Home > Animal Rescue, Backyard Breeders, Dog Behavior, Health Care - Dogs, Pet Adoption, Puppy Mills > The ASPCA opens a new center to help fearful dogs

The ASPCA opens a new center to help fearful dogs


Various 2008 018Yesterday, I saw a story announcing the opening of a new center dedicated to helping fearful dogs. The center, located in New Jersey, is a project being led by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Now dogs who have lived their whole lives in puppy mills or have come from a hoarding situation or were victims of animal cruelty will have the chance to get help meant just for them.

If you have ever had a fearful dog, one who has had little exposure to the world or has been abused, then you know that rehabilitation takes time. Unfortunately, time is not always an option for them. Many are euthanized because the amount of time and dedication (and money) it takes to work with a fearful or traumatized dog is more than most shelters can give.

This center is a source of hope for these dogs and the people who rescue them. The Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, N.J. will take dogs from shelters across the country as well as those that come  those animal seizures involving the ASPCA. Their first guests, Malamutes, are coming in from Montana in the next few days. These were the dogs who were seized from a breeder charged with animal cruelty (I wrote about them a couple of months ago).

Dogs who come to the center will stay on average about 6-8 weeks, but they are not putting a strict time limit on their stay. As anyone who has worked with a puppy mill dog knows, sometimes it can takes a year or more before a fearful dog can really function in their new environment. Knowing there is a center, and people, focused on helping these dogs is really encouraging. I hope that what they learn can be used to help more dogs in the future. I suspect Debbie Jacobs from FearfulDogs.com could tell them a lot, but I am hoping that more will be learned from their work that can be used by rescuers across the country to help dogs like these, like Daisy and Cupcake.

I’ll be watching to see what they learn. How about you?

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  1. To Shea
    March 14, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    What a wonderful thing they are doing in Jersey… 🙂

  2. March 14, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    Excellent! So great to know that awareness about these special is growing!

  3. March 14, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    This is great news and will give so many dogs a second chance that would not have happened otherwise. We need more of these around the country.

  4. March 14, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    The gift of time is important and this news is wonderful. But at our rescue, we have found that it is time – coupled with consistent, loving, one-on-one human interaction that turns the tide most quickly for these pups. Celebrating the new center…yeah! But also hoping that more folks will consider foster where relationships of trust can be built so much faster.

  5. March 14, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    As the mom to a former breeding mom at a puppy farm, I understand the TIME, dedication and love it takes to rehab these poor abused pups. This is great news and a welcome addition to the rescue world.

    • Mel
      March 14, 2013 at 11:46 PM

      You clearly know all too well. Let us hope some real good comes out of this.

  6. March 14, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    That’s fantastic! So many lovely dogs are sent to death row because of things like this, it’s a big step forward.

  7. March 14, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    I am thrilled to hear about this. I hope that more centers like this can be opened across the country.

  8. Martie
    March 14, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Yes, it’s a wonderful opportunity for the many traumatised dogs coming from these dreadful circumstances. I’m not sure how much 6-8 weeks of rehab will help — as having a shy/fearful dog myself I know the tremendous challenges which in some cases take years of rehab. And even then some things can never really be fixed. It’s a 3 steps forward, 2 steps back kind of work that takes a lot of patience, consistency and time and your dog will most likely never be a normal dog. But I applaud the effort as I do believe it will save lives and improve the chances of adoption.

    • Mel
      March 14, 2013 at 11:45 PM

      Martie – You and I think alike. I thought the same thing about the 6-8 weeks. But, if they can get them to a point where they can go into a foster home, or as Minnesota Sheltie Rescue suggested, help them transition to their adoptive families by helping the adopters to better understand these dogs, then it will be worth it. Your description of what life is like with a fearful dog was so right on – 2 steps forward and 3 back. I agree. Most dogs will never be a fully normal dog. Daisy won’t ever be a “normal” dog either, but she is much futher along than I ever expected. I hope you see the same success with your girl.

  9. March 14, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    That’s great! I’ll be watching, I love that there are people who won’t give up on an animal just because it’s fearful.

  10. March 14, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    I just love this idea! So many pups just need some extra help to be ready for a family and most shelters are really scary places, no matter how hard they try. Too many pups never get a fair chance.

  11. March 14, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    This is a good project, but it’s only getting a 2 year research grant from the ASPCA, so it’s not a permanent installation. Let’s see what happens 2 years from now.

    • Mel
      March 14, 2013 at 11:41 PM

      I know Karen. That’s the only downside. When I first saw the 2 years thing my heart fell, but even two years of working with the dogs is likely to yield some new information. I hope so anyways.

  12. March 14, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    I admit I’ve had some issues with the ASPCA in the past (a long story) but this sounds like a great idea. I hope it works well and they stick w/ it beyond the grant time limit. So many shelters just don’t have the time/resources to deal with scared pups.

    • Mel
      March 14, 2013 at 11:40 PM

      I completely understand Jackie. I am hoping at the very least we learn something more about working with these dogs. Debbie Jacobs has done more to help fearful dogs than anyone else I know. I am hoping we can only add to her extensive knowledge with what they learn here.

  1. April 2, 2013 at 5:21 PM

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