The dogs that lie in the middle, and the most common dogs that we see here at HSNBA.
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The Types Of Dogs We Receive

On average, HSNBA takes in about 1750 dogs per year. Of those, 30% are reclaimed by their owners. That leaves about 1200 dogs per year that HSNBA tries to find new homes for. There is a wide spectrum of dogs that enter our shelter. These include the following:

Unicorn Dog

Unicorn Dogs

On the one side, the “unicorn” dogs that rarely end up at shelters and when they do, dozens of approved applications are in line for them within hours. These are small breed dogs, purebred dogs, puppies and dogs considered hypoallergenic just to name a few.

Inbetweener Dog

Inbetweener Dogs

The overwhelming majority of the dogs that land at HSNBA belong to the “Inbetweener Club” – somewhere in between the unicorns and the tough cases. Clearly, someone has cared for them at some point, even if it was just the basics, but for some reason, the bond between dog and human has been broken and it’s up to us to give these dogs a second chance at a first class life.

Scared Dog

Challenging Dogs

The other end of the spectrum is the small percentage of dogs coming in with serious medical and behavioral challenges. We have a great system for helping these dogs and thank goodness, they are a tiny percentage of the dogs entering our shelter..


These are not dogs who went to “Puppy Kindergarten” as puppies, they were not walked regularly through the neighborhood on a leash, and they have probably never been to a vet. They may be sweet tempered and love people but the shelter environment is overwhelming and stressful. Being bombarded by strange people and other dogs daily wears on them more so than dogs who have been well socialized to new things.

So here they sit. Sometimes, they cower in the corner of their kennels but more often they bark and throw themselves at the kennel doors in an obnoxious and threatening way when strangers walk by. The majority of adopters who walk through the kennels are turned off by this behavior, so the dogs sit here even longer because only the most dog savvy and dedicated visitors, volunteers and potential adopters are willing to give them a chance.


These are also the FIRST dogs to lose any manners, bite inhibition, and ability to interact with other dogs that they may have miraculously had when they arrived. Harming themselves out of boredom and severe anxiety is a real issue.

First To Lose Manners

Lose Bite Inhibition

Increased Anxiety

Lose Ability to Interact

May Self Harm

Become Depressed

Suddenly they are liabilities who are prone to biting people and fighting with other dogs, putting staff, volunteers and visitors at risk. THESE are the dogs who become “at risk” at our shelter. If they have any medical issues, such as heartworms, or are a breed not welcome by landlords, such as pit mixes or German Shepherds, they are even more at risk because the pool of potential fosters and adopters has narrowed even more.

HSNBA does more than most open intake shelters when it comes to helping these dogs but we CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT YOU. The community let these dogs down and it’s the community that is going to help them. Once a dog becomes a danger to themselves and/or the people that are trying to help them, we are literally between a rock and a hard place.

So what can you do for the In Betweeners Club? VOLUNTEER! Help us help them.

Here are some ideas on how to help the inbetweener dogs while you are here at the shelter.

Give A Treat

Each dog on the adoption floor has a treat jar on their kennel door. Make them sit and give them a treat to teach them that sitting quietly at the kennel gate means yum yums. Our shelter is very open, you don’t have to be a registered volunteer to do this, just come on in and DO IT.

Get In The Kennel

Get in the kennel with them, sit down and talk to them, read them a news article off your phone and let them know that quiet, calm time is just as much fun as barking their head off and charging the kennel door.

Go For A Walk

If you are comfortable, slip a leash over their head and take them for a walk. We have loads of exercise pens all over the property where you can take them to burn off energy or walk them around the property, teaching them how to walk nicely on a leash instead of yanking arms out of sockets and choking themselves half to death. Once they have burned off a little energy, you can try more focused training (Please be aware, HSNBA does NOT condone the use of prong collars or any sort of negative reinforcement in ANY WAY. We promote reward based training ONLY and will NOT abide any visitor using force with any animal here at HSNBA).

Take Photos & Behavior Notes

While you have them out, take pictures and take notes about their behavior. This gives us the information we need to create the best possible online profiles for them. Our adoptable animals are posited in SO MANY places!, Adopt-a-Pet, even Target and feature adoptable shelter pets! So you can see the importance of all our pets having a great picture and a cute engaging biography, it could literally be their ticket outta here!

Our staff struggles daily to get everyone cleaned, fed and watered and keep up with their vaccination and wellness schedules. We organize weekly spay/neuter clinics to get them all fixed, micro chipped and a rabies shot before they get adopted. Despite the never ending influx of animals, we also find time for “enrichment” but we could use a LOT more help in that department. Volunteers can bridge the gap between the basics staff can provide and the EXTRA they need to get adopted. While you don’t have to be a registered volunteer to help, we’d love to have you and it will open you up to a whole host of more training and unique opportunities to help.