Allison and Ranger Spirit

Apr 26,2024

I adopted a seven year old unsocialized German Shepherd last year. I met Ranger Spirit the day after my dog had passed. I saw something special in him but I live in a condo and did not think I had the best setup for a large breed dog. I became his advocate and for months tried to find him a suitable home. He didn't have the best luck being returned twice and once adopted to a homeless man living in a trash filled truck. Several months after meeting Ranger Spirit learning that if nobody came forward he would be put down, I decided to take a chance and adopt him.

I am a dog trainer that works with fearful, and special needs canine companions. I couldn’t understand why no other trainer would take him until I brought him home. Ranger Spirit had behaviors that made his rehabilitation very challenging and to be honest I was not sure if I was going to be able to save his life. In hopes of finding some glimmer of light, something to look forward to, something to prepare for, I found Service Dog Training School International. They welcomed us into the class with open arms and that gave me hope. Not only does the class teach basic obedience but also goes into nutrition, temperament testing, and has high regard for humane training methods.

I think that individuals that have gone through trauma have a naturally higher level of compassion because they know what it is like to struggle. I thought that by preparing Ranger Spirit for a job in helping others it might help him get his mind off his own anxieties or even teach him the value of being somebody’s companion. Not every friend or companion who comes into your life will make your life easier, some will push you, some will challenge you, but the ones who stand by you through thick and thin are the connections worth hanging onto. 

In one year I have taught an unsocialized dog who didn't know how to walk on a leash or even be in public for any length of time to heal and follow, look to me for direction, wear a muzzle and a harness and go to an in person vet clinic. So much of what we take for granted were major milestones for Ranger Spirit. I plan to finish this class with the goal of teaching him that despite his rough past he still has much to offer. I am incredibly grateful for Service Dog Training International for believing in us even though this work is taking us longer given the history of Ranger Spirit. I highly recommend this class for those wanting to learn and grow and help others in the process.