All it took was one look from a lonesome and "unwanted" pup, and luxury kennel club public relations representative Carol Skaziak was finished with pet kennels for good. The Philadelphia native had noticed that some pet owners were bringing their pets to her kennel for a "visit" but then abandoning them for good — and the thought was just too heartbreaking to bear. Using her anger and sadness as motivation, Skaziak got out of the kennel business and started a nonprofit of her own — the Throw Away Dogs Project — to help left-behind animals get a new start.
Like the name suggests, the Throw Away Dogs Project helps dogs who have been abandoned find a new place in the world through special training. Skaziak's idea came to life after she met Jason Walters, a police officer whose loyal K9 partner had been just one day away from being put down before he was donated to Walter's police department. After several months of training, the dog was not only inducted as an official member of the K9 team, but as a member of Walter's loving family at home, as well. Inspired by the dog's story — and heartbroken at the thought of the many pups waiting for adoption who might be lost to euthanization, Skaziak asked Walters in 2014 if he'd join her on her mission to help "misunderstood" dogs find a new purpose. Now, Skaziak trains a variety of these dogs in hopes of finding them a forever home that sticks.
The Throw Away Dogs Project
"Throw Away Dogs helps misunderstood dogs so they can have a second chance and a job to help out the community," Skaziak said in an email to Woman's World. "We train our dogs to become police K9 working dogs, police scent detection dogs, service dogs for veterans, service dogs for people with disabilities and medical issues, and emotional support dogs."
What a beautiful mission! Of course, Skaziak gives the pups time to get acclimated before they're tossed into training. Once Throw Away Dogs rescues a pooch, it's protocol to wait until the pup is comfortable and relaxed. During this time, the dog is taken to the vet for a wellness check and is updated on vaccines. Once the pup is cleared to train, Throw Away Dogs begins to train the shelter dog to be a "Green Dog" — a dog that has the potential to be a police dog, which means he or she has the instincts and nerves to do police-type work. After the pooch graduates from K9 school, he or she will be placed with a K9 police department.
And don't worry about the pups failing out of K9 school. If a dog fails out, Skaziak takes the pooch back to brush up on basic training and decide if the dog should be sent to another K9 department — or adopted into a family's home.
"We just finished training our first Pit Bull, Wildflower," Skaziak said. "She is now a fully trained Narcotic Detection Dog and will be donated on Sunday, March 18, to the Chief of Police of Wetumka Oklahoma Police Department and will be the first rescue Pit Bull working police K9 in Oklahoma."
Skaziak said her next rescue dog will be trained to become a seizure alert dog for a non-verbal five-year-old girl. Could you imagine a more important task for a dog who otherwise might not have had a chance?
To learn more about this inspiring program and how you can support its efforts, visit the Throw Away Dogs Project website.