From Dog Aggressive Stray to Dog Playgroup Superstar


Rescued from the busy and dangerous streets near South Florida Avenue in Lakeland, Licorice arrived at SPCA Florida in February as a scruffy stray with patches of hair loss, tapeworms, and heartworms. The 3-year-old Pit Bull Terrier Mix also had dog aggression issues, especially with barriers such as fences and kennels. According to Adrienne Farricelli of Demand Media, “Leashes, tie-downs or any other forms of restraint that limit a dog’s ability to interact with the environment may lead to barrier frustration.” Given her health and behavior challenges, other animal shelters may have deemed Licorice unadoptable, however, SPCA Florida is known for giving even the most challenging dogs a second chance at health and happiness. Watch her video now>>

For the last four months, kennel staff members have been building a positive relationship with Licorice, addressing her barrier aggression issues through positive fence reinforcement and carefully monitored, one-on-one yard interactions with other dogs. SPCA Florida Kennel Staff Member and Playgroup Manager, Sondra Riley states, “the next step was to let one dog at a time enter the play yard with Licorice as staff and volunteer stood by with monitoring tools, such as spray bottles and air horns.” These devices quickly diffuse any possible scuttles. “The trained staff and volunteers are incredibly attentive to the dogs’ body language such as ears back, eye glares, and body stiffness, which can indicate stress,” says Sondra. SPCA Florida staff are trained to prevent incidents by proactively watching for those canine body language signs.

Even though Licorice has always loved people, overcoming her dog aggression increases her adoptability. The missing piece in Licorice’s story is her final happy ending; will you open your heart and home to this former stray who has come so far?