Meet Paul Rava, Controller and Operations Manager at DOG for DOG
Ever since I was a kid, dogs have always been a huge part of my life. Maybe it was all thanks to 101 Dalmatians, which I watched on a daily basis throughout childhood, or maybe it was because I always had fun playing with our family dogs.
It wasn’t until later in life that I realized having a dog wasn’t just a pleasant part of life, but an opportunity to find a best friend and to make a positive impact in the community. Throughout college I started to volunteer at rescues and shelters in the Los Angeles area, hoping to help out and learn a bit about giving back. What I quickly grew to learn was that each rescue and shelter is full of loving and motivated people with great intentions but often-limited resources. They are all working to help save dogs and they are all doing everything possible to make an impact.
As many of you know, it takes a lot of emotional strength to be involved at any shelter or adoption day event. To hear the constant stream of heart breaking stories and seeing the beautiful dogs looking for a forever home, we are all faced with two options: hope everything works out or take action and make a difference.
My decision was easy. I made a promise to myself that I would focus on making strides in my life to help these rescues and dogs in the best way I could. I immediately went out and spent a year in an Animal Behavior course and received my certification as a Certified Dog Trainer. The path to achieve this included working with one dog in particular, Phineas, who was a people-aggressive and dog-aggressive bully breed mix, and had been with his rescue for over a year. I worked with him on a weekly basis, and spent my time showing him a loving home and a promise for improved behavior.
Within weeks, I was able to successfully introduce Phineas to my dog, Slugger, with no issues. Phineas became the star of the obedience class I taught, excelling with his intelligence and eagerness to learn. I had never experienced a greater or truer happiness than the day Phineas got adopted and left our rescue for his forever home. I was extremely sad to know I wouldn’t be spending as much time with him, but his new family was ecstatic and I knew he would be a great addition to their household. Phineas is just one example of the positive impact we are able to have in a dog’s life and the lives of the family members who adopt.
Slugger, my Boston Terrier, is a great daily reminder and representation of the pure love and joy that comes with having a dog as a true companion. He’s there with me whether I’m sleeping on the couch or out for a run (well…if he’s in the mood…) and I could not be more thankful for the positive energy that he has, every moment of every day in life.