(Picture used with written permission)
The class was hosted by the Cape Area Family Resource Center. The dogs came from the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri, Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary, Silverwalk Hounds and independent rescues. All of the dogs were considered "throw away" at some point in their lives. and some came from high profile abuse/neglect cases.
There were many facets of this class that made it different from other dog obedience classes offered in our area. For one thing, not all of the dogs have a permanent home. They are still available for adoption Another difference was the presence of junior volunteer handlers ranging in age from nine to seventeen years old, as well as, the adult handlers. What really made this class stand out were the dog breeds represented. Of the twelve dogs participating, three were purebred Airedale, Boxer and Shepard. There were four mixed breeds and five American Pit Bull Terriers.
In six weeks time, the dogs were taught manners and the handlers learned control. All of the dogs represented are considered high powered, large muscle breeds, and they were not puppies. The youngest dog was the eleven month old German Shepard Dog. There were times it may have seemed there was no hope for the socialization of such a strong natured group of dogs, but this group of handlers never gave up. They proved without a doubt that no dog is un-trainable or irredeemable. The transformation was nothing less than spectacular to watch.
The finale for this group will come on April 8th when they test for their CGC certification. Mrs. Janice Miller will be the test evaluator. While this may be the end of this chapter in the group's training, it is only the beginning for the countless dogs being rescued and adopted. This group is proof that hard work and love can make opening your heart, and your home, to a dog with a less than savory background, one of the most gratifying experiences of your life.
For more information on upcoming classes, certification and events, please contact Melanie Coy at firstname.lastname@example.org.