Dogs rescued from traumatic situations like puppy mills or fighting rings may have problems trusting people. Shelters can stress out any animal, and it can take some extra work to rehabilitate dogs with emotional baggage. With special attention, consistent routines and gentle training, dogs can overcome their traumatic pasts and embrace their futures as beloved companions.
Imagine tigers and cobras and monkeys—in basements, garages and backyards. These situations are far too common in the United States. What might start out as a misdirected desire to be close to wild animals can lead to dangerous situations for people and heartbreaking outcomes for the animals, who suffer when their needs aren’t met in captivity. In the best-case scenario, they end up at reputable sanctuaries, but those can take in only a fraction of the animals needing homes. While advocates struggle to care for the exotic pet industry’s castoffs, they’re also pushing for legislation to curb the private ownership of should-be-wild animals.
It was a tense situation —rescuers working in the middle of a cornfield in Cottonwood, Ala., with one police officer standing guard. Suddenly, a black truck barreled down the driveway. The officer pointed his rifle at the truck and yelled, “Stop!”
The gas chamber at Heber Valley Animal Shelter in Utah was once the bane of Justin Hatch’s existence.
The shelter’s executive director inherited the task of euthanizing animals after being hired in 2000. The gas chamber was a constant reminder of the black lab he’d lost as a kid after the dog had been picked up and possibly euthanized by animal control. “It was devastating,” he remembers, “and I told my mom that I wanted to change how animal control did things.”