Canine rescue celebrates first anniversary

Staff Writer
Walton Sun
George, one of the first recruits at Dog-Harmony.

Dog-Harmony, a Santa Rosa Beach-based canine rescue, has received approval for 501(c)3 public charity status.

Nancy Bown, CPDT-KA, who founded Dog-Harmony, said, “We didn’t expect to receive our 501(c)3 status so soon; however, due to the diligent work of our volunteers we are very excited to be moving ahead.”

Dog-Harmony’s mission is to coordinate compatible matches between canines in need with well-suited human companions, and provide education and training to ensure a devoted, life-time union.

“We chose to celebrate our 501(c)3 standing along with our one-year anniversary by throwing a birthday party for one of our earliest recruits, George," Bown said. "George had belonged to a single mom who had her hands full with two young children and sadly George was relegated to being tethered in the yard and fed Ramen Noodles before being surrendered to Dog-Harmony. We raised the funds to take care of getting him neutered and thoroughly checked by a vet. George instantly won over our hearts and it was only a week or two before he found his happy, forever home. Luckily for us, he lives locally and we get to see him often.”

To date, Dog-Harmony has successfully re-homed as many as 20 dogs from varying circumstances with little to no funding. They expect the number to at least triple by the end of 2015. Many of their success stories can be viewed on their website at Calls for help are constant and Dog-Harmony is trying it’s best to keep up with demand, but falls short on space and necessary funds.

"So far, we’ve been relying on foster situations for these dogs, but ultimately it would be of enormous benefit to have our own facility where we can house these dogs, somewhere they can go if they require a quarantine period, and space where I can work with them. Many dogs are relinquished at shelters because of a behavioral problem the owners gave up on. But the fact is all pets need some training or retraining — as well as patience and commitment — to become cooperative, enjoyable members of your household.”

Lorraine Sloan, also of Dog-Harmony said, “We value our community and recognize people tend to support that which they help to create. Community involvement is our life-line to success and we would love to have the community come on-board with this project and share their wisdom and talents. We are badly in need of capital and helping hands, we work totally on a volunteer basis and depend on donations. Gifts can be made through our website and if you would like to come volunteer with us, please contact us through our site.”

Nancy Bown is a Destin native and graduated with a BA from the University of West Florida, and is a graduate of the Animal Behavior College with a certification in dog training. She is also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer — Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, a Canine Good Citizen evaluator, and evaluator for Intermountain Therapy Animals. Bown has attended the Karen Pryor Academy and is a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College. She specializes in canine communication and socialization and teaches Puppy Start Right through to advanced therapy training courses.