Sunday, July 28, 2013

UnChained, Inc. provides second chances for dogs and kids

Maybe you've heard of the nonprofit organization UnChained and maybe you haven't. We want to make sure you have because it is inspiring and transforming, and it's right here in our community. You can even get involved: the next General Volunteer Orientation is Saturday, August 3, in Santa Cruz.

"UnChained is dedicated to helping save the lives of shelter dogs and change the lives of at-risk youth," says Melissa Wolf, founder of the innovative program. The young people learn how to teach shelter dogs basic skills, good manners and socialization using positive reinforcement."

"Using the method of Clicker Training," Wolf explains, "the youth learn patience, responsibility and respect for themselves and others, while helping to increase the chances of adoption for the dogs. When the kids see the effects of change they have on the dogs by giving them a second chance at life, they begin to take the risk in believing they can do the same for themselves."

Meet Petey and his youth trainer. Together, they learn the value of respect and companionship as they provide hope for one another at a better shot at life the second time around:

Wolf founded UnChained, Inc. in 2011. The program, active in both Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, partners with interested schools and organizations. Rancho Cielo and New School have taken advantage, as have animal shelters in both counties.

Wolf says that "when working with the kids and the dogs you become humbled with what transpires between these two amazing souls."

"Many of the kids bond with their dogs because of the parallels they share with them such as; rejection, abandonment, abuse and neglect. They learn to understand that when they're kind and patient to their dog, they're kind and patient to themselves. The kids recognize their worth in the community, when they give these shelter dogs another chance at life."

If you are interested in learning more about how to create compassionate communities for kids and dogs, through animal assisted therapy, you are invited to join:

General Volunteer Orientation
Saturday, August 3, 2013
10:30 am to 11:30 am
Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter
2200 7th Avenue, Santa Cruz

You must RSVP: Melissa Wolf at
Petey was adopted!
Introducing Bobby, a handsome bully breed with special needs and in need of immediate foster. Be careful, you could fall in love:
Striking a pose

Making time for a kiss
Receiving some royal treatment
Enjoy this video of Bobby, available for foster and/or adoption now:

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The missing

I miss Thunder like crazy. That’s the truth. I try to act like I am over it, to pretend that I’m not brokenhearted anymore, and life is back to normal. But I am so empty on the inside sometimes. Sometimes, like tonight.

Every evening as it begins to set, the porch light flickers and reminds me of her. Most of the time I feel delighted to think of her, to imagine she is thinking of me and of us, of our lives together. Sometimes I even say aloud “Hi Thunder!” But on occasion the light flickers and I am grief-stricken. It’s odd. The light is off just now. It doesn’t usually go off and stay off. It’s almost like she is comprehending my sadness and sharing it with me at this very moment.

This morning my sister and I chatted about our lives here on earth, and pondered on the possibilities of heaven. Thunder was the absolute best dog ever. She was easy going, you could walk her anywhere and never have a problem, and I wish I’d walked her more. She gave Rafa more attention than I do! She was the invisible heartbeat of our house. If heaven doesn’t contain Thunder, I want no part of it.

Tonight I am thinking of my sweet little girl, and I miss her like crazy. Please light, flicker back on – remind me that everything is alright.