Alice is a sweet and gentle dog, who came to us from a Utah shelter last January. She was very shy with new people — especially men. In fact, one could say she was downright scared of men. It didn’t seem to matter what they did or how gently they spoke to her. She just seemed uncomfortable around them.

Alice’s caregivers went to work using positive reinforcement training methods to change her opinion of men in particular, and also to make meeting any new people less worrisome.

Slowly but surely, life is getting less scary. When tours visit, caregivers ask the visitors if they'd like to help Alice. They explain that Alice is trying very hard to be brave and that if they meet her quietly and don’t rush to say hi, she will be less worried the next time she meets new people.

The men on those tours have an even more important role in helping Alice heal. They are provided with especially yummy treats which they gently toss toward Alice without actually approaching her.

This very gentle and tasty method is chipping away at Alice's fear. Slowly, as winter fades to memory and spring blooms all around the Sanctuary, Alice is starting to believe that no one is going to hurt her and men are pretty much OK, too. We've even caught her flirting a bit with one or two men, to whom she's taken a particular shine. It is heartwarming to see how much she enjoys the company of people.

Alice has a doggy role model, too. She can be picky when it comes to dog friends, so everyone was delighted when she and Holy Moly became buddies. Moly is very confident, so Alice gets to watch and mimic his “Hello world, here I am” way of going about life. And when those two get playing, it is just ridiculously cute.

We love having Alice here. We love being able to help her prepare for life in a home — a bigger life where she meets people and experiences many things. Alice is making progress. And we'll keep working with her until her family comes along. She's going to be an amazing family companion for someone who understands that though she may need to take things slowly, she's totally worth it.

Click the first image in the Image Gallery to begin the slideshow.