Dog Trainer Profile: Devon
Devon CGC, Certified Therapy Dog with Alliance of Therapy Dogs
Breed: Lab MixOwner(s): Diann Yandrich
Handler(s): Diann Yandrich
Trainer: Two Bears Dog Training (Obedience)
Devon came to us through Aimee Sadler who, at the time in August 2007, was the Behavior Coordinator at the Longmont Humane Society. He was 18 – 24 months old and had come to the shelter as a stray. He was adopted by a family who had him a week and brought him back saying he had broken out of their home and also killed their house rabbit. The second adopter had him 3 days over a weekend and brought him back saying he had eaten through their privacy fence when they went to work and escaped with their other dog. The shelter was undergoing a mammoth renovation and expansion at the time. They did not have a kennel Devon would stay in and being an “older” black dog they could not put him up for adoption again. He was scheduled for euthanasia that afternoon. Aimee asked us to consider fostering him since we had a covered kennel run and she felt he was too good a dog to let go. I (Diann) initially said no, we were getting a puppy that same week and we would have 6 dogs, but John wore me down and we took Devon home.
Devon was extremely anxious when he did not know where people were. Because we have 2 cats we did not feel comfortable bringing him directly into the house. So we put him in the covered kennel run during the day and a crate in the training room at night. The first morning, after the night in the crate, he had managed to fold the (metal) tray in half and it was in the middle of the room. John spent the next week sleeping in the training room so Devon would know we had not left him. If he was in the yard and we were out of his sight he would jump the fence and look for us. We did not attempt to teach him any “obedience”. Instead, we gave him consistency, clarity and time. After three months we realized that he had a long road to go but that inside he was an incredible dog. So we formally adopted him in October 2007. One year later I had him registered as a therapy dog. Also, nine months after we got him he came into the house to live.
No one wanted Devon because he had “issues”. Those issues were easily addressed with patience and consistency and most of all, time. He now gets along famously with the cats and our other dogs. He is a remarkable therapy dog who has worked at Good Samaritan Hospital, Boulder school reading programs, Erie library reading program, at-risk youth at an elementary school in Denver, and now as an ambassador with the Canine Airport Therapy Squad at the airport in Denver. He is a sweet and incredibly loving dog. I am so glad John talked me into taking him.