The PUP-E Program (Preventing Unwanted Pet Euthanasia), is a program of the Foundation chaired by board member Dr. Karen Ashby. Dr. Ashby’s exposure to shelter medicine while working at Animal Services created a sensitivity to the number of animals turned over to the shelter due to behavior problems. These surrenders often lead to euthanasia, so Dr. Ashby created the PUPE program to focus on the behavioral aspects of veterinary care.

Dr. Ashby and volunteer dog trainers who are screened for their knowledge and commitment to positive reinforcement and force free training methods, provide training, education and support to the community of pet owners as well as to veterinarians. Dr. Ashby works with veterinarians certified in behavior as well as certified animal behaviorists to remain at the forefront of the science of training and assuring that all training meets the standard of veterinary care.


SPOTS (Students Providing On Campus Training Services) is a program within the PUPE program. SPOTS is a partnership between Felix Varela High School AgriScience program and Miami Dade Animal Services, sponsored and administered by the Miami Veterinary Foundation.

A group of select students, under the direction of their teacher Ms. Yleana Escobar, participate in SPOTS and provide all the husbandry and training for the 6-9 dogs selected from Miami Dade Animal Services. The students of Felix Varela foster the dogs under their care at the high school. Dr. Ashby and her volunteer trainers educate the students on proper force free, positive reinforcement training and work with the dogs and students to achieve appropriate pet behavior. While the dogs are in the program they are trained in basic obedience and provided added valuable training and enrichment through games, nose work and agility. Each dog graduates after having passed the AKC Canine Good Citizens test, at which time the dogs are ready for adoption to permanent loving homes.

Please follow the SPOTS dogs on their Facebook Page