Mak­ing a Dif­fer­ence

A Maui-based dog lover starts a na­tional ini­tia­tive to re­duce the num­ber of adopted pups be­ing re­turned to shel­ters for lack of train­ing

Modern Dog - - THE SCOOP -

Maui-based dog lover Michelle Steigmeyer was a fre­quent vol­un­teer and fos­ter for her lo­cal shel­ter when she no­ticed a trou­bling re­cur­ring trend: dogs would get adopted but then just as quickly be re­turned to the shel­ter be­cause of mis­be­haviour in their new homes. Michelle knew that if she could take th­ese re­volv­ing-door “un­adopt­able” dogs and ad­dress their be­hav­iour is­sues through train­ing, she could greatly re­duce the num­ber of dogs be­ing re­turned to the shel­ter. So she set about mak­ing it hap­pen! Work­ing with six train­ers, Michelle has, in a mere four months, suc­cess­fully trained and re-homed 17 chal­leng­ing dogs, and is now tak­ing her ini­tia­tive na­tional. She’s bought a train­ing fa­cil­ity in In­di­ana and is work­ing with 10 train­ers (who vol­un­teer their ser­vices or of­fer them at sig­nif­i­cantly dis­counted prices) in states across the U.S. to train th­ese so-called “un­adopt­able” res­cue dogs be­fore hom­ing them so that they keep their new fam­i­lies once adopted. Char­i­ta­ble sta­tus is pend­ing and an adop­tion web­site, adop­ta­trained­dog.com, fea­tur­ing videos show­cas­ing the adopt­able dogs’ now-golden be­hav­iour is soon to launch, the idea be­ing that if prospec­tive pet par­ents can see videos it will help cre­ate a match that sticks. Michelle hopes to ex­pand her net­work of train­ers, shel­ters, and res­cues to con­tinue her ef­forts of sav­ing dogs and help­ing them find—and keep—their for­ever homes. If you’re a trainer that wants to get in­volved, head to adop­ta­trained­dog.com to get in touch! Ex­er­cise your funny bone. Cre­ate a cap­tion for this car­toon and sub­mit your en­try at mod­ern­dog­magazine.com/car­toon­cap­tion. The most comic cap­tions will be pub­lished in the next is­sue. AND THE WIN­NING CAP­TION FROM THE SPRING IS­SUE IS… "I went to the bar last night and or­dered a drink. Af­ter I got the drink, the bar­tender looked at me and said: 'You don't re­ally see dogs get­ting drinks very of­ten.' And I replied, 'At th­ese prices, I am not sur­prised.'" SUB­MIT­TED BY MADI­SON WAL­LACE "...and then I said, "There will be poop on the floor later.'" SUB­MIT­TED BY DEB­BIE HEITMAN "Stop me if you've heard this one be­fore. A dog walks into a bar look­ing for the man who shot his paw…" SUB­MIT­TED BY NANCY ADLER "Ok. A Corgi, a Poo­dle, and a Boxer walk into a bath­room to get drinks…" SUB­MIT­TED BY THYE SCHUYLER "So… my owner is a philoso­pher, in­som­niac and ag­nos­tic as well as dyslexic. He of­ten lies awake at night won­der­ing if there re­ally is a Dog." SUB­MIT­TED BY LINK WACHLER

Michelle Steigmeyer with her res­cue dog Carly.

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