I’ve said it many times: “When my phone rings, the clicker method didn’t work.” I’ve gone into kennels of some really tough dogs. Dogs even the shelter employees don’t wanna mess with, and I always come out with a new friend. I like the tough ones, they make me smile, cause they usually always have a story. How do I convince them to become my friends, to change their ways? Simple, we have a little chat and I show them my love.
This is the story of Tina.
Tina is a German Shepherd mix that ended up at one of the tougher shelters here in LA – with 8 of her pups. Of course the pups were adopted out, what remained is the old lady that no one wanted. Eventually she became very aggressive to shelter workers as well as others. I got the call from a good friend of mine, Blake, who asked if I would go and “check in on” Tina. If I could get her to come around, she would be saved, otherwise she was on the short list and would be killed. How could I say no to a challenge like that?
I met the shelter worker, a very kind and caring person who escorted me to the kennel. Tina was very obviously shaken, scared and potentially dangerous. I approached her with love and caution. I noosed her inside her kennel and escorted her to a small room at the shelter where I asked to have 20 minutes alone, uninterrupted with her. I was granted this and am eternally grateful to the kind staff at the shelter for trusting me.
At first Tina wanted little to do with me. It took her a good 5-10 minutes to warm up to me. Once she did, I slowly worked with her and won over her trust. She was a very timid dog that required some special handling. To properly work with a dog, it is important to understand where they are coming from. The worst thing you can do is assume they are all the same. CAUSE THEY AREN’T. I saw into her soul, her eyes told me her pain. She craved to be understood, and I gave her that. You can see in the pictures that she trusted me and I trusted her. I gave her a chance and she gave herself a chance. Twenty minutes later Tina and I walked out of the room in a different light. Tina took treats out of the lady’s hand, walked around with her tail up in the air, happy as could be. She even went over to the kitten cages and “talked” to the little kitties.
Tina is now out of the shelter and in a rescue foster program ready for adoption. Another precious life saved thanks to the trust and dedication of people who cared enough to give her a chance.