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Dagney smiling

Dagney is a Scandinavian girl's name meaning " dawn of a new day" and it's pronounced "Dog- nee" - perfect for this big girl who found herself without a home at the age of 2 years.

Dagney, formerly known as "Daisey May" came to our attention through a HFL volunteer who knows her adoptive family. They knew of her involvement with Home for Life and asked for help. Dagney lived with a single mom, her sons who are tweens and their grandmother. Dagney was purchased as a puppy from a breeder.

Dagney sits with her toy

The owner took her to training class and did her best to learn about the breed, but life got in the way. She lived in a suburb with a small fenced yard, and after a long day of work, had no time to do more than turn Dagney out in the yard for exercise. As Dagney grew into the equivalent of a young woman, she decided it was her job to take over managing the household as an outlet for her working breed instincts and energy. When the boys and their friends came to the house, and got a little rowdy, Dagney developed the frightening tactic of getting them in line by lunging at their throats, Cujo style - scaring the heck out of everyone. After a few episodes of this her owner decided she couldn't risk the liability and so asked our volunteer for ideas. She started by contacting Dagney's breeder, who never returned her call. Through Home for Life, our volunteer suggested different strategy - more exercise, dog park, more training, confining to a crate when kids were over, but it seemed that the situation was too overwhelming. Other rescues and breed rescue were not open to helping Dagney with her present set of behaviors, and the owner felt she had to euthanize her if she could not come to Home for Life.

Dagney walking
Dagney walking
We were also worried about taking on a lunging giant of a dog and consulted a wonderful local dog trainer, Max Bitterman, for advice. After hearing her story, he called Dagney his favorite type to work with -" a hero" dog, and said that many dogs like her end up dead before age two. He pointed out that had she wanted to hurt the rowdy boys, she would have. In his opinion, Dagney was trying to help manage a household that seemed to her out of control, and seeing a gap tried to shoulder the responsibility of keeping order herself. He called her a "hero" dog because she was trying to do her job and rise to the occasion, but said most of the dogs like her are euthanized when not even two, misunderstood and retrained with harsh methods, improperly managed, and if adopted out again to people who don't understand their tendencies, apt to fall back into the same behavior, and euthanized in the end. He felt that if she was at Home for Life, she would be happy to relinquish the responsibility she had shouldered, relax and let our staff provide the leadership and guidance that she had been trying to offer for her family.

Dagney has been at Home for Life now for a month. What a great dog! She is very humble with the other dogs of her new group:Tiger the pitbull mix was her first friend. Great Dane Dodi, Kitchee and Snowbelle make up the rest of her new family, and provide the support and friendship for Dagney's new dawn at Home for Life. 

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