Ruffy, Odie, Chloe, Toby, and Henry are just a few of the dogs that have touched Kyla Sternlieb’s heart. Kyla, founder and president of Under the Weather, has a massive soft spot for dogs and allllllll of this started when Ruffy, a scruffy little wheaten terrier, had an upset tummy.
Ruffy was sick - she was suffering, Kyla was suffering, and the carpets in her house were suffering, too. The vet prescribed an antibiotic, but Ruffy couldn’t take it on an empty stomach so Kyla was instructed to whip up a bland diet of boiled chicken and white rice. Three hours and two missed meetings later, Kyla wondered, why does this have to be so hard, and then... a brilliant idea! Ruffy’s digestive upset inspired Under the Weather and it’s been full steam ahead ever since.
Under the Weather isn’t all about Ruffy - a big part of our mission is rescuing animals who have nobody else. “Whenever you foster or adopt a dog,” Kyla explains, “you deal with a lot of digestive issues resulting from stress or a change in their diet, and the vet tells you to temporarily feed them boiled chicken and cooked rice.” Kyla knows the challenges of adoption firsthand.
The Big Rescue
One of Kyla’s dogs, Henry, came from a tough situation in Tennessee. He was transported to the Chittenden County Humane Society in Vermont for a better shot at adoption through Kyla’s nonprofit, Ruffy Rescue, but he was deemed unadoptable by the humane society. He was so fearful, insanely scared of people, and they doubted he could be placed in a home. It was back to Tennessee for Henry.
Enter the transport driver, Eric, who saved Henry’s life. When he picked Henry up, he was given one rule: don’t let the dog out of the crate. But fate stepped in and the driver from Tennessee slated to meet him was running really late. Eric did what any decent human would do - he let Henry out of the crate and discovered that he was a great dog who just needed a little extra love and a whole lot of patience. Some dogs just don’t do well in a shelter environment.
Eric made a call to the humane society, recommending that Henry be given a second chance in Vermont. Kyla heard about Henry’s plight and she adopted him, giving Henry his forever home.
“Henry took a long time. He absolutely loved other dogs, but had an intense fear of people. When something startled him, he would run away so fast he would almost injure himself - he was just so scared. But he’s really changed. Nobody can believe how far he’s come. He still prefers a quiet environment, but all he wants to do is please. He sleeps in bed with us every night, he’s just the most affectionate animal I’ve ever met in my life.”
Kyla and Henry
The Henry Lesson
The Henry-factor isn’t all that unique. Oftentimes when people adopt a dog, they expect them to fit right into the family as a well-adjusted and happy creature, but the truth is, it can take a long time for them to become comfortable.
“They’ve seen a lot of things in their lives,” explains Kyla, “and they can have a lot of PTSD from being in a shelter or from a home that’s abusive. So when you get them, it takes A LOT of time and patience.” Under the Weather works to support healthy lives for shelter dogs and newly adopted dogs in so many ways, bland diets being one, Ruffy Rescue being another.
According to Kyla, “We have helped save the lives of over 2,000 dogs. We help cover the costs of pulling them from high kill shelters down south which includes, quarantine, spay and neuter costs, and vaccinations., Every one of these beautiful dogs go to loving homes with a pouch of Under the Weather.” Proceeds from every Under the Weather sale goes to Ruffy Rescue to provide these services.
Henry’s story inspires our mission and shows that, when given the chance, even “unadoptable” dogs can find a way home; he’s a true diplomat of the dog species and we love his precious doggy heart.