Nancy Bown strives to bring harmony to dogs and owners

DEBORAH WHEELER 267-4555 | @WaltonSunDeb dwheeler@waltonsun.com

Nancy Bown was already doing canine training and consulting, and she runs a doggy daycare service in Santa Rosa Beach.

So, the next step of establishing Dog Harmony was a natural move.

Through Dog Harmony Bown takes canines that need a home, and after working with them and doing some training, places them in the "right" home for them.

"Too many times, a family adopts a pet and it turns out to be not a good fit and results in the pet not being wanted," she said. "I was shocked at how many people kept calling and asking if I could take their dog. And, this is a transient community made up of lots of people who move in and move out."

Bown said the difference with Dog Harmony as opposed to a larger rescue organization is that she does home visits and training to assure a good fit.

Bown grew up in Destin and has been in the area for 50 years. She has worked with veterinarians and has been offering training and consulting for 10 years.

Four years ago she opened Doggy Daycare and founded Dog Harmony last year.

"I take dogs from a shelter or from owners who cannot keep them, and figure out what their strengths are and find them a home. I then continue to train them when they go to a home and make sure it really is a good fit." she said.

Part of the training she does is bite prevention. While she does not accept aggressive dogs, she said that many times people will surrender dogs where if there is training, the dog is not aggressive.

The process of placing her canines takes three weeks for her to get to know the animal and family.

Last year she placed 25 dogs in new homes and this year her goal is to place 60.

Bown's adoption fees are usually $125 for an adult dog, and $175 for a puppy.

Most of the dogs she gets and potential adopters come to her via word of mouth or veterinarian referrals.

She is now expanding her reach via Facebook and Pet Finder.

To help her in the venture Bown has set up a board of directors.

One project she is working on is obtaining a chip reader to help lost dogs be reunited with their families.

"Most of the time when a dog is lost is on the weekend when chip readers are not available. If we had one, it would be helpful in helping reunite them with their families, especially during the busy tourist season when many get lost," said Bown.

The chip reader she is looking at costs $200.

Bown depends on private donations, volunteers, and fundraising in her endeavor.

One of her fundraisers will be at Gulf Place on March 26 with a street party and Easter Egg Hunt for dogs. The event is free except for a $5 fee for the Easter Egg Hunt.

Visit Bown's page at dog-harmony.org, email her at dog-harmony@hotmail.com, and she is on Facebook.