THE DHARMA DOG PACK
Check out Barry in his Nebraska Trucks and Bucks Lottery Commercial. Barry has come a long way from his days as a homeless rescue dog being bounced around from foster homes due to his behavior!
Our dogs often help us out on our training sessions, Barry, Diesel, Marco & Bianca are rescue dogs that each had their own behavior issues we had to work through, and now they help us help other dogs.
These are their stories...
Barry was rescued from a kill shelter in Junction City, Kansas when he was a puppy. He was found as a skinny, scared, stray and was luckily pulled by Helping Hands Rescue here in Omaha where he was bounced around from a few foster homes and returned from a potential adopter for his boxy head looks. My friends continued to send me pics of Barry whom I was dead set against adopting since he was a puppy, and I had an older rescue dog in mind...but after meeting him, he stole my heart.
That's when our story began and the honeymoon was over for Barry & I...we had to start working through his issues! Barry hadn't been taken out on a leash much so he barked, growled and full blown explosions at every person on the street. He also did this in my house, which was serious since I lived in a townhome community. He howled when I left, peed on my floor, chewed up anything in site. Needless to say Barry had some issues!
However this dog is worth his weight in training gold and when I was at the end of my rope a friend gave me some advice, "if you give up on him you will regret it forever" and she was right. Barry is the dog that has pushed me to seek out alternative training methods when traditional methods failed him. Nowadays when Barry accompanies us on our training sessions, people can hardly believe he is the same dog I tell them about and he is one of the great loves of my life.
My Big D...Diesel was rescued from our local city shelter in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Because of Diesel's looks and a breed ban that was implemented by the city, the ordinance stated that he needed to be removed from the city or euthanized. Luckily a local rescue Promise 4 Paws, took in Diesel. He was also bounced around to a few foster homes and since Diesel was born mostly blind, he had some frustrations issues and people didn't quite know how to deal with him.
I believe Diesel's destructive behavior which stemmed from frustration of his blindness and humans not understanding his needs caused him to bark, cry, push, claw, nip, and jump on and around his humans. The rescue just planned to keep him as a "forever foster" since it didn't seem anyone wanted to adopt a big blind guy with "issues" like him...until Barry and I came along!
We had four meet and greets with dogs that didn't seem to care for Barry but Barry and D hit it off right away and knew it was a match! Happy to say we have worked through Diesel's issues and he was much happier, calmer and so happy with life!
Unfortunately we lost Diesel a few years ago to a degenerative spine issue and late hypothyroid diagnosis and our lives are forever changed because of it. Thankfully he passed on his knowledge to the other pack members, we miss him every day, but his memory lives on in us and the work we do to help other misunderstood dogs like him.
And then there's Marco... Marco was left to starve on a chain Kansas City, KS. He was then rescued by the KC Pet Project and they had him for 7 months before he was then brought to Omaha by a kind rescuer that felt for him. I met Marco on a training session and since he needed a foster, and played well with my dogs, I decided he could stay with us. Little did I know he would end up stealing my heart.
When he first came, Marco had huge explosions when anyone came near us on our walks, especially men. He was highly unsocialized, and didn't know how to live inside a house like a regular dog. We worked on potty training, and he was attached to me on leash for the first four weeks when he was out of his kennel or on his "place" so not to get into trouble. He discovered a love for bones and learned what regular feedings, exercise and love mean to a dog.
Marco also had to learn what was acceptable and appropropriate behavior and what was unacceptable in our world. He learned to walk on a leash and learned from my dogs that not every person was something to fear. We worked hard on socialization and his training and decided I just couldn't let him go. Read more about my journey dealing with Marco's canine hypothyroidism and his aggression issues HERE.
And finally Bianca....she is the most recent addition to our pack. We were conducting a workshop in Junction City KS, where Barry came from to help a small shelter in a heavy Breed Specific Legislation town. As we were taking a tour through the shelter, that's when I spotted her. The plan was to foster her, train her and adopt her out. But that's before I realized what a jewel I had found.
When Bianca first came, she was confused about what was expected from dogs living in close space. In the shelter, dogs are allowed to fence fight and most of them must defend themselves. So we quickly explained to her that she no longer needed to do that anymore. That we have rules and boundaries in our house and everyone must abide by them to stay safe.
Like most dogs in shelters these guys are lacking clear guidance and structure in their lives. Once Bianca knew she would be safe, we began to see her personality come to life. She matched each of the boys play styles and adapted so quickly. It was like she had always lived with us. We had a few scuffles of course like any siblings working out their issues, but we are settling into life together and Bianca is going to be an amazing teacher dog to so many others.