A Bakersfield, CA shelter has finally earned the name “No Kill Kern” by becoming a totally “no kill” rescue facility. Now they are dedicated to finding homes for every dog that comes their way.
Sometimes the calls they get about animals in need seem like long shots. Some come to them so badly damaged emotionally or physically that it seems impossible that they could ever find a forever home.
But, when you get a group of dedicated volunteers together, magic happens. And nobody ever needed that magic more than a graceful German Shepherd they named “Queen.”
One day they got a call that a wary German Shepherd stray was living alone in a field. This dog appeared to be totally feral.
She showed no inclination towards coming towards humans for any reason. Sweet talking, submissive posturing, offering treats…none of their tricks worked.
Queen simply refused to pay the humans any attention at all.
The folks at No Kill Kern weren’t going to give up that easily though. They called in their secret weapon.
This secret weapon doesn’t come packed in a padded suitcase, nor is it kept hidden in a dark castle at the top of a mountain.
This secret weapon comes complete with a wagging tail and smiling face. And a name. Lucy.
Lucy is a pit bull that has a knack for soothing terrified animals. She goes out with the volunteers fairly often.
She is a great ambassador for her breed, for the group and for herself. She has coaxed many a terrified dog into the arms of a waiting volunteer.
Queen did go up to her and seemed to enjoy having a friend. But when Lucy started to toll her towards her human friends, Queen refused to go with her.
The volunteers groaned. Getting a truly feral dog to accept and come to love humans is a difficult task. And, any dog that wouldn’t let them get close even after Lucy had made friends with it was going to be a real challenge.
So, they put Lucy back in the car and left behind a trap. They were hoping if they couldn’t catch the wild dog the traditional way, they could trick it to get it to safety.
It worked. The next morning, the emaciated and terrified dog was sitting in the cage when they arrive.
A special foster, with the help of lucky Lucy, had been chosen to teach Queen that humans were not to be avoided, but rather, to trust as a giver of all things good.
It took Queen a while to warm up to her new adoptive mama, but with Lucy’s smiling influence she was soon wagging her tail and running around like a puppy.
Vets discovered that Queen had a hip issue that would keep her from being able to live a happy and pain free life. Indeed, without surgery, she would likely lose the ability to walk unaided.
No Kill Kern came up with the funds to get Queen’s surgery. Soon, she was zipping around like a new dog.
Before long, Queen’s emotional issues had been resolved to the point that she was accepted into the Marley’s Mutt’s Pawsitive Change Program.
MMPCP is a non profit group that places dogs with inmates who live and work with the dogs, while still behind bars. They train the dogs towards getting their Canine Good Citizenship Program certificate.
Queen was matched up with an inmate who became responsible for all of her care. He helped Queen continue to learn to trust humans and work for and with them.
He did a great job with her. Before long No Kill Kern posted the following on their website:
“We have some exciting news about Queen! She’s been transferred to Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue, renamed Reina and found a place in their #pawsitivechange program! She’s been living in prison for a few weeks, working hand in hand with Robinson and other inmates at California City Correctional Center.”
The wonderful news just kept on coming.
“Head trainer, Lisa Porter of Marley’s Mutts and Canine Healing Touch said she had a practice run at the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizenship test today and performed every request perfectly.”
Quite a long ways from a dog that wouldn’t come near a human even with the support of secret weapon Lucy!
And the good news gets even better. Once Queen/Reina had completed the program at the prison, she was available for adoption. A wonderful family chose her, and she is now happily living in a totally normal environment for the special pet she has become.
She adores her new family, as you can see from the photo below, where she is leaning on her new young owner. What a difference!
Thanks first to Lucy for helping Reina realize that humans can be a wonderful thing for a dog to have around! Then to No Kill Kern. And finally to the Pawsitive Change program and the inmate who helped Reina through the last hurdle towards “normal dogdom.”
If you would like to donate to the Pawsitive Change program and help save other dogs like Queen/Reina who need special help to be able to re-enter normal life as a pet, click here.