Photo of Golden Retriever dog playing in the creek.

El Jefe-The Cutest Boss Dog Ever

by Kris Phillips

I had a feeling I’d like working with JC as soon as her email popped into my inbox, anyone with “jeep” and “dog” in their email address had to be a kindred soul! Ok, you’ve seen the land-yacht I drive, and it’s clearly not a Jeep. But back in the days when I didn’t need to haul photo equipment you could find me cruising around the Sonoran desert in my ‘99 Jeep Wrangler- no top, no doors- just me & my Shadow dog.

JC brought along with her the MOST adorable 8 month old Blue Heeler puppy I’ve ever met. While El Jefe seemed totally normal to me she explained that he was a special little guy indeed. Little Jefe has been diagnosed with the canine equivalent of Downs Syndrome. It doesn’t slow him down too much though. He scurried right up a big tree trunk and posed like a champ.

And his training was remarkable for an 8 month old pup. He handled distractions that would have sent a lot of grown dogs through the roof. Even the most obnoxious squirrel in the park. First the little bugger ran in and investigated my equipment (read:stole treats). Then ran up a nearby tree and taunted El Jefe with a whole lotta chattering and tail shaking. But Little Man stayed focused on Momma, me, and the treat bag. And when his attention span finally ran out, we played a quit game of catch. 

JC is the ultimate dog mom! Not only does she work hard so her dogs can have a better life. She gave up having a bed frame because El Jefe kept falling off the bed. One of the elements of his condition a lack of coordination. She also bought a Jeep Wrangler just for Shenzi, her St. Bernard mix. Yup, I hear you, it’s not a big car for such a big dog. A couple years ago Shenzi had to have knee surgery which kept her from their daily hikes, and really all activity. JC was worried that Shenzi would start to suffer without the mental stimulation of vising new places. So she bought a Jeep, took the windows off and would go for long afternoon drives to let Shenzi take it all in.

After a life-changing car accident, JC walked away from the medical profession and into a life all about dogs. She fosters dogs in need. Shenzi and El Jefe are both foster fails. Helps dogs in crisis. Shenzi was on the kill-list before JC rescued her. And trains shelter dogs to be service dogs or emotional support animals for veterans suffering from PTSD. It was that same accident that brought her to yoga as a way of healing physically and emotionally.

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