Shasta Dogs—Encouraging Responsible Dog Ownership
● By Laura Christman
By Laura Christman
Photos by Manda Reed
Dogs young, old, shy, bold, fluffy, scruffy, aloof or a bit of a goof. Shasta Dogs welcomes all.
The North State nonprofit encourages active, responsible dog ownership. Shasta Dogs provides connections to dog-related clubs, sports and events. Plus, it offers its own action: dog walks, puppy socialization, dog training, demonstrations and other activities.
“Shasta Dogs is an awesome organization. I’m so happy to be part of it,” says Scott Schaller of Redding.
Through Shasta Dogs, he learned about the options of agility, farm hunting and other dog sports. He and his dog Curry landed on Flyball, a high-speed activity with hurdles and tennis balls.
Patti Wells has a small sheep farm in Whitmore and experience training herding dogs. But Jett, a large German shepherd who ended up in her life, was not a good match with sheep. Through Shasta Dogs, she found out about cart training. Now Jett’s job on the farm is hauling brush, bags of grain and groceries.
Gary Swain of Anderson says Shasta Dogs got him and his Siberian husky, Yeti, out more on Redding trails.
“I just started going on the (organized group) walks. The more I learned, the more wanted to get involved,” he says. “She’s happier; I’m happier.”
Terry Benson of Palo Cedro came to Shasta Dogs because her rat terrier, Gusto, focuses on dogs more than her. “We wanted to get in a group and work on that. It’s a great organization. Everybody is at different levels. We are all here to learn.”
“It’s really about relationships,” Shasta Dogs President Holly Carpentier says. “We want people to have a good relationship with their dog.”
Carpentier of Shasta got Shasta Dogs up and running because she saw a need for a community in the North State where dog owners could connect. She was also looking for activities to do with her Belgian shepherd, Coda.
“I got a dog that needed to do stuff,” she says.
Carpentier trains and sometimes fosters dogs. She has experience in obedience and search-and-rescue work. She contacted others with interest and expertise in dogs. Word about the group spread friend to friend and via social media. The nonprofit incorporated in 2014.
“I wanted to share knowledge and have a community of people helping each other,” Carpentier says. “My goal is to be a resource for people. If you don’t know where to go, start here. We can point you to different places.”
The group promotes organizations such as Strike Force Flyball Club, Shasta Kennel Club, Shasta County K9 Search & Rescue and Shasta Splash Dogs.
“Dogs are phenomenal companions,” says Nacina Dawn, a Shasta Dogs enthusiast. “People who leave dogs in the backyard and don’t really interact with them are missing out on so much.”
Shasta Dogs runs on the energy of its volunteers, many of whom have backgrounds in a specific dog sport or activity.
“It’s peer-driven. We have a lot of really experienced people,” Carpentier says.
Dog owners come to the group for different reasons. Someone might want to socialize a puppy or get tips on what to do with a Labrador fixated on tennis balls. There could be a goal of training a dog for herding, agility, search-and-rescue or a therapy program. Or a dog owner might simply want to meet other dog owners and be able to walk the dog without being pulled.
Carpentier leads group dog walks. The low-key walks are an opportunity to get tips, observe others and get dogs used to being around other dogs. The walks are free, as are many Shasta Dogs activities. When fees are charged for classes or events, scholarships or vouchers earned through volunteering are an option. Shasta Dogs volunteers scoop poop as part of organized trail cleanups and have done fundraising for Morris Animal Foundation pet cancer research.
Shasta Dogs lists events on its website calendar. The calendar includes activities of other dog organizations in the region, too. Events also are posted on the Shasta Dogs Facebook page.
“If it has anything to do with dog training or sports, we’re probably interested in it,” Carpentier says.
Articles on dog training, nutrition, health and safety can be found on the organization’s website and Facebook page.
Shasta Dogs • www.shastadogs.com
Find Shasta Dogs on Facebook