The One That Started it All...
First time meeting this adorable serial number at the shelter.
The Haus of Dogs (THoD) was borne of an experience in 2012. Castle was my first rescue and came from a high-kill shelter in California. His name was a serial number and I drove almost 3 hours in L.A. traffic to pick him up the day after I adopted him, as he had to be neutered before coming home with me. The shelter staff hesitated when I first asked to do a meet-and-greet with him as there was a note on his record that indicated aggression. Apparently Animal Control had been called by the family whose backyard he was found in, as he would bare his teeth at them when they tried to approach him. That aggression was fear-based but it hurt his chances of getting adopted, and therefore, could have cost him his life. High-kill shelter staff are often overwhelmed by the number of homeless dogs in their care, and sometimes do not have the luxury of time to conduct behavior assessments and work with the dogs to help them overcome fears and anxiety that cause them to be uncharacteristically aggressive. I am extremely glad I insisted on meeting him and during the ten minutes Castle and I spent in a large walk-in cage for our meet-and-greet, he was anything but aggressive.
My experience at the shelter was cringe-worthy. It reeked of urine and chemicals and my head hurt. Rows upon rows of caged dogs barking frantically to be let out, tails wagging, paws clawing desperately at their cages, eyes begging me to set them free. The crying and whimpering were worse than the barking. The dogs that were hunched over in a corner of their kennel and the ones who did not even respond when interacted with, were a heartbreaking sight. I may have saved Castle but many of the dogs I saw that day, never made it out alive.
These images never left me. Every time I look at Castle, I think about his former cage mates and experience at the shelter. Last December I found myself at a crossroads and decided to pursue my true calling. It has been the wildest, hardest journey I have embarked on, made pleasurable by tremendous personal growth, and made easier thanks to my father's support and guidance, my brother's love and legal advice, my better half's sacrifices and unwavering faith in me, and his father's hard work in helping me create the space I envisioned for THoD.
After a year of cutting through red tape and overcoming numerous challenges, I am finally able to launch THoD and support partnering rescues and shelters in the fight against senseless euthanasia, neglected/abused dogs and the homelessness they endure. I look forward to meeting my fellow Seattle Saviors and Washington Warriors who will join us in advocating for voiceless dogs and finding loving, permanent homes for them.
Chief Executive Officer