Abused Dogs Deemed ‘Too Aggressive’ for Adoption find Second Chance with Rehabilitator

Sadie and Blue celebrated their freedom yesterday with a romp in the grass. The lucky dogs may not know it, but three weeks ago they narrowly escaped death after a Massachusetts shelter labeled them too vicious for adoption. Public outcry put that death order on hold, but in actuality, it was one woman’s dedication that eventually saved them.

Just days after their rescue from an abusive situation earlier this month, officials said a behavior evaluation suggested that the dogs would harm anyone who adopted them. Concerned dog lovers were up in arms over the hasty decision, and their messages of protest eventually reached Jeni Mather, who is now caring for and rehabilitating the dogs the Blue Dog Shelter in Brockton.

Mather says the dogs just needed a chance. She and her staff spent the past two weeks visiting them at the Brockton Animal Control shelter three times each day. They were terrified from their ordeal, and would flatten themselves and bark whenever someone approached their cages.

Mather and her employees knew that love and patience would be required to help the frightened animals understand that they were safe, so they formed a plan to gradually bring the dogs around, and it worked wonders. During their visits, they offered treats to the dogs through their cages, being careful not to encroach on their space or make them feel threatened in any way.

After a slow start, the dogs caught on. Mather said taking Blue out of his cage was heartbreaking at first.

Mather receives thank you kisses from Sadie and Blue. photo: Marc Vasconcellos/Enterprise News

“When we would take a step forward, he would hit the deck,” Mather said in an interview with Enterprise News. “He would just absolutely thrust himself on the ground and close his eyes.”

But after a week of visits with treats and cheeseburgers, Mather was finally able to earn Blue’s trust. Once he was comfortable on a leash, she pulled him from the shelter. Sadie, transformed by a week of visits from a steady stream of treat-wielding volunteers, joined them.

Mather said this is a classic example of what a little love and care can do for an animal who has never known human kindness. She believes it could take as long as 10 months to rehabilitate the dogs, but she’s committed to making them whole and finding them forever homes.

“It’s been hours and hours and days and days of work,” Mather said. “They have come a long way, they really have.”


  1. shared !

  2. I love this kind of happy ending <3

  3. Kristine says on  07/27/2012 at 4:48 pm


  4. thank u

  5. God bless her <3

  6. Isn’t it sad that ignorant humans so frequently mistake a dog’s fear for aggression? Yea, Jeni Mather and the Blue Dog Shelter in Brockton!!

  7. That’s all it takes…is a little time. Working with shelter babies is just so rewarding (:

  8. Toni says on  07/27/2012 at 4:50 pm

    What an ANGEL

  9. Kerry says on  07/27/2012 at 4:50 pm

    Wonderful! Some dogs just need space after such a major transition. And some just need space, period. Doesn’t make them a menace… So glad she saw this and gave the dogs the love they needed, when they needed it.

  10. Julie says on  07/27/2012 at 4:50 pm

    Fabulous! Thank you Jeni and His bless you. We need more like you….

  11. God bless you over and over Jeni Mather! You are an angel among humans <3

  12. Julie says on  07/27/2012 at 4:50 pm

    *God bless you

  13. Dog bless you! Bless you all!!!

  14. Joy says on  07/27/2012 at 4:51 pm

    If only the cities of Belfast and Montreal allowed the same Lennox and Wicca would be alive today. Kudos to Jeni and the City who at least allowed the Rehabilitator to visit and help them.

  15. :-)!

  16. Yay!! Jeni is my hero! We need more people to recognize that they CAN make a difference.

  17. Kevin says on  07/27/2012 at 4:52 pm

    Love it!!!

  18. YOU simply ROCK, Jeni Mather!!! An ANGEL indeed! God Bless you all the days of your life for this act of kindness for these dogs!

  19. Thank god for people like u! :) xx

  20. I was almost afraid to read this after seeing the first paragraph but so glad I did. So proud of my home state, Massachusetts!! Maybe we can teach others a lesson or two (i.e. Belfast and Montreal). Wishing Sadie and Blue wonderful long lives in forever homes!

  21. Melinda says on  07/27/2012 at 4:53 pm

    Now THAT’S a hero.

  22. Sharon says on  07/27/2012 at 4:53 pm

    Good stuff!

  23. Vanessa says on  07/27/2012 at 4:53 pm

    More Jeni Mather’s r needed in this world!! Way to Go!!

  24. Marius Terri says on  07/27/2012 at 4:53 pm

    Thank you Ms Mather….you are my hero!

  25. Heros!!!

  26. Andrea says on  07/27/2012 at 4:54 pm

    I hate when people who aren’t versed in dog handling think they know how to handle dogs , leave it to the ones that care & know ! Kudos to Jeni:))

  27. Thank you Jeni & Staff Love Sadie & Blue!


  29. Terri says on  07/27/2012 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you Jeni!!!!!!

  30. Its the same with Kids. Give them a chance.

  31. God bless you Mathers and the people who work for you… this cruel world of ours needs more people like you!

  32. Anonymous says on  07/27/2012 at 4:57 pm

    What The Hell is wrong with people who abuse animals who cant defend themselves … You abusers out there are COWARDS!!! Just wanna say yr a blessing to animals mather god bless u !!

  33. Lori says on  07/27/2012 at 4:57 pm

    Thanks to Jeni for giviing them a chance and to Brockton Animal Control for knowing these dogs needed a chance at a great life!

  34. Tia says on  07/27/2012 at 4:58 pm

    Hope it works out well for them…

  35. Super.

  36. i despise most of the human race then someone comes along to prove there are still good people out there .thankyou for doing what you did you did a fantastic think and i for one will alway be greatfull for you trust in 2 poor dogs whos owners shound be publicly kicked to death as far as im concerned theyre nothing but human shit

  37. It just takes someone with patience and love. A LOT of LOVE

  38. Gayle says on  07/27/2012 at 5:00 pm

    Thank you Jeni!

  39. Pamela says on  07/27/2012 at 5:00 pm

    Bless you !!

  40. Leslie says on  07/27/2012 at 5:01 pm

    now does this make sense, the city rescues two dogs from abusive home, and claims they are danger to society. what about the people did the abuse, those kinds of people need to be taken away, how would they feel if they were abused. dogs are not cruel and dangerous, people do it to them.

  41. Thank you for helping them back into a real life, Jeni!

  42. Wonderful story….. Your awesome Jeni Mather

  43. Its a shame that people that work at these shelters don’t know a thing about canine body language!!! It shoud be a requirement for hire or at least send them for training.

  44. Lynn says on  07/27/2012 at 5:04 pm

    Wow….always take the quick answer? Good thing they don’t make the same judgements of children coming out of “abusive homes”? People AND animals have to experience goodness that has not been a part of their lives before they learn that they CAN trust ! Thank God Jen was willing to go the extra mile!

  45. Thank you Jeni Mather!!!

  46. Nice!

  47. Laura says on  07/27/2012 at 5:06 pm

    You rock Jeni!!

  48. <3

  49. Julie says on  07/27/2012 at 5:06 pm

    NO such thing as bad dogs. Only bad owners. Good thing they were saved and rehabilitated! yey! =)

  50. Great job!!!

  51. Helen says on  07/27/2012 at 5:08 pm

    Happy ending <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

  52. Anna says on  07/27/2012 at 5:09 pm

    Bless you, Jeni Mather, for looking beneath the surface and having the patience to help these dogs. Sometimes all these poor dogs need is understanding and kindness.

    Someone should send this to all those uninformed municipal employees in Belfast, Montreal, and anywhere else the first and only choice seems to be to kill a pit bull – screw understanding. These dogs would truly be without hope were it not for people like Jeni.

  53. Ronald says on  07/27/2012 at 5:09 pm

    Sad for the dogs, they didn’t ask to be the way they were, humans did that. Maybe someday the animal kingdom can forgive us

  54. David Deborah says on  07/27/2012 at 5:11 pm

  55. Great job and your patience is wonderfful..

  56. Patience and love. 2 fundamental things every dog owner/ trainer should know. Thank you Jeni for showing that people can always make positive change in dogs life no matter how they are “labeled”

  57. Amazing! So glad the doggies got the tlc they so badly needed!

  58. June says on  07/27/2012 at 5:12 pm

    A little love and caring goes a long way ! Bless you all for being there for them…

  59. Aahh, good ol’ Brockton. Such upstanding citizens there.

  60. Thank you, Massachusetts for having a heart and giving these dogs a chance! Thank you, Jen for for rescuing them! Hope both dogs find loving, forever homes.

  61. wonderful people !!

  62. Dan says on  07/27/2012 at 5:19 pm

    Thank you Ms. Mather, for reminding me that there is still some goodness in the world. Just minutes ago, I read the story about the “breeders” in England, where conditions were so atrocious, I couldn’t even bring myself to watch the video of the puppies. Where you on the other hand, saved the lives of animals that were surely going to be put down as dangerous dogs and you intervened on their behalf and proved they just needed a chance. If there were more people like you to champion for the rights and lives of our four legged citizens, this world would be a far better place. Thanks to you and your staff for doing a great job.

  63. Britta says on  07/27/2012 at 5:22 pm

    Awesome job done! !!!!!!
    That’s the way……and no other (please note that, government and officials all over the globe! !!!!!!)
    Yay and kudos to a happy ending/ beginning …..for ONCE! !!!!!
    RIP Lennox and Wicca! !!!!!!! ;(
    This world and people have gone insane……… ;(

  64. I recued my 98lb heinz 57 “Kaiser” with a neck like Vince Wilfork just 3weeks ago and bonded with in a hour. He’s a happy doggie and I wuv him

  65. Jennie says on  07/27/2012 at 5:23 pm

    Most of the dogs that go into shelters are so afraid that they can act out in way that is temporary, but it gets them exterminated. Our rescue group tries to get them before they get taken into a shelter and rehabilitate them. Most of them just need to feel “safe.”

  66. What a angel on earth….

  67. That’s all it takes for any animal, including humans. Just a little love and some patience.

  68. and the lights all went out in Massachusetts!!!!!!!!!!!

  69. What a fabulous story thanks to a kind, caring lady!

  70. Sadly these cases are popular in Brockton :/

  71. Cristián Eugenio says on  07/27/2012 at 5:34 pm

    Jeni is my favourite hero now!

  72. Lyn says on  07/27/2012 at 5:34 pm

    So the dogs get sentenced to death, but the people walk? Dogs are NOT born bad, it takes people to make them that way. thankfully these 2 were saved

  73. Cathy says on  07/27/2012 at 5:35 pm

    Great Jeni make the extra effort to save these dogs!

  74. This is a fantastic thing to read! I was so worried when I first learned about these two.

  75. Jeni is so, so ,so wonderful !!!!

  76. Kathleen says on  07/27/2012 at 5:40 pm

    Jeni and staff of Blue Dog Shelter have been rescuing dogs for many years. Donations are needed to help care for Sadie, Blue and 19 other dogs currently in their shelter… http://www.brocktonbluedogshelter.org/

  77. :)

  78. Cynthia says on  07/27/2012 at 5:42 pm

    All any dog needs is some loving, patient time given to them. I wish more of my friends realized that.

  79. great story about giving animals a reason to have faith in humans

  80. Karmen says on  07/27/2012 at 5:47 pm

    This happens ALL the time, just watch animal cops and you’ll see. There was one episode where hundreds of pitbulls were recued from pitbull fighting and they euthinized every last one of them with out even seeing if they were aggresive.

  81. David says on  07/27/2012 at 5:50 pm

    Those look like great slober kisses! Thank you for saving them!

  82. Afrienda says on  07/27/2012 at 5:50 pm

    We need more people willing to step up and help the dogs who aren’t perfect but with a little kindness can be good dogs!

  83. God bless u Jeni

  84. Chris says on  07/27/2012 at 5:51 pm

    Great save :-)

  85. You are angel. God bless you.

  86. Georgia says on  07/27/2012 at 5:55 pm

    God bless this lady.

  87. God bless you Jeni

  88. God bless you Ma’am.

  89. thank you

  90. Thank you

  91. Margaret says on  07/27/2012 at 6:18 pm

    Why is it that humans with authority think death is always the answer? Grrrr. Bravo Jeni Mather!

  92. I think the if they going to start killing animals cause they’re aggressive they should start doing this to people like murderers, rapists n pedophiles. World doesn’t need these predators. What about those poor animals that get trained to be aggressive by their owners, put them to death too.

  93. Wonderful!

  94. Donna says on  07/27/2012 at 6:51 pm

    The comment, “He would just absolutely thrust himself on the ground and close his eyes” broke my heart. She was just trying to give him a treat but he was preparing himself to get brutally beaten again. He had never known kindness or love before. Thank Goodness for this woman and her loving heart to help these poor abused babies.

  95. God Bless her.

  96. What a wonderful lady the world would be a better place if there were more like her in it


  98. What a lovely story! ~ Carol

  99. Why is the first thing they do is order the dogs to be put down???!!!! They deserve the chance to be loved and rehabilitated…..

  100. There are some wonderful people still around. Bless you!

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