Project Dog House for Buck!

Hello All!  We can only hope by the time you're done reading about Buck you might consider making a donation to our project and cause.  If getting a dog out of a small kennel and moving him into a bigger area with space, outside access, exercise, training, and love and this sounds like something you'd like to be a part of, then keep on reading!!   


Buck's Story 


A little background information first!  Buck was just one of the many strays wondering the lonely streets of Detroit.  Blessed to have been rescued by Home Fur-Ever, he would no longer have to worry about what he would eat or where he would sleep.  Unfortunately for Buck there was a lack of foster homes at the time and so they placed him in a kennel.  With the greatest of intentions it would be a short-term stay, it ended up being very long-term.  This coming August will mark four years that Buck has lived in a kennel. 


Many people along the way have crossed his path.  They learned of his situation and ended up helping in more ways than one.  I am just one of the many people who have played a part in his journey to finding a permanent home.  My family and I hope to foster him but not without your help.  It would be a collective effort made by many in raising the funds to make the appropriate accommodations to house him and to then train him.      


I crossed his path almost a year ago now.  It was a chance encounter when family-friend and Home Fur-Ever volunteer Colleen Oleksinski dropped by the house for a visit and in the back of her truck was a dog (whom she rescued).  I asked where he came from and the kind of dog he was and she said he's a Pitt Bull mix living in a kennel and getting a little hefty because of it.  From the time she rescued him, to the time she had her first child, she took him to adoption events every Saturday and visited him at the kennel as often as possible.  As time went on though, it became more difficult to visit and so I got to thinking...       


Soon after, I messaged her and volunteered the idea I become his new dog walker.  Uneasy about the offer, she said yes but that we would meet together because he has "issues" I didn't understand at the time.  So we began meeting at the kennel and walking him on a bi-weekly basis.  It didn't take too long and we didn't have to walk too far down the road before his energy and aggressive tendencies announced themselves and so I started to understand his problems.


Overtime I became more comfortable with Buck and he with me.  Mind you this was my first experience handling a Pitt Bull and at this point I still had reservations about the breed itself which could easily be credited to the media, and the media alone.   As time went on though, I became more intrigued by the "Pitt Bull" type breeds and stuck with it...


I realized how important time spent out of the kennel was for him and so I tried to visit as often as possible.  We started walking at the kennel, which progressed into picking him up and taking him back to my house.  Through trial and error, I learned what helped him and what didn't.  Pack leadership on my part was crucial and this was something I learned over time.  The dog backpack has proved to be an important tool for his walks.  Even with this, he is still far from rehabilitated and this is where Sit Means Sit comes in.   

Factors Effecting his Adopt-ability

I would imagine you're asking yourself why he has been in rescue for so long.  There are several factors here that play apart in why he remains with the rescue.  First, he is a Pitt Bull.  Pitt Bulls tend to be misunderstood by many and there is a stigma attached to them.  People find them threatening based on what they see and hear in the media.  Most people associate the Pitt Bull type breeds with dog fighting or attacks and so initially many people hold reservations towards the breed.  Secondly, is a very common problem for many shelter dogs known as Black Dog Syndrome.  People, without realizing it overlook dogs who are black in color.  As if there is nothing to see or they may even be frightened to be near one.  At adoption events I have heard the passersby whisper under their breadth time and again, "Ohh what a scary dog..." and continue on walking.  Thirdly, the rescue has fostered him out on several occasions; however, he was returned each time.  Buck and the resident animals were unable to coexist and so Buck had to be returned.  Lastly, although there has been a good handful of interest, when home visits are done and the rescue finds multiple cats or rabbits in the home, with the best of intentions, the safety concern of the resident animals tends to outweigh Buck's placement. 

Buck needs socialization and training which brings me back to Sit Means Sit and our Dog House Project for Buck!            

The Project


Our goals consist of getting Buck out of the kennel and onto our property on a full-time basis in order to rehabilitate him.  The key to any training program is consistency and we cannot provide that for him as long as he is living miles down the road in very small kennel.   


Our plan is to convert our shed into a dog house!  I're already thinking, wait a shed?   A cold, dark, shed?  Wouldn't the kennel be better?   Well, we hope once we compare the two you will see that what we have to offer is to his advantage.  Let me explain...


I first need to emphasize that we feel his time living in such a small area should come to an end.  Buck is a 70 lb Pittbull - Black Labrador mix whereupon a 3x5 kennel space with no outside access (the added expense the rescue cannot afford) is to say the least insufficient.  A kennel is supposed to be for dogs whose "parents" go on vacation for two weeks and for that it's a wonderful place.  The reality for Buck though, is that he must remain in the same size kennel that his neighbors only have to stay in for a few days or weeks.  So as his barking neighbors come and go, and as the years go by, Buck stays behind.  Not fair right?   


Through research, I have found long-term dog kenneling can lead to unwanted behaviors such as:  house training regression, barrier related aggression, and social-hyper arousal; all of which are exhibited in Buck.  He needs space, socialization, and training.     


So our "shed," which when you see the photos is more likening to a house then a "shed" is a 10x10 to begin with.  We would like to finish the inside so it can be a heated and cooled facility and add on a 6x10 run.  If I had my way he wouldn't remain in a 3x5 a day more and the rescue feels the same, but due to the lack of resources and foster homes, we are now thinking outside the box here and are relying on you for the funds to give him a better quality of life. 


He will have daily access to our backyard for exercise and play and frequent access into our home where we will work on behavioral issues such as boundries, socialization, and potty training.  It won't be all work and no play though!  We want to give him the opportunity to just enjoy being a dog; lounge around the house, and lay on the couch or snuggle on the bed with his people!     


Quality of Life


Buck is already six years old and four of those years were spent isolated in a kennel from normal human contact and the outside world.  By better quality of life we mean allowing him to live the life every dog has a right to; playing in the yard, swimming in the pool, lounging in the grass and soaking up the sun, chasing but coexisting with the squirrels and rabbits, going for walks, and most of all being loved by humans all the time. 

We want to relieve him of the pressures of living in such small quarters.  You can imagine the pent up energy built up for a dog of his size and breed so we first want to give him much needed space.  Then with the combination of spacious living quarters and large property to exercise on, we can begin training and socialization within the home consistently.  


Sit Means Sit 


Aside from the quality of life is the training aspect.  Sit Means Sit is a training organization I found through Peace Love and Pitt Bulls located out of Las Vegas, NV.  I found Tino's philosophy inspiring; rescuing, training, and placing Pittbulls one at a time and I hope to see Buck benefit from such training methods as Tino's Pitt Bulls have and one day find his fur-ever home too.  Sit Means Sit has already begun the process of socialization with the Sit Means Sit pack which has been very successful.  Part of our fundraising goal is the official training package which has been reduced and we are so grateful for the generous consideration.  This training package is for the life of Buck.  It includes unlimited private lessons as well as group.  Sit Means Sit would further like to follow Buck through his training program and show the public his progress.                  

Building and Costs

The entire project will include:


- Concrete slab (6x10) ($1200.00)

- Enclosed outdoor run (6x10) ($750.00)

- AC/Heating Unit ($599.99 free shipping)

- Indoor finishing materials ($805.00)

- Outdoor electrical materials ($230.00) 

- Sit Means Sit training package ($650.00 reduced price)

- Unaccounted for materials or labor we are unable to do which may cause our goal to be readjusted.  

My dad originally built the shed himself and would like to donate in the form of free labor to finish the inside (insulation, walls, and doggy door installation).  He also will donate in labor to run the electricity to the house.  I would further donate in the form of outside labor to remove all of the landscaping in the area where the run would be placed.

We will also provide the dog supplies which will include:

- Chew proof doggy bed

- Food bowl

- Water bowl

- Doggy Door

If at any time you would like to see the official quotes it will be provided immediately vie E-Mail. 

We hope that collectively we can raise the money needed to meet our goals of fostering and rehabilitating Buck.  We've done our best to find the best prices in materials and labor to lower the costs anyway possible.

The Rescue's Costs

By fostering Buck from this point on we would also be relieving the rescue of the ongoing kennel bills which could then redirect those funds needed elsewhere.  Grab a calculator if you're not good at math and start punchin' some numbers in!  The total amount of money spent to house Buck has totaled $17,280.00 at $12.00 per day over a four year period.  This non-profit rescue has to support this ongoing bill and this is strictly the cost to house him alone.  No outdoor access or playtime is included in the price. 

I hope you can agree with me when I say, I'd like to see your donations go towards his rehabilitation than his ongoing stay within his kennel.  If we can make this a reality, it would be a win-win for all.  A win for Buck for he'd be given a chance to be rehabilitated and find his Fur-Ever home, and a win for the rescue for they could redirect the much needed funds to the other dogs in need.         

Reaching our Goal

If we are blessed enough to reach our goal, we will provide updates, information ,and photos as the project and training commences!  If we are so blessed enough to raise more than our original goal, the excess funds would go towards Buck's care (food, medical, etc.,) and to the many other Home Fur-Ever dogs in need of rehabilitation services (training, medical, etc.)

Mailing In Donations:

Justine Wheeler

22421 Grove Pointe

St. Clair Shores, MI


All donations are tax-deductible.

Please contact me with any questions or suggestions!




Justine Wheeler






  • DTE & Colleen Oleksinski 
    • $200 (Offline)
    • 102 mos
  • Paradise Auto Sales and Solomon Machinery  
    • $200 (Offline)
    • 103 mos
  • Sherry Solomon 
    • $20 (Offline)
    • 104 mos
  • Mr. Bashur 
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 104 mos
  • Tabaczynski Family 
    • $20 (Offline)
    • 105 mos
See all


Justine Wheeler 
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more