Recent posts in the News category. Click a title to view the full post.

New Wheels for Charlie!

“No longer able to care for my pet” is often a reason we hear for people surrendering their animals to us here at Stafford Animal Shelter.  In the case of 9 month old Terrier Mix Charlie, her previous owner was not prepared emotionally or financially to handle her special medical circumstances and thought rehom­ing her would give her a better opportunity at life. So far, his wishes have come true thanks to our staff, a special business partner and non-profit who have pitched in to help.

Little Charlie was born with congenital malformation of the spine, pelvis and hind limbs leaving her back end paralyzed. Although she can not walk on all fours, she pulls herself and hops around to maneuver where she needs to be. She was evaluated by our medical staff and they determined that she is healthy and not suffering with her condition at this time. Despite her disability, right now Charlie is a happy girl who loves greeting our guests at the front desk, playing with the other dogs, cuddling with our junior volunteers and she even loves swimming.

To make her more comfortable we started taking her to see Darcy Cook at Black Dog Rehab to help with mobility and she has been donating her time to help Charlie through massage & dry needling. Since Charlie responded so well to using Black Dog’s hindquarter harness, we thought it was best to look into getting her a wheelchair too. Realizing caring for Charlie is a large expense for us, we researched online for discounted wheelchairs and found Jason Parker and his non-profit “Gunnar’s Wheels” which was featured on The Today Show. They provide free wheelchairs to dog’s in need around the country. His organization was inspired when his beloved dog Gunnar was hit by a car and he and his wife Stephanie needed to spend $7,000+ on surgeries and wheelchair for their best pal. Their friends and family started a GoFundMe page to help raise the money and buy Gunnar a wheelchair. From that moment, he said he would “pay it forward” and to-date the auto parts salesman from Wisconsin has raised over $70,000 and shipped out 130 chairs including a pink one to our girl Charlie!

She is learning how to walk in the chair and is doing well with it, matter of fact we need to put a leash on her so she doesn’t tear off too fast across the yard, nothing is going to stop this determined little lady. A generous gift has given her a new sense of freedom which she’s never experienced and now Charlie is ready to roll into a forever home.

She is currently up for adoption at the shelter but we are looking for a foster home for her right away.  She is “potty trained” in that she knows when to tell us to let her outside,  but sometimes she has accidents.  We are doing the best we can at the shelter but we do not have the resources to provide her the care needed and worry that we cannot provide her the quality of life that she deserves here due to limited staff availability and the demands of the other animals we care for here at the shelter.  Also,  we have these fabulous new wheels and donated treatments by Black Dog,  but we must supervise her when wearing them and train her to use them, right now she’s only getting about 30 minutes a day of practice and we need help running her to appointments.   She did have a great foster home and was doing very well there but they just found out that they adding a baby to the family and realize they cannot give Charlie the attention she deserves.  Charlie currently weighs 38lbs and would need to be fostered/adopted by someone is capable of lifting her in and out of her wheelchair.   Wanting to help a dog in a wheelchair is an easy decision…taking on the day to day commitment is difficult, but it is completely rewarding. We know opting to help Charlie was the right choice until we can find her the perfect companion or rescue group who can give her the proper medical care and attention she deserves so she can enjoy her life. That beautiful big smile and joy on her face when she’s “running” around is definitely worth it!   Please share Charlie’s story far and wide and let’s help her roll on out of the shelter! We are willing to relocate her and help transport from Montana.  Please understand additional screening will be required on this special needs adoption to ensure she has a healthy and happy home.  Thank you to all the dedicated staff and donors of Stafford Animal Shelter,  Black Dog Rehab & Gunnar’s Wheels who have helped her get this far!




Obedience Classes Offered!

Tony ClassStafford Animal Shelter in Livingston Montana is now offering basic dog obedience class instructed by Tony Marcuzzo, our staff Canine Behavior Consultant and Evaluator. Most of you who have adopted a dog from the shelter have probably had the pleasure of meeting Tony or have seen him at outreach events or at “Downtown Dogs” with adoptable pets. He conducts behavior assessments on all of our dogs to determine their level of safety before adopting them into the community. He also offers continued post adoption behavior support for all of our alumni. He comes to the shelter with 7 years experience training and handling animals in kennel and shelter environment as the behavior assistant for 5 years at Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter in Bozeman, MT where he honed his training and evaluating skills. He also has guided sled dog rides for two winters where he was responsible for up to 18 dogs and 5 guests at a time in remote locations.  Not only is Tony experienced with canines,  he is the resident volunteer caretaker of horses and goats at M.A.E.R.A. Ranch (Montana Awareness, Education and Equine Rehabilitation Association) in Paradise Valley.   Tony is an excellent resource for the shelter & the community and we’re happy to have him teach the course!

To enroll,  please download the registration form here, complete and email back to, fax to (406) 222-8752 or drop off at the shelter during business hours.Enrollment for our classes are open to the public. Class size is limited in order to give individualized attention to you and your dog.

Each course is 4 weeks long, 1 hour each. Cost for the entire course is $40 for Stafford alumni, $60 for altered dogs and $80 for unaltered dogs. Proof of vaccinations is required (rabies, kennel cough, and parvo/distemper vaccinations) and (human) participants must be at least 18 years of age.

Tony will contact you to approved your dog and schedule the next open training course that fits your schedule.  Once approved,  you can pay in person at the shelter,  via credit card over the phone or online by clicking “donate” button here.  You do not need to have a PayPal account to pay online,  click the “donate” button and be sure to leave a note at check out that you’re paying for classes.  $40 for alumni, $60 for altered dogs, $80 for unaltered.  Please wait to be approved to pay for your spot in dog training class.  All classes must be paid for before the night of class.

Feel free to email Tony at, (406) 222-4938 or (406) 222-2111 with any questions.  All proceeds from classes benefit the shelter, thank you for your support!

Stafford Ski Day @ B Bar Ranch Jan 14th 2017!

bbar-ranch-ski-trailLocated in the beautiful Tom Miner Basin in Emigrant, The B Bar Ranch is graciously hosting a Cross Country Skiing day to benefit Stafford Animal Shelter. Join us Saturday, January 14th, 2017 to ski on some of their 20 km of groomed trails. They have both classic and skate skiing covering varied terrain, something for every level of skier (even telemark skiers can find a couple of sweet spots for cutting turns). Cost is $25.00 for adults and $10.00 for children
under 12 (6 and under are free). Price includes skiing and lunch (soup, sandwiches & cookies – vegetarian options available). Skiing is from 9-4 with lunch served from 11:30 to 1:30 in
their Nordic ten
t. 100% of the admission is donated to Stafford Animal Shelter! Please bring yourbbar-ranch-skiiing own skis. If you don’t have them you can rent from our local, shelter supporting shop in Livingston – Timber Trails 406-222-9550. Northern Lights & Bangtail Sports
in Bozeman also rent skis. Please RSVP to B Bar Ranch at 406-848-7729 so we can plan ahead. They will provide you directions to the ranch at 818 Tom Miner Creek Rd. Emigrant, MT. B Bar Ranch
We look forward to you joining us for a fun day to help raise lots of money
for the animals! (sorry folks, we all love dogs, but please leave your dogs at home for this event)b-bar-ski-day-poster

Cesar Milan Meets “Montana” Gang!

Bozeman, MT – March 6th, 2016

cesar collageWhen we found out that world renowned dog trainer and TV personality Cesar Millan, “The Dog Whisperer” was coming to Bozeman we were excited at the chance to hear him speak. Cesar is famous for taking the most hard to place dogs and rehabilitating them.  He is especially drawn to misunderstood “bully breeds” like Pit Bulls and Rottweilers and works with them at his Dog Psychology Center in California.


Our Development Director, Alicia Davis,  took a long shot and emailed his company asking them to come visit Stafford when they were in the area and help us with our long term stay a Pit Bull named Montana.


Assuming he receives thousands of emails a day from people asking him to help,  it was no surprise we didn’t receive a response. That is until Alicia opened her email the day before the show and was pleasantly surprised to find a response from Cesar’s assistant dog trainer. They would not be able to visit the shelter,  but they did invite us to the show and asked us to speak about our shelter and highlight some of our adoptable dogs.  We were thrilled for the opportunity and quickly put together staff, volunteers and suitable dogs for the show the next day.   We all got to meet with Cesar before the show and introduce him to the dogs and talk about Stafford.  He was very interested in our Rez Dog Program, our high placement numbers for dogs in our community and he suggested that we help him transport eligible dogs from overcrowded kill shelters in California and rehome them in Montana.  He also had his crew send us information on recruitment for Search and Rescue dogs in California as they are looking for sporting dogs and working dogs that we tend to have in Montana (ex. Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Retrievers etc..) Caesar is an outspoken advocate for “Don’t Shop, Adopt” and was very supportive of our work and spoke about it before he introduced us on stage.  He demonstrated corrections on our dogs for exuberant puppies, hyper active adolescents, overexcited walkers who pull on the leash, food snatchers, toy obsessed dogs and those with a strong prey drive.


The highlight of the evening came when he met Montana.   Montana’s handler brought her out onstage with Cesar’s Pomeranian named Benson. Montana could not focus on anything but going after Benson’s fluffy little tail.  The front clip leash and gentle leader were not working well and Montana was very anxious and pulling to reach the small dog.   Cesar then had his turn at our girl. With a very simple leash technique and his calm and assertive energy, he had her sittcesar collage 2ing and lying down as the Pomeranian pranced in front of her.  She was content. For those of us that know Montana, it was a true joy to watch and it inspired hope.  Hope that in the hands of the proper owner,  she will make for a happy and healthy pet.  Our experience with Cesar and his crew was one we will not soon forget.


(Montana is our longest term stay at the shelter.  She was found at Alberstons as a stray and has been with us since Dec 2015.  She is a 4 year old American Pit Bull Terrier who adores people and attention,  but is not fond of other dogs or cats. She is one of the staff favorites and can often be seen in the office hanging out, playing ball in the yard or pulling our volunteers on a scooter. Come meet her today!)


Adoptable Dogs – Lucy & Duncan – Snow Buddies