Shelter Spotlight: Havanese Angel League Organization for Rescue

Havanese Angel League Organization for Rescue was the first-place winner of the 2016 1-800-PetMeds Cares™ National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week Contest. You can learn more about the contest here.

Havanese Angel League Organization for Rescue logo

The Havanese Angel League Organization for Rescue (HALO) was founded in 2002 to rescue and care for Havanese dogs, mostly former puppy mill dogs. In that time, the group has saved close to 1,200 Havanese.

The all-volunteer group focuses on pulling Havanese dogs from puppy mills across the U.S. These dogs may be puppies that have become too old to sell at a pet store, or they might be former breeding moms that are no longer considered profitable by the mill.

HALO rehabilitates these dogs and puts them in foster homes, where the former puppy mill dogs can learn to live in a home with a family. The fosters work with the dogs to help them experience the normal routines of living in a home and teach them to trust people, learning about the dogs’ personalities and needs to better match each with a forever home.

The dogs can be adopted out by families across the U.S. and Canada, but an adopter must be willing to travel to wherever the dog is fostered to pick it up. HALO believes an adopter should meet the dog in the environment where the pet is most comfortable to get an accurate impression of the pet’s personality. It is equally important that the dog gets to meet its adopters in the one place it has learned to trust humans.

Puppy mill dogs have lived significant portions of their lives in cages with little to no human interaction. Because of this, many puppy mill rescues will require extra time to adjust to being family pets. The dogs may have trouble with training and their overall confidence. HALO offers a mentoring program to new adopters, matching them with experienced HALO members to help the families transition their new pets into family life.

The ASPCA estimates there are up to 10,000 puppy mills across the U.S., producing dogs to sell to unsuspecting buyers in pet shops and online. The dogs in these mills are often kept in unsanitary and cramped conditions, and some dogs will spend their entire lives in wire cages hardly larger than their bodies. Visit this video about former breeder dog Regina to learn more about puppy mills.

Wyatt is one of the nearly 1,200 Havanese dogs that HALO has rescued over the years.

Wyatt, a purebred Havanese looking for a home through HALO.

Wyatt is a sweet and shy little 10 lb boy who looks like a teddy bear. He was rescued from a puppy mill by HALO one year ago and has been in his foster home working on adjusting to life as a family pet. Before his rescue, he spent 8 years in a cage at a puppy mill. His only experiences with humans were scary and negative. He had never walked on grass or felt an affectionate touch. Wyatt has come a long way but needs two things in his forever home so that he can fully blossom. He needs another dog who can show him how to fully trust people and be brave. Secondly, he needs a special person who will love him for who he is, but patiently and lovingly work with him to achieve his full potential.

To learn more about Wyatt or apply to adopt him, visit HALO’s website and download the application. HALO is a foster-based rescue for Havanese dogs with dogs located in many states, primarily in the northeast and Midwest.

About author

Erin Gleeson

Erin Gleeson is the Outreach Specialist at 1-800-PetMeds® and works with the 1-800-PetMeds Cares donations program. She has loved animals as long as she can remember and has worked in several veterinary offices in the past as a veterinary technician. She has one cat, Kitsy, and frequently fosters kittens for a local rescue group. You can also find Erin on Google+.

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