In August of 2014, after giving birth in a back yard, Petunia was surrendered by her owners to our local shelter, Maricopa County Animal Care and Control in Arizona (MCACC East). Gorda, as she was then known, needed a foster family to help her through entropion eye surgery. We agreed to be her foster family.
She was anorexic at 52 pounds and developed pneumonia after surgery. She was no longer considered adoptable which would have most likely landed her on the euthanasia list. She had nowhere to go. We adopted her and named her Petunia.
She moved in with our foster Saint Bernard, Big Rosie, and our 10-pound cat named Titty Tat Georgie. While she had a bit of an attitude and possessiveness over us, we sorted her out and settled in.
Two months of veterinary care and 25 pounds later, we drove our healthy girl to the beach in San Diego along with foster sister, Big Rosie. We’ve always taken our dogs on the 6-hour journey to experience the joy of the beach. However, the universe had different plans that day.
Petunia was not ready for all of the excitement and chaos of Dog Beach. What was meant to be a joyous week turned into the biggest nightmare of our lives. We quickly learned she was extremely dog aggressive. She started attacking dogs as we stood there frozen and stunned.
We were cursed at for having “that breed” of dog and were shamed off the beach. Hurt, broken, ashamed, angry, sad and frustrated, we turned to professionals for help. Petunia was labeled a red zone dog (dogs who strike without warning) and we feared we needed to euthanize our beauty.
Dianne and Petunia got to work. Rules were in place. Boundaries were set. Muzzles were conditioned. It was a “pull up your boot straps” kind of mentality around the house. Friends thought we were wasting our time. Some said we were boring. Her life hung in the balance.
Through hours, weeks and months of training and rehabilitation with her mama dawg, Petunia has grown into a lovely dog with a beautiful spirit! She simply needed to learn how to socialize properly, problem solve efficiently and express herself appropriately without using her mouth. It was also our job to advocate for her and understand her comfort zones and know when she needed space or a break.
Because of the countless hours of training and study into aggression, Find Your Inner Dog opened its doors for business in 2015. We are a family dog boarding and training business in Scottsdale, Arizona dedicated to helping the dogs in our community and throughout the country stay with their families. Dogs with behavioral issues often land in the shelters or they’re euthanized unnecessarily. If we could feel such hopelessness (who always see the glass as more than half full), we knew there was a need in our community for honest and direct training based on love, respect and leadership. We also believe dogs need clear rules and boundaries along with fair consequences.
Our mission is to keep families together, educate the public and have a beautiful community filled with polite dogs of all breeds and sizes living in a balanced state of mind.
Petunia spreads joy wherever she goes and is quite the clown poser for the camera! She often visits senior in assisted living and the memory care unit of our local nursing home.
While not every dog or scenario is perfect for our girl, she has grown into a confident dog who helps Dianne teach other dogs. Because of her growth, her family has grown to include three more canine brothers!
P.S. Whenever we start a Petunia fundraiser, a portion of the proceeds are donated to the shelter where our girl came from. Keep an eye out for #operationpetunia wherever you go to know you’re helping our cause.
Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram so that you can see Petunia at work daily and when she volunteers with the seniors in our community.