About Us

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The mission of Extraordinary Dogs Inc. is to provide rescued “death row” dogs with the skills and training to help them become extraordinary canine friends for life to their adopted family.  We are a training and enrichment facility that focuses on the emotional intelligence and resilience of  all dogs, especially those who have been discarded.


UPDATE:   As of August 11, 2014,  Extraordinary Dogs has been incorporated and is registered as a nonprofit organization in the state of New Mexico as Extraordinary Dogs Inc.   On April 3, 2015, the IRS approved out 501(c)3 status as a public charity.  EIN  47-1068094

Below is a description of current and future activities of Extraordinary Dogs Inc.

The purposes and planned activities of Extraordinary Dogs Inc. include but are not limited to:

(a) Provide for the rescue, foster care, training, rehabilitation/retraining as needed, and adoption of homeless animal companions, including but not limited to dogs, cats and other animals in kill shelters as means may permit

(b) Provide educational programs, seek out financial support, provide coaching/training, and consultation to pet owners to encourage retention of companion animals in the home in order to reduce the euthanasia rate of healthy animals in high kill shelters.

(c) Provide sanctuary to pets deemed unadoptable due to age, illness or temperament as space and resources allow.

(d) Use progressive and innovative training to showcase the talents and benefits of shelter dogs for the accomplishment of specific tasks including and not limited to service, therapy, search and rescue, and film industry.

(e) Place trained or rehabilitated pets with suitably matched adopters.


The Director and Founder of Extraordinary Dogs Inc. is Helene Kobelnyk and this organization represents the culmination of a lifelong passion.  Animals, especially dogs and horses have been an important  part of  Helene’s life for as long as she can remember.  She showed her first dog when she was 14 years old and left the show circuit because of her unhappiness with the “traditional obedience training model.”  Throughout her careers as educator and principal,  she continued to successfully train her horses and dogs in her own compassionate ways based on mutual cooperation and respect.  She treats  them as her loyal friends rather than possessions that need to be managed or controlled.

Her credentials include a Master of Science degree with post-graduate credits in post-graduate work in psychology, ethology and education.   After retiring from public education in 2001, Ms. Kobelnyk worked as the director of a canine assistant program at a juvenile detention facility . . . she is certified to not only train service and therapy dogs, but to teach handlers to train them. Helene instructed juvenile detention boys to train, care for and appreciate not only assistance dogs, but all dogs.  For two consecutive years, she was awarded Teacher of the Year for the facility.

Helene has been training/teaching dogs in a professional capacity for 15 years and is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.  She has been certified as a mentor for Animal Behavior College students, and a Canine Good Citizen evaluator for AKC and is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.  

Ms. Kobelnyk continues to advocate for the welfare of “death row” dogs and educates owners regarding the emotional health of dogs through her blogs and various publications.  Her articles have been featured in training manuals.

Through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, Helene has been a contributing author to professional publications and continues to further her studies in canine behavior and ethology.

She shares her home and barn with her beloved dogs,  cats, horses and any other critters who find their way to her.



“I am so happy that the training world  and many humans have finally recognized dogs  for the wonderful, bright and talented beings they are.  Anyone who  has ever truly lived with a dog and looked into his or her eyes, knows  that he or she feels many of the same emotions we do.  We owe it to  these lovely animals to spend as much time learning to understand and communicate with them as they do with us.”

EXTRAORDINARY DOGS INC   P. O. Box 1165    Capitan, NM 88316   575.354.2599

email:  helene@extraordinarydogs.com


From January until December 2016, we were part of the Shelter Animals Count program(sponsored by Maddie’s Fund) program and our statistics can be found at their link.  You can explore the data they have compiled from participating organizations, including ours.

We became an official 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization in February 2015, incorporated in the state of New Mexico in August 2014.  Much of our first official year was spent in fighting for animal control reform in Roswell, New Mexico, which culminated in a disciplinary hearing for the shelter veterinarian responsible for the suffering and neglect of animals at that facility over his seven-year contract.

Much of our time was also spent in researching how best to become self-sustaining as a charity,  studying canine behavior and focusing on the emotional health of the dogs in our care . . . most of our residents were often overlooked by other rescues because they were poor adoption prospects for one reason or another.

By the end of 2015, we had our “feet under us” and were able to more actively pursue our mission of rescuing “death row” dogs and providing them with the best individualized training and enrichment to become service, therapy or other job-related dogs.

We started 2016 with 47 resident dogs and ended the year with 42.  We had 12 intakes throughout the year, and 15 live outcomes in terms of adoption, with no returns (100% adoption success rate)  Our live release rate (using the ASPCA standard of live release divided by live intake) for 2016 was 125%. 

shelters count stats

We lost 2 due to a distemper outbreak at a poorly run animal control facility which leaves our current resident count of 42.

Of those, 10 are part of our “permanent pack”, essential for teaching and helping new dogs adjust/adapt/decompress.  Seven (7) are part of our limited sanctuary program because to most people,  they are considered less than “perfect” . . . blind, deaf, crippled, old, or emotionally too fragile.  To us,  they are a treasure.

Four (4) have graduated from the basic manners class and have begun training for mobility impaired individuals and are our first candidates in our From Death Row to Dogs of Service program (DR2DOS).  Six (6) are in training for urban mushing, an activity we want to introduce in the area as a way of demonstrating that “death row” dogs can indeed be taught to do anything when given a chance.

resident dogs

The remaining 15 are in basic manners training and their special talents/propensities will be identified and a more individualized training program will be developed for them as they progress, even if the dog is adopted.  We offer free training and continued enrichment for all our adopted dogs and their humans, as well as to other members of our community who adopt a shelter dog.




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