The only way to achieve our mission of creating no-kill communities is to offer the resources that help people keep animals in their loving homes rather than surrendering them to shelters.
Our NeighborCorps program works with members of our community to create secure and sustainable homes by solving unique problems on a case by case basis.
In February, a woman named Nellie Sue contacted us for help. As she gets older, Nellie Sue has found that she’s not as spry on her feet as she once was, and her dog Dixie has pulled her over several times while walking down the steep hill outside her home. Dixie is also nervous of new people and reactive to other dogs, which has been causing tension between Nellie Sue and her neighbors.
We knew that in order to help Nellie Sue and Dixie, we’d have to solve the problem from two different angles. First we’d need to build a small fenced in area to give Dixie a leash-free area to run around in when it’s too wet or icy for Nellie Sue to safely navigate walks. Next, we’d need to provide the proper equipment and resources to help Dixie feel and be safe in her neighborhood.
Brother Wolf staff members and volunteers spent a brisk Saturday afternoon building a fence for Dixie at Nellie Sue’s home. The fence only took a few hours to build, but they finished just in time. A storm was rolling in and by the time they left, Nellie Sue’s steep driveway was already becoming icy. According to Nellie Sue, being pulled over while walking Dixie has caused quite a bit of damage, including black eyes and bruised ribs.
Because of the new fence, Nellie Sue was able to stay safe and warm in her home during and after the storm while Dixie used the bathroom outdoors.
Tristan, Brother Wolf’s Animal Behavior Manager, has also done several training sessions with Nellie Sue and Dixie. “I did some work with Nellie Sue to help her with introducing Dixie to new people,” Tristan says. “It’s a challenging situation because the home is very small. Whenever you’re introducing a scared dog to someone new, you want them to have enough space from the new person. But as soon as someone walks into Nellie Sue’s home, they’re in Dixie’s face, which causes her to be barky. Nellie Sue has been doing a great job of putting Dixie in a bedroom when anybody comes to the home, but she still barks the whole time.”
The new fenced in area will give Dixie a larger area where she can meet new people without feeling so threatened. Tristan saw gradual progress each time she worked with Dixie. “The second time I went to Nellie Sue’s home, Dixie was definitely better with me,” Tristan says. “She can make improvements, the setup just wasn’t ideal for her.”
To give Nellie Sue better control and to create a safer walking experience, we also equipped Dixie with a front-attach harness.
“Nellie Sue was walking her with a collar,” Tristan says, “so it was very easy for Dixie to pull her over. The harness should be making the walks more secure. I think between better walking equipment and having the backup of the fence for when it’s icy — that’s going to help everyone feel better.”
Thanks to the NeighborCorps program, Dixie will get to remain in her home with her friend Nellie Sue. “Dixie is in a good home,” Tristan says. “Nellie Sue loves her and takes very good care of her. They have a great relationship. So we definitely want to try to keep Dixie in that home rather than trying to find another home for a dog who is only really comfortable when she’s around Nellie Sue.”
“It helps me a lot,” Nellie Sue says, “because I’m getting older and she’s big enough to pull me over. I really appreciate it because I don’t have the money to build a fence.
It really helps, I appreciate it a lot.”
HERE ARE 3 EASY WAYS TO HELP OTHERS LIKE NELLIE SUE AND DIXIE:
- DONATE – Donations help us stay prepared to provide the resources that help people like Nellie Sue keep their animals in their loving homes and out of shelters. Become a member of the Compassionate Circle by making a recurring monetary donation. Every dollar counts!
- VOLUNTEER or FOSTER – Volunteers and fosters are Brother Wolf’s backbone. If you’d like to be involved in future NeighborCorps projects like this one, email our Field Operations Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to learn about other volunteer or fostering opportunities.
- SHARE – Share this story with your friends and family on social media to help us spread our message of uncompromised compassion.