This week, DGP had the pleasure to sit down with acclaimed author Lee Harrington. Harrington released her memoir, Rex and the City, in 2007 and DGP wanted to find out more about her dog, Wallace, and her passion for animal shelters.
Harrington feels she was born to become a writer. She has always been “very introspective, observant, and loved to read.” Most importantly, she has always loved dogs. Growing up with huskies, her childhood memories are filled with playing with her dogs and loving to be around them.
When Harrington moved to the city, she couldn’t escape all the dogs she saw getting walked and begged her boyfriend at the time for a pup of her own. Harrington got her wish on one, very impulsive, weekend when they decided to get a dog and the rest is history.
“We wanted to share our story because we were inept at first,” Harrington said about adopting Wallace, a previously abused dog. “We didn’t know how to handle an abused dog and didn’t know the signals of abused dog. We read a lot of books on how to train dogs and they were very much about correcting the dog for things that were wrong,” said Harrington.
Her husband followed the book while Harrington was following more of a “softie” training method. After a little while, the Harringtons realized these corrective methods don’t work with an abused dog since it further traumatizes them. “They only learn that they will be punished,” said Harrington.
After figuring out the best way to train and cope with Wallace, it took about four months for him to really trust the Harringtons. “We were so committed to making sure he had a good life,” said Harrington, “We stopped our lives as we were and committed ourselves 100% to [Wallace].”
Now Harrington is a huge proponent of clicker training and positive reinforcement. “Now there is so much information out there and alternatives to dominance training,” explained Harrington. She and her husband used clicker training on their nine-year-old spaniel, Chloe, and “were floored with how easy it worked.”
Harrington is still living in the city with her husband and pup Chloe. She has become passionate about being involved with animal rescue and donates 10% of her book profits to a different shelter each month. You can find Harrington’s latest column, The Chloe Chronicles, in Bark Magazine.