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.

Weatherly, the Border Collie/Aussie girl ~ Adopted

Weatherly, the Border Collie/Aussie girl ~ Adopted

Volunteers are the life’s blood of rescue. Without them, the wheels on this bus would turn slowly indeed. So it’s no surprise, then, that TDL works alongside some pretty special people who volunteer their time, money, and inexhaustible energy — often anonymously — to ensure that as many dogs as possible make it out of shelters and into good, loving homes. Some of these folks we get to know personally, others are friends on a Facebook page, but our goal is always the same: Saving as many lives as possible, four feet at a time.

This is NOT the hot tub I was promised!

One such volunteer is the wonderful Julia Bechard, who volunteers for Lake City Humane Society. I met Julia when I went to Lake City to retrieve Miss Congeniality and later Java. We are Facebook friends and message each other from time to time about available dogs. In addition to walking, bathing, and fostering shelter dogs, Julia also makes videos of the dogs for the shelter to post alongside their photos on its web site. TDL followers know how we feel about videos; nothing shows a dog’s personality more. That’s why, when I saw Julia’s video of “Cassie” on her Facebook page, I had to find out more. Who was this dog and what was her story? The video showed a shy, gentle soul that wanted very badly to give and receive affection. Perhaps this was one I could help. Julia responded quickly that Cassie appeared to be an 18-month-old Border Collie mix and was shy and sensitive, but friendly. She added that she’d like to see her in a rescue or foster home soon. We all know that even the best shelter environment is difficult on a sensitive dog. According to Julia, Cassie had been starved and her fur was coming out in clumps from the stress and poor nutrition. I had two fosters at the time, but promised to follow up and see what I could do.

This is the video that Julia made and posted on her Facebook page. You can see why I had to find out more about this precious dog!

Waiting to go to the Dog Liberator

For the next week, I traded phone calls, e-mails, and text messages with Jennifer Marshall, the shelter’s manager. Jennifer confirmed Julia’s initial assessment of Cassie’s personality. In the meantime, both my fosters were adopted on the same day! Another e-mail or two to Jennifer and arrangements were made to make Cassie a Dog Liberator dog. Jennifer’s husband, Marc, graciously offered to transport the dog from Lake City to Wildwood, thereby cutting my transport time from four hours to less than two. (Thank you, Marc!)

So here I sit with Cassie, who now has a new name — Weatherly — and a new lease on life. Although still somewhat shy, Weatherly has regained a lot of her puppy joy. She’s one of those dogs that’s on the cusp of releasing the fears of her old life and fully embracing the joys of her new one. Sweet (I don’t have a problem with that word!), friendly, and loving, she LOVES riding shotgun in the car, walks perfectly on a leash, and has the softest fur you’ve ever felt. So far I haven’t been able to capture it in the photos, but Weatherly is actually pretty small at around 30-35 lbs. She seems to photograph larger and coarser-boned than she really is. But I’m working on getting “the photo,” as Holly puts it. Thankfully, Weatherly is hearworm negative (yay!). It’s obvious that she had puppies at some point this year. We’ll have her spayed soon and then she’ll be ready to go!

Pure, unadulterated puppy joy!

Sept. 11, 2011: Breakthrough! Weatherly has found her puppy joy! Today she played with my pack with complete and utter abandon. My other foster, Mini Cooper the Corgi, is in love with her and follows her around like a lovestruck teenager. He wants her to play with him all the time and pulls her tail just to get her attention. You’d think he was in grade school pulling her pigtails. Weatherly ignores him as long as she can, then the chase is on! I wish I’d had my camera handy to capture their antics. I did get a few shots of her playing with Shelby, my personal Corgi. What can I say? Our girl likes her men short and sassy!

Sept. 12, 2011: Today was Weatherly’s first full day in her crate while I was at work. I’m happy to report that she did wonderfully well! She just loves frozen beef marrow bones, so I gave her a big one to gnaw on and occupy her time, and apparently it did the trick. She displayed no anxiety whatsoever while crated and didn’t make a single move to try to escape. I must say, I was thrilled! You never know how new dogs will react to being crated for long periods of time and there’s always this fear that you’ll come home to a prison break disaster of mangled crate, potty-training accidents, and ripped up furniture (this happened to me with a dog I once owned). Not our girl — she was a perfect angel!

Playing with Shelby the Corgi

I’d also like to note that Weatherly has become quite the player. She loves to romp around with the two Corgis, Shelby and Mini Cooper. She’s the only girl in residence and therefore very popular. She continues to gain confidence with people and now comes inside when called instead of hanging back and having to be coaxed in. I just love this little girl and can’t wait for her to fully overcome her shyness with people.

Weatherly is being fostered at my home in the Ocala area. You can view her photo album on Facebook.  If you are interested in adopting her, please review “How to Adopt From Us” and email your information to me at

Sept. 25, 2011: ADOPTED! Weatherly just left with the wonderful Nicole Nekoloff and Ricky Del Rosal, and I couldn’t be happier! It was obvious from the moment I opened the door and Weatherly ran out to greet them that she was their dog. My shy little girl turned into the Welcome Wagon before my eyes. Then, when Ricky went to get something from the car, Weatherly waited by the door for him to return. What a match! Tampa, welcome your newest Dog Liberator dog! ~ Amy

Cali (Formerly Weatherly) Gazing out at the birds on the lake

Jan. 30th Adopter Update: “Thank you again for helping us find Cali (Weatherly).  I’ve included a pic of her.  She loves staring out at the lake and all the birds.  She’s such a good dog.  Listens well and LOVES to snuggle.  Her second favorite thing is eating!  She has filled out nicely and her coat is beautiful! Nicole Nekoloff”


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