Episode 25 – Dr. Lynne Swanson, Safe Harbor Farm K9 Rescue & Rehabilitation Center

25 Dr. Lynne Swanson_FB 25 Dr. Lynne Swanson_FB   Dr. Lynne is the person responsible for the routines and policies that make Safe Harbor Farm K9 Rescue & Rehabilitation Center, in coastal North Carolina, a notably peaceful, supportive and fun place to be a dog in transition. Her background includes work as a veterinarian, veterinary technician, trainer, shelter worker, and long-time rescuer, she has spent most of her fifty-plus years living and working with groups of twenty to forty dogs at a time. Dr. Lynne’s first book, “Learning DOG,” helps shelter personnel, rescuers, veterinary staff, and trainers in seven countries, and she is proud to be part of an educational effort that recognizes the many things humans can learn from their canine companions. To learn more about Dr. Lynne and Safe Harbor Farm, you can visit their website, www.safeharborfarm.org/ To purchase Learning Dog, you can find it here, http://learningdog.us/ To purchase Smile!, you can find it here, http://givesmiles.us/ Welcome to the Professionals and Animal Rescue podcast, where goal is to introduce you to amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with animal rescue. This’ll Podcast is proudly sponsored by Joubert dot com. Do Bert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relate Transport. Now on with our show in today’s program, we’re speaking with Dr Lynn Swanson. Dr. Lin is the person responsible for the routines and policies that make safe Harbor Farm Canine Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in coastal North Carolina, a notably peaceful, supportive and fun place to be a dog in transition. Her background includes worked as a veterinarian, veterinarian, technician, trainer, shelter worker and longtime rescuer. She spent most of her 50 plus years living and working with groups of 20 to 40 dogs at a time. Dr Linz first book learning dog health, shelter personnel, rescuers, veterinary staff and even trainers and seven countries. And she’s proud to be part of an educational effort that recognizes the many things humans can learn from their canine companions, her favorite breeds or Dover mints and Shalala’s Hey Lynn Welcome to the program. So start by telling us a little bit about you. Well, I’m a product of a mother who loves animals, especially dogs, of which we had a couple of dozen at a time. All beloved family members throwing up and father who believed in learning and giving back to our community. My father was a early childhood learning specialist. I graduated vet school at Cornell, uh, up in New York in 1986 and they taught me how to be humble in my knowledge, the better to learn from my patients. And I think it was a good lesson. Well, that’s great. So now how did that How did that all come about? That you went from being a vet now to doing animal rescue? It was, because of the age of 37. Experienced my second bout of temporary paralysis. The result of Ah, horseback riding accident when I was 17 had a horse roll over my head, pushing me in the mud so fast forward 20 years, and I was lying on the couch, too weak to do anything but sort through my mail when I came across a rescue bulletin talking about trap neuter return. And it was my first exposure to any sort of well organized, large scale rescue, and I was totally hooked. I decided then that should I get my strength back, I would absolutely try and help animals that didn’t come with owners attached. Well, that’s great. So now that led you into the wonderful world of animal rescue. So how did you go from that into starting up safe harbor? Oh, wow. That was many, many years of, of experiences. I mean, I was always into rescue one at a time. Me. At the time, my first rescue was a pony main sugar situation where myself and my best friend, Robin, decided to skip a day of high school. And we showed up at the barn of a lady who had a truly pathetically thin little Shetland pony named Sugar. And as Robin, the coward hit in the woods, I walked out into the woods, walked up to this woman and handed her a $50 bill, and she looked at me and like, Well, what’s this for? And as I was snapping, ah, lead on the ponies halter. I looked her right in the eye, and I said I bought you a pony. Turn around, Look back into the woods the whole time looking at Robin’s face, hiding in the woods, looking at the end and mouthing to her. Is she following me walking? Keep walking. So the next thing you know where we’re walking this poor, pathetic pony, Um, three miles down Taconic State Parkway, which is a fairly busy parkway. Ah, home. Uh, and once I got home, I sat back and waited for my parents to come home. Unfortunately, my mom came home first because she was just like, Oh, my gosh, before party, What do we need to do? And the next thing the two of us were doing was taking all of my dad’s lawn mowing equipment and all of his tools out of his tool shed, put him on the lawn and building a little barn for the pony. At that point, the two of us sat back and waited for Dad to come home. And, of course, when dad came home, it wasn’t a happy camper, he said, like what’s in the backyard? Oh, Daddy, that sugar. I know it’s sugar. What is she doing in the backyard? And, uh Well, fast forward. It was the first time. And he guaranteed me the last time I ever got what I wanted by crying. And, uh, so Sugar State and, you know, that might seem like, Well, nice little story if you’re living on 60 acres in the country. We had 3/4 of an acre in the housing development in Westchester County. Well, the good thing is, we actually had sugar for about seven years before the building inspector found out we had very understandable neighbors. They absolutely loved her. They also love the chickens we had illegally. Ah, But when the building inspector finally was notified by somebody new who moved into the area, he walked down the driveway with tears running down his face, mumbling how much he hated his job. And it really wasn’t him telling us we had to get rid of our pony on Oh, my gosh. And the pork. I was so upset. I just asked him. I said, Look, do you want to meet her? Oh, yeah. Can I need our please? He was so nice. And of course, Sugar went to live with a veterinarian that I was working for. So good for sugar every happy story. But, um, yeah, I thought I’d definitely told me that was the last time in my entire life I would ever get what I wanted by crying. And he was right Now you mentioned that you mentioned in the introduction that you guys had a dozen dogs when you’re grown up about two dozen at a time. My mom show dogs and I wasn’t really into, you know, the whole confirmation thing. I mean, I did a little junior showmanship, but I was into obedience. When I was introduced to obedience, I was hooked, so I would get the CDs on all the dogs. That’s a companion dog degree. And she would get the championships. And these We didn’t have a candle. You know, these guys were family members, they work throughout the house. And, um, it was it was pretty cool. It was pretty cool. Very cool. So now that started your love of dog and dog behaviour. Now, how did that now turn into a career partisan? Actually incorporate? I’m retired. I’ve been retired since you know that episode when I was 37. I guess I get to give back and do what I like todo as a volunteer. Ah, and the work is its own reward. But oh, my gosh. Back in 2000 about 2000 or so, I wound up missing a ferret. Well, I was a full time motor homer, first of all for ah, year and 1/2 because I when I was very sick, I told my veterinary practice I sold my horse farm. I sold my house and me and a whole bunch of cats and dogs fit into a motor home. And for the year, we kind of traveled around. I kind of live like eternal, You know, that if I was feeling up to doing things, the legs came out and we moved. And if I wasn’t feeling up to it, we would just kind of stay in one place until I was able to do a little bit more. And we round up stopping at a lot of animal shelters. Um, where I would kind of introduce myself and let him know that Yes, I was a veterinarian, and I’d be happy to help as much as I can. But more than anything else, I was a student, you know, I wanted I asked them. I said, Look, teach me what works at your shelter and why it works and teach me what doesn’t work. And please let me learn from your mistakes so I don’t make because when I graduated Cornell, I mean, that was 86. People didn’t use the word vet and shelter in the same paragraph level in the same sentence. Of course, that’s different now. That’s very different now. But I did not have much of an education in shelters and in trying to stretch things and and work with such large volumes of animals and try to do the best with such very little help from the community. This was something that it kind of picked up. We were going along, and so for that year, that was my shelter, education, going to different shelters up and down the East Coast, mostly, and learning from them, um, and kind of giving back. And then I missed the ferry in North Carolina one evening and wound up staying, and then was approached to a bunch of people who were rescuing or doing trap neuter return with a bunch of kiddies. Ah, and decided to stay, try to help him out. That more into the buying another motor home. So the first motor home became a mobile spay neuter clinic. Other surgeons were involved because, I mean, I still was very weak with my hands. I wasn’t very physically capable at the time, but I had the means to help these people out. And they were really good people. And, um, we went up against some dog fighters. They sabotaged stay neuter clinic by pouring gasoline in the water tank. Ah, one evening when it was parked and nobody was around. Ah, and a lot of people would have said, You know what? We’ve gotta leave. Count. We’ve got some bad guys after us. Not us were kind of like Jack Russell terriers at your ankles. Way said. Oh, really? Okay, guess what? You didn’t guarantee. Where does Jay here and ah, a bunch of people then bought, uh, some property and that became safe Harbor Farm. So I was just one of a number of people, but there were some really good people. Wow, That is quite the interesting story. So now you started safe harbor. Did the book come along with that, or was that something that occurred later. We had a lot of visitors to safe harbor make the same comment on that comment was always, Wouldn’t you do it? Guys, your dogs. They’re so quiet. There is so well behaved. Get along together. How can you have 20 to 40 dogs in the group? And they’re all like she’s in the best kindergarten class ever. You know, What are you doing? And of course, the answer to that question wasn’t something we could answer in 10 words, and we really wanted to help others do some really good stuff. So we started a little conference called Rescue Me that became a two day conference and then a 2.5 day conference called Learning Dog. The lecture notes of the Learning Dog Conference became the first book, also called Learning Dog, and that was, of course, geared to shelter personnel and rescuers, veterinary staff and vets. They got C e credit for it in a lot of state. The trainer said, Hey, can we come? We said yes, definitely the more than barrier Please come boarding and, um, day care personnel said, Can we come to it? Said yes. So it was an awesome audience because everybody was coming with such different experience. But they were all coming because of an interest in learning more about the dogs. And I was fortunate. I got to stand up in front of the room talking with everybody and watching those little light bulbs go off. You know, those little ah ha moments when they realized that there really complex questions had super super simple answers rooted in fossil routines rooted in another standing of canine body language, uh, rooted in and awareness and appreciation of species differences. Cast are small dogs, all guards, small people, you know. They all communicate differently. They have different social cues. We honored that. Ah, and again the routines that we had to exercise so many dogs in a way that, you know, one or two volunteers to do it in a couple of hours and would form bonds between the dogs would address issues like barking and aggression. And all the other label given to these dogs when they came to us were quickly shed when the dogs realized Wow, I’m safe here. Oh, okay. I know what’s expected of me. Oh, I know who to follow. I know who is going to take care of my needs. It was like when the dogs came to us, our routine answered the same questions that they had that were similar to say, any kindergarten kid on the first day of school, you know, we sent our dogs up for success. And so the conference and in the book gave us the means to help others do the exact same thing. Uh and then the people who came to the Learning Dog Conference and turned around and said, This is awesome, This is great. But now we need something that we can give to our training give to our clients, recommend to our family and friends. And that was pretty cool because we it had been a couple of years since morning Dog came out and we were able to sit back and take all of the learning dog material pertinent to the general public as opposed to facilities, and then expand upon it to balance human psychology and canine psychology. Because the bottom line is, if people are unhappy, they’re dogs are going to be unhappy. E really, really is the bottom line. And because we everything we were doing was smile days, you know, because if you have a treat in your hand, where’s your dog? Focus on the treat. Exactly where’s the key level? Is energy level Gonna be excited so you can’t reward multiple dogs or a calm dog or a dog that you want to re board for focusing on you with a treat? You know, we want to focus on us. So we rewarded all the com wonderful behaviors, the right energy, the right states of nine with a relaxing smile. And it was getting us so far. And the feedback to the people involved was tremendous. Were like, Wow, you know what? Smiles decrease your blood pressure. They relax your shoulders, they help you shed tension, they trigger your endorphin release, Want something here doesn’t close. And the science supports what we’re talking about, what we’re doing. So that’s why we came up. That’s why I wrote smile. That’s really cool. So learning dog kind of started out more from the animal welfare professional site rights or rescues and shelters and things like that, and then smile like you said, it’s more geared towards the general public. Yeah, and when people say, Well, I do rescue. Which book should I read first in general? I telling to read Smile first because we had so much more time to make it what it is. And then if they said, Well, I’m not a facility and we’ve got some really tough facility related issues, whether it’s a shelter or a boarding facility, those folks, I say Pick up learning dog first, you know, Then if you decide to read the other book, it’s gonna be a great review, and it will expand upon what you just read to very cool. So tell us a little bit about smell. How’s it organized? What will people learn when they, when they read it well, got 32 chapters and on our website, give smiles dot us? I put in chapter excerpts. Each chapter has an excerpt that really gives people on impression of what what is included actually can hear going toe Not too far. Can I read from the back of it? Sure, All right, so it says, seeking a practical approach to solving issues with your dog. Smile and enjoy the dogs you always wanted. Mile immerses you in canine culture in a manner that provides incredible insight into human behaviour. It is about reducing tension, communicating clearly, leading the way and honoring pivotal differences. It is about practicing kindness, dumping bad habits and finding happiness. It is about the energy we share, and the state of mind behind that energy is about letting go of the stuff that isn’t working. And it is a dog team work. If you equate training your dogs with frustration and failure, fear not. This book common sense canine Javy model based approach will be a great help, and it will bring enjoyment and meaning into your life. After all, if you aren’t happy, your dogs can’t be their best. So we wanted to put together something that people who are working with trainers of all styles and people who weren’t it would never goto a trainer because they knew it all that they would equally see themselves on the pages. That was really, really important to me, because before writing these two books, I wrote a couple of mysteries. So you know, when you read a mystery, it’s got to be a page turner, you know, are really boring. So I was able to take well, I aim to I aim to take some of those skills and turn it into of a nonfiction work about the dogs, and I’m kind of happy. That is a matter of fact. Just last week I got an email from the Laysan letter and they reviewed smile, and the first thing they said was this is a 326 page page Turner wouldn’t put down. That’s great. Like that was like I couldn’t put it down. 3 to 26 pages come down and that’s what it’s like. Yes, okay, we we did it. We did it. After all the edits, after all of the beta readers, after all the years working with the dogs, this is basically the kind of stuff that the dogs wish we know. And in saying that, I have a big apology for all those dogs I live with all the years up to and including in vet school and even in practice where I didn’t get the important stuff. So there’s a big apology to all the I didn’t know. I didn’t know, but now I dio so I’m passing it on. So what’s your hope for the book? What do you what do you hope that happens with it? I hope it’s the kind of tool that people feel that they do want to recommend To others. It’s my goal that providing this information to others keeps dogs out of shelters because we all know you know, we’re in rescue. There aren’t enough really good home. So there are some mediocre home that we can make to be better homes for the dogs by giving these people these really user friendly practical tools S So there’s fewer dogs that get to the shelters through dogs that are given up to your mood and things I thought was really cool ease. I mean, tell people what you do with the proceeds for the book. Oh, well, because I can, um, 100% of the proceeds of both books both smile and which the whole title of the book is Actually smile another practical life lessons your dogs can teach you while you were training them on. And also the proceeds of learning dogs go either to dog rescue. Or they go to safe Harbor Farm Smile Project, which provides copies of smile, too prison dog training programs to the library of those programs also to rural libraries. We donate the books directly. No cost, even for shipping. Just give the books to them on. And also I think we’re going to be expanding to some high school library soon because it’s kind of like knowing how your dog communicates and knowing his social cues, I tell people it’s kind of like visiting Japan, knowing how to speak Japanese. You’re set up for success. You know, if you visit other countries and you don’t know the social cues and you don’t know the language, you aren’t set up for success. You can’t do as much. You can’t communicate as well. And understanding Maura about the dogs we love really enables the dogs to shine. It enables us to set him up for success. I mean, we found that out was safe. Harbor Farm, working with these dogs, taking into scratching done specials and bringing out their best. And people would say, Oh my gosh, this dog’s phenomenal And we couldn’t help but mentally think, Oh, you should have seen the dark when he came toe. So now we’ll make sure to put links in the show notes for how people can get the book But why don’t you tell everybody? Where can they find the book? I’m sure by now people are saying, I want this book that would be awesome for smile, go to give Miles got us. It had to be a us because, of course, all the dentist took the smile. All right, give mild, not us. And again, Then they can. They can order the book there. They can read excerpts of the chapters. There’s even a couple of chapters totally that they can read their for learning dog They need to go to learning. Dog has been learning the language dog learning dog dot us again a dot us not a dot com and they can order the book there. And if they work in the facility, that would be the good book. And it’s linked to 42 password protected videos from the conference. If they don’t work at a facility, I’d say go for smile first. Uh, and yet that’s gift smiles at us, Okay? And like I said, we’ll make sure to provide the link so that people can find these. So So Lynn, This is really great, and we appreciate you sharing your story with us. Is there anything else you wanted to share with everybody before we wrap up? Well, one thing. I have a profound respect and love for transporters. Um, with the work that we do it safe Harbor farm. We can’t leave the facility to get these dogs and the dogs that we take in our special needs. Dogs of a couple of different breeds. Yes, I love the dough bees and all of the swallows. Um, but we also take in a lot of the cheese and the eesti beasties. The dogs with severe allergic skin issues, sheets is and Pekinese especially that have, um we do that. So we need the transporters to take him from the municipal shelters and bring them to us. And if there any transporters out there who want to raise some funds for the wonderful work that they do or shelters or rescues out there reading veterinary clinics out there that want to do this, they can go to the gift smiles at us website, find the spot which references buying them wholesale from us, and they can buy a wholesale and resell them to their supporters to raise. I think it’s about $7 a book that can raise to help him out in what they’re doing. And at the same time, they’re giving people very practical. Ah, positive, proactive material that’s going to help them with their dogs at home. That’s great. Well, thank you so much limb for sharing. And thanks for coming on the program today. Thank you, Chris. It’s so nice to talk with you. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a member, joined the Air P A. To take advantage of all the resources we have to offer. 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