Home > Animal Rescue, Animal Welfare Issues, Dog Behavior, Dog Training, Pet Adoption, puppy mill dogs > The ASPCA Rehabilitation Center that is changing the lives of damaged dogs

The ASPCA Rehabilitation Center that is changing the lives of damaged dogs

Maggie gets this close for chicken. #sheltie #puppymilldog

Foster Maggie telling me it’s too much pressure to “touch” my finger when I am this close.

If you would have asked me what my dream job was five years ago, I would have said professional pet sitter. It was what I was doing at the time, and I loved it. I loved caring for other people’s pets and making them feel loved while their parents were away. I also loved being able to train and socialize the ones I walked each day. Puppies were the easiest, they were always so eager to learn, but what always got me excited was working with a shy or fearful dogs. I can’t explain it, but there is something so rewarding about being able to build their confidence and win their trust.

Even when I volunteered at our local shelter, it was the shy or fearful ones I was most drawn to each day. In the 8 1/2 years I was there, those were the dogs I woke with most. I think it’s in my DNA. It’s most certainly how I met my dogs Indy, Daisy and Jasper.

Several years ago, I heard about a small facility that was being set up as a pilot site to work with and better understand how best to help dogs coming from dog fighting rings, puppy mills and hoarding cases.

Operating out of St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison New Jersey, the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center rehabilitates dogs that are damaged and traumatized by abuse and neglect. Their goal? To give dogs, most likely to be euthanized at local and county shelters, a new leash on life.

Back when I first read about it, it was more of a proof of concept, an experiment designed to prove that these dogs could be rehabilitated. But, it was also a study into learning what worked and didn’t work when rehabbing these dogs.

Fortunately, it appears they are succeeding. Thanks to the ASPCA and the wonderful people working at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, dogs are successfully being rehabbed and placed into new loving homes.

And now, they are ready to graduate and take it to the next level. Recently, they announced that they will be moving to a brand new (and much larger) facility in Weatherville, North Carolina in 2017. This is HUGE news. For those of us who work with puppy mill dogs, it means we may soon learn more about how best to help these dogs recover from abuse, trauma and neglect, and that really excites me.

This is my dream job! Think they would be open to a Minnesota transplant with a silly Fargo-like accent? Would it work if I made up a sign “Will rehab dogs for food?”

A person can dream, can’t they?

If you want to learn more about the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, there is a great piece on it in NJ.com: Meet the ‘miracle’ dogs: N.J. center rehabilitates animal cruelty victims

Kindness to animals

  1. January 14, 2016 at 12:27 AM

    You have my vote. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Mel
      January 14, 2016 at 6:33 AM

      Thanks! I wish it were a possibility.

  2. January 14, 2016 at 3:55 AM

    Our Ray is a wonderful example of what can be done by professional trainers over a 4 month period (after which he was up for adoption). After being with us for 2 years, he “turned a corner” and is now the most lovable dog you could imagine. Professional trainers + Time + loads of TLC = A wonderful family member. 🙂 Kudos to ASPCA. May the belief that all dogs deserve the very best chances that we can give them spread around the world.

    • Mel
      January 14, 2016 at 6:32 AM

      What a lucky dog Ray is to have had a dedicated owner and shelter. So wonderful to hear he is doing well. It took Daisy about 3 years to be more like a normal dog and not so jumpy over every little sound. Now she is a cuddle bug, explorer and loves people. Pretty amazing./ I can’t wait to see what the ASPCA does with this facility next.

      • January 14, 2016 at 6:58 AM

        What people don’t seem to understand is that, in most cases, the dog is quite happy to cooperate as long as it feels valued. Sure we put a lot of work into him but, if he hadn’t cooperated freely, it would have been a waste of time. Giving dogs another chance can be the most rewarding experience. I hope ASPCA gets lots of support.

  3. January 14, 2016 at 7:40 AM


  4. Cascadian Nomads Bethany Clochard
    January 15, 2016 at 3:55 AM

    Have you asked the ASPCA what their plans after this larger facility are? Perhaps a facility in every state? Maybe they could start in Minnesota? This really is wonderful news (I love good news on BtC4A day!) and also a wonderful dream job!

  5. January 16, 2016 at 9:28 AM

    I LOVE that Angell quote! I should think this new facility could use a bit of ‘Fargo-ization’ as a terrific advantage. You know what they say…dream for the moon, you just might reach a star.

    • Mel
      January 17, 2016 at 8:10 AM

      I love that quote too.

  6. January 18, 2016 at 3:01 PM

    That quote really gives you a lot to think about. Never heard it before – thought provoking

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