California Woman Creates Pack-Based Rescue to Help Rehabilitate Aggressive Dogs

Colleen Combs, founder of the Green Dog Rescue Project, along with part of her pack.
Photo by Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat

A fascinating story in the Santa Rosa (CA) Press Democrat focuses on Colleen Combs and her Green Dog Rescue Project. Launched with the help of celebrity chef Douglas Keane—who donated $120,000 he received from winning the “Top Chef Masters” competition on TV channel Bravo to help get the rescue off the ground—Green Dog doesn’t keep its animals in separate cages or kennels. Instead, the dogs are housed in their natural environment, as a pack.

Combs believes that many dogs that are deemed “bad” or “untrainable” suffer from the lack of structure that a pack creates. There is some evidence that Combs is right:

Cloverdale resident Madeline Wallace was likewise impressed with the pack method. The border collie Lucky was in danger of being euthanized at the Healdsburg Animal Shelter because of his aggressive behavior when Wallace asked to give the dog a second chance. She has been bringing Lucky to Combs weekly for several years since then; the exposure to the pack calms him and has allowed him to live peacefully with her two other dogs on their small ranch.

It’s a fascinating theory and one that probably warrants more study. If we can use this method to keep more dogs from being euthanized, it’s a win for everyone involved.

Click here for the full story.

2 thoughts on “California Woman Creates Pack-Based Rescue to Help Rehabilitate Aggressive Dogs”

  1. Hi, My name is Andrew Pitschmann. Thanks for taking the time to consider my request of relinquishing my dog. I am not sure if you accept and train aggressive dogs so that they may be more fit to be adopted. Diesel is my best bud Diesel. Diesel is a 2 year old Lab/Pit mix which we got from the Camarillo shelter December 17, 2012 when he was just Two months old. Diesel is the most loyal and favorite dog I have ever had. Once he knows you, you will be his best friend, but he is very aggressive with/ protective of strangers in or near our home. I had developed a simple method in which he would acclimate to my friends or class mates that would come over or study. This last labor day diesel got out of the house and jumped on a woman walking by. It didn’t appear, from where I was to be major, but the woman was frantic and had her husband take her to the hospital. Thus far the details of the incident are unclear, but the woman and her husband our suing my parents for damages, pain and suffering, and whatever else they can think of to get every last dime they can out of us. This is Diesel’s first incident like this, however we knew beforehand he may be a liability. Diesel is not an escape artist dog but the door to the garage and garage door itself were irresponsibly left open. My dad wanted to take him to the pound that day, but I knew that if Diesel were to have an aggression test with a stranger he would fail and be put down. So I convinced my dad to wait until I could find a decent place that he could stay and be trained well enough to be suitable for adoption, but he has now just today dropped a near impossible time frame to re-home Diesel. So desperately I’m staying up trying to find a place suitable for Diesel. I refuse to let Diesel be Euthanized. So PLEASE really consider accepting Diesel. I love him and will miss him, but i want him to be happy atleast. You can contact me at (805) 492-4088(home) or (805) 358-6100(cell) or by e-mail at
    and please do. Sunday the 14th is the day my dad has given me. If not contacted by then hopefully I can buy more time somehow for Diesel. Thanks for reading

  2. Hi Andrew,

    I’m in a very similar situation w my deaf olde English bulldog, Hank, and I am just devastated. I was just wondering if you had any luck with this facility?? Thanks so much. any information helps. I’m desperate to find a Good home for Hank.

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