When I was referred to the website of Dogs Deserve Better, I thought it sounded too good to be true. But within just a day or two after submitting the needed information, I received an email from Tamiria saying that the two dogs I was attempting to rescue had been approved for veterinarian funding. My heart was full of joy that day. With the help of the funding my veterinarian received from this wonderful organization, I was able to get both dogs up to date on shots and neutered. This made it so much easier to place these wonderful dogs in a great home where I know they are being taken care of and loved. I would have still done this for these dogs, but it would have strapped me financially as I have 8 dogs of my own and do what I can to help our local rescues. These 2 dogs held a special place in my heart because I had been observing them for a year on these chains, trying to help the owners financially with food and housing for the dogs. But when the owners were evicted from their home, they had no choice but to give them up. Dogs Deserve Better made it possible for these 2 special dogs to live out their lives free from a chain and in good and loving homes.
We were happy to help, and we know how hard it is to both rescue AND find the funds for vet care. We are grateful for your help for these two dogs, who would still be out on the chain without your assistance.
DDB helped us last month with a $300 Hero Fund grant for Campbell, who is one of the #367 dogs rescued from the second largest dogfighting bust in US history. The money was paid directly to Campbell's vet, Caring Hands, in DC, and was used to complete bloodwork and a health screen prior to his visit to his vet behaviorist to help him with his severe anxiety.
DDB was easy to communicate with, followed through with everything they said they'd do, and we are so grateful for the help with our fight bust (formerly chained) dogs.
Co-Founder, Jasmine's House Inc (Founded in memory of Sweet Jasmine, a Vick dog)
Thank you, Kate, you were great to work with as well. Thank you for helping Campbell.
DDB is an amazing rescue. They are involved in all forms of animal rescue, but I love the main focus of helping dogs get off their prison of chains!
They also bring awareness to many additional plights, as example with dog chained campaign on steps of govt., OAS, Dogs living in a box & many more!
I have worked with many rescues. There are good rescues and there are bad rescues. Then there are the rescues that go against the main stream thinking and stand up for what they believe in. That is Dogs Deserve Better. They stand firm by what they believe in to give dogs a better life. Their VA facility is beautiful and offers the dogs the ability to learn house manners, socialization and basic obedience in a realistic and forgiving setting. This group does amazing things for dogs that many other rescues and the public overlook. Sometimes people don't like to see there is a better way, when it comes to chained and penned dogs, DDB is the better way and educates others also.
I have been following DDB since 2007 when I first learned of their org because of Doogie's horrific plight, rescue, recuperation, and love-filled final days ~ thanks to DDB.
This year I had the occasion to work with DDB on a chained-dog case that occurred in NC. Though our rescue is closed, we receive emails occasionally with requests for help finding dogs to join families, and sometimes pleas for help to get dogs out of situations of abuse or neglect.
There was a boxer in NC who was chained outside, with minimal shelter, no human interaction, water and food self-feeder that was replenished about weekly. He was 5 years old, and though was originally a part of the family, had been banished to this chain for about a year. His owner reached out for help to get him to a better life; one with love and care that he deserved. Upon finding a rescue up north who had foster and ability to take the boxer, I traveled to have the dog relinquished and brought him to his rescue.
Dogs Deserve Better, Inc. was with me in support every step of the way. This boxer was the recipient of DDB's HERO FUND award, where his vetting costs were taken care of by DDB's Hero Fund donation directly to the boxer's rescue's Veterinarian.
Collaborative effort like this is something that is paramount to achieve success in continuing to spread the word, educate, and free dogs from their chains.
The level of awareness that has been raised about the plight of chained dogs across our nation continues to grow because of DDB. The donations into their Hero Fund make rescues like this possible, and help ensure that dogs receive the care and vetting they require in order to be healthy additions to their new rescues, fosters, or families.
I'm grateful to DDB for their assistance, and support their cause, with much respect to their efforts and achievements, and ability to communicate, assist, educate, and support other rescues.
Thank You, Dogs Deserve Better!!
Doing rescue wk in west MI. for 30 yrs- "Critter Cafe Rescue" became official 10 yrs ago- I do all species of domestic pets and also rehab wildlife here in my home.
Every rescue has some pitfalls/disgruntled ex-volunteers smear campaign too; its too bad but in all my years of being involved- that's the way it is.
In rescue, it gets pretty hard to remain sweetly characterized to your fellow human race seeing so much diabolical STUPIDITY, abuse and neglect from day to day done onto our innocent voiceless fur and feather babies.
I try and stay far away from "problems" involving other rescues and unsatisfied ppl that that simply are out to pitch a b*tch although I do pay attn when there becomes so many incidences w/ sick and dieing animals even though a rescue is bringing in $95K like one here in West MI. now.
That said, in my experience wking w/DDB-they made things easy and simple for me to get through a remarkably tough situation to rescue a pit-bull from one of the worst cities in MI. --FLINT-- during wild-life"baby season" here and a house full of domestic bunnies, guineas, chinnes, ratties, birds, cats+ other dogs to care for.
Between the transport, the vetting, the ppw taking in Life Care contracts to adopt considering the breed, and home-cks, etc. the one thing that was simple was DDB's help.
I appreciate that help **so** very much.
Somehow in a world of greed, abuse, instant gratification-seeking, depression and suffering- a person in rescue has to have some sort of "break" or burn-out ensues including physical health deterioration. All of the nay-sayers that are able to walk away from rescue at any time w/o strings attached need to consider that.
This is a non paid job that yet is worked 24/7/365 -- for me at least.
I appreciate DDB's service being there when I needed it.
Thanks again Tami.
Critter Cafe Rescue
5818 Airline Rd.
Fruitport, MI 49415
"WE ALL MATTER"
"As a FULL TIME ANIMAL RESCUER, some people think I'm crazy- At least my soul is intact."
FACT: 92 out of every 100 drugs that successfully pass animal tests STILL fail or cause harm during human trials.
("LIKE"US on FB and check out our work)
Dogs Deserve Better does amazing things for chained animals all across this country. DDB changes so many dogs lives for the better. Their Hero Fund helped my rescue organization save a wonderful Rottie who was chained up for 8 years and is now in a loving home because of that fund. What they do is extremely important and i support them 100%.
We took in three formerly chained dogs to our no-kill shelter. Dogs Deserve Better sent $900 to our veterinarian to get the dogs spayed/neutered and updated on vaccines. DDB goes above and beyond for the dogs they Rescue and they are excellent at assisting other shelters/rescues properly rehab formerlu chained/penned dogs. I highly recommend them for the sometimes thankless work they do.
"I KNOW Tami is about and only about saving animals."—Shannon Allen, August 6, 2011
by Tamira Ci Thayne on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 7:00pm
"I wouldn't affiliate myself with an organization that does the things that BJH is claiming. I have a good relationship with Tami, that doesn't mean we don't disagree at times, but in the end I KNOW Tami is about and only about saving animals. If for one moment I doubted that, I would quietly move on. I picked up a chained dog around 4am one morning after receiving a call. Vespa had been mauled while chained and escaped. I don't know how long she was on the run with her injuries but was she severely septic. I asked Tami if we should let her go or try to save her. Tami said, "Save her!" Two days and $1500 later, Vespa died at the ER clinic. Tami was there for me at 2am, 2 days before Christmas when Vespa died. I will always be grateful for that."—Shannon Allen, writing about Dogs Deserve Better founder Tamira Thayne, August 6, 2011
(She's just got a funny way of showing her gratitude, that's all.)
I am under attack by former Dogs Deserve Better rep Shannon Allen, and as such I am speaking out about the Dogs Deserve Better Area Rep program, the expectations of reps who are in our program, and why Shannon Allen is misleading the rescue community and is, indeed, the only one abandoning dogs if that is where her intentions lie.
The Dogs Deserve Better Area Rep program is very unique, in that not only are we geographically scattered across the entire country—and sometimes even world—but each rep has in the past been given the utmost freedom of choice and control over his/her area.
This meant that first and foremost a rep was required to be an adult, to behave like an adult, and to make adult decisions as to her/his ability to rescue dogs, place dogs, and take physical responsibility for any dogs rescued in her/his area. In addition, reps made decisions about talking to people with chained dogs, running educational booths, building fences, and starting grassroots efforts to change laws for man's best friend to prohibit chaining.
I never asked or told reps to go rescue a certain dog. I didn't feel that was my decision to make. Rescuing a dog is a big commitment, and I would make that commitment for myself and for myself alone. If I were able to take a certain dog into my home and foster him/her, I might ask a closer rep to facilitate rescuing the dog and getting him/her to me.
I typically fostered as many as six dogs at a time, out of my home, which also doubled as the organizational headquarters. There was not any kind of magic castle in which to put dogs who needed rescue. Either a rep took responsibility for them, I took responsibility for them, or we tried to network with other rescues for placement for the dogs.
If a rep made a decision to rescue Dog A, then it was the rep's responsibility to make sure that Dog A was physically cared for from that point on. If Dog A went to a foster home that was not with the rep, and that foster home fell through, they could certainly network with the other reps and myself looking for another place for the dog to go, but the physical responsibility for that dog remained with the rescuing rep, unless and until the dog was transferred elsewhere.
The reps who behaved as adults understood this from day one, and made sure when they decided to step down as reps that all their fosters were either homed or in foster homes which they would continue to monitor until they got adopted. For example, one rep who retired from DDB, Gayla Hausman from Nebraska, wrote this about her foster dogs: "I'm so proud of the work I've done with all of you, and the many many dogs I have helped to get a better life. I will remain forever passionate about animal welfare. I have my last two dogs leaving in the next week for adoption. Let me know if there is anything else I need to do."
And former rep Penny Gummo elaborates: "When I was with Dogs Deserve Better I was told I wouldn't get vetting paid without prior approval and I never assumed that any dog I rescued would be physically taken in by Dogs Deserve Better. I don't know why anyone else would think they could do anything they please without approval. Rescue WOULD be much easier if we could just give the dogs to someone else once we rescued them…"
In fact, Shannon Allen typed April 2, 2011: "I feel responsible for every dog I adopt for the entire life of that dog. I assume at any given time an owner is going to call me and say they can no longer keep their dog. Maybe I am a control freak, but it is important to me to make sure that all dogs I adopt are safe, happy, and healthy for the entire lives."
Miss Allen, who was never an employee of the organization, but instead a subcontractor who worked from home, used her own equipment, and made her own hours, quit working with the org in September of this year.
We had been having trouble with her for a while with behaviors that were indicative of hoarding or at least an inability to judge how many dogs she could handle at any one time.
Even though I did not like to interfere in reps decision-making processes, I was compelled to start counseling Miss Allen about rescuing too many dogs for one person to handle. On April 5, 2010, I wrote the following: "I'm a little concerned that you're getting in over your head with the number of dogs. How many do you have right now?"
On February 7, 2011, I wrote her the following: "As I told you before, you personally cannot save them all. You have 19 dogs at your house, and you are costing the org a fortune in boarding. IT HAS TO STOP."
Yet Miss Allen continued to ignore me and created vet bills in the organization's name at at least three different vets that we had no knowledge of. No reps are allowed to create accounts in the organization's name, and Ms. Allen knew this, but she continued anyway.
When she quit the organization in September, 2011, she began attacking me and the organization on every website she could get her hands on. She then declared myself/Dogs Deserve Better responsible for her foster dogs, even though I had never seen any of these dogs in person, had never told her to rescue any of them, and had in fact told her she needed to cut back, stop rescuing, on at least three occasions.
Dogs Deserve Better DID cover vetting for every foster Ms. Allen claims has been abandoned by the organization. Ms. Allen made the personal decision to take these dogs into her home, therefore she is the one and the only one physically abandoning them if that is the path she so chooses.
I have made it a practice to help reps as much as I possibly can when they get into a jam. We have moved the organization from my home in Pennsylvania to The Good Newz Rehab Center, in Smithfield, Virginia, where we are currently operating out of a house while we continue to pay off the property. For the safety of our dogs and the humans who visit here, we cap the number of dogs we rehabilitate at any one time to 14.
The Good Newz Rehab Center's mission is to rehabilitate formerly chained and penned dogs. Our goals are to rescue chained dogs from nearby states, as well as support our reps who are out rescuing dogs.
Since moving here in July, we have supported the following reps, volunteers, or former reps by taking in dogs that they requested come to the center: Kristie Hendricks, Shelly Donnelly, Holly Lyttle, Miriam McCormick Hayes, Monica Severy, Rebecca Helwig, and yes, Shannon Allen.
The decision was made to drive over to Ms. Allen's home, 5 hours from the Good Newz Rehab Center, and take in three of her foster dogs, despite Ms. Allen's verbal abuse of the organization and myself.
We took as many dogs as we could responsibly take from Ms. Allen, and we told her we would continue to help her find homes for the others. But the bad-mouthing didn't stop. She claimed we took her three most-adoptable dogs, and instead of being grateful for our help in cleaning up her mess, she insisted we come immediately and take the rest of the dogs she had committed to.
People told me DDB should swoop in and take all the dogs. In theory that's a great solution, except that I have nowhere to safely put them, and the safety of the dogs we already have onsite and the visitors here comes first.
Here's what DDB CAN do for Ms. Allen and her foster dogs. To date we have adopted out two of the dogs we took from her, Storm and Rose. Cowboy is still at the facility. We currently have three spots open; however, one is claimed by Rebecca Helwig from Tennesee who has a rescued shepherd coming over within the week, and one spot may be taken by a local rottie. That leaves one space.
I will commit to giving that space to the foster dog of my choice that Ms. Allen has left in her home.
This, however, puts Ms. Allen in a bind, because she and cohort Ms. Estlow, twice-fired DDB employee from years ago who still has no life but to try to take me down, insist that I'm an animal abuser. Can she really give another dog to an animal abuser?
What would that say about her?
So will Ms. Allen admit that it's not true by giving me yet another dog (she's already given me three since she first accused me of being an animal abuser), or will she decline the help for one of her foster dogs she can't wait to get rid of?
I will even drive three hours to meet Ms. Allen to get the dog, and give her 10 bags of dog food for the remaining dogs in her care.
Ah, dilemmas, dilemmas.
Oh, let us not forget the DDB Sponsor a Dog Program, where Santa Paws will be matching donations so that every foster dog in the DDB program can get a $100 Petsmart or Petco card. I would commit to giving her one card for every foster she has remaining.
I will also say that if Ms. Allen had put the time and attention into trying to get her dogs adopted that she has spent on badmouthing me and trying to destroy Dogs Deserve Better, they would have been adopted out long ago.
What do we know about Ms. Allen? Who is the real Ms. Allen?
Ms. Allen accuses me of financial misdeeds with Dogs Deserve Better. Yet she herself has been convicted of embezzling $36,000 from Virginia Tech University. Convicted! EMBEZZLING! $36,000!!!!! She plea-bargained down from felony charges to misdemeanors by paying back the money. She then calls this 'borrowing.' Could she be projecting her issues onto me?
She has alleged that when DDB worked out of my home that DDB paid my mortgage, which couldn't be further from the truth. Anything of that nature would have been required to be filed in our 990 paperwork, which is readily available for public viewing. DDB never paid a dime of rent or mortgage the entire time we worked out of my home. When I sold my home, although I was left with only $5000 for myself, I still gave DDB $1000 of that money. (Yes, I have the cancelled check as proof.)
"I would actually love for there to be an audit however. It will prove that DDB operates legally. Then what will they have? The same thing they started with....a doctor with a major ego problem."—Shannon Allen, July 23, 2011
I believe in this organization, and in the mission we are trying to accomplish. I am a proud supporter of Dogs Deserve Better, both financially and with most of my time and energy. Now that my house is sold, I am paying the organization $400 a month rent for my bedroom and bath, even though my office takes up part of my bedroom. I am also paying $200.00 per month toward utilities. I strive at all times to be more than fair and very supportive of Dogs Deserve Better and our efforts for chained and penned dogs.
DDB has an audit done every year, and we have nothing to hide.
Heather Estlow was fired not once but twice by me. Why? Because I was dumb enough to hire her back, of course. I would imagine she has a bit of an ax to grind.
It is she who accuses me of animal abuse, and at the time I knew her, she lived in an abusive home with a husband who drank every night and she told me he hit her son and their dogs. I remember her biggest concern was her ex-husband finding out, and not the well-being of her son. Could she be projecting her issues onto me as well? Ain't it funny how that happens…
She once told me about a time that her dogs fought for two hours and she couldn't break them apart, no matter how much she kicked or hit them. She even broke a broom over their heads, and yet still they fought. If she ever saw me get physical with dogs, it would have been during a dog fight, when you can and must do whatever you have to do to break up the fight or you have a dead dog on your hands. Nowadays I favor pinning the aggressor down with a chair if at all possible, and this works much of the time, but I wasn't as savvy when I first started rescuing.
I was, in the beginning when Ms. Estlow was around, very naive about dogs and the fact that they fought, often without warning from the perspective of inobservant humans. It was very terrifying to know that if I didn't step in and handle it decisively, we would be lucky to have an emergency trip to the vet's and not a dead dog to mourn over.
"About two months ago, she had a terrible set back. I had let her out of her room to play like I had done every morning and she immediately attacked one of my resident dogs. She grabbed her neck and would not release. It was one of the most fearful moments as I really thought she was going to kill her. I tried to pry her mouth open and could not, I held her nose, I sat on top of her and put her in a choke hold all the while the other dog is flailing and screaming. I was finally able to wedge my fingers into her throat and choke her, and she released. The other dog ran and I picked Hokie up and put her in the nearest room with a door. I ran to check on the other dog expecting her neck to be ripped open as there was a lot of blood. Luckily she had on her invisible fence collar, and though it was destroyed, she only suffered some bruising."—Shannon Allen, February 27, 2010
I guess these two women are just as guilty of animal abuse, then. Or does the safety of the attacked dog warrant and justify any measures taken to save a life? I've asked quite a few trainers about what to do during dog fights, as it's always a grave concern of mine. I remember clearly one trainer telling me: "Whatever you have to do."
While I cannot prove to anyone that I'm not an animal abuser, everyone who comes to the center comments about how all the dogs follow me around like I'm the Pied Piper. From what I've seen, dogs don't follow animal abusers around. Typically two dogs sleep in my room with me each night, and the rest wish they could.
My current favorite rescue dog at the center is actually one of the dogs we took from Shannon Allen, a pit mix named Cowboy. I love nothing more than to curl up on the big dog bed with him for fifteen minutes before their bedtime, and just snuggle and kiss him to pieces. He's like a huge teddy bear. I adore him!
I do have a suggestion, though. If you think or believe that I'm an animal abuser, it's very simple: DON'T GIVE ME ANY DOGS.
That oughta lighten my load by about 1%.
Below are more quotes from Ms. Allen, which are in direct opposition to what she's is currently spewing on the internet. Doesn't it make you wonder who the real Shannon Allen is? Want to see absolute PROOF that she lies and it has nothing to do with me whatsoever? This link takes you to a discussion she has online when she was still with DDB where she is bragging about how she took down a dogfighter. (DDBNRV) Then someone comes along and points out that she is the same Shannon Allen that embezzled $36,000 from Virginia Tech and maybe people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. She denies it. She then builds another identity and comes back and says she's now 'the Real DDB' and the other one was fake. The people see right through it. That's some funny stuff!
How many people are living inside that head, Shannon?
This is one of my favorites, so it bears repeating: "I would actually love for there to be an audit however. It will prove that DDB operates legally. Then what will they have? The same thing they started with....a doctor with a major ego problem."—Shannon Allen, July 23, 2011
"If she thinks Vick's house is a mansion, I would love to see what kind of house she lives in. We have several sub-divisions here in middle class rural Virginia that makes Vick's house look like small. In addition quite a bit of land came with it. A lot of houses sell below appraisal, Vick's house sold below assessment.
Honestly, DDB has been fundraising for a rehab center for about 7 years although we didn't have a location picked out, it was decided early on that it would be Virginia. We looked at properties in Charlottesville, VA that cost this much for just the land.
I just makes me laugh that people who have had no dealings with starting a rehab/rescue center suddenly think they know about zoning, real estate, staffing, etc."—Shannon Allen, July 26, 2011
"What infuriates me the most is them spamming other rescue pages. So many dogs in need posts are getting pushed off of the page. So mean and selfish! Many of the dogs only have hours to live and rely on the right person seeing that post. I wonder if they even care? That is why DDB starting deleting and banning them. If they want to trash DDB, they can do it on the BJH page. DDB's page is about dogs that need help, not psychotic doctors that need help."—Shannon Allen, August 3, 2011
"There are other organizations, but I believe in DDB, our mission, and our leadership. I have learned and grown as a rescuer through DDB, I have met thousands of wonderful people, and have been able to so much more to help chained dogs through DDB. Even if I disagreed with DDB in this situation, which I don't, I still would not support Dr. Fiala. She has proven herself to be vindictive, unstable, and unreasonable (to name a few)."—Shannon Allen, August 6, 2011
"BJH mocks DDB for doing the same things that thousands of rescues do. If they would have simply stuck to, 'Bringing Joel Home', they would at least be somewhat credible. But once they started calling names, attacking the center, attacking Tami's wedding, attacking Chain Off, etc. It was obvious that this had nothing to do with Joel. If you notice, Joel is mentioned less frequently every day."—Shannon Allen, August 6, 2011
"This isn't a new rule which is why we are 'cleaning house' so to speak. Yesterday was the deadline for all current reps to re-apply under the new requirements and for us to review new applications. We have new rules and are reiterating old rules. This has in fact resulted in fewer reps but that is the point, to weed out reps that don't want to follow rules (like Marion), and to weed out the dormant reps (like Marion). Quality not quantity."—Shannon Allen, August 10, 2011
"I would totally expect that type of verbal abuse from a ‘pro-chainer’ but not from a fellow rescuer."—Shannon Allen, September 16, 2009
"I just don’t understand why she is so angry at me. I just hope that she doesn’t treat others in DDB, other rescuers, or anybody for that matter the way she treated me."—Shannon Allen, September 16, 2009
"Again, DDB is the best rescue organization that I have ever been involved in and perhaps I jumped on the resignation before thinking it through. It’s just her words were so reminding of things my mother used to say to me when I was growing up. So perhaps [she] was correct in saying I needed help, help dealing with my ‘mommy issues’."—Shannon Allen, September 16, 2009
"I am not as confident now as to whether I am worthy of being a DDB rep. So, I guess I want to get your assessment. I love representing DDB. This has been the most fulfilling opportunity. I want to be an asset to this organization, not a liability."—Shannon Allen, September 16, 2009
This is from a former rep who's personal e-mail Shannon is exhibiting around, against this rep's wishes. She says: "I just want to personally apologize for the part that I now "play" in the note that Shannon is sending around. I did send her that email when she first resigned because I thought "OMG is shannon is resigning, then there must be something really wrong." And I kept waiting and waiting for her proof... The proof was not there which is why I decided she was full of hot air."
Only you can decide who you believe in this mess. I say actions speak a LOT louder than words. While Shannon and Heather and their merry band of haters play Mean Girls on the internet, we have dug in and worked our asses off getting the Good Newz Rehab Center off the ground. We have installed 1500 ft. of fencing for our dogs, have found homes for six of the dogs, and committed to dogs to fill those slots as they leave. We have ripped up carpeting and installed rubber flooring, went through two washers and dryers, and taken the dogs for two walks virtually every day. We've trained them, we've brought them back to health, and we've given them as much of ourselves as we possibly can.
We are putting our money where our mouths are, while they spew hatred, filth, lies, and destruction. I guess only you can decide how you want to live your life. I know I'm going to keep rescuing dogs and fighting against chaining. Because that's what I do, and I don't do it for Shannon Allen or Heather Estlow or Fiala. I do it for the dogs. It's really that simple.
Tamira Ci Thayne, founder and CEO, Dogs Deserve Better
Review from Guidestar
It's sad when people can not accept losing a court case and then choose to lie and slander. Especially a group dedicated to helping dogs. Dogs living on a chain is exceptionally cruel whether people realize it or not. The head of DDB risked her liberty to save a very old, sick dog off a chain. That really tells me all I need to know about her. That dog spent the few months they had left happy, healthy and loved because of Ms. Thayne. She has also staged several chain in's as protest. She is doing things, unlike the sore loser. It's disgusting that anyone would slander those doing good work. Only dogs will suffer for this nonsense.