WHITEHALL DOG RESCUE
In June 2012 Whitehall was approached by Todd Henderson, a Tv producer in America. He had seen a recent newspaper article in which Brian had said the person he would most like to meet in the world was the world renowned Dog Trainer – Cesar Millan.
Todd, a producer for Cesar asked us if Whitehall would consider taking part in a new 12 part series that Cesar was filming. The series was to be called leader of t he pack and involved taking unrehomable dogs that possessed serious behavioural issues or who had suffered traumatic pasts, to Cesars centre in Madrid. Here the dogs would work with Cesar and be rehabilitated. Upon rehabilitation, Cesar along with the rescue, would choose from 3 candidates who had applied to adopt the dog in question. The dog would then find its forever home with the successful candidate.
We jumped at the chance to work with the legendary Cesar and at the publicity it would give our cause. With the rescue world busier than ever with unwanted dogs and very few being adopted, the opportunity to show the masses just how wonderful these recue dogs can be and that with a little work, behavioural issues can be sorted, was just too good an opportunity to miss.
All of our dogs went up for selection but the two that were decided upon were Storm and Harry.
Storm is a Blue Thai Ridgeback Dog approx 2-3 years old. Its unknown the true past of Storm but his behaviour would indicate he had suffered extreme abuse at some point in his life. Storm was as such aggrephobic. He was afraid of the big wide world and of strangers, particularly men. Storm would shiver and shake outside of the rescue or if anyone he didn’t know approached him. This made life difficult for Storm. Whilst he was content in the shelter, it made it impossible to re-home him and the whole world was scary for him.
Harry is a basset hound cross who was sadly left behind alone in the house after his owner died. Many people do not give much consideration as to what will happen if they were to pass on before their dog. Harry settled in nicely at the rescue but he showed one very negative behavioural problem. This was when Harry initially met other dogs. Whilst he loved to play when he got to know the dog, his initial response was to attack any new dog. This meant that Harry could not be let off the lead and had to be muzzled when out walking. This coupled with his older age made it very hard to re-home Harry and he was actually returned twice from good homes for his behaviour.
In June we travelled on the ferry to Madrid with Storm and Harry. The ferry was ideal to travel with dogs having self service kennels and a walking area on the top of the boat. We spent most of our time on the top of the boat gazing out over the horizon with Storm and Harry.
Upon arriving in Spain we embarked upon the long drive to Madrid. We stopped periodically to walk the dogs and eat. The dogs enjoyed being spoilt with steaks and sausages at the local restauants.
We arrived in Madrid with the dogs where they were allowed to stay with us in the hotel until they settled in. We travelled daily to the centre to work with Cesar and his helpers Pomi and Cheri.
The centre was an amazing place, like a Spanish version of Whitehall. There were acres of land with agility courses and swimming pools for the dogs to cool down in. Like Whitehall, the dogs were out in dog runs between walks and training sessions and on a night they either returned with us to the hotel or back to Cesar, Cheri or Pomis apartments.
Working with Cesar was an amazing experience and we learned so much that we will take with us to help more troubled dogs in the future. Cesar was patient, humble and welcoming. His ability to read the dogs was astounding. One thing that struck us was how much Cesar actually cared for the welfare of the dogs. For example with Storm, the cameras were told by Cesar to stand well back as to not frighten Storm and if the cameras missed a certain display of behaviour, it was tough, they had missed it. Cesar was very insistant that no display of behaviour would be repeated for the sake of the cameras, this would be unfair on the dog he stated and also damage the rehabilitation if he did not correct the behaviour as it occurred.
We met all of Cesar’s pack, Junior the pitbull being the star of the pack. It was evident to see how well cared for Cesar’s pack were and just how much they adored their leader.
We cannot give too much away from the show until it airs at some point this year, but we can tell you the dogs were cared for to the highest standard and both dogs were successfully rehabilitated and found their perfect forever home.
Cesar will be touring the UK in April 2013. To see his show you can book tickets online for the City Hall performance on 12th April at