Story

Dog Harmony Celebrates New Home

April 25, 2018 by Manny Chavez

As a certified, professional dog trainer, Nancy Brown knows a thing or two about her furry friends.

After graduating from the Animal Behavior College in Santa Clara, California, she worked with various dog-owning clients who, for one reason or another, expressed a need to find a home for their dogs. She then worked with animal rescue operations and saw that many animals were simply being regurgitated through the system.

“The dogs were being returned to the shelters because they didn’t have basic skills (stay, sit, not jumping, house training, manners, etc.) …. mostly, it was simply the wrong dog being put in the wrong home, explains Nancy.

She knew that educating dog owners how to educate their canines was the key element in forming long-term “forever” homes. So, she founded Dog-Harmony, a non-profit organization, in 2013. She is busy transitioning from her former Emerald Coast Plaza location to her new one at 237 Market St., off Hwy. 393 North.

The new location is HUGE and will allow her to fulfill her Dog-Harmony dreams. Nancy is very excited about her new headquarters which will place an emphasis on Humane Education. Various workshops and training clinics will be offered throughout the year.

Some of the upcoming events sponsored by Dog-Harmony include a treat-making class, painting classes, a loose leash walking clinic, basic obedience training, and PAWroma touch demonstrations. On a recent visit to Dog-Harmony, we witnessed PAWroma clinic leader Dawn Guidry make quick friends with “Oscar,” a large mixed-breed dog that had been taken over by Dog-Harmony when his owner “no longer had time for the dog.” She incorporates a unique dog-massage technique, using essential oils to help improve the dog’s overall health. “Oscar” wasn’t quite sure about the whole thing, but soon warmed up to the idea. He’s a beautiful animal and anyone adopting him will be rewarded big time.

Although the build-out is a work in progress, the entrance lobby is already looking good with the walls painted brightly and aptly decorated with the whimsical pet portraits by local artist Robin Wiesneth.

“We plan on having a bi-monthly rotation of artists on our walls whereby artists can display and sell their art with a small percentage of their profits going towards keeping Dog-Harmony alive,” explains Nancy. “I’ve grown to realize that art is very beneficial to our daily sense of well-being and we plan on incorporating this medium throughout our program.”

As Nancy sits on her lobby couch with her “assistant” Lulu, it is obvious how comfortable she is with them. They respond to her every command and at times she seems to communicate telepathically with them…. conveying her meaning or intent to them with even the slightest of body language or voice inflection. Their bond is palpable, and a calmness prevails.

Knowing that children and pets and children getting along with their pets is extremely important to the overall family dynamic, Dog-Harmony offers classes to teach children the proper ways to pet and play with them, understanding dog body language, and how to react if a dog attacks. This 30-minute class is so important that Dog-Harmony offers it free of charge.

Other programs offered by Dog-Harmony include low-cost microchipping, low-cost spay/neuter surgeries, and adoption services for a limited number of dogs.

“We finally have the space needed to do all that Dog-Harmony was intended to do,” continues Nancy. “Pet Adoption is just a tiny part of it. Our purpose is to keep the dogs OUT of the shelter through education. This spot is perfect for this purpose. We have room for classes, demonstrations, day-care and training. We need to change how people think about dogs. Dogs can help the community and people can help each other.”

Nancy is also busy grooming therapy dogs. She sees firsthand the difference a trained dog can make in providing affection, comfort and love to people in hospitals, retirement homes, schools and hospices. Again, education is key with Nancy ready to hand out diplomas to humans willing to put in the time and effort…as her web site points out: Dog+Human=Family.

A “How You Can Help” Dog-Harmony grand-opening is scheduled for May 9 from 4-7 p.m.

A cool summertime Pet Expo is being planned which will include training, grooming, veterinarians, and nutritionists on hand with the latest info concerning canine health and well-being. Watch Dog-Harmony Facebook feeds or sign up for their free newsletter for more details.

Nancy points out that volunteers are always needed and welcomed to help man their fund-raising events, working their Grand Boulevard Kiosk, or helping to renovate their new building. To volunteer, donate, or become a sponsor, go to www.dog-harmony.org , call 850-376-4190, or visit them at their new location, 237 Market Street off Hwy. 393 North, just south of Chat Holly Rd. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Friday; noon-6 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday.

Dog-Harmony Press Release about the Grand Opening:

Dog-Harmony, an education-focused nonprofit dog rescue in Santa Rosa Beach, recently announced the acquisition of its new location at 237 Market Street, and now, it’s set to host an open house on May 9 from 4 to 7 p.m. for the community to check out the new space.

“We’re thrilled about the new space, but we have a long way to go before it’s really ready for the dogs and larger events,” said Nancy Bown, founder of Dog-Harmony. “We need some major community involvement to get this location to where it needs to be.”

Complete with live music by local artist Matt Lyons, drinks from Grayton Beer Company and Shunk Gully Oyster Bar and light bites, this event will give members of the community an opportunity to learn more about Dog-Harmony and the work it does in the area. Bown and members of the nonprofit’s board will share their vision for the space, providing local businesses and individuals an opportunity to find out how they can help.

“There are so many ways for the community to contribute to the space,” said Bown. “We need everything from modular fencing to cabinets and kennel mats, so there are plenty of options for businesses to support this project.”

Dog-Harmony isn’t your standard breed of rescue. This nonprofit focuses on keeping dogs out of shelters in the first place by creating programs to combat the top reasons and ways dogs end up being rehomed.

For more information about Dog-Harmony or this event, please visit dog-harmony.org or check out the Facebook event page.

Tagged

Manny Chavez's picture

Manny Chavez

Manny has been a working photojournalist his entire career and is now writing stories/taking pix for SoWal.com. He and his wife Kris live in Seagrove and have “seen a lot come and go.” Lots of stories have been told, with lots more to come!

Add comment
You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.