Bozeman, MT – March 6th, 2016
When 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 sitting 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!)