Special needs dog finds home for Christmas


Animal trainer Ted Aranda and Patch. Photo submitted.

The Lenawee County Humane Society (LCHS), a no-kill shelter focused on caring for the well-being of animals, is dedicated to finding loving and devoted homes for each of the creatures in their care. The core of its mission is exemplified through Patch, a pitbull-mix pup who spent nearly six months under the care of the LCHS before finding a home just in time for Christmas.

Patch was picked up off the side of the road during the summertime by Zach Ratliff and Nicole Martin, who noticed she was eating carrion. The couple called the LCHS, but at the time, all kennels were full. Ratliff and Martin housed Patch until a spot opened up the LCHS. Patch then came to the shelter on July 30, where employees began the work of finding her a permanent home.

“She was in really bad health,” Cornell said. “She was emaciated and in very poor condition, weighing only thirty-six pounds.”

Humane society employees discovered Patch was deaf, which had resulted in her developing OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and ADD (attention deficit disorder). Patty Clark, Patch’s adoption ambassador, worked with Patch to develop the skills she needed to be adopted.

“Patch was deaf, and because she was deaf, she needed a lot of training,” Cornell said. “We sent her to a foster home with one of our adoption ambassadors, and she was tearing up everything. She came back to the shelter and an animal behaviorist helped to teach this dog sign language, along with the adoption ambassador, so she got a home.”

Ted Aranda was the behavioral specialist who spent several months teaching Patch sign language. Patch soon learned sit, stay, lie down, and other commands at Aranda’s training. She was placed in a home, but was unable to get along with the first dog the owners had, so she came back to the shelter.

“One thing we work really hard to do is match the best owner for the best dog. Just because somebody wants a dog doesn’t mean that’s the best dog for them,” Cornell said. “We work really hard to match the right family with the right dog so they stay together.”

On December 18, Patch finally found a permanent home. She left the shelter at 56 pounds, with a large set of skills she’d learned from Clark and Aranda. Her owner was a woman who faced some struggles herself, as a result of PTSD.

“It was obvious the minute they were together they understood each other,” Cornell said. “It was actually kind of amazing.”


Tecumseh Herald


110 E. Logan St.
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Tecumseh, MI 49286

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