Travis began volunteering as a dog walker in July last year. Travis knew multiple people who either volunteered or adopted from Animal House, and when he saw an orientation advertised on Facebook, he thought it would be a good fit. Having an older dog who doesn’t walk much, he wanted to walk some dogs who really needed and appreciated getting out for exercise.
As a dog walker, Travis noticed marked improvements in the dogs’ behavior from week to week. He started working with some of the more challenging dogs and decided to take the K9 Coach Class (a 12-week advanced course for volunteers, taught by Cathie Lee of K9 Wisdom) so he could make a more positive contribution to their learning. Travis was a superstar student in the class and has made great strides with helping his favorite shelter dog, Murphy, learn better manners, including completing a functional assessment of Murphy’s problem behaviors and designing a training plan. Travis also works with one of our foster dogs to reduce his on-leash and fence reactivity. His goal is to take every opportunity to work alongside the professional trainers who donate their time to Animal House, so that he can continue building his own training skills to help the dogs.
Travis has been a lifelong dog lover, but it was really his wife, Thea, who introduced him to the idea of adopting older shelter dogs. Thea adopted their 13-year-old Chihuahua, Liam, about a month before they met. After joining Animal House, Travis and Thea adopted their Norma, a 3-year-old mixed breed. They describe her as a “Beabulldor” because she looks like a mix of Beagle, American Bulldog, and Labrador Retriever. Norma came to the shelter with her puppies (and brothers Romeo and Ramone). She was so calm and gentle with her pups that they knew she would make a good companion for Liam. Norma experiences separation anxiety, which Travis is helping her overcome. He notes that there seems to be a different appreciation with the shelter dogs. “Sometimes they have quirks from their past lives that are always interesting,” he says. “They seem extra appreciative!”
From his start as a volunteer, Travis knew that he would like walking the dogs. But what he discovered unexpectedly was a group of supportive people at Animal House who shared his goals and encouraged him to come in more.
When he isn’t volunteering, Travis works as a civil engineer in water resources, where he deals with anything having to do with water, including flood plain mapping for the Poudre River and Spring Creek. Travis is an avid fly fisherman and runner too.
Travis, thank you for being an exemplary volunteer AND adopter. Your patient and devoted work with the dogs is a gift: a second chance at life and adoption. We think you are AWESOME, and we appreciate everything you do for the dogs and Animal House!