ADOPTED! November 28, 2017


We know how to keep our chins up and work, work, work until we have prepared our dogs for the rest of their lives: medically, behaviorally and otherwise.

We’re pretty good at picking dogs that will get along with other dogs. Our primary focus when taking dogs in is to pull them from high-kill, no-option shelters. We don’t mind committing to a dog whose little head and body is covered in mange, heartworm positive dogs find solace and recovery in our program and dogs that are scared of the world are taken under our wing time and time again. Sometimes everything can look great, “on paper” and turn out to be a challenge we never expected so we go The Extra Mile to get the dog prepared for adoption.

We respect the dog.


Arrival Date: 9/5/17
Breed: Labrador Retriever Mix
Gender: Female
Age: 2 years
Weight: 50#
Personality: Shy, Shut Down, Sweet
Fully Vaccinated: Yes
Microchipped: Will be prior to adoption
Spayed/Neutered: Will be prior to adoption
In foster Home: We have one ready when she is
Dog Social: In process
Crate Trained: In process
House Trained: In process
Kid-Friendly: In process
Cat-Friendly: Unknown
Origin: Stray – Richland County
Adoption Fee: $200


Spirit_face_webSpirit is the name she was given by the shelter volunteers and staff in Richland County where she was seen running stray and scared while volunteers tried tirelessly to capture her. After a few days she was eventually lured into a trap (with the help of a Wendy’s cheeseburger) on August 3. Her spirit may be broken but that is why she has landed in our care. Our finest accomplishments have been taking shut down shelter and stray dogs and giving them a new lease on life. We have had many dogs come into our program with the spirit of this gal and we are proud of our work to go The Extra Mile. Spirit is no exception. Earlier this year we changed the life of two very special dogs: Ridge and then Rogan (he has just left for a trial home this week). Through patience, a decompression plan, slow socialization with the right and balanced dogs, a slow and steady course has lead shut down shelter dogs to dogs who can and do live in homes with humans and other animals who deeply care for them.

SpiritSHM_earsSpirit is estimated to be around two years old. She may be hesitant or unsure or fearful but she is in no way aggressive. She was found with fly bitten ears that have since healed under the care of the shelter she first took refuge in. She has some skin issues that we will be treating with antibiotics but can tell you she looks much better than she did in her arriving shelter picture (above). When we learned about Spirit shutting down at the shelter we knew her fate there was not good unless a rescue or adopter took her in. Dogs like Spirit are not adoptable at most county and municipal shelters because there are too many unknowns, the staff can’t get near them to vaccinate them and cage space can be limited depending on the location and size of the shelter. We saw her story and knew we could help.

One of our dedicated volunteers drove the 3 hour round trip to help load her up and bring her “home”. We will admit it was a difficult load and Spirit was notSpirit_table comfortable being handled or being lead by a leash. Chicken might have been a tool but it wasn’t helping either.  However, we got her into a crate safety for her journey. When she arrived we carried her crate to our quarantine space and allowed her the freedom to be secure in a quite space, with warm bedding and a light left on for her at night. She didn’t eat dinner or breakfast but she has slowly taken treats and we will continue to work on her ability to smell rather than fear those who are feeding her and we will get her to eat. Spirit spent her first night huddled in an open kennel and the next day while we cleaned out her space she moved to a corner under a table. Her legs may be clinging to the table leg but inside she is interested and aware. She has a full view of her surroundings. She has some dog company and is accepting our touch.

Spirit is not a project she is a gift. And we are glad to have this gift to take care of. When the time is right we will pass her along to a foster home that is equipped to continue her progress. We do not have any set timeline for her progress nor do we need one. We will allow Spirit to guide us and in return we will help show her compassion and trust.

We will not be setting up meet and greets for adoptive families. Please check back to this page for a progress report on how Spirit is developing.

Help us continue our mission and donate to The Extra Mile Fund:



Latest Update (November 15, 2017): Spirit is learning a little more each day even though she continues to cringe away from us as we approach or try to touch her.  We take her out to go potty and she acts like we are chasing her, but once we are back in the house, she seeks us out to lay in the same room we are in.  She knows quite a few terms now: potty, outside, in the house, go to bed, wait, and collar.  She has three safe places: the bed, the playpen, and a pile of afghans in front of the fireplace.  She follows Chuck around and lays near him whenever she can.  Last night was our annual Halloween party.  She was in our bedroom with the gate closed, but the door cracked open so that she could hear what was going on.  Late in the evening, there were six people sitting around in the kitchen and family room.  I had taken Spirit outside and when we came back in, I released her to go back to bed, which I thought she did.  The next thing I know, she is skittering around the kitchen trying to find a hiding place where she can observe our guests loudly laughing and talking.  She was obviously uncomfortable, but continued skittering around us to stay nearby.  Chuck was tired at that point and snuggled on the couch with our neighbor girl and the next thing I know, Spirit jumps up in the couch to hang out with them.  I was so proud of her it brought tears to my eyes.  She easily could have gone back upstairs or hid in the playpen in the other room, but she chose to be around a room of strangers who were loudly laughing and talking.

Spirit foster couchUpdate (October 4, 2017): Labor Day weekend we took in a dog named Spirit. Shut down and scared of the world we were prepared for a long road ahead. Spirit spent two weeks decompressing in a quiet space meeting a select number of dogs (who she reacted well to) learning to trust a few select humans she allowed to pet her and spend time with her. As the trust built she was more curious and we felt it was time to move her down to start observing the dogs.

Spirit decided to speed things up once she was exposed to the dogs and put our plan of of sorts! We moved her into a room off the floor where the dogs play at daycare and she curiously hopped up to look out the open window and decided to head out on her own! When she made it out she headed for a safe spot (a corner) and laid down and observation week commenced.

Spirit spent the next week walking among all sorts of dog friends, sniffing dog butts, exploring outside and finding resting spots on Karunda beds or under platform tables. The staff at The Mutt Hutt kept their eyes on her at all times and continued to build her trust with humans.

We are extremely grateful to Laura who serves on our board and oversees our volunteer chaperone program and her partner Jeff. A couple months ago they lost their adopted Secondhand Mutt Doberman “RB” leaving them with a broken heart and a yellow Labrador Retriever named Chuck at home looking for a buddy. Laura was one of the few volunteers who spent the first two weeks interacting with Spirit. She and Spirit would sit in the quiet room, Laura would massage her feet and read a book by her side on the weekends and visit her during the weekday evenings.

Spirit foster poolWe felt it was time to see how Spirit would do in a home where she can rest, relax, get used to household activity, be exposed to a few cats and gobble up a meal without looking behind her in fright. Last week Spirit headed “home” with Laura and she is continuing to make progress.

“She is still extremely skittish. She can be around us in the house and has even sought us out a few times when we were in a different room. When we take her into a room we are going to be hanging out in, she will settle down in a protected area (between the sofa and coffee table) and go to sleep or just observe what’s going on” Laura reports to us after a few days having her in the home. “Loud noises in the house and neighborhood do not seem to bother her too much, which surprised me, but I am grateful for that. She has hung out with us by the fire pit in the backyard and tolerated the noise from my neighbors construction job pretty well.” she continues.

We all know Labradors love to swim and even thought swimming season is over and we don’t expect Spirit to jump in a pool anytime soon Laura and Jeff have a heated pool so it’s open in October!

“We took her into the pool area last night while our dog Chuck was swimming. She seemed intrigued that we were swimming and a little curious about the pool itself. She really wants to hang out with Chuck and he is being very tolerant of her.”

Laura and Jeff will continue to keep us updated. We have asked them to keep her for awhile to work on her sense of security, get to learn how to climb stairs, walk on a leash and get a bit more confidence in her stride than she has. We are not expecting big things quickly but this progress has certainly amazed us given it’s been less than a month since she was delivered to us by one of our volunteer transporters.

Respect the dog.

Spirit foster kitchen


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Our Adoptables Are
  • Socialized in a cage-free dog daycare environment
  • Dog-Friendly
  • Cat Tested (upon request)
  • Fostered in real homes
  • Spayed or Neutered
  • Temperament tested
  • Veterinary Health Checked
  • Fully Vaccinated
  • Distemper Vaccinated
  • Rabies Vaccinated
  • Bordetella Vaccinated
  • Heartworm Tested
  • Microchipped
  • Flea Preventative
  • Heartworm Preventative
  • Groomed prior to adoption

Services provided by
Gateway Animal Clinic

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