A Really Big Deal

Doobie showing off his pounce mode play.

Puppy Mill Lab Learns to Play

Shopping? Huge deals? Nope, not this kind of a deal, so calm down, quit imagining bargain slashed prices  and read on!  A few nights ago, my American Lab Doobie fetched a ball, actually did a real fetch, actually ran to a ball and brought it back to me multiple times with great purpose and intent. Well DUH you`re probably thinking, sure labs fetch, as in born to fetch. But, you see, Doobie is special lab.  6 years old, he experienced a hellish past.  The first four years of his life were spent as a breeding dog on a puppy mill: as in lived in a cage, as in lived an impoverished cruel existence , as in came to me afraid of everything in the whole wide world, as in could not did not know how to play, let alone interact with ANY human with any degree of confidence. Imagine downtrodden huddled up wanting to shrink and disappear and you have how Doobie appeared when he came to me. Free spirit present day Doobie joyfully fetching balls is a really big deal, the kind of big deal that elicits an ear to ear grin.

Perhaps some of you are nodding and smiling in agreement. Perhaps you yourself have given refuge to such a creature, and as well have experienced the slow gradual and sometimes downright miraculous changes that are a really big deal. Being a volunteer for LAB RESCUE, and already owned by two labs, Doobie was meant to be a foster dog. However, genetics factor in, and  being my mother`s daughter…….. well let`s just say Doobie has been here these past two years.  The nurturing instinct is alive and well. Often we say some things are meant to be; I believe this to be true. Rehabilitating Doobie has enriched my life and given me valuable hands on training experience for these excessively fearful dogs, enabling me to assist others in similar situations, also a really big deal. .

Amazing isn’t it, how dogs from these backgrounds can be so darned resilient, and gradually become the dogs they were meant to be?  But what if, in a perfect world, dogs did not need to go through this hell on earth to begin with?  What if there where no puppy mills? That will never happen, as there will always be unscrupulous breeders and folks willing to pay a lower price for that designer or purebred puppy, but change can be effected. To that end please feel free to share these  Puppy Mill Links with everyone you know. Are you a dog trainer? Make this available to ALL your clients. Are you a Veterinary? Take the opportunity also to educate your clients. No change takes place with silence. If we all, as individuals, played some small role, that would be a really big deal.

No dog should have to suffer as Doobie did.  To regard his exuberant outgoing self, running full tilt across open fields and imagine this free spirit caged so saddens me at times.. How do they survive this? It really hurts bringing this to mind, does it not? Fortunately Doobie ceases to live that life. We  shall all have many more wonderful years together, as my husband and myself  continue to witness new changes, and recall past huge moments, like the day Doobie first tentatively approached a ball and took it into his mouth. Now that was a really big deal. I hope you enjoyed this, my first of many posts to come, which will appear on a weekly basis; it will be my great pleasure to communicate with you about  life as a dog trainer as your dog training assistant,  life with three labs, and above all, LIFE WITH DOGS.

Leslie Fisher PMCT CPDT-KA

Joyfully, Bridget Doobie and Talley




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4 comments

  • July 11, 2011 12:35 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Diane Garrod

    Rehabilitating a dog encompasses so many elements. As you’ve stated, play is one of those elements. What I’ve found working with aggression and high level reactivity is most of these dogs do not know how to play and once they do rehabilitation occurs much quicker. You are amazing and Doobie is reaping the benefits of his training and living with you!! Love stories like these because “LIfe With Dogs” IS a “Really Big Deal”
    Diane

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  • July 11, 2011 2:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Leslie Fisher (Author)

    Thank you Diane! Of course, you know I think you are amazing as well! Yes, it really IS a big deal, lol. I am going to enjoy this.

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    July 11, 2011 8:08 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Kris Hodge

    I am a foster mom for a Cocker Rescue. In November, 2006, I received a foster, Charlene, that was 6-1/2 years old and had just gotten dumped by a puppy mill in an animal control facility that was being closed down. One of our volunteers got her out of there, along with another dog, 2 hours before they were to be put down. When I first got her home, she wouldn’t come near me and spent the first week in her crate (with the door open). I had 2 other dogs that she eventually started hanging out with, first on the dog bed, then on the couch. 2-1/2 months after getting her, I decided to keep her.

    As you said, it’s amazing to watch these dogs learn new things. In the mornings before I leave, I always give my dogs a couple of treats. My other dogs knew how to catch treats, then one day, Charlene decided that she was going to catch a treat!

    Charlene loves other dogs, especially little ones. She is still a little shy around people, but has come a long way. I now have 2 male Cockers, along with a foster. They are all younger and faster, but Charlene tries to keep up. She is now 11, so she has slowed down a little, but she is my little girl, and I’m always happy when she decides to lie on my lap or give me kisses.

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    • July 11, 2011 8:29 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Leslie Fisher

      I am so happy Charlene found her way to you, and bless you for giving Charlene another chance at life. She sounds very sweet indeed. Yes, I love to see them finding their way.

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