Melanie Isaacs Team Dog, who’s the boss?
Many cats and dogs entering shelters have owners who love and want them. It’s the lack of resources or information that sees them feeling the need to surrender. Enter Team Dog, a not for profit advocacy and welfare organisation co-foundered by Melanie Isaacs in 2013. Team Dog supports pet owners in times of crisis.
This wonderful charity helps pet owners with – payment of reclaim fees, assistance with Breed Specific Legislation, low-cost veterinary services, provision of resources such as behaviourists and containment systems, and more.
Melanie Isaacs has spent many years working in Animal Management in NSW. Melanie’s passion lies with open minded and caring approaches to pet owner interactions, and positive legislative reform. Melanie lives with her two adopted cats and a dog. She showers them with affection and care, find out who’s the boss?
Who’s the boss? What pets do you have at home?
Melanie: I’ve got a dog and two cats. Cocoa, the dog, is a 5 year old ‘blockhead’ mutt from the shelter. She was at risk of being put to sleep because of her appearance (the shelter thought she looked a lot like a ‘Pit Bull’, and that was enough to make her not eligible for re-homing), so I took her on as a foster through Puppy Love Rescue. Suffice to say she never left.
Sid my tabby cat is about 7 years old and was from another Sydney shelter. He was being boarded by the shelter (that has a no-kill policy) at the kennel I was working at. He is unbelievably affectionate to the point of being irritating, and won me over.
Ivana, my black cat, is about 8 years old and was a foster initially. She didn’t have a lot of interest but one day when she finally had an adoption inquiry I realised she fit the household and there’s no way she was going anywhere.
Who’s the boss? How do they get along with each other?
Melanie: They all coexist really well. Sid and Ivana aren’t friends – no cuddling or cleaning one another – but they are happy to live in the same house with one another. They’re indoor cats, but I recently had a cat run put in for them that comes off a window, which has given them even more space.
Cocoa has a very high prey drive and was very interested in the cats when I brought her home. Sid in particular was terrified and hid in my bedroom for a month. Cocoa was always either crated or tethered while inside for at least a couple of months, until she got used to the cats and they got used to her. Now they all hang out happily and just this winter after such a long time Ivana has decided the dog is a good cuddle buddy. They’re too cute.
Who’s the boss? You’re the boss at Team Dog but who’s the boss at home?
Melanie: Definitely me! I love my pets and they’re showered with affection and care, but it’s very important to me that they’re well behaved and easy to live with. This can be more difficult with cats, but I put a lot of work in to training Cocoa and it has meant she’s a joy to live with. I think it’s really important for owners to put the work in to ensuring they have good control of their dogs, and their dogs have plenty of ‘life skills’.
Who’s the boss? What is your tip for people who need help with looking after their pet?
Melanie: Your veterinarian is your best bet for medical advice, but ensure you seek out a qualified trainer for behavioural advice. If you are at a loss and needing advice you can always contact Team Dog via our Facebook page or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org