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North Florida K9 Rescue Sanctuary

Organized by: Jon Wedemeyer

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Dogs are my life, and I will do anything to save them and give them a second chance at a better life.

About a year and a half after I had started working with shelter dogs, two of the many dogs I would handle were euthanized because they were deemed "dangerous" by a "behaviorist" that came through once in a blue moon to evaluate. Did these dogs have issues? Yes. Did they have to be euthanized because of them? ABSOLOUTELY NOT! Both of these dogs could have been rehabilitated.

It was right then and there I realized that there was something very wrong with the current system, and decided I was not going to let this happen again without a fight. I became certified in canine psychology and behavior and have since opened North Florida K9 Behavior Center, where I work daily to help problem dogs heal and have a second chance at a fulfilling life.

The unfortunate truth of shelter life is there will always be a number of dogs in any shelter that will have only mild to moderate behavioral issues, but which make them un-adoptable. This situation can end up with a dog that could have easily been saved with a little work, being euthanized. Sadly, this is often only because there was not enough money or time to rehabilitate the dog, or otherwise prepare it for adoption into a loving family! For these dogs, their time and their luck, simply ran out.

A perfect example of this is a dog I worked with named Boone, who was very fearful of people and would cower in the back of his kennel and growl lowly whenever potential adopters came to view him, making him totally un-adoptable. I arrived on a Friday afternoon to start working with Boone and was told he was scheduled to be euthanized the next morning. I starting making calls and got him pulled to another shelter, where I worked with him for about two weeks, and about a week later Boone was adopted.

Another example is Shelby, who had no socialization at all, but actually really liked other dogs and people. The only way Shelby knew to communicate, was to jump and bite at arms and legs, to the point where nobody wanted to take her out for a walk. I started working with her and got her settled enough the first day, so that others could take her out. The other staff and I kept working with her for about a month, with marked improvement, and she was quickly adopted at a large adoption event. Unfortunatly, she was later picked up as a stray, then adopted out again, but later returned to the shelter in Jacksonville, FL. When I found out, I drove up the next day and adopted her myself and she has been my loving companion ever since. I will never give up on any dog.

The situation at many shelters is actually so bad that at some, they are only able to take their dogs out for a walk once a week due to being over-crowded and under-staffed! These shelters do an awe-inspiring job of adoption, but they do not have the time or money to even walk their dogs every day, let alone rehabilitate the problem children. Sadly, these poor dogs end up being needlessly put to sleep.

This is the HUGE, unfortunate crack in the system that these poor dogs fall through!!! But this crack can be filled and these dogs can be saved. This is where all of you come in.

I will work with any dog until I am totally convinced that there is no hope... and I am NOT a person that gives up... EVER!  Yes, there will be some red-zone dogs that we will end up not be able to help, but I will not give up on rehabilitating and adopting them out, until there is absolutely no hope left for rehabilitation. Our sanctuary is where they will at least be able to live out their lives safely.

A typical shelter can be a terrifying and stressful place for a dog, and there is little hope of helping them there. I want to provide a calming, caring environment for these dogs to live in, to set them up for successful rehabilitation and a positive, happy life.

The money collected here will go toward acquiring and setting up a facility in the North Florida area, which will be a sanctuary for any dog at risk of being euthanized, as well as any other rescue dogs, with the primary focus at all times being saving the euthanasia-list dogs first. We will be hiring the staff, supplying and equipping the facility, providing care and rehabilitation to the dogs, and establishing fund-raising programs throughout North Florida to keep the center going once we get it started.

After volunteering in non-profit shelters for years, I see the main problem is the fact that because they are non-profit and dependant on donations only, there is a big wall as to how much they can do for their dogs.. and that is where the crack is that these dogs fall thrrough. Our facility will be totally different from the typical shelter model and will house a variety of dog-related operations to make it sustainable and self-supporting, so we can give each dog the help, or the sancutuary it needs.

North Florida K9 Rescue Sanctuary will house the following operations:

The Kennel - This is the shelter area, where the rescued dogs will be housed and cared for.

K9 Cafe' - The K-9 Cafe' will have an indoor and outdoor area, where potential adopters can spend time and have breakfast or lunch with the dog(s) of their choice to feel out the adoption, or where dog lovers can simply mingle with other dog lovers. The idea here is to make it a destination and promote a sense of community and networking as well as have a really cool cafe' for dog-lovers to hang out at.

K9 Kindergarten - Puppy training and dog obedience, agility, tricks.

K9 College - Advanced training, service dog certification.

The Dog House - Doggy Day Care and short and long-term boarding - A separate area from the kennel area.

K9 Kuts - Dog grooming.

I will also keep a list and save one large section of wall to put a plaque with every donors name, no matter how big or small the donation, so all the dogs and adopters who pass through will know who helped save their lives.

Thank you ALL so much! This is my dream in life, to save the "un-saveable" dogs that I know in my heart can be helped. Together, we can make this happen...

One dog at a time.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Jon Wedemeyer



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Jon Wedemeyer

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In Memory of Lenny and Buster 3 years ago

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