Freedom’s Journey (How NOT To Rehome Your Dog)

“DO YOU KNOW WHO THIS DOG IS?” the Facebook post began, with an accompanying photo of a black dog with the word “FREE” spray painted onto his fur. Concerned animal lovers all over Stevens county shared the picture as well as theories of the dog’s origin. Many commenters iterated that whoever did this should be ashamed of themselves. “We are all working hard to get him to a safe place and a new home…the very thing that you should have done,” one person posted.

First spotted on Deadman Creek Road north of Kettle Falls in Ferry county, the dog did not travel as many lost pets do, but stayed close to that location. It can only be assumed that his owner spray painted him, then dumped him and drove away. This left the poor canine wanderer to question what he was supposed to do next.

When people tried to catch the dog, he was too frightened and confused to let anyone near him. That’s when Katie Schmidlkofer of Murci’s Mission took over the operation. The non-profit animal rescue organization based in Mead, Washington (over two hours away from the dog’s location) happily accepted the responsibility of rescuing the wayward pup.

The animal rescue groups on Facebook were encouraged by Murci’s Mission, to keep a lookout for the dog, but not to approach, and especially not to chase him. Rescuers attempting to catch him would be at risk as he was having a fight or flight response due to the situation. The fear and uncertainty were becoming overwhelming and could lead to the dog or a well-meaning person getting hurt.

After two days of following the story online, the announcement came. “He is secure!” Finally someone was able to lure him in with food. The dog was cared for by a foster in the Kettle Falls area for two days before Murci’s Mission could come take possession.  The community around Deadman Creek Road were a huge part of this successful rescue. Once safely delivered to Murci’s Mission the dog received a name: Freedom.

Freedom’s body condition did not suggest that he had been abused or neglected; though his behavior was not negative, he had no manners or impulse control. The dog, however, did show signs of being fearful of some people, such as cowering and crawling. There’s no knowing if this behavior is a result of abuse or just a submissive personality.

Murci’s Mission says that Freedom is very smart and willing to learn. He wants desperately to receive positive feedback from his people and is a quick study.

“For a dog like him who knows nothing at all, you really only get one shot to make things come together in a positive way. He’s doing really, really well,” said the correspondent from Murci’s Mission.

Since arriving at Murci’s Mission, Freedom has learned:

  • Sit
  • Down
  • How to walk loosely on a leash
  • To go to his “place”
  • How to relax in a crate
  • Ride in the car without panicking

Murci’s Mission has had a few adoption applications come in for Freedom; they are currently sorting through those applications, but in the meantime Freedom is still looking for a true forever home. He will be placed with whoever the rescue organization sees as best suited for the dog’s nature and personality.

For more information about Freedom and Murci’s Mission visit

If for any reason you can no longer keep your pet, please do not dump them.  Dumped pets are at risk and put others in danger. Most shelters and animal rescues will gladly accept your surrendered furbaby and see that they are safe and cared for until a new home can be found.

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