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When this puppy mill dog was rescued, she couldn't stand humans. But just look at her now.

When Coconut the dog was rescued, no one knew if she could be helped at all. But a new rehab program run by the ASPCA means more dogs will have a chance to live and be loved.

When this puppy mill dog was rescued, she couldn't stand humans. But just look at her now.

This is Coconut the dog. She loves getting lots of attention from her family.

Getting some love from her new family. Image by ASPCA.


Her person says: “She adds so much to our life, she really does. … She's absolutely wonderful."

But she wasn't always like this. Coconut had a rough start in life.

Coconut was born in a puppy mill — a large-scale commercial breeding operation where the health of dogs is not a concern. Conditions are disgusting and the treatment of dogs is horrible. As a result, many of the dogs have serious health and socialization issues.

Coconut was terrified of human touch before she was rescued by the ASPCA. Image by ASPCA.

After her rescue, Coconut couldn't stand to be touched by anyone. She was in seriously bad shape — so bad that she couldn't be put up for adoption.

The ASPCA rescued Coconut and more than 150 other dogs from a puppy mill in Michigan. But even outside the puppy mill setting, Coconut was very scared and couldn't stand to be touched by anyone.

Even outside the puppy mill, Coconut couldn't handle being around humans. Image via ASPCA.

There was simply no way she would've been able to handle becoming a family pet right off the bat.

“These dogs have been kept in isolation," said Kristen Collins of the ASPCA. She said that just because the dogs were rescued doesn't mean they're ready for a new home. “They needed extra help, and [in the past] there really wasn't anywhere for them to go."

Years ago, Coconut may have been out of luck. She may have spent years in a shelter, or simply been euthanized because she was too afraid of people.

Luckily for Coconut, the ASPCA recently opened a behavioral rehab center.

In March 2013, the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center opened in New Jersey to help traumatized dogs (either homeless or from cases of cruelty) get ready for adoption. It's the first facility in the country that's dedicated strictly to helping rescued dogs heal their behavioral problems. And so far, more than 200 dogs have graduated from the program.

By week three at the facility, Coconut was letting people touch her — cautiously, but it was a huge step forward.

Coconut tentatively sniffs Kristen's hand. Image by ASPCA.

By week six at the facility, Coconut had learned to actively seek touch when she wanted it (and she learned that getting pets and lovin' is awesome).

Is this the same dog?! Image via ASPCA.

Most dogs take about 12 weeks to make it through the rehab center's program. Coconut's rapid recovery was super impressive. Soon, she was ready to go to her new home.

Coconut's story has a happy ending.

Coconut is now a very social dog. She lives with a family that loves and pets her all the time, and gives her plenty of treats.


Let's all say it together now: awwwwww. Check out Coconut's whole story in the ASPCA's video.

What's the lesson to learn from Coconut?

Kristen Collins says it best: “I think that the main thing to take away ... is that these animals can be helped. And we will try our best to help all of them."

"These animals can be helped. And we will try our best to help all of them."
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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