Thanks to local dog whisperer Linda Watson, soon stray dogs will be able to find loving homes, as she is working towards opening a shelter in Sooke.
The shelter is still in the planning stages, but is hoped to be opened by next summer. Watson explained that right now she is just working towards getting the proper amount of funding to either lease out a property, or build the shelter.
She got the idea to open up a shelter after her newest rescue dog attacked another dog, and bit her when she tried to break it up. Watson said this was because the shelter she got her dog from did not provide it with proper help before it was put up for adoption.
Watson currently has three rescue dogs, and explained that often shelters don’t assess and rehabilitate the dogs properly before adopting them out.
“There are some rescues unfortunately that are all about money and just want the adoption fees, and they are releasing dangerous dogs into the community,” said Watson. “We got the write up on my one dog saying she loves everybody, loves kids and cats, and the very first day we had her she attacked another dog. This can’t happen. I think it’s reckless and careless for shelters to be selling dogs that aren’t ready to be released yet.”
Watson said at her shelter, the dogs will come in and spend six to eight weeks with her before being adopted out. This will ensure the dogs are fully rehabilitated, and will also allow Watson to get to know the dogs well enough to pair them with a suitable family.
“Not every dog will be good with cats, not every dog will be good with children, and I think it’s just a matter of knowing what dogs need,” she said. “I really want to assess them and understand each dog’s psychology.”
She hopes the shelter will be large enough to house 20 to 30 dogs minimum at a time, and said it will help prevent unnnessesary euthanization for strays.
Watson has worked a lot of different jobs, but explained that dogs are her passion, and her goal is to create harmony and balance between dogs and their owners.
“Dogs don’t lie, they are all about energy. They are the most loyal creatures on the planet, and to me they are the purest form of innocence. All they want is love,” said Watson.
A fundraiser was recently held at Ed McGregor park in support of the shelter, which featured live music, food trucks, a silent auction and more.
“I am very grateful for the amount of support that the Sooke community has given me,” said Watson. “I just want the community to be safe and to have healthy, happy, balanced dogs.”