The ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center has made it its mission to give traumatized dogs a second chance at life. Their skilled training not only saves these terrified pups from euthanasia due to behavioral struggles, but it helps them learn how to truly love their lives.
This impressive rehabilitation center is changing the lives of terrified and abused pups around the country. Their operation began around 2010 when they rescued dozens of dogs from a hoarding situation in Western Tennessee, only to realize that some of the pups were too traumatized to go to foster homes. It became apparent that they needed a facility to care for these dogs and help them through their behavioral struggles, and that’s when the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center was born.
The program set up a temporary rehab facility in New Jersey, but after graduating over 200 dogs, it was time to establish a permanent center in Weaverville, North Carolina. This impressive facility can house up to 65 dogs at a time, includes a comfortable dormitory for the dogs to rest, and even has several teaching spaces that simulate specific behavioral obstacles.
The ‘Second Chance Dogs’ film follows four dogs as they are rescued from their previous realities and brought to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehab Center. These pups include Lilly and Sugar, two Dachshunds rescued from a hoarding situation with over 55 other dogs, and Avalon and Thunder, two Alaskan Malamutes that came from a puppy mill.
The two pairs may have come from different situations, but their behavioral struggles were similar. They were petrified of humans, would snap at those who approached them, and lacked the socialization needed to be companion animals. If there were no resources to help these pups, they might have faced euthanasia.
Thankfully, the team at the rehabilitation center has the experience and the tools needed to bring these terrified pups out of their shells. The standard stay at the rehab center is about 12-16 weeks, with each week filled with specific training and exposure to target their struggles.
When working with the troubled dogs that enter their care, there are four main areas they target through training: fear of walking on a leash, fear of people, fear of handling, and fear of new things. Once they establish a baseline for each dog on their current level of fearfulness, they create a training program specific to their needs.
“The Weaverville facility has individual kennels, along with “real-life rooms,” designed to help dogs get used to life in home environments, outdoor play areas, and a large indoor training area where our behaviorists and trainers work with dogs in the program.” – ASPCA
Each of the dogs encountered bumps in the road throughout their training, but it was nothing the skilled team at the center couldn’t work through. By the end of their stay at the ASPCA rehab center, you wouldn’t believe they were ever so broken before.
The end of the film shows each dog going off to their forever homes. Sugar was adopted by a family with children that hosts a ‘Sugar Appreciation Day’ each week, Lillie was adopted by an 88-year-old woman that believes the two were meant for each other, and Avalon and Thunder went to a home together to continue their friendship alongside new pet parents who love them.
If it wasn’t for the team at the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, there’s no telling where these pups would be. So many dogs are put to sleep when deemed unadoptable due to their heartbreaking pasts, so we are incredibly thankful for a program like this. They also aim to educate other shelters around the country on their practices, so hopefully, more dogs will continue to be rehabilitated and saved.
“All dogs deserve a chance to have a loving family. Even the most fearful, especially the most fearful.” – Kristen Collins, Director of anti-cruelty behavior rehabilitation
If you would like to learn more about this center’s impressive work, we urge you to watch the ‘Second Chance Dogs’ film on YouTube. It is inspiring, beautiful, and breathtakingly moving.
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