Author Archive | BFPS

The Real Side of Pit Bulls

Pit Bulls are big, beautiful, strong dogs. In the past several years, they have gotten a bad reputation. We are here to tell you that Pit Bulls also have wonderful qualities. They are stable, resilient, loyal, easy to mold into your life, and more than anything – they want to please their humans. They are easy to train, they follow commands, and can be sweet and lovable couch potatoes. Media outlets will report on the evil side of a particular dog, but they rarely report on the many people who have Pit Bulls as family pets and how great and loyal they are.

Sometimes when we hear “pit bull,” we immediately think “vicious dog”, but that is almost never the case. When the American Temperament Testing Society gauged the soundness of this misunderstood breed (and many others), they came to what some might consider a shocking conclusion. They tested 870 Pit Bulls and had a passing rate of 86% in temperament testing. One of the most beloved breeds, Golden Retrievers had a lower passing rate of 85.2% with the same testing! This testing shows the good side and temperament that Pit Bull type dogs can have.

Pit Bulls are the most plentiful breed in rescues and shelters and are often overlooked time and time again because of the stigma that surrounds them. We want to help erase the stigma related to the breed with stories of Pit Bulls who have been adopted from Born Free and are loved by their humans.

So, the next time you find yourself in a shelter looking for your new 4-legged best buddy, give the Pitties a fair chance; at least get to know them.  They may not be a good fit for you, or you may drive away with the best dog you ever had.  You’ll never know until you give them that chance. Here are some of our Pit Bulls and Bully mixes adoption stories.

Adoption Stories


“Adopting MoonPie (formerly King Jr) was the defining moment of 2020 – bigger than the pandemic and bigger than the election. We picked him up at Born Free Pet Shelter during a South Florida gully washer and conducted a ship-to-ship transfer NASA would have been proud of while lighting struck too close around us. Having no idea who we are, or would become to him, MoonPie laid low at first.  So much so, my wondering out loud “if we got a dog who doesn’t bark” has become a family inside joke. Uncertainty on both sides quickly melted away as we began to get to know each other.  Here is what I know now about MoonPie: He has a sense of humor. It cannot be explained, but he clearly thinks things are funny – like running through the house and kicking up every single rug. He is a gentle soul – Like all sentient beings, he is equipped for great destruction, but that is the last thing he wants. Having a dog like MoonPie comes with a societal responsibility not to put him in situations where misunderstandings can occur. Breed prejudice means that people will always view him as the aggressor. Thankfully, the few run-ins we have had with poor mannered dogs were with understanding people, but you cannot take that for granted. Even the gentlest dog will occasionally meet people or other dogs they do not like. Accept that and do not insist that they love everyone. The love our family gets from MoonPie is unlike anything else we’ve experienced with other breeds. As a once ‘never-pitter’, I have completely changed my views and cannot imagine life without this dog.”



“When we first met Ace at Born Free, he was too shy to even come out; he would hide from us, while all the other dogs jumped at the chance to meet people and barked for attention.  Ace’s eyes looked upon us with no hope of finding love, and we had to take him home!  Ace did not understand the concept of a family or a home.  When we brought him in, he simply would not leave the bathroom ‑ that was his first safe place.  After a couple hours, he moved around the house and Ace eventually came to his new bed.  It took some time for him to open up, but it has been a love like no other.  Ace has shown us his true colors ‑ his playful side that he never showed, his calmness, his love for his new family.Ace has even become protective.  He is now able to enjoy a day at a dog park with his fur buddies and he visits the dog beach.  He even jumps for joy when he sees us or our close friends.  We don’t know what happened to him or where he came from, but he has given us a love we never knew we needed.  We encourage you to look beyond the breed, look beyond what behavior they are showing you.  This is a result of what they have gone through or what they have not felt for a very long time; all they want and need is a loving home.”



“Marco came to stay with us six months ago when we decided to start fostering.  Our dog is scared of other dogs so we weren’t sure how it would go, but Marco was respectful of her and they both ignored each other and gave each other space.  After several weeks, we decided Marco had become part of the family and we couldn’t give him up.  We adopted him shortly before Christmas.  Marco spends his days laying on the couch or sitting in front of the oven during mealtime.  He is a protective big brother to our lab, and comes running to her rescue whenever he hears her bark at anyone passing by.  Marco remains respectful of her just as he did on day one, though he always makes himself a spot on the couch if she’s getting petted and he wants to join.  Marco craves love and wants to show us how much love he has to give.”



Isabela was adopted from Born Free last month after being at the shelter since 2018. Isabela was overlooked and turned down while at the shelter because of her breed and has finally now got her chance at a forever home.

“Isabela has been settling in very nicely to home life. She’s very sweet and affectionate and she loves to spend time with my grandparents. She loves the bed and is a total couch/bed potato in this case. My aunt originally was afraid of her because of her breed but after getting to know her, now loves her as well. She’s non destructive and is very polite around the house.”


How 4 Shy Dogs Became Family Dogs

Entering a shelter, rescue, or animal control looking for your special 4-legged new family member is a great feeling. There are so many to choose from that need forever homes! The dogs that always appeal to people are the excited, smiling ones who come to the front of their pen and greet you, whether it be with a wagging tail or a welcoming bark. Those are the happy, socialized dogs that always get adopted. Dogs who cower, hide, or hunker down in the back of their pens are sometimes overlooked and are deemed “unfriendly.” Nothing could be farther from reality. Those dogs need love too and most are quick to overcome their shyness or fear once they have the security and love from their new human.

Please, don’t ever let the fact that a dog is shy prevent you from adopting him or her. At Born Free we have had shy, scared dogs of all breeds and sizes. Some have had a rough start in life and that is why they are skeptical of humans. Some are just born that way; dogs, like humans, all have different personalities and comfort zones. Anyone who has adopted a shy dog rarely regrets it; they all say once the dog gets comfortable in their new life, they are happy!

So, the next time you’re browsing the shelter for that special dog, don’t discount the shy “unfriendly” ones – go in and meet them, because they may be exactly what you were looking for.

Below are some shy dogs adopted from Born Free:


“Ask anyone to name one person, including themselves, who at some point in their life hasn’t been either frightened, confused, or anxious, and I am confident that they would be unable to do so. Now think of the love and respect that you felt, or ever still feel, for the person who accepted you or adorned you with patience and presence, or encouraged you towards a better way while allowing them to see you at your worst. There is an unmistakable bond formed in this type of cultivation of a vulnerable relationship, and it is no different than with a misunderstood animal, such as my girl, Matilda. Some might even say that the best friendships are ignited in this way!”

~ Nicole


“We were looking for a dog for two months. We didn’t know what kind of dog would be a good fit for us and our lifestyle. At first, we were looking for a specific breed, then the next day for a younger dog, the next day for a puppy, the next day for a high-energy dog.

We were looking at the shelter’s website and when we saw Leia, it was a love at first sight. We called immediately so we could get to know her as soon as possible. When we met Leia, she was scared, stressed, distant and she had sad eyes. Her ex-owner left her at the shelter, and she had a broken heart. After one hour talking to her to gain her trust, we finally gave her a treat and we made a connection. In that moment, we realized that we were looking for a dog we could help and give a second chance to, and to support her so she could heal and become a happy dog.

The next day we filled out the papers for the adoption and we brought Leia to our home. She stayed in the opposite room from us, she was scared, and she didn’t understand where she was or who we were. At night when we went to bed and the lights were off, she woke up and started walking around to discover her new home. This gave us the signal that the walls were broken down.

After 3 months, she still is shy with strangers, but once she knows you, she is excited to see you. She wags her tail and walks faster to say hi to her friends. She loves being in the same room where we are. She loves her first walk in the morning and is comfortable to follow her routine and at the same time taking new adventures that challenge her. Every day increases her confidence. She is doing better, and she feels better.

It’s a long way for Leia to learn how to play with a toy again, to have confidence around our apartment, and to jump on the sofa – it will take time, but we will do it with love.

This is something important that you should know if you are going to adopt a young or adult pet: They come with their own personality just as you have yours, so this is a partner journey where both of you are going to start a beautiful relationship, a new friendship for the rest of your lives, where they’ll never let you walk alone, they’ll love you unconditionally, and they’ll take care of you while expecting nothing but a lovely word or warm cuddle.”

~ Paula & Jose


“Because Ginger was so shy and scared when she was surrendered, I agreed to foster her rather than having her stay at the shelter. Ginger’s whole body quivered as I held her. The drive home scared her. My home scared her. The yard scared her. Wind scared her. Grass scared her. My cats really scared her. She was a very shy, scared little dog.

Ginger wouldn’t come out of her open crate for 2 days; she never barked or made a sound. Then, slowly, she started coming out, coming over to sniff me, and eventually she jumped in my lap, which was such amazing progress, it made me cry. It was hard not to love this shy little dog who had stolen my heart. She quickly learned that she’d never be told “no”, she’d never be yelled at, and she could get on any piece of furniture she wanted, which included sleeping with me. Every day was something new for her, and she eventually overcame her most of her shyness. She made so much progress quickly and now is a very happy, well-adjusted, cat-chasing, wonderful dog; only fireworks and thunder scare her (they scare me too).

Ginger goes on vacation, she loves hotel-life, is a great little watchdog, and has been in more National and State Parks than most people! Her favorite place is Everglades National Park where she sits by the Bay, hoping to see manatees come up for air! She even got a “Bark Ranger” tag from Biscayne NP for being a well-behaved canine visitor. As long as she is with one of us, she is happy. During these virus stay-at-home months, Ginger has brightened our existence. She gives so much love and asks for nothing in return except to always be with us.

When I took Ginger to foster, they insisted I take her crate so she would have a place to feel secure; I reluctantly took it. Soon, she would go in it less and less. After she was completely at ease, I put it out in my shed and bought her a cushy bed instead, which is now her happy, secure place. I’m telling you; shy dogs quickly learn they are loved and no longer have to be shy or scared. Of course, I was a foster fail and ended up adopting Ginger! I was always a big-dog person (big sturdy breeds), but this little 16-pounder has brought far more into my life than I ever thought possible, so I guess I am a little-dog person now! We just love her so much and wonder how we ever got along without her!”

~ Julie

Ace (formerly Nico)

“Ace has been home for two weeks now. He came home the day of adoption and wouldn’t leave the bathroom after we bathed him – he was so shy. He slowly made his way out as the day passed and by the next morning, he started to realize this was home. Although he still is shy meeting new people, he is definitely more open than when he first came home. He cuddles, plays and enjoys runs and the dog park. Fairly quickly he opened up to us and he makes our home complete. Special thank you to all at Born Free Pet Shelter for taking such good care of Ace and blessing our family with him.”

~ Kamila

6 Heartwarming Senior Dog Adoption Stories

Everyone likes something that is shiny and new.  New cars.  New houses.  New everything.  The same applies to dogs.  New doesn’t always mean better!  It seems everyone loves a cute, bouncy puppy and they don’t even give “senior” dogs a chance.  There are so many senior dogs in shelters that just wait day after day, week after week, month after month to be adopted.  People walk by them and just sigh, “oh, that one is too old.”  People surrender their senior dogs to shelters every day because they got “too old.”  It is heartbreaking – and, let’s face it, everyone eventually gets old! 

Being a senior dog is not a bad thing; in fact, there are many benefits to an older dog: They sometimes already know tricks and commands, are usually housebroken, and are happy to just be with their human. They are loyal, calm, gentle and grateful. They don’t do irritating puppy things like chew, cry, and bite your ankles. And, a lot of them don’t care if you have an uppity cat! If your mindset is that you won’t have a senior dog in your life long enough, get over that. Some dogs live 3 years, some 18 years. A dog’s golden years should be the best of his or her life and a dog’s life should be measured by quality, not quantity. They should be spoiled and pampered and cared for. They should not be dropped off at a shelter because they entered their golden years.

At Born Free, with the help of Instagram, Susie’s Senior Dogs, we have had many “seniors” adopted. People have driven from all over Florida just to adopt a senior from Born Free. All the dogs’ new families love them and are so glad they adopted them. Nobody ever looks back and thinks, “Gee, I’m sorry I adopted a senior dog.” Never. So, please, the next time you are at a shelter wanting to adopt a dog, don’t just pass by a senior and discount them. They deserve love and respect just like any other dog. Puppies ARE cute, but seniors RULE!

Below are some testimonials of senior dogs who were adopted from Born Free:


“When we made the decision to move to the suburbs, we knew the extra space would allow us the opportunity to open our home to another dog in need. After some searching, I came across Cooper on Susie Senior Dogs’ Instagram. The post said that Cooper’s owner had died when he was 4 years old, he was now 10 and had been in the shelter for SIX years. At first glance, Cooper was a shy dog, he would rather be in the safety of his kennel than meet new people. This caused him to be overlooked again and again. However, from the photos, you could see a kindness in his eyes; this struck a chord with me. I think anyone who has ever been criticized for being shy can relate, sometimes you just need someone to believe in you and we were going to be that for Cooper.

We were in New York and Cooper was in Florida, so it was not the most ideal situation, but I was determined to make it work. My husband agreed and off we went to Miami to meet Coop. We knew right away that our instincts were right. Flying was not an option to get Coop home, but we were lucky enough to find a volunteer to drive him north for us. He made his way to New York just in time for Christmas, his first with a family in a long, long time. The first few nights were rough, he was scared. It was a big change for him, but every day he trusted us a little more, showed us a little more of his personality and within a week, you couldn’t sit down without him trying to fit his 80 pound body in your lap. Cooper was gentle, Cooper was funny, Cooper LOVED his family. He spent the next year and a half running in the yard with his brothers, cuddling with his humans and getting tucked into his very own bed every single night.

When you adopt a senior dog, or any dog, you know that one day you will have to say goodbye and while we knew that day would come, when Cooper got sick we were crushed. As hard as it was, when the time came, we were so thankful to have been able to change his story. He had a family, he experienced love, he was able to feel safe, and even though he became sick he didn’t have to go it alone. I am grateful every day for the joy he brought our family and feel so lucky to have known him. Given the chance, I would do it all again. I hope that Cooper’s story can inspire others to take a second look at the shy ones, the senior ones, the ones that just need someone to believe in them. Cooper was proof that a little love can go a long way”



“I had been following Susie’s Senior Dogs (SSD) on Instagram for a while as I have always had a soft spot for older dogs. There is just something so special in their souls. In early 2018, I came across Duchess’ post and it was an instant connection for me. There were photos of her smiling in a witch hat and a video of her slowly walking across an open field. There was something about her that caught my heart immediately. Life got busy, but I kept thinking about her. In April 2018, when I saw the second post about Duchess on SSD, I knew I had to go meet her. I spoke with Maria and decided if Duchess got along with my yellow lab, Marley, she would be coming home with us that day. We went down to meet Duchess, and it was love at first sight, so she came home with us which was a week after her 11th birthday.

They had warned me that she was food aggressive, so I knew I needed to keep an eye on that when feeding both of them. I wanted her to know that she did not have to worry about sharing any of her food, so I would feed them a short distance away from each other (with me always present). When I gave them treats, it was next to each other and alternated who went first so she would get more comfortable. It took about a month I would say, but she got over her food aggression completely.

Duchess was a bit timid and reserved at first, but over time she came out of her shell. Marley helped show her how to enjoy the spoiled dog life and she became more and more comfortable as time passed. We lost Marley to cancer a year ago this month, but Duchess has handled the unexpected change so well. She has really come into her own and you can tell she knows she is home for good. It’s almost as if she was holding her breath until she knew this was her forever home. She’s got a whole lot of sass and spunk which is so fun to witness. She loves being outside, all things chicken, hanging out with my parents’ golden retrievers, going for walks and car rides, and just being around me. She’s got a bit of a granny walk and has to take thyroid medicine, but other than that, she is doing great at 13 years old! I know I won’t have as much time with her as I would like, but each day I get to see her enjoy life it makes it all worth it. Senior dogs have so much to offer, and I would encourage anyone looking to adopt to consider an older dog as they have just as much to offer. You will never regret it!”



“I first saw my boy Oliver (previously named Popito) on Instagram. I thought he was such a beautiful dog and knew nothing about him when I reached out to Born Free to meet him. Once I arrived at the shelter, I learned that Oliver was 7 years old and had been living at the shelter his entire life. He also had an old knee injury that left him with some bad arthritis in one leg. Oliver was found abandoned at 3 weeks old in the Redland area, he was brought to the shelter and bottle fed until he was old enough for solid food. I learned that Oliver had never shown well to potential adopters because he was too timid, he would hide in corners and under chairs at adoption events and when people were able to meet him, he showed little interest in them. When I first met Oliver, he came running out of his kennel to smell the grass, stretch, and prance around. Just as I had been warned, he showed little interest in me but I had a feeling we had a connection that would grow and develop through trust and time.

I adopted Oliver and brought him home to meet his new little brother, a 2-year-old beagle named Cooper! Oliver, who had never lived in a home, adjusted quickly to his new life of air conditioning, comfy beds, homemade dog food, and lots of kisses. He developed a trust in me and started following me everywhere! I always refer to him as my “trusty steed” since he is such a loyal companion and always by my side. He is smart and alert and quickly learned commands like “sit” and “stay”. Oliver has joined me on roads trips, hiking adventures, and most recently to a big move to Manhattan. Oliver is adjusting amazingly well to city life, he is so curious about all of the smells and sounds of the city! We are looking forward to more road trips and even camping trips in upstate New York this year. Oliver turned 10 just this month and I am so grateful to have him in my life. He has taught me the joy of animal rescue and the love and gratitude that only senior dogs can give. I know that me and Oliver still have a lot of adventures ahead of us and I will continue to give him the life he always deserved.”



“We discovered Key in quintessential millennial fashion – on Instagram! My husband and I were scrolling through recent posts when we saw Susie’s Senior Dogs had shared a picture of an elderly canine gentleman near Miami. We had been looking for an opportunity to adopt a senior dog and within hours had completed an adoption form and contacted Born Free Pet Shelter. Just a few days later we welcomed Key into our home and have loved every moment since! He enjoys lazy afternoons lounging on the patio and sunbathing in the grass. Key has put on a few pounds in his retirement, added a few new gray whiskers, and made new friends throughout the neighborhood. On our afternoon walks we often hear, “What a beautiful dog you have!” and Key definitely enjoys the compliments tossed in his direction – almost as much as his treats! Key has been a wonderful addition to our family and we can’t thank Born Free Pet Shelter enough for taking care of him for 7 whole years (unbelievable he wasn’t scooped up before then) until he found his forever home.”



“It has been one year since I adopted Ears and I am so, so happy I did!! We actually had his “birthday party” with his dog friend, Widget, last month to celebrate.

Initially, it was unclear how well Ears would do with other dogs, but, honestly, we have had so much improvement in just one year! After a slow introduction, Ears can now play, and even share toys or treats with other dogs! We take meeting all new dogs slow and steady and have had good results. He seems very happy when he gets to go over for playtime with his friends!

Overall, Ears has had so many new experiences since leaving Born Free! He has been camping, barked at the ocean, rode out a hurricane, learned how to use stairs, had his first family Christmas, tried on too many dog costumes, and chewed through so, so many balls. It’s very clear that in his 10 years (!) with Born Free that he was taken care of very well. He’s good with all sorts of people and not afraid of new experiences!! Thank you to everyone for helping connect us! I think we’re both happy he has come home.”



“I first saw Katie on a Susie’s Senior Dogs post on Facebook. Her beautiful face and her story of waiting 6 years for a home just touched my heart. I reached out to Maria at Born Free Rescue and after a few communications I was approved to adopt Katie and the rest is history. Katie came into her new home September 21, 2019, quite timid and shy. I have several cats and another senior dog so there was quite a bit for her to process. It took a few weeks until she gave me a sign she was ready to join us in the main house. Until then she spent time in her own room (with frequent visits and encouragement from me) but was able to see the “action of house” without having to interact. I looked to her to determine her comfort level in all situations and when she got anxious, I would take her back to her safe haven of her room and her crate. Fast forward to today – 10 months later – she has accepted her furry family and has claimed her spot in the family. She loves to take her daily walks with my other dog Sophie and play with me in the yard. During the day, she sleeps in the living room on her bed next to me while I work. She is also interested in attention from strangers which is a big accomplishment for this shy girl!

If I could offer any words of wisdom to have a successful adoption, I would have to say set your new pet up to succeed. Read their body language and cues and make adjustments so they feel secure. Let them come into their own in their own time. They all have unique personalities just like us, so embrace who they are and love them where they’re at. Time, Patience and lots of Love is my recipe for success!”


Happy Father’s Day to All You PAW-Some Dads Everywhere!

Father’s Day is approaching and it’s time to recognize all the wonderful fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, adult brothers, and other father figures that have positively impacted our lives. It’s also time to celebrate all the amazing dog dads that have opened their hearts and homes to shelter animals. For all those late-night walks, car rides to the park, endless games of fetch, belly rubs, occasions of picking up poop and lazy afternoons on the couch – we say THANK YOU! You all have truly made a huge difference in the lives of the animals you have adopted. For this, we dedicate June 21st to you!

In honor of Father’s Day, we wanted to share a few heart-warming adoption stories from Born Free dog dads. Here’s what they had to say.

Lina (Boxer/Hound Mix)

“I had been thinking about adopting a dog for a few months… looking around online for “big” dogs that were currently in a shelter. I had noticed that Born Free had many amazing dogs, so I figured I’d give it a shot and visit in-person. I visited many great dogs that day, but there was one that I just instantly connected with. I asked Maria if I could have a week or so to think about actually adopting, and she happily obliged.

The following days provided me plenty of time to think, and it became obvious in my heart and mind that I had found the right dog. I adopted her the next weekend. Lina – my 75lb boxer/hound mix with a unique back leg (due to prior injury)! Lina has been such a source of joy for me and I can’t really imagine not having her around now. I’ve had her since January 2019, and the past 15 or so months have been so much fun! One unexpected benefit of having a dog was all the new people I would begin to see and interact with much more often… because they have dogs too! Living in an apartment in Brickell, Lina met many dogs, but never had a lot of space to play. Now that we’ve moved to a house in Jacksonville, she has a huge yard and plays out there all day!

It is strange to me that I get so much joy from knowing she is having fun and enjoying life. I guess that is how parents feel about their human kids! Lina has definitely changed my life in a positive way. Adopting her has made me more aware of something other than myself… and has shown me how personally rewarding it is to care for another being. Considering the meaning of Father’s Day, caring for and loving Lina has definitely shed light into the highs, and lows of fatherhood, yet also how fulfilling the entire process is. She is truly special… and my Queen! ”

~ Jake, Lina’s Dad

Bosch (American Bulldog Mix)

“We first met Bosch at a farmers market in Pinecrest. My wife was the first to spot him and I must say, we were immediately drawn to him. He was a gentle giant. We wanted a big dog again, after the loss of our American bulldog Zach, but wanted to make sure Bosch would be a good fit. After all, we have the resident queen, Zippy, our seven- pound Dachshund who runs the house. We set out a couple of times to visit the shelter with the kids and it was a hit. We decided to adopt Bosch and finally brought him home. 

He is such a good dog. He loves to play catch and is very playful for such a big boy. It’s great to watch him run around in our backyard, and I love when he comes to sit by me to keep me company. Bosch seems to be a mix breed with part American bulldog. This is our second and I love the breed. They are warm and caring – not something you would expect from such a big and intimidating dog. We love having Bosch at home and couldn’t be happier with him.”

~ Jose, Bosch’s Dads Dad

Jojo (Boxer Mix)

“JoJo has been nothing but an amazing girl. She is so smart, friendly, and always down for a good game of fetch! She has brought so much joy to my life in the month I’ve had her, and I now can’t imagine my life without her. She loves walks, belly rubs, and cuddles. She has also turned into my alarm clock, which is definitely a good thing haha!”

~ Jacob, Jojo’s Dad

Preparing Our Pets for the Return to Work Full-Time Away from Home

I think we can all agree that our lives have been turned upside down with shelter in place orders during this pandemic. However, the upside is that pet adoptions have increased significantly. Additionally, we have been spending lots of time with our dogs and cats. While it’s great more cats and dogs have joined our families, as pet owners we do have a responsibility to ensure that our furry critters are prepared for us to return to work as normal life slowly resumes. As we return to work, our pets will be left alone for longer hours than they have become accustomed to. This may result in something known as separation anxiety – which will inevitably create a bit of stress and cause our pets to act up in ways they normally wouldn’t. Signs to look for to see if your pet is suffering from this type of anxiety include barking, howling, whining, scratching at doors and windows, chewing on the door, drooling and panting. This can impact a pet’s mood, appetite, and bring out more destructive behaviors while the owner is away. A pet camera is a useful tool that will help you know if your pet is exhibiting these types of negative behaviors. Plus, cameras give us a lot of insight into the types of activities our pets are engaging in while we are away from home.

Luckily there are things we can start doing now to ease the transition for our pets. The most important is training! Dog trainers and experts around the nation have weighed in on this subject. Here is what they have to say:

  • Set a schedule for your pet. If you are going to be returning to work, you should try to get up at your regular time, feed the dog, exercise the dog, and provide the dog a time to rest independently. Starting this schedule right way will ensure your dog will be accustomed to it when you return to work.
  • Train your dog to deal with being separated from you. Most dogs easily identify the part of your routine that signals to them you will be leaving the house. For most of us, this includes grabbing our keys, purse or wallet, and putting on our shoes. Experts suggest pet owners should walk around the house and keep moving their keys from one spot to the other. Experts suggest we DO NOT create a routine of saying goodbye to our dog. Instead, they recommend we make sure our dog is in a dog safe location, such as a gated off room or a dog crate, walk out the door, stand outside for a few minutes and if the dog is quiet, walk back in. AGAIN ignore the dog. You do not want to create a big routine around you coming back home, as this only leads to more anxiety when you leave. When leaving or coming back home, stay calm to help our pets feel relaxed. If they seem agitated when you put on your shoes because it means you will walk out the door soon, practice putting on shoes when you aren’t actually going to leave.
  • Exercise your dog. Exercising your dog such as taking them on long walks before heading off to work is very important. This needs to be done well in advance of you leaving for the day this way the dog has plenty of time to relax before being left alone for a long period of time.
  • Play comforting music while you are away. While you are off at work consider playing soothing music or for pets that prefer the sound of human voices – an audiobook will work great. There have been studies that have shown dogs really enjoy listening to reggae, classical music, easy listening, and jazz.
  • Take the time now to train the dog for vet and groomer visits. Use some treats or some of your dog’s meal as a reward. Lift up their paw and look at their nails, give them a treat. Open their mouth and look at their teeth, lift up their ears, basically get them used to being handled so that when you take them to the groomer or vet, it will be less stressful.
  • Set a consistent feeding schedule. If you started feeding your dog or cat four times a day instead of three times a day, stop doing that and go back to a schedule that you can maintain once you go back to work.
  • Leave your dogs or cats with independent activities, like engaging toys that hold a treat inside that the pet needs to work to get to or a cookie scavenger hunt. Experts suggest using the cardboard rolls from toilet paper stuffed with paper towels and treats. Most dogs enjoy using their noses to sniff out treats and love to shred the paper in the process
  • Practice leaving for short periods of time, so your pet gets used to being along. It’s important to start with short periods and slowly increase the time you leave your dog alone. Things you can do are go for a walk, drive around the neighborhood, or go grocery shopping. And, don’t take your dog with you on every errand.

We highly recommend this video if you’d like additional information on separation anxiety
We also recommend this book for people who actually have dogs with separation anxiety

Dogs and COVID-19

What Dog Owners Should Do During the COVID-19 Pandemic

1. Support your local animal shelter financially

Animal shelters need our help. Consider making a financial donation or call to ask what the most urgent needs are for supplies (such as cleaning supplies).

For good reason, shelters are likely limiting volunteers and staff right now and the existing workers will be feeling extra pressure to care for the growing number of dogs and cats. The animals are certainly feeling this stress as well. 

Many shelters will still be open to adoptions. Some will be closed. Best to call in advance. Only visit the shelter if you intend to adopt. Call ahead, then wait in your car until the staff is ready to process the adoption.

Consider volunteering to foster a dog or cat if you’re able and if there is the need. Again, best to call and ask in advance.

2. Continue to support pet-related businesses

If you normally use a dog walker, pet sitter or dog daycare, we recommend you cancel all appointments (for now) to decrease the spread of the virus. 

However, you can continue to support dog walkers and dog daycares by:
pre-paying for future appointments
paying for regular service even if you cancel temporarily
buying their gift cards
leaving a tiptext or email to show appreciation
leave positive reviews

You can support dog trainers by:
signing up for their online training classes and seminars
buying their books
sharing their blog articlespre-paying for future classes
asking about training sessions through Skype or Zoom

To support non-profit dog training clubs:

Consider making a donation to keep these organizations running while classes and trials are temporarily canceled. They still have bills to pay for things like rent, heating and supplies. 

3. Should you cancel vet appointments?

We suggest going to the vet only for true emergencies at this time or to pick up urgent supplies. This precaution is to protect the veterinary staff members and others.

If you have to go to the vet, call ahead and wait in your car until the staff is ready to see your pet vs. sitting in the waiting room area.

4. Stock up on pet food and medications

We recommend you have a month’s worth of food on hand for your pets as well as medications.

If you have to go to the pet store for food or litter or to your dog’s vet for supplies, call to ask if they will meet you curbside or if they will deliver.

At Mighty Paw, we are still delivering through our website and Amazon as normal.

5. Continue walking and training your dog

In the U.S., health experts are saying it’s safe to go for a walk, run or hike. Thank goodness! Get out and walk your pup!

Obviously, our pets will be thrilled many of us are spending more time at home! 

Also, remember that dogs are sensitive to our routines and they can get worried or stressed when we’re acting differently. Try to stick to your typical walking routine, feeding schedule and so on.

If your dog is bored from being cooped up, work on some obedience training, trick training or indoor games like “find it” where you hide treats.

Potential tricks to teach your dog:
Roll over
Play dead
Take a bow
Pick up your toys!
Simple agility exercises like jumping over things
“Leave it” / “Take it”

Most of all, we hope you are all staying safe and that you are doing OK. We know times are stressful right now, so make sure to hug your dog! They’re ready to do their most important work – provide stress relief, comfort and a few laughs! 

5 Amazing Facts about Boxers

Boxers are a bundle of joy, happiness, and energy. The Boxer is typically medium-sized with short hair, which is perfect for the hot Miami weather!  They are generally well mannered and get really excited about everything.  Guaranteed to always make you smile!  Owners we’ve spoken to have called their Boxer playful, devoted, intelligent, friendly, energetic cheerful and many more great things.  Here are some of their amazing characteristics.

1. Boxers can be a little cuckoo.

Boxers have so much friendly energy that sometimes they might be rambunctious and like to run and jump around on occasion. They are the goofball dogs by excellence. As they get older they become calmer while keeping their happy outlook.

2. Boxers always want to be by your side

Boxer cuddling

These dogs love people and the breed is more in the “people dogs” category, Boxers love the company of adults and kids.  Be warned!  They don’t know the meaning of personal space and will try to be as close as you as possible.  Boxers are forever lap dogs.

3. Boxers always want to make you smile

Compare Boxers to a 3 year old kid who never grows up and always wants to play. They love to entertain their families with their goofiness.

4. Boxers are called Boxers because they will try to show you affection by pawing at you.

dog boxing

They will stand on their back legs and paw at you with their paws trying to play with you and get your attention.

5. Boxers are very active

These dogs love to play and get lots of exercise to drain all their energy. Training and mobility courses are great for them. You will have a happy, active and healthy life with them. Make sure you take precautions for the hot summer in Florida as this breed tend to overheat. Here are some tips to keep in mind to keep your dog safe in the heat.

Check out our Boxer and Boxers mixes here at Born Free Pet Shelter!


Claudia Boxer

Claudia is a sweet, happy and goofy girl who loves people. She was found as a stray and brought to the shelter. Here are some words from the person who found her.
“Whomever will adopt Claudia would be very lucky. We found her abandoned in a house and brought her home. She is amazing, happy, sweet, loving and loves to be pampered! She gives the best hugs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep her but you can enjoy her company”.



Freeway is a Boxer mix who has the cutest face! He is not your typical Boxer. He is a little smaller than the traditional Boxer and he is actually very calm and sweet. Freeway gets along with other dogs, though he might be a bit shy at first he enjoys being petted.  This brindle boy is the biggest lover around once you give him some pets.


Boxers miami

Bruno is a 2 years old, as of June 2017, Boxer who loves people! He is the type of dog that will soak up all the love you can give. A few of his favorite things are people, cuddling and play time! He is a confident, happy, affectionate and goofy dog.



Golda is full of enthusiasm and energy, she needs to join a family with adults or older children who can give her love and provide her exercise, discipline, and training.


boxers dog miami

Frik is a 2-3 years old Boxer. She is a beautiful and energetic Boxer. She is a little shy and needs a patient person who can give her the love and affection while providing discipline, training, and exercise.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our facts about Boxers and love them as much as we do!  If you’re interested in adopting any of the dogs here or would like to check our all of our dogs, let us know!


One more thing!

Born Free Pet Shelter has a couple cool t-shirts designed by Happy Rescue Tails and we’ll be adding more soon!  All profits from these sales will be donated to Born Free Pet Shelter.  Check them out!


Born Free T-Shirts

Summer Is Coming! Keep Your Dogs Safe in the Heat

The hot summer months are approaching, especially here at Born Free Pet Shelter in Miami.  While Summer can be a lot of fun in the sun playing and swimming with your pup, the heat can also be dangerous.  We can help you keep your pets safe and cool this summer.

Dog Belly Rub

Never leave your dog in the car.

Not even for a second.  Not while you run inside to grab something real quick.  Not ever.  Even on a cool day, it can get hot really fast in a car, windows up or down.

When it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 within an hour.  When it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 100 in 10 minutes.  Rolling down the windows has been shown to have little to no effect on the temperature in the car.

Your pet can quickly suffer brain or organ damage within a couple of minutes in a hot car.

If you want to take your dog with you, make sure you go places where you can bring it inside.  If you come across a pet in a car that appears to be in distress, take action.  In Florida, it is legal to rescue a person or domestic animal that is in danger in a locked vehicle.  According to the bill,  it provides immunity from civil liability for damage to a motor vehicle related to the rescue of a person or domestic animal under circumstances.  Call 911 immediately after rescuing the child or animal and make sure to wait for first-responders to arrive.

Watch your dog during exercise for signs of distress

On hot summer days, try to keep outdoor exercise to the mornings and late afternoons.  Try not to be out during the hottest time of day.  If you are outside, ensure you have plenty of fresh water available and take moderate breaks.  Heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue are all signs of heat stress.

If your dog shows any of these signs, be sure to gradually lower his body temperature with cool (not cold) water.  Try soaking him in a bath or pool.  At Born Free Pet Shelter, we have a kiddie pool for all of our dogs that they love to sit in on hot days.  Check out Mickey below relaxing in his pool!  If you do not have a pool or bath available, take a wet washcloth or paper towel and wet the ear flaps and paws.

Make sure to offer your dog fresh water but do not force them to drink.  If your dog shows these signs of heat stress, you should take them to the vet after you can cool them down.

 mickey in pool

Don’t let your pooch get burnt

When walking, watch out for hot surfaces.  Try to stay off hot surfaces in the middle of the day.  Test it first with your hand, if it’s too hot for your hand, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.  Hot surfaces like asphalt can burn your dog’s paws, try walking on the grass.  You can also look into booties for your dog in the summer but be careful that they aren’t wearing those for too long on hot days.

Dogs can burn in the sun just like you and me.  Watch out for the sun, especially for white, light-colored and thin coat dogs.  Sunburn will cause pain, itchiness and other problems for your dog.   Use waterproof baby sunscreen on days in the sun on your dog’s ears and nose.

Dog at beach

Hopefully these summer tips will help you and your dog have a great summer!  While these are good general tips, just make sure to use common sense with your dog.  No one knows your dog better than you.  Don’t be afraid to let your dog enjoy summer and run in the sun, just use precaution and everything in moderation.

Let us know what your favorite thing to do in the summer is with your dog!



Amazing Facts About American Bulldogs

American Bulldogs need more publicity as it has so many wonderful qualities that are not known.  American Bullies are very lovable dogs that despite their tough appearance are very sweet, smart, and happy dogs. We have collected interesting facts about this breed that we’d love for you to share.

American Bulldogs love people

dog and volunteers

Even though some American Bulldogs appear muscular and big, don’t let this fool you, they are in fact very sweet and good natured dogs. They are very good with kids and very loyal. American Bulldogs are confident dogs who are good with people! They ranked really well in the American Temperament Test Society, their behavior is so good that they even rank higher than breeds like Golden Retrievers, Pomeranians, Beagles and Cocker Spaniels.

American Bulldogs are great for Miami weather

They are very easy to maintain as they have short hair and moderate shedding. Which is great for Miami or Florida summer weather!

You will get plenty of exercise

american bulldog running

American Bulldogs are vigorous and have lots of energy; they need to be taken on long walks. If you like biking or jogging, these dogs are for you! They will happily run along with you and require a lot of exercise.  Make sure to be a strong leader as they can be a stubborn and need the right leadership to guide them.  If you have an active lifestyle or are seriously thinking about starting one, bully breeds will be a great match for you!

Born Free Pet Shelter Advice: Try going on daily walks on your own before you get a new active dog to make sure you can commit to giving your new pup the exercise he needs.

Bully Breeds are easy to train

Dog training is wonderful for American Bulldogs and recommended as it can help them to prevent boredom. It will also help them understand that they need to follow you. Just simple easy tasks like “sit”, “stay”, “down” and “come” will be great for them. Here is an easy guide on how to teach tricks to your dog. Bully breeds are easy to train as they are very intelligent and love pleasing their owners. They can be a strong breed and need a pack leader who gives them boundaries and limitations. Bullies need to know they are not the “Alpha Dog” and are happy to receive guidance and direction.

Our American Bulldogs

Here at the shelter, we have amazing American Bulldogs up for adoption. Some of them are:


american bulldog for adoption

This is Dagz! She is a 6-year-old American Bulldog who is very sweet and easy going. Compared to other American Bulldogs, she is very gentle and calm.  She arrived at the shelter when her owner moved out of State and was unable to take her with them. However, they provided her excellent training that she still remembers. She knows voice commands like sit, down, paw, high five and roll over. (Possibly even more that we haven’t discovered yet!)


american bulldog

Mickey is our spoiled dog. He is a very handsome young dog who arrived at the shelter as a puppy and a typical American Bulldog. Mickey loves meeting new people, love belly rubs and is very energetic. He needs enough exercise and proper leadership from his new owner. Mickey will be great for an active family or person. We called him Mickey because he has markings that resemble the shape of Mickey Mouse! He is a happy dog that will always make your smile.


bully breed

Meet Bones! Bones is truly a gentle giant. He might look very muscular but he is a real sweetheart. His dream is to be a lap dog! He is one of the favorites of many volunteers due to his very sweet behavior.  He is calm and enjoys lounging in the sun, exploring the yard, and greeting the volunteers with a smile.

These and more wonderful dogs are up for adoption at Born Free Pet Shelter. Please email us at or call Maria at 786-205-6865 to meet them!