R.O.A.R. Squad: Jodi and her dogs, Suzy and Banjo

Jodi and her soul dog, Suzy

Welcome to the R.O.A.R. Squad, Jodi!

Jodi’s story is incredibly inspiring- it’s about “saving” both ways, perseverance and dreaming big. Read more about her journey after the jump.

If you would like to be profiled in the R.O.A.R. Squad (Rescue Owners Are Rockin!) all the info you need to do so is HERE. A special shout out to fabulous folks in Hawaii, Idaho, Maine and New Brunswick– we need you!

Rockin’ Rescue Owner: Jodi Tuckett

Gorgeous Pups: Suzy (4 years) and Banjo (11months)

About Jodi: I am trained as a teacher, but due to a traumatic car accident in 2005, that career goal came to a screeching halt. Just after handing in my thesis, I was t-boned by a dump truck while driving.  I was left with a very long list of injuries, the most serious being a traumatic brain injury, fractured neck, fractured skull, lacration of carotid artery, degloving laceration of left arm, fracture of left arm, fractured ribs and punctured lung.  Needless to stay, I’m still actively undergoing rehab! 
A Path to Dog Training: As part of my cognitive rehab, my therapist suggested I find a course to use as a tool to see how I am able to retain new information.  I chose to do something I’m interested in and found a dog training course, and well, the rest is history.  I graduated with honours! I have been actively training dogs and volunteering with rescue dogs for four years.  My business, which I started with my friend Kerri, is called Capable Canine Consultants


ARF: A requirement of the dog trainer course I took was to volunteer with a rescue.  I came to volunteer with ARF – The Animal Rescue Foundation of Ontario who rescues from First Nations Communities in and around Southwestern Ontario, although the group will make numerous trips throughout the year to remote areas of Northern Ontario to rescue dogs and cats that are very highly at risk.. 
Soul Dog: Through ARF I obtained two dogs of entirely unknown origin (though German Shepherd can be seen), and they are the most beautiful and unique looking mutts on this earth!  The first one, Suzy, came to live with me at 4 months old.  She has been with me through the worst times of my rehab, and has been by my side through all of the ups and downs, successes and failures.  Suzy came to me at a time where I was feeling the strain of having all focus on me, ALL the time.  She was a sickly little puppy affected with Demodex.  Having a little thing to take care of helped me take some focus off myself, and my family.  Suddenly questions weren’t always about what therapy did you do today, where, etc.  It was about Suzy and how she was doing.  She truly saved me, not the other way around, and I believe she is my soul dog. 


And Then There Was Three: My newest ARF dog has been with me since the end of June.  Her name is Banjo.  She was rescued at only 2 weeks of age!  She went into foster care and was adopted out at 2 months of age.  Sadly, the family that adopted her first had the best intentions, but were struggling with how to handle an exuberant puppy.  They hired a trainer separate from the one ARF recommends, and even provides lessons with, who uses coercive training techniques.  Using force on any dog, let alone a baby, is dangerous.  Sadly, this created a puppy that is now afraid of her own shadow.  She was returned to ARF on and emergency basis, and I took her on to help her learn some skills to help build her confidence and make good choices, and also show her how great it is to trust people that know what positive reinforcement can do to help a puppy!  Suzy and I fell in love with her pretty fast, and decided to make her part of our family.  Little Banjo is still afraid of men, but has come leaps and bounds since coming to me 4 months ago. 
Miss Busybody: Some funny tidbits…well, I have a couple of weirdo dogs, so it seems they work really well in my home!  Banjo is what we refer to as a busybody.  She’s never done anything “bad”, ever!  She doesn’t chew, doesn’t jump up on people, doesn’t housesoil, etc., etc.  She’s just busy.  Her original adopters gave her about 6 hours freedom from her crate in a day.  That’s not enough, especially for a growing puppy!  I don’t even crate her, but sometimes, I can tell she’s just thinking “Yay! Freedom!  I have to go over here, then there, then back over there, RIGHT NOW!”  It’s quite alright with me because I enjoy watching her toot around all over. 

Strong Silent Type: Suzy is a stoic type, that’s very stealth when she wants to be.  In the Autumn, I can lose sight of her very easily; she’s stealth, and she’s red!   Those Fall colours hide her too well!  We go for forest hikes often, and when we do, I like to attach jingle bells to her collar just so I don’t lose tabs on her! 
Dreaming Big: Currently, I am house shopping for a house that is bigger to add more foster pups, as well as a boyfriend and his dog!  My goal is to have a home with a large yard where I can comfortably foster and rehab some of the ARF pups that come into care with some very serious conditions or injuries.  I’d also like to be able to expand my dog training business and have a great place to host puppy classes.  Nothing like puppy classes to make someone’s day! (Editors note: We are rooting for you! I know you’ll get everything you need!)

Where: Ontario

Want to meet some more rescue owners from Ontario? Check out Melissa and Kevin and their dog, Zain!

Join the R.O.A.R. Squad

Do you want to join the R.O.A.R. Squad? Our goal is to make having a rescue animal THE coolest thing around. Ya game? Perfect! We’d love to have you! 

Send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!

Recruiting Members

We are well on our way to reaching our goal of finding at least one rescue owner from every state in the US and at least one rescue owner from every province and territory in Canada by April 2011. BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP!

We’re looking for rescue dogs, cats, rabbits, parrots… donkeys… snakes… we’re not biased around here. We just want rescues who have found fabulous homes! Check out all the R.O.A.R. Squad members HERE.

Recruiting for:


  • New Brunswick- need by Dec 31st!
  • Newfoundland
  • North West Territories
  • Nunavut
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon


  • Hawaii- need by Dec 31st!
  • Idaho- need by Dec 31st!
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine- need by Dec 31st!
  • Mississippi
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Everywhere Else:

  • From somewhere else? Lemme know!

If your state/province/territory isn’t on this list, THAT’S OKAY! We still need you to join! Just keep your eyes and ears out for rescue owners from these places for me, k? Thanks!

I look forward to hearing from you!

9 Responses to “R.O.A.R. Squad: Jodi and her dogs, Suzy and Banjo”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by debbie jacobs and others. Blog post: R.O.A.R. Squad: Jodi and her dogs, Suzy and Banjo http://bit.ly/e4GOcE […]

  2. So inspiring; I loved reading this! In that first picture they almost look similar. Do you think it’s the kind of similarity you get from living together?

  3. I just wanted to post to say that this story was so moving. I am so inspired by how courageous and big-hearted Jodi is. It takes so much strength and energy to get through something so traumatic, and then to take in rescues on top of it! She is truly amazing and deserves only good things to come her and her lovely dogs way!

  4. Kristine says:

    I agree with the others, Jodi’s story is inspiring in every way. What she has done for dogs is incredible, especially after experiencing so much hard-ship herself. Dogs clearly have very unique impacts on the lives of their owners. And Suzy and Banjo are just so sweet-looking! I am so glad they are all on the road to recovery. It’s not easy, but it is so worth all of the effort.

  5. Kim says:

    Oh my gosh, what a wonderful story and I’m so happy for Suzy and Banjo. Isn’t it wonderful how focusing on another creature in need can do so much more for YOU. They are both beautiful and so glad Jodi that you survived such a horrific accident so that you could be the angel to these precious dogs. Hugs!

  6. Peggy says:

    Thank you for this inspiring story. Those dogs are fantastic too!

  7. Heather says:

    Very inspiring post. It’s amazing how healing and helpful dogs can be to their human companions. Good luck with your house hunting!

  8. Mel says:

    Welcome to the ROAR club Jodi! I think your story, as well as that of Suzy and Banjo, is by far my favorite. You are an inspiration in so many ways and have such a great message! I read your story and thought wow. You and your dogs are great examples of perseverance, strength, courage, healing (self and others), trust and love. Truly my favorite story!

  9. Jodi T. says:

    Thanks to everyone for your very kind words. I really do credit Suzy with helping me through the worst times in the four years she’s been with me. She is, I believe, a very intuitive and soulful dog that feels a deep connection to me, as, of course, I do to her. There were, and sometimes still are, days that I feel so rotten and in pain that I don’t even want to get out of bed. But, I do it because I have a responsibility to provide the best life to my girls, and because their love and joy brings me joy. You can’t feel depressed when two mutts are falling over themselves to be the first to say hello to you!

    I’ve had to do a lot of work with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, that in many ways was crippling me and preventing me from living a normal life. The presence of Suzy at times when I’m anxious has done amazing things to calm me.

    Having a brain injury as well, there are times when I react very strongly and innapropriately to various events, as most people with brain injury have to deal with. Having Suzy, and now Banjo, available to stroke and cuddle is a tremendous equalizer and really does “bring me back down to earth”. It really is incredible.

    Sometimes I do struggle with emotions when I consider all of the tremendous losses I’ve experienced as a result of my accident. I worked very hard in pursuit of a teaching career, that I’ll never be able to do traditionally (fatigue, chronic pain, concentration, etc). When I’m at my lowest lows, my girls are always right there to cheer me up. Being a trainer has been a career that fits quite well into my new life. Working for myself is a wonderful way for me to manage my pain and fatigue.

    In all that I’ve been through, Suzy has been with me, and has lead me down a great path. I know I’d be lost right now if I didn’t have her to help guide me to where I am.

    Thanks again to all for your very kind and thoughtful words!