As dog owners and lovers, we are charged with making decisions on behalf of other beings every day. Unfortunately, financials often inform the trajectory of a dog’s life. The HIT Living Foundation is committed to enriching the paths that each of our fosters walk- no matter how expensive or difficult. Please read the story of Olive below. We are asking for donations to fund this fearful, yet resilient dogs’ rehabilitation, in hopes of her trotting on to lead a fully enriched, long life.
We pulled Olive from East Valley shelter in December of 2018. Olive, 4, and her younger brother Clyde, 2, were brought to a shelter as strays last year. Both dogs were micro chipped and registered to the same owner. The shelter called, emailed and texted with no response from the owner and after 7 days in holding, they were released to the public for adoption. The siblings transferred shelters, yet again after a month of no interest.
Olive only had about 30% visibility in both eyes due to her cherry eye that had been untreated since she was likely a puppy. Along with her eye condition, an upper respiratory infection and kennel cough, Olive was also suffering from an old ACL tear that had gone untreated. During her corrective eye surgery, Olive also had a dental exam. 5 broken teeth were extracted. The vet said that broken teeth happen when a dog has been chewing on metal fences for majority of their lives.
We quickly learned after introducing Olive to our pack that she has triggered fear aggression toward every other dog besides her brother Clyde. After snarling, lunging and drawing blood from one of our terriers, and becoming aggressive towards our German Shepard, we quickly realized that Olive needs to be fostered with just her brother or as an only dog. After a failed meet and greet, a hospitalized family pet, and months passing by with zero father or adoption interest, we are at a loss for what to do for Olive.
Our hearts are broken for Olive as she only fearfully triggers when another dog encroaches her space. A behaviorist told us that Olive experienced something quite traumatic during her “impressionable” phase in life; which lead to this learned behavior that was never corrected. Olive fears for her life when another dog approaches her and reacts the only way she knows how. During this stage with Olive, we feel completely lost.
At this point, Olive has been in and out of two foster homes: the first because the stairs were too much on her ACL injury and the second, because the fosters had to travel for work. I take our GSD, Charlie Rose, to our family’s home where we set up camp in the guest bedroom. Olive moves in to our 700 sq ft. apt with her brother Clyde and my other half, Bryan. We could never have Charlie Rose feeling like we abandoned her (even though she was staying at her Grandmother’s and Aunt’s) so naturally, I slept with her every night for over two weeks while Olive enjoyed my side of the bed with Bryan.
We reached out to every mastiff rescue across the nation. We asked for courtesy listings, advice, guidance, and even inquired to see if a mastiff focused rescue could take her on. We assumed that this type of rescue knew how to work with the breed much better than our rescue.
Every. Single. One. Said NO. NO- they could not help me with a courtesy listing because it would take visibility away from their dogs. NO- they could not even point me in the right direction of who to contact or ask for help. We even reached out to the Italian consulate to see if anyone on their staff had a soft spot for their native canine’s and never heard back.
Finally, we were directed to a behavorist by a friend, we had a few wonderful conversations and then, as if I was catapulted into the current day dating scene, we were ghosted; never to be contacted again. We also reached out to another behaviorist who said,
I wish you all the best finding the help you need … It would take months being with a balanced pack of dogs in order for that to change. You’re very fortunate that your small dog wasn’t killed, which could be the case next time. Not sure what your best options are, but I wish you the best...
Defeated, dishearten and nearly as broken as Olive’s emotional response instincts, we reached out to someone who had had gone above and beyond to help our rescues. Whitney Cummings Has shown the foundation mad amounts of kindness. After blabbing on regarding my exhaustive passion to help this dog, Whitney blabbed back with a two word response, “Steffen Baldwin.”
Some years ago, Whitney (bless her animal loving heart) had her ear bitten off by a dog. She sent the dog to Steffen for some human interaction etiquette rehab. Whitney gave me his contact info. We called with zero expectations and we got his voicemail at first. I spoke my piece into the echos of his inbox. We had no idea if he would actually return the call. The next morning, there was a message from THE Steffen Baldwin, politely apologizing for missing me and asked me to give him a call back. Fast forward a few hours later and Steffen agreed to take on Olive.
We had a few more phone calls, and he catered to me while I weep. He seemed confused at first as to why I was crying. I repeated the tale above; explaining how hard we’ve been trying to find the help for Olive that she truly needs and then he understands. Steffen has assured us that Olive will now get the help she needs. He sent me his address and I know it’s going to happen.
Olive is going to develop the tools to empower her to know that she is forever safe. No matter who she is around, she will be free to be herself and to not live in in fear.
Steffen has graciously applied his rescue discount for the time Olive is with him. He also described to me that his camp per say, is where he accepts levels 4, 5, or 6 aggression biters when they have no where else to turn. Level 4: dogs that break skin via contact with either human or dog, with the wound being treatable outside of a hospital. Level 5: physical contact that requires hospitalization of either human or dog. Level 6: physical aggression that resulted in death of either human or dog (he has no deaths of humans from dog bites).
Olive needs Steffen’s help. She needs the right tools to help get her at least to a place of comfort and safety around other dogs. Steffen is able to provide that. While he makes no guarantees any dog he takes on will be “fixed”, they will most certainly get the most focused and attentive therapy and care in the U.S.
The HIT Living Foundation is asking for your help to provide Olive with the chance she needs to be the best dog she can be. We are looking to raise $2100 for Olive to continue her therapy with Steffen. Any monetary donations exceeding the $2100 goal will be donated to Steffen’s own 501(c)(3), Underdog Alliance. A sanctuary for level 4, 5 and 6 dogs where they undergo constant training and healing by Steffen to give each dog another chance at life.
We deeply express our gratitude in advance for your contribution toward Olive and those who need a unique kind of help only few are able to provide.
Heather Crowe, Founder of The HIT Living Foundation