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“There are no Bad Dogs, just dogs that need help becoming Good Dogs”

Darin and Marisa Olson own On the Rocks Jewelry in Sheridan, WY.  Prior to that, they owned 45th Parallel.  The stores couldn’t be more different! Obviously, they aren’t strangers to changing things up.  Max was a Rat Terrier / Jack Russell mix (IE professional mutt).  Darin and Marisa happened on Max one day when some neighbors had him cornered because he was terrified of a storm and was panicking.  Undaunted, they scooped up Max and took him home.  The next day they took a picture door to door trying to find his owner. No takers, so they brought him to the Dog and Cat Shelter.  He was immediately recognized by the staff who called him “Hopper”.  He earned that moniker because he was a repeat resident due to his escape artist tactics (hopping up and over 4ft walls).  Max had been returned to the Shelter 6 times over 2 years. People would adopt him and he would either escape or wreak so much havoc that they couldn’t keep him.


With heavy hearts, they left Max at the Shelter in case he had a family looking for him.  When no one showed up after 7 days, they took the challenge and adopted Max.  Max suffered such extreme anxiety that he vomited every 20 minutes when first introduced to their household.  Over time this was reduced to 4-5 times per day.  This went on for 6 years until a vet suggested Metoclopramide, which helped Max immensely.

Max was a huge presence.  He was both charming and dominant.  He walked in a room and made sure everyone knew who was in charge.  He would bite when he felt challenged by other dogs. As soon as everyone knew he was the boss he was fine until they tried something. Then he would put them on their back. In the words of Marisa, “If they still didn’t submit there was hell to pay”.  His behavior was problematic but Darin and Marisa managed it.  They not only managed his behavior, they provided the love and stability that Max so desperately needed. Max lived to be (an estimated) 22 years old.


Young Max


22 year old Max

The Dog and Cat Shelter has long wanted to set aside funds that would allow dogs with issues like Max’s  to be adopted or fostered into homes that can meet their needs. These dogs typically have some bite history.  Generally they are reacting to an environment they don’t understand. They’re either anxious about a new situation or feel backed into a corner. The Shelter staff believe that if they can provide a skill set and behavioral boundaries for these problem dogs, they can be placed in appropriate homes because they have a new set of tools that can help them assess rather than react.


When Max died in June, an anonymous donor called the Director and said she would like to establish a fund for Max. She asked if there was an appropriate program. When the Shelter learned about Max, it became immediately apparent that Max could be the face of the Bite Club, now know as the Better Canine Program. Timing is everything. Thanks to Max, and his larger than life presence, and a generous donor, there is help for the future Max’s of the world. A program for dogs who need a little help adjusting to life but who deserve a chance to live large. Like Max did.  Thanks to Darin and Marisa who took the time to look beyond Max’s issues and the energy to nurture him through.


Our goal is to keep the Better Canine Program going in perpetuity. Help us help the Max’s of the world by donating today! At average capacity, it costs $16 per day to house a Max dog. Their stay is longer than the normal population. A $112.00 donation covers a week’s lodging for a Max Dog – and might buy him a life!

If you are interested in donating please press the arrow below.

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