There are a lot of different types of heroes, even when dogs are concerned.
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Every year, the American Humane Hero Dog Awards feature a nationwide competition to honor “heroes on both ends of the leash.” More than 300 dogs vie for the top prize. In 2022, one of the nominees in the shelter dog category is Bliss, a 7-year-old Australian shepherd and Labrador mix from Kansas City, Missouri.
Brett Currie adopted Bliss five years ago from Lexington Humane Society.
“She had been at the shelter for almost 30 days before we connected,” Brett said. “I like to think she was waiting for me.”
Brett was just beginning her career as a dog trainer in animal shelters when she adopted Bliss, and she had no idea how invaluable her new companion would be in her work. She specializes in helping troubled dogs recover from abuse, neglect, and behavior issues. Many of these animals are terrified of humans and other dogs – that’s where Bliss comes in!
In this line of work, I have met an innumerable number of animals that are broken almost beyond repair. Bliss helps fix them. She has a lot of jobs and does everything from visiting schools with our humane education team to sitting quietly next to a feral puppy as they learn that people are okay. She is a true jack of all trades but her favorite job of all is that of foster sister.
Brett frequently fosters dogs from Wayside Waifs, and she noticed the dynamic between the terrified shelter dogs and Bliss right away.
“You know, she’ll curl up next to them when they’re scared. She’ll go upstairs to get a dog and bring them with her,” Brett explained.
She says she’s never trained Bliss to dote on the foster dogs; it’s just something the dog knows to do instinctively.
“She seems to understand when other dogs are feeling scared or overwhelmed,” Brett added.
Drawing scared dogs out of their shells and convincing them that humans are good may sound inconsequential, but the proof is in the results. So far, Bliss has helped transform the behavior of 35 dogs. All of these animals were so positively influenced by Bliss that they were adopted into loving homes!
“She’s helped every type of dog I’ve brought home but her favorite assignment of all is helping scared dogs learn how to trust and love,” said Brett. “Bliss is endlessly patient with these dogs and shows them just how good life can be. I’ve seen her break a dog’s stereotypic pacing by laying down in their path (unprompted by me!), provide support as they wear a leash for the first time, and even lay next to them while they eat when they’re too afraid to eat on their own.”
Bliss, you’ve got our vote! This sweet, nurturing pup is the best friend every scared foster needs to regain their confidence and trust for a new life!
Don’t forget to share this story to support Bliss for Hero Dog of the year!
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