Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Hidden Nightmare: Animal Hoarding

The Hidden Nightmare: Animal Hoarding
By Robert Forto, PhD

On the latest edition of The DogDoctor Radio Show ( I interview Debbie Jacobs, the author of “A Guide to Living & Working With Fearful Dogs”. Jacobs’s book was a finalist in the 2008 Dog Writers Association of America’s annual writing competition. Her work with fearful dogs is dedicated to he rescued friend, Sunny. Sunny was rescued from Arkansas from an animal hoarder.

“Sunny survived a hoarding situation and was brought to one of the hurricane rescue camps in 2005, where I met him. Over the years I have learned about rehabbing a ‘damaged’ dog and wanted to share that information with other scared/fearful/shy dog owners. Working with a scared dog will be one of the most challenging, frustrating and rewarding experiences a dog owner will ever have.” stated Jacobs.

In Sunny’s case he was rescued from a so-called “sanctuary” where a couple had over 300 dogs in squalid conditions, with all the animals brought there under the guise to “save them.”

Animal hoarding is one of America’s hidden nightmares. A typical hoarder suffers from a mental condition in which they fulfill a need to obtain and “collect” animals, often in deplorable conditions. If you have seen the shows on cable television on A&E and Animal Planet’s Animal Cops series you know what I am talking about.

On the show we talk about what is necessary to help these people suffering from this condition. While neither Jacobs or I are therapists we are often the ones that see animal hoarding situations first hand. I speak about three times when I am confronted with animal hoarding in my daily work as a canine behaviorist with Denver Dog Works and Jacobs re-tells the shocking story of Sunny’s life before he was rescued by Jacobs..."