Fluvanna Rescue Helping Dogs with Disabilities & the Community
A Fluvanna County rescue is giving homeless animals with disabilities a second chance at a happy life. Now the animals are sharing their joy and gratitude with the community.
Green Dogs Unleashed rescues homeless animals with disabilities, rehabilitates them, and trains them to be therapy dogs.
"There's nothing greater that these dogs can bring to people than the joy that they have to offer," said Erika Proctor, Green Dogs Unleashed founder. "The special needs dogs especially are able to bond very closely with humans that have also some different abilities."
The rescue found Charlie, a catahoula leopard dog, just in time. Charlie - who is both blind and deaf - would have been put down without Green Dogs Unleashed.
"A lot of people just don't want to deal with a special needs dog and there's no reason not to. Charlie is blind and deaf and he's a regular dog," said Jim McCollough, Charlie's owner.
Charlie was paired up with foster parent and now owner, McCullough. Together they went through therapy training, and now they visit people in need of a smile as a team.
"Because he's not seeing well, because he's not hearing, he just wants to snuggle all the time - that's his way of communicating," said McCollough.
Proctor says the program fills a void for animal-assisted therapy.
"The rooms light up," said Proctor. "The people light up, it makes their day, it makes our day, it makes the dog's day."
Some of the dogs visited JABA Community Senior Center in Louisa on Thursday.
"All they want is love and it is a good therapy because we love them and it gives us some peace of mind and it does touch the heart," said Dorothy Pelletier, a JABA visitor.
Eighteen animals are currently part of the program.
On Tuesday, Green Dogs Unleashed is kicking off a therapy training class that's open to the public.