Pep faced hardship after hardship in finding his forever home. But through the determined perseverance of a dedicated rescue volunteer, this working dog found his dream job in the most unique of places.
Pep's Story Begins
Pep's journey with United Animal Friends began in November 2010, after the energetic, intelligent Cattle Dog–Heeler mix was picked up as a stray by Animal Control of Prescott, Arizona. A striking dog, Pep lived in the shelter for two full months and was adopted out of the shelter three times – only to be returned for a slew of different reasons: dog aggression, hyperactivity, and a sudden inability of the new owner to care for him. Understandably, Pep became quite a bit frustrated by all this change. Being locked up in small, confined space just didn't suit his nature, and his frustration soon morphed into aggression towards other dogs. That's just how Pep ended up on the euthanasia list.
Months passed, and finally, we had an interested couple fill out an application for Pep. It all looked very promising and I optimistically thought we had made a match. It was hard to advise the new couple on how Pep would behave in their home; he had never been in a foster home, so the best we could do was tell the couple about Pep's energy level and his penchant for balls. The couple seemed to take it in stride, perhaps assuming (as we did) that Pep had been in a kennel and it would just take time. Well, not much time passed before word got back to us: Pep was just too much for them to handle. His ball obsession was more than they could take – he simply never let up. Pep was returned yet again and it was back to into boarding he went.
Bonding Despite Setbacks
The next stage of the journey for Pep meant travelling to Washington. In late March of 2011, my husband Roger and I decided to take the opportunity to learn more about the program, so we flew him up ourselves. Heath was very excited to meet Pep (Heath loves cattle dogs) and even offered up his guest bedroom for us. The Conservation Dogs facility is a brand new facility and I was impressed to see how nice and well-kept the kennels were. The setting was gorgeous with a pond just a short walk away. The Conservation Dogs program folks use the pond to exercise the dogs because it is more forgiving on their joints.
So, my trip was a great success! Of course, Pep is not fully accepted into the program yet. He'll undergo more testing and training to see if he'll fit into the program. In a month or so, we will find out if he made the cut. All the program's working dogs are either adopted by their handlers, placed up for general adoption or given back to their original owners when their working years pass. By this time, the dogs are older and calmer, as they've have been able to thoroughly channel all that energy, so they're much more suited for normal dog life.