The story of DROC...
Doberman Rescue of Colorado (DROC) has paired over 800 homeless dogs with loving families since Chuck Vaile took charge of the volunteer group in 1996. Most of their orphans are “purebreds” like Rickie, a blind stray found wandering the streets of Arkansas who is now a cherished pet and therapy dog; or Brodie, a beautiful, playful blue Dobie with sweet amber eyes whose folks wouldn’t trade him for a Westminster champion. He found his way to DROC after backyard breeders couldn’t turn a quick profit on the thin coated puppy and brought him to a New Mexico vet to be euthanized. She rescued the little guy and turned him over to Special Needs Dobermans, who transferred him to the Colorado-based group.
DROC also helps dogs of varying ancestry. Each recipient of their care has a unique tale of salvation that often begins with a mystery. Hundreds of homeless Dobies are picked up from shelters, with only their wounds or idiosyncratic behaviors giving mute testimony to their origins. Even a Labrador retriever guide dog was re-homed by DROC after being inexplicably dumped at a Park County rest area. Others come from known circumstances that lay heavy on rescuers who rehabilitate the dogs’ bodies and souls.
Browser’s family knows their handsome doberboy’s history. Before rescue, he spent years tied up with tow chains that traumatized his spine but couldn’t break his noble spirit. Like so many Dobies, Browser was willing to trust and eager to love. He was adopted into his “forever home” after receiving surgery, intensive physical therapy and emotional support from DROC. Rex’s story began with three individuals who saw a neighbor severely beating him, fracturing the starving dog’s neck and ribs, then leaving him in the yard to die. According to Chuck, one of the witnesses “finally got a conscience,” and called authorities. Rex was rushed to a vet and eventually adopted into a good life with a family who treasured him.
It takes a courageous heart to witness and heal the cruelty experienced by too many of these dogs, animals that were born to love their people with exuberant joy, provide intelligent service, and protect their families with single-minded devotion. Chuck Vaile wants people to know that a rescued Dobie’s origins are not limiting. The dogs’ adaptability, character, natural devotion, and intelligence lend them an ability to transcend trauma and go on to fulfill their breed-specific destiny as adoring companions, guardians, and working dogs of the highest caliber.
“There’s a common misconception that dogs available from rescue groups are homeless because they’re flawed,” Chuck states, pointing out that most of these dogs are orphaned by human frailties. Some unfortunate folks succumb to terminal illnesses or circumstances that destroy their ability to care for their animals. Others make ignorant or irresponsible decisions that lead them to abandon their dogs.
Given a chance, the versatility that makes Dobermans so trainable also helps them recover from hardship with their hearts’ intact. “Dobermans can learn anything a dog can be taught to do,” Chuck states proudly. There are Dobies herding livestock, pulling sleds, and providing therapy in nursing homes. There are Dobie police dogs, military heroes, search and rescue, and disability assistance dogs, including pilot dogs for the blind. One dog trainer commented that “All Dobies should be named Einstein, except that they’re a little weak in mathematics.”
Chuck has a particular fondness for the guide dogs. Willow is his third Doberman pilot dog since he was blinded in an accident while serving in the Army as a combat medic and surgical specialist. Willow’s professional skills help her sightless companion navigate our complex world, while her calm nature is employed at home as den mother to the lucky rescues who stay for awhile before moving on to brighter futures.
Chuck mirrors his favorite breed’s legendary vigilance with his heartfelt advocacy for dogs that others would forsake. The committed volunteers of DROC make endless rounds of shelters, vets, physical therapists, donors, and prospective homes for adoption or fostering. Their efforts provide a second chance for countless abandoned dogs like Kenny, a drop-dead gorgeous red Dobie who initially cowered in terror from people and life. Kenny was coaxed back to a joyful existence by Chuck and his most senior volunteer, foster-dad Doug Smith, who renamed the dog Kuma when Kenny’s yearning for love triumphed over fear and Doug’s ability to part with him. Kuma is now a beloved member of Doug’s adopted family of Dobies and Beagles, living there happily ever after. And that’s how every rescue story should end.