Mikaila Evans, dog trainer at Always & Furever Midwest Animal Sanctuary
Adopting a rescue dog gives everyone a nice warm feeling, doesn’t it? Providing shelter, food and love — what else is needed? Unfortunately, in most rescue cases a lot more is needed than the basics. The rescue organization often doesn’t know the backstory of a dog that has been dumped, abandoned, lost or surrendered. Always & Furever Midwest Animal Sanctuary in Spring Hill, Kansas, feels that every day with almost every rescue. They rescue dogs from kill shelters, accept dogs that are surrendered due to owners’ financial or health situations, and care for the strays that are found in Miami County, Kansas. And all of these dogs have their own unique personalities and history.
That’s where the amazing Always & Furever staff, and trainer, Mikaila Evans, work their magic. Each dog is evaluated, and it is determined where they fit into the current shelter mix of 19 dogs. Like people, not all dogs want to be with each other, so play groups are formed and adjusted on an almost daily basis. This allows each dog to be more comfortable and less stressed, which assists with finding their forever home. Small dogs and puppies are placed into the over 300 foster family network throughout Kansas and Missouri while some dogs are sheltered at the KCMO facility.
Mikaila Evans is responsible for coordinating all these moving parts. She is also involved with individualized dog training, establishing protocols and playgroups and attending training seminars with dogs at off-site locations. One of her major responsibilities is education about reactive dogs versus aggressive dogs. Many dogs are reactive in certain situations and communicate by growling, barking and body language. These reactions do not always mean they are aggressive; many are selective of their dog and people friends and have poor social skills. Training of the dogs and education of staff and the public helps everyone understand the challenges that these dogs face.
Sometimes it is determined that a dog’s history holds too much trauma, pain and despair to allow interaction with other dogs or to be adopted. What are the next steps when that happens? Is it a hopeless situation? Always & Furever doesn’t understand the word hopeless. These special dogs are cared for in individual suites and have extensive training and consistent staff interaction. Some are able to be absorbed into the main shelter pack, some are eventually able to be adopted, while others have an established forever home at the sanctuary.
To learn more about the everyday activities and future Homestead plans for Always & Furever Midwest Animal Sanctuary, please follow them on Facebook and Instagram or visit their website, alwaysandfurever.org.