Family of four with puppies

What is Puppy Junkie all about?

I am developing training and resources for fosters, breeders and pet owners to help them more easily raise well socialized puppies that are ready to thrive in the human world. By investing in young puppies, most behavior problems can be prevented, resulting in dogs that are more likely to stay in their homes and out of shelters.

My name is Diane Zahorodny and I’m the owner of Puppy Junkie (formerly World Ready Pets). I foster pregnant dogs for local rescues and raise them and their puppies until they are adopted. These litters become part of our training program and are featured in articles and videos to encourage others to foster puppies and socialize them well.

Woman holding blonde puppy

When we built our home, I designed a space specifically for fostering with easy to clean walls and floors and a dog door to an outdoor kennel that leads to a fenced yard. I LOVE this setup and it makes my job so much easier. This is a video which walks you through a typical morning with my older puppies. (FYI, all these puppies have been adopted)

Over a decade ago, I heard Dr. Ian Dunbar talk about how early socialization of puppies (and kittens) can prevent behavior problems. I almost couldn’t believe what I was hearing. We can prevent aggression, fear, anxiety, barking, etc. just by investing time in young puppies?!? Where do I sign up? In third grade when I started volunteering at our local shelter, you couldn’t stop me from taking care of the stinky puppies and cleaning their poopy cages, so this was a no-brainer for me. I also couldn’t believe that almost no one else was talking about this.

I came to realize that not only was no one talking about early socialization, but there are almost no resources for teaching fosters, breeders or pet owners how to raise a litter of puppies from birth to adoption. After fostering over 80 puppies (~40 from birth) it became more clear as to why…raising a litter of puppies is not easy.

And neither is creating training materials on how to raise them. But I could not shake the sense that if there was a high quality video training series that made fostering easier and showed people how to socialize puppies that more people might consider fostering puppies and that more dogs and owners would be spared years of misery from preventable behavior problems.

Indoor puppy enclosure
Outdoor puppy enclosure

About Diane

Girl holding cat

Puppy Junkie (formerly World Ready Pets) founder, Diane Zahorodny, has spent her life surrounded by animals between 4H, horseback riding camp and household pets (Diane pictured to the left with her first cat named ‘Cat’). She and her mom, Eleanor, began volunteering for a local shelter in the late ‘80’s and has fostered 200+ animals over the years. After earning her bachelor’s degree in zoology at Colorado State University, Diane interned at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, IL working with the primates in Tropic World. She owned and operated a dog walking and pet sitting business before moving to Colorado. She’s attended several dog training seminars including two by dog trainer, veterinarian and animal behaviorist, Dr. Ian Dunbar, who was kind enough to join her for dinner and entertain many, many questions about dogs.

She has been a professional photographer since 2000 and videographer since 2012 and currently owns and operates

Stelio Media. She fosters for and volunteers with non-profit rescues while developing Puppy Junkie, a passion project in the making for almost a decade.

Woman holding puppy in her lap

At some point during her research into dog behavior it became clear that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and the earlier the better. Ian Dunbar suggests that puppies meet 100 people before they are 8 weeks old and another 100 before 12 weeks. She realized that we have been missing out on a golden opportunity, also know as the Socialization Period, to raise puppies and kittens in such a way that they are habituated to life in the human world. However, she found that there is very little information available on how to do this efficiently and effectively and even less on how to foster. Her goal is to not only reduce the number of pets that are surrendered to shelters, but to increase the quality of life for pets and their families by educating a community of fosters, pet owners and breeders on the art and science of early socialization.