• Cierra Voelkl

Titan Got His Second Chance...In Prison

After Titan, the one year old Great Pyrenees/GSD mix, escaped from his home by jumping the fence for the second time in a year, his owner gave up on him. He was completely untrained and un-neutered compared to his litter mate, Cash, who's owners lived down the street from Titan and watched him grow up. They found him after his most recent escape attempt in an alley but had no idea what to do with him at that point. They couldn't even keep him in their home due to their AirBnb side gig that would perish at Titan's large size combined with his rowdiness from being untrained.

Photo Credit: Adopt Me! Bluegrass Pet Rescue

At this point, rehoming even seemed to be quite the challenge because who wants to take in a dog the size of a small horse that would wreck havoc on any home he was in? Dana, finder of Tita, had to try and plead with as many rescues as she could so SOMEONE would take him and even tried gaining the support of other GP owners in her Facebook groups, but no luck.

After trying and trying again to get Titan a spot with a rescue, one of her email campaigns caught the eye of a local media personality who happened to be a huge advocate with rescues. They shared her post which changed the came. The post came in front of a local non-profit called Adopt Me! Bluegrass Pet Rescue who actually partnered with a correctional facility outside Louisville, Kentucky that just happened to have a prison training program for dogs! Most of us have heard of these programs where a dog is paired with a prisoner that then trains the dog for weeks with the assistance of professional dog trainers. The dogs live with the prisoners in their cells and give back by proving to these prisoners that everyone can have a second chance at life. After working some charming magic on the rescue and pouring cute photos of Titan in front of them, the rescue happily agreed to take the mini horse of a dog into their arms after meeting him.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Fields Family

In the prison, Titan was paired with a 40 year old who had been incarcerated for nine years at this point. The prisoner, Douglas Hall, became apart of the Paws Behind Bars training program after never even having held a leash before but at this point, he had trained over 60 dogs including therapy and service dogs! In a written interview from Hall to NBD News BETTER halfway through the training program, he wrote that “Titan's response to training has been really remarkable. He is very smart picking up a new command. His drive to please and work for treats is impressive.” More from Hall:

“Titan and I spend almost every hour of the day together...when I feed him or take him out to potty Titan is always in training...Each day I try [to] work on composure, visitor control, walk, heel, sit, down, stay, and come,” Hall said. “Titan is my emotional support animal Titan is very popular with everyone on the yard,” he added. “Everyone wants to pet him and see him...This program helps inmates on the yard who may be dealing with hardships in their life...It's therapy for everyone.” And it “does so much more than train dogs for adoption,” he went on. “We are teaming up with the community to save dogs and help other families that need a therapy, service, or emotional support dog. Each time a dog is adopted [I] feel that the community is giving us, the inmate, a second chance.”

Photo Credit: Brian McMahan

After completing his training program, Dana and her husband, who originally found Titan and got him his second chance, got to go see Titan again after all his work and the change was phenomenal! Sadly, he got overlooked at the adoption event and was sent back to prison until he got his big break in film! Thats right, Titan was recruited by Megan-Kate Hoover of Midwest Animal Training in Cincinnati that finds rescue dogs for work in movies and commercials, then trains them for the project and fosters them until finding a forever home. Titan worked for five weeks with Hoover on her farm in Cincinnati to prepare him for a shoot by a local photography for a new video that needed a dog that could play bad when a new baby comes home. Once Hoover learned what it took to keep Titan's attention (I.e he needed to be having fun and have plenty of food available), she noticed how intelligent Titan was. In her words, "Luckily he was one of the smartest dogs I've ever worked with,” Hoover said. “Insanely intelligent. Once he learned what I wanted, and once I learned how he needed to be communicated with it was so easy.” The shoot involved having Titan be naughty by putting his head on the baby's chair while the baby ate along with stealing and tearing up toys and blanket. He even has to suck on a pacifier! The end of the video shows Titan laying on the ground with the mom and baby acting sorry.

When Hoover was trying to sell her farm, a prospect who's name has been changed to Jane Fields for privacy, came to see the farm and meet Titan. Already the owner of three large rescue dogs, there were no intentions of taking on a fourth but the moment she met him "It was just love at first sight. He's like a big teddy bear," said Fields, "He was so sweet and my son loved him and I loved him, and my husband has always loved big dogs." Titan went to do a trial run for the weekend with the family since the Fields were planning on purchasing the farm anyways, so it was the perfect place to have four big dogs! Titan fit in fabulously with the pack and quickly became a permanent part of the family.

His new family said that he starts his day at 6 am and he loves running around the woods and barking at the squirrels. This lovable monster was given his second chance at life and living his happily ever after.

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