Lab with an Orange Chew Toy

Bailey the dog next to his portrait

Bailey’s fun personality and ridiculously good looks inspired her new family to take countless photos of her. But Mimi Cora, the artist in the family, went a step further and utilized one of the photos to paint Bailey’s portrait. She used a printmaking process called “monoprinting,” a one-of-a-kind painting on plexiglass transferred to paper. Enjoy!

Refresh Bootcamp

Dogs: Gracie and Griffin

Gracie and Griffin were both adopted several years ago by Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange County. Over time, the dogs began displaying some undesirable habits. Many people assume that if a dog has initial training, all that schooling will stay with them throughout life. But, similar to humans, dogs who don’t maintain good manners through practice backtrack on what they’ve previously learned. When people neglect training and ignore their dog’s unattractive behaviors, things can get out of hand. And that’s when Cell Dogs steps in for tune-ups. After Gracie and Griffin spent two weeks in bootcamp for a refresher course, their bad habits turned into positive behaviors.

Holly’s Heroes

Holly the dog

Most dogs come into our program from a local shelter after careful consideration, but sometimes a rescue is a bit more complicated. After suffering from a hit-and-run, Holly was an awful rolling bundle smack in the middle of a busy intersection—and that’s when Hannah first spotted her. She immediately scooped up the seriously injured dog and drove to her husband’s veterinarian office.

With professional medical assistance from Hannah and Dr. Woods, Holly (named for the upcoming 2016 holidays) made it through the night. Then the couple contacted Janette Thomas at Cell Dogs and asked for help in looking for the owner. Although the group plastered the neighborhood with flyers, no one came forward to claim Holly. The only phone call received was one saying the owners did not take very good care of their dog.

In the meantime, Holly was making slow and steady progress despite the paralysis in her front left leg. She learned to hobble around the vet hospital and seemed to enjoy the company of other dogs. She was one very lucky pup, as Dr. Woods and his staff lavished her with love and affection while she made the best out of her life-changing event. To improve the chances of keeping her leg, acupuncture and laser treatments were also administered. But after consulting an orthopedic veterinarian, amputation was recommended for a more positive long-term prognosis. Dr. Howard Fischer, DVM, kindly volunteered to do the procedure.

Tracking Holly’s recovery, Janette knew that Holly needed a sound plan to get back on her feet and decided she’d be a good candidate for the OC Probation program. Cell Dogs has trained previous dogs with special needs, but this was a real challenge besides the obvious physical limitations: Holly was suffering from PTSD and emotional insecurities. While fine around assorted pooches and women, she was terribly frightened of cars and fearful around men. So Cell Dogs visited three to four times per week to assist with her post-op physical and emotional rehab program. This process involved lots of short counter-conditioning and desensitization sessions.

After the surgical removal of Holly’s front leg, Cell Dogs brought her into the training program, where she could continue healing. We were happy to see her quickly make friends with the other participating dogs, as well as make real physical progress. Our initial plan was to set aside any basic obedience lessons and simply build Holly’s confidence and emotional stability. Despite that, she was right on track to graduate with the rest of the team!

Holly and another dog

Holly’s unique situation might have discouraged some potential adopters, but one Mrs. Wright responded brightly, “We have two boys with special needs. Why wouldn’t we adopt a dog with special needs?” The Wright family had a dog and three boys (and even a chicken!), and we were curious to see how Holly would react upon meeting them for the first time. It was emotional and magical as they all bonded instantly. On graduation day, many of Holly’s heroes watched her wow the crowd with her newly learned skills.

Each dog that passes through one of our programs has a special story. Holly’s story stands out because the beginning was so unfortunate. But, owing to the overwhelming kindness and generosity of so many people working together, she now has a wonderful life. We would like to thank all of Holly’s heroes once again.

Milo’s Story

Milo the dog with his family

For a young one-year-old pup, Milo has already had quite the life experience! For openers, he was being used as a stud dog for a backyard breeder, and by the time we met him he had fathered two litters.

After some evaluation, we realized he was deaf. The whole middle range of sounds, normal speaking voice, doesn’t exist for him. He can only hear very high-pitched sounds (dogs yipping, pennies in a can) and very low ones (truck rumbles). Since our program dogs are trained to learn commands with verbal cues AND hand cues, this was absolutely not a problem! We added the “thumbs-up” to indicate whenever he followed through on any desired behavior. PLUS a great big smile! Body language communication is important for any dog-human relationship, but we amped this up a bit for Milo. Initially his trainers just thought he was very stubborn until we told them he was deaf. After that, they were even more motivated to learn as much as they could about training deaf dogs to ensure a successful adoption.

Milo’s got a sturdy sense of himself and confidence galore! Despite not being able to hear, he’s very attentive and a quick learner, and he’s always interested in some one-on-one cuddle time. He graduated with flying colors and was adopted by a wonderful couple who found him wandering the streets of Huntington Beach long before he’d entered our program. Thankfully, their dogged determination and the effectiveness of social media brought us together soon after Milo entered our program. He is one lucky puppy, and we couldn’t be happier for him and his new family!

The Sheriff’s Picnic

Janette, Helen, and Sheriff Sandra Hutchens

Janette and Helen of Cell Dogs attended a Volunteer Appreciation Picnic, hosted by Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and OCSD Executive Command and Inmate Services staff. Inmate Services has over 700 volunteers who donate their time to dozens of programs and classes. These services largely fall into three categories: religious services, 12-step programs, and tutoring. We are the one and only dog program! Dan Connelly, Team Leader for Volunteer Coordinating, did another fabulous job organizing the event—fun and full bellies were had by all.

Volunteer Recognition by the Orange County Sheriff

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