He husband gets on hands and knees and slaps the floor and Spike comes running and puppy pounces him.
    I can walk him without a leash and he will not leave my side. Gisele says “waste of a micro chip on this one” lol.
    He is a great dog and I love him so much!!! It is easy to see that he loves me too.
    Right now, he is helping with Jordan’s Prize Panda. Poor guy wont come out of his crate but Spike lays next to his crate, up against him and he grooms him through the crate wire. I spent an hour with Jordan and he wouldnt come to me. I went home, got Spike and came back. Jordan spent 2-3 minutes with Spike and then came right to me.
    Spike does not have a jealous bone in his body. He is happy to share his crate, toys, food or family. I know dogs dont think like humans but to observe the way he is with Jordan, you would think that it was his job to rescue him.
    Thank you all for your good wishes.
    Spike’s Mom 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


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

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: