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CONTINUED - Rescued Pit stays in Home thanks to Trainer
By Michael Mullins
Published Fall 2011
Millerick began walking him at night when there are less dogs on the street in the hopes of avoiding future problems. Consequently, Millerick risked her own safety in a neighborhood known for its high crime rate and as a result would at times rely on her male roommate to walk Clu in the evenings.

Despite taking preventative measures, Millerick feared future problems with Clu and other dogs and soon became overwhelmed. Feeling unable to rectify the situation by herself, Millerick begrudgingly considered returning Clu to the shelter.

In a last ditch effort to resolve the problem, Millerick called the city government hotline 311 and was connected with the Humane Society’s Pets for Life NYC Program – an innovative animal surrender prevention program dedicated to helping NYC residents resolve problems that might otherwise lead to surrendering a pet(s) to a shelter.

Through Pets for Life, Millerick was connected with a recently certified trainer named Danicia Ambron, who fosters two Pit Bulls herself in addition to her own dogs. According to Ambron, she was drawn to the case because Clu was a shelter rescue and a Pit Bull. “I have a huge affinity for this breed. I’ve worked with a lot of them in my home and they can go from disastrous to unbelievably people-pleasing pretty easily if someone is dedicated, and I knew Jane was dedicated to this dog.” Ambron continued, “Pit Bulls have so much going against them, they are such a stigmatized breed with so many, particularly from the inner city, facing disadvantages from the outset. It is incredible how resilient they are.” Ambron added that her two foster Pit Bulls share the house with her two school age children and they have never once displayed bad behavior or any sign of aggression to either child, rather they are extremely protective of her children.

After learning of Clu’s behavior, Ambron suggested several training techniques to Millerick. Stressing positive reinforcement for good behavior, Ambron instructed Millerick to reward Clu with treats when he obeyed a command, such as sit or stop. Once Clu associated the reward with the command, Millerick proceeded to take Clu for walks with treats in hand for whenever he encountered another dog on the street. According to Millerick, in a very short time Clu’s behavior had improved significantly.

In addition to refraining from going after male dogs along his walk, Clu had in the process became friendly with some of the female dogs in the area.

“His behavior has improved 100 percent,” says Millerick. “I no longer feel like a kite during our walks. He doesn’t drag me anymore, except if he’s nervous, he is just amazing. Danicia is the most wonderful person, I could not have done this without her.” Clu is one of many local animals that have been saved by the 100-plus volunteers, foster parents, dog trainers and others who comprise the Humane Society’s Pets for Life NYC program.

Formerly known as the Safety Net Program, Pets For Life NYC (PFL) came about after its incorporation into The Humane Society in 2008. Along with changing its name, the program expanded its operations allowing it to drastically increase the number of New Yorkers who kept their pet(s) courtesy of PFL intervention. Since the start of 2008, well over 10,000 pets have remained in their homes due to PFL intervention. To learn more about the PFL program and to find out how you can help, log onto www.humanesociety.org/pflnyc or call 917-468-2938. BlkBx
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