Former Research Dogs Find Loving, Safe Haven

Kindness Ranch offers former research laboratory test animals across the nation a second chance at life.

The sprawling, majestic, 1,000-acre parcel near Hartville, Wyo., must seem like heaven for dogs that only knew sterile laboratories, locked crates and clinical environments before.

This rescue, run by a small staff of seven people and founded by Dr. David Groobman, is haven and heaven, tucked away in the remote eastern Wyoming countryside.

“Yes, it’s a second life. There are not a lot of options when [dogs] are done with research,” says Mike Stabler, executive director. “That’s where we come in.”

The sanctuary, which has helped more than 100 dogs since it opened its doors in 2007, is not run by black-clad animal rights activists who storm labs in the dead of night, freeing animals with the use of force and a pair of bolt cutters.

“We can’t be on that side of the fence,” says Stabler.

Instead, Kindness Ranch is an option that more and more research facilities are learning about and contacting when they have healthy dogs completing their tenure as test subjects for things like canine drugs, dental products or dog food.

Some dogs arrive scared, unsocialized and protective. But Kindness Ranch helps teach these dogs how to play, love and be loved in return. The dogs live at the sanctuary or sometimes live with a Kindness Ranch foster family.

“If they are ready to be adopted, we try to find them homes,” says Stabler, noting that the rescue has a huge network boosted by a strong social media and Internet presence. The group has nearly 40,000 Facebook followers.

But if there is no home to be found, the dogs live out their lives, happy at Kindness Ranch.

“They have a great life here,” says Stabler. “Those who we help are very grateful.”

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