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Paws of Zen Foster Program

Caring for the Emotional Needs and Behavioral Challenges of our Rescued Dogs

The Recipe For Successfully Rehabilitating Our Rescue Dogs

It took many years to come up with a recipe to rehabilitate rescue dogs and we definitely put the ingredients for our recipe to work! 

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STEP 1- The Clock Stops

This is a tough one! With so many dogs being surrendered to shelters, time is a factor many dogs do not have. 

We know all too well that we cannot save all the dogs being euthanized at shelters, but what we can do is make

sure every dog we take-in to our rescue is treated as the only dog in our rescue. 

Dogs need time to decompress from the stress of coming into rescue. Many dogs suffer stress from a neglectful

past, and it takes time to understand how deep their emotional wounds go entirely. 

We make sure to give our rescue dogs their own timetable for rehabilitation.

If its a month, great, if it's a year, no problem!  We want to discover their behavioral baggage because we

want to help change their problem behaviors while they are in our care. By doing this, we see the rescue dogs

transition into their new home seamlessly and our adopters have a full understanding of the newly adopted 

dog's needs.

STEP 2- Make Them Healthy Make Them Strong! 

You've heard of healthy body healthy mind, right?  Well, when it comes to dogs or even

humans, making sure their health is in tip-top shape is very important to our group. CHR dogs

receive all their primary vet care like vaccines and spay and neuter, but additional medical care is often

needed like blood-work, urinalysis, dentals, and specialized surgeries. 


Over the many months the dogs are with us, we often find new medical issues. It usually happens within

several months of their foster care. That's because, throughout their foster care, many of the symptoms reveal

themselves, and we make sure to get the dogs treated immediately.  We don't mind; we want to make sure all of

our dogs are adopted healthy and strong. This reduces any potential unseen medical burdens on the new adopter. 

We want our adopters to know the medical history of the dog they are adopting.  

STEP 3- Five Star Resort Living

Picture this, your on vacation at the beach. No one is around for miles except you and the warm breeze from the ocean. You feel more relaxed than ever. This is how we want our rescue dogs to 

feel. We work hard to keep our dogs stress-free by letting them decompress over the months. It's the biggest reason we do not place our rescue dogs in a kennel and only use a home foster-based program. 

Fostering our dogs in a home-based setting allows us complete control over their rehabilitation. 

Every aspect of our rescue dog's day is looked over to determine the right stress-free training protocol is applied. 

Always remember, dogs by nature, want to avoid conflict. Treat your dog with kindness and respect, and you receive unconditional love from your furry friend.  

STEP 4- YUM YUM- Using Food To Modify Behavior

The Yum Yum step really falls into the health category(Step Two) but we use food as part of our rehabilitation program so intently that we wanted to give it it's own section. If you ask a dog what their top three list of important things they love most is, what do you think number one would be? FOOD, and good food at that. Healing can come from the inside so we want to make sure our rescue dogs are fed a healthy and yummy diet. 


In fact, more than half of our foster parents add a home cooked topping recipe to their dogs diet. Food is also a big part of our training program. Science now shows that using food with classical and operant conditioning can have a beneficial effect on rehabilitating dogs. Remember, earlier we mentioned we look at our rescue dogs day from dawn to dusk and implementing high quality real food sources to their behavioral training is essential.  

STEP 5-  Using Positive Reinforcement to Change Bad Behaviors to Better Behavior

Behavior Modification is so important to our rescue that we have incorporated a new dog & cat training

business which we hope will keep many companion animals away from shelters and being euthanized. 

THE LAST STEP 6-  Commitment and Love for Each Dog

It takes patience, love, and commitment to stick with the foster program here at CHR.  

Many of the dogs we take in seem like they will never get any better with their behaviors. We are very proud of our fosters for what they do; provide unconditional love to dogs that have lived neglected and painful lives. The time and commitment dedicated to our dogs is nothing more than amazing. 


Every dog is unique, special, and deserves individualized attention. We hope that one day people will realize that dogs aren't disposable, but instead magical little beings brought to us to make our lives complete and happy.  

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