Sometimes, dogs have an extended stay at the Gateway Pet Guardians Emergency Shelter. But shelter life can be hard, especially when it’s longer term. To help dogs deal with this stress, we created the Shelter Guardian Program nearly three years ago. This program is designed to enhance the lives of shelter animals by pairing them with a volunteer for socialization, training, enrichment and adoption exposure.

Last November, Audrey Hepburn officially became a member of the Gateway Pet Guardians family. This gorgeous girl is about a year old and the perfect medium size, weighing around 45 pounds. She’s been living at the shelter for the past several months. But her Shelter Guardian has been pouring her heart and soul into helping this sweet girl thrive.

Taylor Snead became Audrey’s Shelter Guardian almost two months ago. She saw Audrey struggling, and couldn’t say no. “Audrey Hepburn struggles at the shelter, even more than most dogs do. I saw that, and saw that she needed someone with experience to work with her and give her a chance. As a Shelter Guardian I choose to be an advocate for the underdogs, so I knew I wanted to be her Shelter Guardian.”

In the beginning, Taylor described Audrey as stubborn. It took a few weeks for them to get to know one another, and communicate and set boundaries. But Audrey is so smart, and she’s eager to please once she gets to know you. Within a week or two of them working together, they already saw progress. Taylor says, “Audrey (a notorious door-dasher at the shelter) sat patiently the minute I approached her kennel – no command needed, she just knew that was what I expected. Since that breakthrough, we’ve worked together on ‘off’, hand targeting, leash reactivity, and more. She has proved to be well-behaved on trips to dog-friendly stores and cuddly in the Real Life Room. I gave her a chance, and she rose to meet me as one of the smartest and sweetest dogs I’ve worked with at the shelter.”

We cannot thank our Shelter Guardians enough for their commitment to the pups residing at our shelter. Thank you, Taylor, for being Audrey Hepburn’s special person, and making her stay at the shelter more enjoyable. If you’d like to learn more about our Shelter Guardian Program and be an advocate for a shelter dog like Audrey, visit www.gatewaypets.com/volunteer and become a shelter volunteer. After 20+ hours of volunteering at our shelter, you are eligible to become a Shelter Guardian and enrich the lives of some very deserving dogs! And if you’d like to adopt the beautiful Audrey Hepburn, visit www.gatewaypets.com/adopt and fill out an application today!