Sign In

Shelter Tails

June 30, 2020

Hank has healed, is doing well in his training class and is ready for a home of his own.

Sometimes a dog like Hank is better suited as a pet than a working dog in the Animal Farm Foundation’s innovative service dog programs. It trains former shelter dogs as mobility, active task work, hearing alert, or psychiatric service dogs.

Hank, an 18-month-old mixed breed, came from a city rescue asking for help in training the big oaf who didn’t know his size or good manners.

“He was jumpy, mouthy and more pushy than they were able to handle,” said AFF Director of Training Bernice Clifford. “He is silly and will hold your hand or arm in his mouth as if to lead you where he wants to go. He is clumsy and has no idea he is so big.

“We were just going to train him and give him back to the rescue.”

Then Hank was diagnosed with a blown cruciate ligament, or CCL, in his knee because of a genetic bone defect. Surgery was needed, so AFF took possession of Hank.

After extensive surgery in February, Hank was on 10 weeks of crate rest, which was extended another month. Training had to be halted.

Hank has almost completely recovered and is doing well with his training.

“We’re working mostly on impulse control,” said Clifford, “instead of jumping up on people, to sit or lie down when he meets people. He’s very barky when he wants something, so we’re teaching him to sit, wait and be a little more patient. A lot of positive reinforcement. He has to sit or lie down, and then he gets a treat. It’s working.”

Hank had a home for about 48 hours, but his new owners preferred to reprimand him with a “No!” and he barked at them, and so he was returned to AFF.

Clifford seeks an experienced dog owner who will continue positive reinforcement with Hank.

“Someone with a sense of humor who is not going to get frustrated by him,” she said.

Hank loves other dogs and is enjoys playing and sleeping with the kitten in his foster home. He hasn’t been around kids.

“He loves to cuddle, enjoys a nice walk and likes romping with his dog friends. He thinks he is a tiny dog who can fit anywhere, but he cannot. He is very smart, playful and loves toys and any kind of smart game, like puzzle games with food inside them.

“He doesn’t fit into our other programs,” said Clifford, “he needs to fit on someone’s couch.”

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more