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‘Adopt Don’t Shop’: West Hartford Resident Advocates Rescuing Dogs

Photo courtesy of Debbie Sheridan

‘Adopt don’t Shop!’ is the motto that West Hartford resident Debbie Sheridan encourages as she tries to get dogs adopted one walk at a time. 

Tiger is a beautiful young girl. Striking to look at. Easy going Anyone would want to scoop her up! (Photo Credit: Debbie Sheridan)

By Maddie Geerlof

For one West Hartford resident, taking dogs on walks means so much more than doing a chore; it is a second chance for dogs to live a happy life.

Debbie Sheridan, who runs a dog-training business called Debbie’s 4 Dogs, has started a new campaign with the Simon Foundation Inc., a no-kill animal shelter in Bloomfield. After volunteering with the shelter for nearly two years, Sheridan now takes some of the dogs on walks so that they can interact with the public and, hopefully, find their forever homes.

“I want to bring these dogs out and show them to people,” said Sheridan. Through social media as well as snout-to-face interactions, Sheridan works relentlessly to raise awareness about shelter animals and advises people to “adopt don’t shop!”

Sheridan said, “I would love for more people to adopt from shelters,” and she added that she is a proud dog parent of three rescue dogs herself.

“My mission is to make a difference in a dog’s life,” said Sheridan. Since dogs don’t speak our language, she added, Sheridan has made it her goal to advocate for man’s best friends.

Sheridan’s involvement with the shelter began with a simple inquiry about a dog she was looking into adopting. Since then, she has spent many hours volunteering at the shelter, taking the dogs on walks, and helping to train them to make them ready for adoption.

Not only does Sheridan work hard to get dogs out of shelters, but she tries to be proactive in avoiding getting them there in the first place. Through education about positive training, Sheridan encourages dog parents to get a trainer who will coach both the owner and the dog so that they can grow together.

“If more people realized the [importance of positive rewards],” explained Sheridan, “they could teach their dog how to see the world in a better light instead of them landing in a shelter.”

In addition to advocating for dogs, Sheridan also promotes positive training for dogs through her business, which she has been running for about four years.

So far, Sheridan has been able to bring fours dogs out on walks. Out of the four, two of the dogs have been adopted and many individuals have shown interest in the other two.

If you are interested in learning more about Debbie’ 4 Dogs, or adopting one of the pooches listed below, more information is available at http://www.debbies4dogs.weebly.com/ or on her Facebook page, Debbie’s 4 Dogs.

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Sprocket is all black and shiny with a gorgeous face. Big nice guy! (Photo credit: Debbie Sheridan)

Nelson is an eight-month-old ball of love from the south. Plot hound mix wants to make you happy (Photo Credit: Debbie Sheridan)

Next is Happy. He’s been at the shelter (from the south) for a while. He is 4 or 5 years old with beautiful eyes and a sweet old soul. Very dear to Sheridan’s heart (Photo credit: Debbie Sheridan).

Lucia is 3. Came from the south. Was in an accident. Owners left her at a shelter. She needed surgery. Removal of leg. She does perfectly well without it. Another hiker! She is timid around new dogs at first but then opens up. Very nice girl! Nice size. About 30 lbs (Photo Credit: Debbie Sheridan).

Lucia is 3. Came from the south. Was in an accident. Owners left her at a shelter. She needed surgery. Removal of leg. She does perfectly well without it. Another hiker! She is timid around new dogs at first but then opens up. Very nice girl! Nice size. About 30 lbs (Photo Credit: Debbie Sheridan)

Ashari is the cutest and most gentle pit ever! Would love to be someone’s couch potato for cuddling through The Game of Thrones! (though walks are good for all). She adores cuddles and rolls in the cool grass (Photo Credit: Debbie Sheridan)

Sheba is a big beautiful white Pyrenees maybe 4. She was found here in Connecticut and sadly no one ever claimed her. She’s great with all dogs and people. (Photo Credit: Debbie Sheridan)

Yukon (you can see a lovely video of him on my Debbie’s 4 Dogs Facebook page) is an 8-month-old handsome pit mix. He’s learning not to jump. Playful and sweet. So smart! (Photo credit: Debbie Sheridan)

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Maddie Geerlof

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