Rehabilitation: A Road to Recovery – Helping People and the Pets Who Love Them

Rehabilitation: A Road to Recovery – Helping People and the Pets Who Love Them

REHABILITATION: A Road to Recovery has many turns.



Jessie, a shy sweet Labrador- Terrier mix came to Pet Haven through our Crisis Owner Surrender Program. We receive hundreds of calls and emails every year from individuals in crisis asking for our help. One of those requests was a heartbreaking letter from a woman begging us to help her and her dog Jessie. She told us the story of Jessie’s journey, and it was a long one. Jessie had arrived years ago at a local shelter as part of an animal hoarding case. She was shut down, very scared, and appeared to have little interaction with people. The shelter entered Jessie into a program to help shy dogs get adopted, and that is where her owner met her and adopted her. After spending three years together, Jessie needed help again and Pet Haven was there to help her.


Jessie’s owner was in crisis and needed to go into a mental health facility, and she knew Jessie would need the stability and care she was unable to give her. This was one of the most challenging decisions Jessie’s owner had ever made. She and Jessie had a special bond, but Jessi’s owner needed help quickly as her health was in crisis. When we received the request for support, we knew we could not turn away, but we also knew Jessie would be difficult to place in a forever home. She was a dog with special needs.


Jessie had behavioral challenges. She was painfully shy and pretty much scared of everything. Jessie would hide in her crate or under a desk or wherever she could find somewhere that felt safe away from people. She also had unpredictable reactivity towards other animals. Jessie needed rehabilitation.


We had our work cut out, but we were not going to give up on her!

Three of our incredible fosters stepped up to help Jessie. Each one was teaching her different skills she needed to become more confident and trusting. We also had help with a medical evaluation from our Veterinary partner Mission Animal Hospital that determined Jessie would be the right candidate for anti-anxiety medication. Slowly Jessie started coming out of her shell. She began to trust and find her way. Baby steps at first, where she would carefully go outside for just a few minutes to enjoy the summer sun on her face to running full speed ahead in the winter snow! Jessie had found confidence and strength in her abilities thanks to the great work of her fosters and help from Mission Animal Hospital!

But as beautiful as we all knew Jessie was, months had passed, and not one adoption application came in for her. We didnt give up hope.


After six months in foster care, an application came in February close to Valentine’s Day Jessie finally found her forever home! Jessie was adopted ​by​ an amazing family who accepted her and loved her for who she is with two adult children who are living at home while in college and two loving parents. What a lucky gal she is to be surrounded by so much love!

Being that Jessie was a shy dog that needed some extra care, we expected her transition to be​ ​slow and helped to prepare the family for the transition of Jessie to their home. We made sure she had ​all ​the things that helped her feel safe; her crate with a big plushy bed, her feeding bowls, good food, and her favorite toy​,​ pink pig​,​ that her foster Mom gave her. We were so surprised to see that Jessie had very few challenges and took to the husband quite quickly!

Right away she was enjoying her morning walks with him, even though she is not a fan of the cold!

She also settled into the house very comfortably, finding the ALL the sunny spots to stretch out in and take naps. This may not sound like a big deal ​to you ​but it is huge for Jessie. The fact that she felt comfortable enough to sleep in the sun and not retreat to her crate exemplified that she had indeed found “her family” and validated the work we do at Pet Haven.


We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to help Jessie find just the right forever family! We are also thankful to be able to help her previous owner finds peace in knowing Jessie is safe and loved.

Pet Haven’s Crisis Owner Surrender Program not only helps the beloved pet that is being surrendered but it also greatly helps the person in crisis. People in crisis do not choose to surrender their pets. They often have no other choice. Imagine having to let go of a family member, its almost impossible to think about.

People surrender their pets not because they don’t love them, its because they DO love them and want them to be safe. Knowing your beloved family member is safe and well cared for in a loving home is priceless. We don’t just help animals at Pet Haven, we help the people who love them too. Jessie’s owner was able to get the help she needed. Knowing Jessie was safe, she could focus on her health and get better.

We are able to offer our Crisis Owner Surrender Program because of the generous support we have from our Pet Haven community. With your help, we can continue providing support to owners in crisis.

Please consider a gift today.

Jessie thanks you for your support!​

From Jessie’s Family:

Jessie has been doing great! It took her a few days to get used to her surroundings, but she has been doing really well in our routine. She went with us to Mankato a couple of weeks ago and got to spend the night in a hotel with us. She did fabulously. She eats well and listens well. She gets more excited to see us each time we get up or come home. She LOVES to play. She will actually come up to us and want to roughhouse and then she’ll run around a little each night with the zoomies. She loves playing tug of war with her stuffed pig given to her by her foster Mom. She brings it to us each night. She loves to check out the neighborhood on walks and has even met some of the dogs around here. She doesn’t seem to mind them but prefers to be on her own, which works for us. Thank you for the opportunity to add her to our family. We love her. She’s a great fit. She’s a great girl.”