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A Thundershirt helps a terrified dog trust humans


The Foundation recently partnered with the Thundershirt company to award 5,000 Thundershirts to members across the country. Thundershirts’ constant, gentle pressure has a dramatic calming effect on most dogs when they are anxious, fearful or overexcited. Thundershirts have already helped hundreds of shelter dogs find forever homes. Hertford County Animal Shelter in Winton, NC, received a Thundershirt grant from the Foundation. Here is how a Thundershirt helped one of the shelter’s dogs, Flo.


Flo lets amazed volunteers pet her.

Flo was found abandoned in an empty house and has been with Hertford County for about six months. During her first few months at the shelter, staff could barely tell that she had legs — she always laid with her legs curled under her body, hidden from sight.

She was fearful of people and would cower and hide when the shelter staff went near her to show her affection. Then the Thundershirt grant arrived.

A shirt was placed on Flo right away and, slowly, she warmed up to other dogs at the shelter. Flo began to play in the puppy room and venture outside for some fresh air. But she was still fearful of human interaction.

The dedicated staff and volunteers at Hertford worked patiently with Flo to gain her trust. They kept the Thundershirt on during training sessions and when Flo was in her kennel, hoping it would help her gain some trust. And indeed, her trust in humans grew stronger. She started allowing the shelter staff to come closer.

Cheryl Snyder, director of the Hertford County Animal Shelter, sent the photo above and wrote, “This picture is worth a thousand words! Not
only is Flo letting one of our volunteers pet her, but
you can see the excitement in the face of another volunteer, Stephanie. Flo
was actually letting someone touch her and show her some love.”

Flo is currently living in a foster home to help her become more
comfortable with human interaction. Once she is available for adoption,
she will be added to Hertford County Animal Shelter’s adoptable pet list on Petfinder. And thanks to her Thundershirt, Flo is well on her way to more-trusting behavior and finding a forever home.

The Foundation is thrilled to have helped give Flo a new
lease on life! We hope that all 5,000 granted Thundershirts bring a
happy story like Flo’s.

To donate to the Thundershirt grant program and other programs like it at the Foundation, visit

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More Grants That Changed Lives stories:

A trip to Florida gives an Alabama puppy a second chance

Training helps a shelter dog get adopted

PHOTOS: The pitties were nestled all snug with their KONGs

The Foundation’s 2011 success stories

A grant helps a rescue group tame three feral kittens

A starving Boxer and her puppies get lifesaving care

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