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2 reviews

Review for Caring Hearts Rescue, Springfield, VA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

My Husband and I adopted two dogs from Caring Hearts Rescue one about 5 years ago and another about 6 months ago. I have met some of the volunteers and foster parents at various events and they are all very nice people. I know that the organization really focuses on the welfare of the dogs and finding the right match between the available dogs and potential adopters. The organization is 100% run by volunteers who have other jobs and maybe their response time may take up to a week or so, however, that is not important to me because I know that it takes time to find a perfect member of the family. I also know that a dog is a member of the family and the right dog is not based on looks but based on personality and and compatibility like any other healthy relationship. When I originally applied with Caring Hearts Rescue years ago, I wasn't even sure what kind of a dog would fit into our family but Caring Hearts Rescue was a small breed rescue so, I was willing to submit an application and speak with the volunteer to tell them about us and leave the finding the right dog to the experts. In both instances, I can say with certainty that they found the right dogs for us. They also provide advice on breed selection, feeding, health care and training. It is great to have such support after the adoption to help with the well-being of the dogs.

I am grateful for the work that they do in saving the lives of dogs and enriching the lives of the people who need them.

Role:  Client Served

Review for Your Dog's Friend, Rockville, MD, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

When Little One first came to live with us as a foster at about 9 months old, we thought she was the most perfect dog. She never made a peep and was very shy but smart. At the initial vet check, our vet told us that he thought that she was trained on a shock collar because she had burn marks on her neck and her hair was burned off. However, we didn’t believe him because it we could not imagine that someone would use a shock collar on a 10lb dog. It wasn’t until later that a neighbor went to consult a “highly-recommended” trainer for this 4 month old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy and was recommended a shock collar that we realized that it must be true.

After about a month when we decided to adopt her, she started barking non-stop (which was a big problem because we were living in a condo at the time) and would lunge and snap at everyone and every dog in public. Being in the elevator to go down for her walks became a nightmare if someone else was in the elevator. Eventually, we stopped getting in elevators with other people and our neighbors avoided us as well. It was like she was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She was so sweet with us one minute and then she would turn into a 10lb Cujo when we were out. We were afraid that she would bite someone and then she would have to be put down. We were at our wits end and did not know what to do.

After doing some research online, we found some free workshops offered by Your Dog’s Friend. As we attended the workshops, we learned that her reactive behavior was due to the abuse suffered before she came to live with us. We also learned that the reason she was quiet and shy in the beginning was because she was in shock from the new environment and was so overwhelmed by fear that she did not have any reaction. (We originally thought she tricked us into adopting her… because she is that smart) The free workshops were taught by experts and really gave us an insight to Little One’s mind. She wasn’t a mean dog after all, but the abuse she suffered caused an already fearful dog to be very reactive. In other words, she was scared and she thought the best defense was a good offense (She is a Tibetian Spaniel so she might have learned that from Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”.) We were able to discuss Little One’s issues with some very knowledgeable experts at the free workshops and all the experts recommended that we start positive training to build up her confidence and teach her correct behavior. However, there was never any pressure to start taking classes from them. As much as we learned from the free workshops, they never tried to sell us anything in return, which showed us that they were really doing this for the right reasons.

The first class we took was Basic Manners 1 with Michelle (known to Little One as the Cheese Lady) they were able to accommodate her issues by hiding her in a pod so that she could concentrate on learning with us instead of being distracted by all the scary people and dogs in the room. Although I’ve had dogs all my life; they were all, normal, drooly, happy, well-adjusted dogs so I never really had to think about their thought process or how they behave (some of them didn’t have a thought process). Michelle is an excellent teacher and I learned so much from her. I think I learned as much if not more from her than Little One did. We really enjoyed the classes and the best thing was that my husband and I really learned how to communicate with her. Because we enjoyed it so much and saw such improvement, we moved on to Basic Manners 2, Confidence Building, Reactive Dog classes and Agility Classes. With each class, we saw great improvement in her ability to tolerate different people and situations. We also took a Control and Focus class with Al and T Touch with Pam.

Even outside of classes, I can still email Michelle, Debra, or any of the other trainers for any behavior issues that come up and they respond right away to remind us of how to modify a behavior based on the positive training methods that we learned. It’s like having a lifeline.

It’s been almost 4 years since Little One came to live with us and we found YDF. Although the hair on her neck has yet to grow back completely, she is now a completely different dog from the mini-Cujo, foaming at the mouth at the sight of strange people and dogs. After about 2 years of classes, we started fostering dogs again and Little One is has been a wonderful sister to all of our foster dogs. This would not have been possible without the help of the YDF workshops and classes. We recently attended the Bark in the Park event and she was fine with hundreds of dogs and people walking around her. She would go up to a dog, sniff to say “hi” and walk away. Or she would ignore the chaos, sit at my feet and look at me as if to say “I’m a good dog, gimme treat, now” (she’s still learning manners) I was so proud of her that I almost cried.

Sometimes, our foster dogs have some issues as well. YDF has a program called Foster Dog Alliance that we participate in to help the behavior of the foster dogs. This program is important because when I recognize a behavior issue, I try to correct it before the foster finds a forever home.

Our family: Little One, my husband and I are very grateful for YDF and their role in keeping our family together.

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Role:  Client Served