"I for sure wish Simon wasn’t reactive towards other dogs but I don’t want to change anything about our journey together. It’s a special bond when you have to work so hard to keep him safe."
Simon and his mom Melinda began training with K9 Turbo in May of 2016. Over the years, we have seen Simon grow into such an incredible dog.
Simon was found as a stray in Detroit. He originally came to Melinda as a foster, but after just six weeks together, she realized that she couldn't let him go and officially adopted him. While Simon loved people and his canine brother Spencer, he struggled with reactivity around most other dogs. He would bark and lunge at the sight of dogs, and when an introduction with Melinda's parents' dog went awry, she knew she needed help.
"He was in rough shape, couldn’t walk by a dog in a window without losing all control throwing himself into his harness and me having to pull him away."
Melinda signed up for one of our very first reactive classes, with the goal of helping Simon feel safe and confident around other dogs and the hope that he could one day have the skills to make friends. In the beginning, Simon was so disconnected during training, but after a visit to our friend Dr. Hawker at Union Lake vet and Melinda's continued persistence, Simon began to make a breakthrough. He became increasingly engaged in training, making progress in leaps and bounds.
And with time, patience, and a whole lot of dedication, it worked.
"I worked with Katelin and Dr. Hawker starting in May of 2016 to prepare Simon to coexist on Thanksgiving at my parents' [house] with their big sweet pointer mix Jack. This morning after a long walk together I came out to see them snuggling with each other in my parents living room. I can’t believe how far we’ve come."
Simon and Melinda developed the skills and confidence to make friends with other dogs with safe, intentional introductions. Simon is able to enjoy walks around the neighborhood and time in the backyard. Melinda is a pro at coming up with management solutions to keep Simon safe; when a new neighbor moved in with a dog, she built a secondary fence to prevent Simon and the dog from coming face-to-face.
"Today, the husky came out and stood and stared at Simon. He looked back at her but showed no sign of agitation, and when I called him to come inside he got up and ran right in. So proud of him. Hopefully we can move this fence back some day and maybe even not need it at some point."
Not only have Melinda and Simon taken several reactive classes, they took our Victorious Vet Visits class to help Simon feel safe and comfortable for standard veterinary procedures, like vaccinations, nail trims, and handling. Simon and Spencer also recently got to enjoy a day with one of our in-home pet sitters.
In addition to being an incredible dog mom, Melinda is also incredibly generous when it comes to giving back to the animal welfare community. In 2018, Melinda raised money to purchase 30 freedom harnesses for Detroit Animal Care and Control to promote safe, force-free tools and handling. She's donated dozens of leashes, collars, and supplies, and she even sponsored heartworm treatment for a special shelter pup that she had fallen for.
We are so incredibly proud of Simon and Melinda, and we're so glad to have them in our K9T family.
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