A little training turns a ‘less-adoptable’ dog into a star

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adopted dog

Munch, now named Hunter, poses with his adoptive mom, Allison.

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Munch came in to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control in Charlotte, NC, in November 2010. A 2-month-old stray, his outlook was grim. He was boisterous and hyper, and a big black dog (labeled a Chow Chow mix) to boot. To make matters worse, he had serious health problems: He had severe injuries after being attacked by another dog; he also had mange, and soon developed kennel cough.

But because Charlotte-Mecklenburg is one of four pilot shelters of the Petfinder Foundation’s Train to Adopt (TTA) program, trainer Karen Owens was able to work with Munch after he’d recovered from his injuries and illness. She chose him because she knew that, as an energetic black dog, “he would need all the help he could get.”

As it turned out, Munch was a perfect pupil. “He had lots of energy but really thrived when his energy was channeled into training,” Owens remembers. “He was also one of the first dogs who learned the ‘are you sleepy?’ trick, in which the dog puts his head down between his paws on command. He learned it within two or three short sessions.”

Munch showed off his new trick, as well as “sit” and “down,” at an adoption event at a local mall. He was adopted on the spot, one month to the day after his first Train to Adopt session.

adopted dog

Hunter and Allison snuggle.

Munch has since been renamed Hunter and is now almost two years old. His adoptive mom, Allison Brown, tells us, “He is absolutely the best dog! I am so grateful to Animal Control for nursing him back to health and training him. When I adopted Hunter, he was housetrained as well as crate trained, and he knew how to sit, to wait for his food to be placed on the floor before he went for it, and to do ‘are you sleepy?’ — so cute!”

The fact that Hunter was a Train to Adopt graduate really made the difference in his finding — and staying in — a forever home. In fact, TTA dogs are significantly less likely to be returned to a shelter after they’re adopted. Allison tells us, “Having never had a dog before at all, the training done by Karen at Animal Control made adopting Hunter so much easier for me.”

These days, Hunter is living the good life, going on walks and runs with Allison, enjoying “run-arounds” with his best friend, Rascal, a black Lab mix who lives a few houses away, and playing tug of war with his girlfriend, Emma the pug. “He is a happy, healthy boy,” Allison says, “and I am so thankful that he is a part of my life.”

Whom can Hunter thank for his happiness? Allison, of course, for adopting him, and Karen for training him, and everyone at Charlotte-Mecklenburg for nursing him back to health — but also donors like you, who made his training possible. So give just $5 today. It may not seem like much, but it will make a world of difference to pets like Hunter.

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