Today enroute to civilization for the purposes of buying groceries, I came upon a Holler neighbor who I have seen many times walking his dogs, but have never met. So today I decided to stop for a quick chat that ended up lasting about 30 minutes. That is a normal-length quick chat in Holler time.
Anyhoo, I was curious about this neighbor because I noticed that he always is walking with multiple pit-bulls and I suspected he was rescuing them. My daughter rescued and fostered a 5 week old dying, abandoned, pit bull puppy named Penelope, who is now a happy sweet dog with a loving family. I have a fondness for the maligned breed and a firm disgust with people who train them to fight or be aggressive. I admire anyone who rescues animals and besides all this, I have an enquiring mind that wants to know, and as you well know, insatiable curiosity about all people and creatures that are Holler-related.
So, I chatted up Don, the man walking the dogs. He lives on a ten-acre ranch, abutting open space, a couple of hollering distances away from our Holler. It turns out he runs a dog haven specializing in behavioral rehabilitation of dogs with problem personalities. Rescue organizations and private owners send their animals to Don’s place for rehab, much like Hollywood movie stars. However Don’s clients seemed nicer, and they don’t have to return over and over like the Hollywood ones.
Don’s operation called Doggy Hydeaway is a family run operation and Don clearly loves his dogs and is skillful with them. He seems to be a genuine dog whisperer, intuitively good with dogs. The dogs I met were all perfectly behaved and happy. In fact I stopped to chat because the brindle pit-bull always smiles at me when I drive by. It turns out the brindle poochini is Don’s dog and she mentors the other dogs like the good role model she is. Don currently has 22 dogs in residence.
Don fits the dogs with these backpacks because he says dogs have a strong sense of responsibility and like to feel useful. Who can argue with that? Even I occasionally feel like this!
Don and I had an interesting conversation about his philosophy of dog behavioral management. Of course it started with the premise that many dog behavioral problems are really a reflection of the environments in which they are raised. We also discussed how Don does not tolerate dominance hierarchies among his dog pack. They must all respect each other, just like Aretha says. I like Don, his philosophy, and what he is doing with his life.
To tell the truth the Holler is an interesting place to live, full of interesting people and their always fascinating animals.
Check out Don’s website if you are curious (like me!)