CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A local animal shelter is helping make the road to recovery for pets a little easier.
At the Cape Coral Animal Shelter, dogs are the center of attention.
“I always tell people they have to be more interesting than anything on the planet and the way to do that is with food,” says Louise Hebert, a volunteer trainer at the shelter. “I wanna understand how does a dog think? How does a dog act? How does a dog react?"
Hebert has been training dogs for 25 years and she’s been involved with the Cape Coral Animal Shelter for the last two.
“I train all of the dog walkers how to appropriately handle dogs and then for the dogs that may have more issues, I’ve trained all of those dog handlers as well," she says. "So everybody in the shelter is handling the dogs exactly the same way, which is the best way for the dogs to learn. If everybody keeps doing exactly the same thing, it’s going to be very easy for the dog to pick up on.”
Every dog that arrives at the shelter is different. Their breed and size but, specifically, their history.
"You may not necessarily know what happened to that dog but, if you pay attention to the dog, if you listen to what the dog is telling you with their body language, that dog will tell you its story," says Hebert. "And that’s what I do- I listen to the dogs.”
Some of the dogs come from rougher backgrounds than others. But, as Hebert says, the key to understanding and helping a pet starts with learning.
"The key thing, I think, is education, education, and more education," she says. "So it’s educating children on how to handle dogs, it’s educating people on how to handle dogs, and it’s having a really strong sheriff’s department backing you up.”
It also comes with trust.
"You teach people how to approach a dog and you’re just very cautious and careful with them but kind and loving. Most of the time, these dogs will turn around. You can’t save all of them but you can save most of them.”
While that may be a sad realization, offering help starts with a single act.
"If you see something, say something so we can get that dog removed from the situation.”