This week I conducted an informal interview with John Garcia, the Manager of Dogtown in Kanab, Utah. Dogtown is run by Best Friends Animal Society, which is the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Best Friends is not only known for the TV show Dogtown Unlimited, but also from their amazing work during the Hurricane Katrina rescue effort. John Garcia has been at the center of this effort, recently spending quite a bit of time rehabilitating the Michael Vick Pit-bull group.
Initially I did not plan to interview Mr. Garcia but after a few minutes I knew that I needed to be his voice in NYC! He spoke at some length on educating the public, and his extensive work on training the animals that come to his shelter. With 1600 dogs on site, you realize how big the task is. *gulp* Each and every one of the 4,000 monthly applicants is pre-screened by John and his crew, and when a dog does come in, he is the ONLY one to do the actual assessment. Each assessment is a serious job in itself. Most dogs are given an eleven page evaluation and trial before they are accepted to the shelter and rehabilitation center. For a more detailed history click on the link on the bottom of the post. But for now lets talk about the general issues at hand and how he works with the dogs to get them ready for adoption.
As I eluded to in an earlier post, there are a GREAT NUMBER of issues with shelter dogs, rescue dogs and other abused dogs. These issues range from correctable to near impossible. If a hyper active dog doesn’t have manners that is something that is fairly easy to work with and correct. One of the hardest traits to work through is dog aggression. This problem is embedded deep in the psyche of the dog and may not ever go completely away, if at all. John tackles all the issues though, no matter the severity. It is comforting for John though, because this is a TRUE no-kill shelter.
He was a great, guy to speak with and I appreciate his time. :-)
If you would like read more about Dogtown and Best friends facility, click here.