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
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.