The Pup Who Started It All

Willow'sWayDogs

My husband and I decided it was time to add another member to our family after losing our beloved pittie, Kaelin, a few years prior.  Having a good home and lots of love to give we thought it was time.  A friend who was a volunteer at Providence Animal Control told me about a sweet two-year-old pittie named Willow who needed a home, she was a stray that lived on the streets for a while.  My husband and I fell in love with her at our first meet and greet.  Now we just had to convince Ruby, our twelve-year-old pittie, that Willow was going to come live with us. After having the girls meet a few times we decided to take a leap of faith.   It was rough for a while, Ruby was struggling with all the changes and was not a fan of Willow.  The age difference was huge and at times I questioned whether or not we should re-home Willow.  My husband and I made a decision that we were going to do whatever it took to make it work.  Willow seemed to enjoy playing with other dogs so I thought it would be a good idea to enroll her in a local doggie daycare.  She could play with other dogs and come home tired, she would be happy and Ruby would be happy because Willow was tired.  This is where we met Kella and Kaylee.  Ok, so Willow wasn’t the perfect daycare dog.  She got a little overstimulated at times and needed some extra guidance from the staff.  Lucky for us Kella and Kaylee saw potential in our girl and decided to help her.  Over time Willow began to improve, the girls were always so excited to tell me how well she was doing.  Sending Willow to daycare a few days a week changed our lives, it helped our family tremendously.  We will be forever grateful for all the time, patience, and love Kella and Kaylee showed our girl.  They both helped Willow find her way…

Much love,
Melissa, Brian, Ruby, and Willow

In our lives, Kaylee and I have met and fallen in love with a great deal of dogs.  We try not to play favorites, but there are a few individuals, we must admit, who hold a truly special place in our hearts.  Willow, the namesake and inspiration for our business, is a beautiful, hard-working, rambunctious, and above all, loving dog who taught me as much as I taught her.  When Willow started coming to the daycare where I was working, I had no idea of the impact she would have.  Like so many rescue dogs who weren’t raised in the right conditions, Miss Willie needed some help learning to socialize in a safe and friendly way.  Though she desperately wanted to play with other dogs, she was quickly overstimulated and her communication skills were rusty.  Over time, Kaylee and I learned where Willow’s threshold for excitement was and she learned to keep herself under it.  We learned what type of dog personality she played best with and she learned to effectively communicate with her playmates.  Much of Willow’s learning was my learning, too.  Her unstoppable progress and her eagerness to be good fueled my own desire to learn about dog behavior and training.  Her evolution, from watching other dogs through the fence, to learning to properly meet new dogs, to playing one on one, and to finally joining in the entire group was astounding.

Willow has two of the most loving, dedicated parents a dog could have.  They have set her up for success in every way possible and have given her and several other rescued pit bulls such full and happy lives.  Willow’s story is one that we want to reproduce over and over again.  We want to give every dog the opportunity to go through a transformation like hers, to be able to live a happier, healthier life.  We want to do this with patience, understanding, and love – the way Willow taught us.

Sincerely, Kella

P.S.  In 2020, with the help of her incredibly dedicated mom, Willow became a certified therapy dog with Paws from the Heart and now works with the PVD Pups Program.  You can find her at TFGreen Airport providing comfort and smiles to anxious passengers.  Willow also tags along with her mom Melissa in her volunteer work with the RISPCA and Providence Animal Control.  Melissa was awarded the “Animals’ Best Friend Award” from the RI Veterinary Medical Associate in December 2019 for her tireless work with shelter dogs.  We are so lucky to know this amazing duo!