About Blue Man Dog

We are committed to make more adoptions a long-term success by supporting adopters and their dogs, sharing our knowledge and experience gained over a decade working with rescue dogs. Blue Man Dog provides information, training, and consultations for people needing help with their dogs, or looking to adopt a dog.


What We Do

  • Blue Man Dog offers free information on its website to answer the most common questions related to dog ownership, especially as regards bringing home a rescue dog.
  • We offer a unique service to help people make wise choices when adopting a dog straight from the shelter.
  • We ourselves rescue shelter dogs that are overlooked, but need rescuing the most: seniors, those with medical issues, and those labeled “rescue only” (meaning that, due to their behavior, only professional rescue groups are able to adopt them, not the general public).
  • We set our dogs up for future success, by careful evaluation of both dogs and potential adopters, and by placing our dogs only in experienced foster homes where appropriate training begins immediately.
  • Once adopted, we continue to support our adopters with free advice, training, and information, to ensure the success of the dogs in their new homes.
  • We offer dog/owner training to anyone dealing with behavioral issues, focusing on the needs of rescue dogs in particular.

As our group becomes more established, the goal is to save more dogs, train more foster homes, and expand our training and support programs to instruct young children in the responsibility, needs and care of dogs.

We believe in educating the younger generation to be very clear that to spay and neuter their pets, will decrease the amount of unwanted animals which is the only long term solution to our overpopulation problem.

The name of our group is inspired by a shelter dog named Blue Man, at 12 years old, a large male pit bull, he was not exactly what is referred to as “highly adoptable”. Read His Story Here!


Who We Are

Mia Gyzander

Founder

Mia Gyzander Founder Blue Man Dog

Mia grew up in Sweden with horses, dogs, and cats. Starting horseback riding at 5 years old, she naturally developed a sense and skills that made it easy for her to work with tricky horses. For many years she competed in show jumping at a high level with many of the horses she trained on a daily basis.

Moving along with a career choice in costumes and fashion, she traveled all over the world and ended up in LA. After years in the costume business, she felt a big part was missing in her life: animals. She decided to look for a dog the only way she knew — getting a puppy from a breeder, since that is what is the norm in Sweden, where shelters did not exist when she grew up. So she was totally unaware of the needs of rescue dogs. Looking for a labrador mix, she stumbled over the Australian Labradoodle breed and it seemed like a great fit; happy, active, friendly, outgoing. She got a boy and named him Sass. A year later, being reminded daily by other dog owners that she should have gotten a rescue dog, she decided it was time to add a friend for Sass and found Downtown Dog Rescue. She adopted a pit mix named Princess and quickly thereafter started fostering additional dogs for the group. She was interested in working with the dogs and became a certified obedience trainer. Over the years, she became very active with DDR and managed their dog runs at NKLA for several years. Evaluating dogs at shelters, working with them and their adopters and, in addition, taking on an endless stream of behaviorally challenged dogs became her true passion.

Mia remains an active volunteer of Downtown Dog Rescue and strongly supports the group’s focus, which is helping pet owners with their basic needs including free spay & neuter clinics in South LA low income communities.

In 2011 she started a pack hike in Griffith Park for one of her own young dogs, Taboo, to get practice walking among other dog since he went thru a period of severe leash aggression towards other dogs. With Taboo, when every technique under the sun failed, Mia got help from aggression expert Brandon Fouche who works with the dogs to mentally change how they think, thus she became very skilled over time in understanding and helping others with the same issue, both humans and dogs. Her hike quickly transformed into helping people with dogs that needed leash work, usually being reactive or aggressive towards other dogs on leash. Hundreds of dogs and their owners have hiked with Mia and Taboo over the years.

Mia’s experience is enormous, having had several hundred dogs cross her path and home one way or another. In 2017 she decided to start her own group with her two main foster volunteers, Samantha and Julia (all sharing a passion for studying and improving dog behavior), that focuses specifically on helping adopters and their dogs getting set up right and resolve issues that arise.


Who We Are

Mia Gyzander

Founder

Mia Gyzander Founder Blue Man Dog

Mia grew up in Sweden with horses, dogs, and cats. Starting horseback riding at 5 years old, she naturally developed a sense and skills that made it easy for her to work with tricky horses. For many years she competed in show jumping at a high level with many of the horses she trained on a daily basis.

Moving along with a career choice in costumes and fashion, she traveled all over the world and ended up in LA. After years in the costume business, she felt a big part was missing in her life: animals. She decided to look for a dog the only way she knew — getting a puppy from a breeder, since that is what is the norm in Sweden, where there are no shelters. So she was totally unaware of the needs of rescue dogs. Looking for a labrador mix, she stumbled over the Australian Labradoodle breed and it seemed like a great fit; happy, active, friendly, outgoing. She got a boy and named him Sass. A year later, being reminded daily by other dog owners that she should have gotten a rescue dog, she decided it was time to add a friend for Sass and found Downtown Dog Rescue. She adopted a pit mix named Princess and quickly thereafter started fostering additional dogs for the group. She was interested in working with the dogs and became a certified obedience trainer. Over the years, she became very active with DDR and managed their dog runs at NKLA for several years. Evaluating dogs at shelters, working with them and their adopters and, in addition, taking on an endless stream of behaviorally challenged dogs became her true passion.

Mia remains an active volunteer of Downtown Dog Rescue and strongly supports the groups focus which is helping pet owners with the basic needs in low income communities.

In 2011 she started a pack hike in Griffith Park for one of her own young dogs, Taboo, to get practice walking among other dog since he went thru a period of severe leash aggression towards othr dogs. With Taboo, when every technique under the sun failed, Mia got help from aggressio expert Brandon Fouche who works with the dogs to mentally change how they think, thus she became very skilled over time in understanding and helping others with the same issue, both humans and dogs. Her hike quickly transformed into helping people with dogs that needed leash work, usually being reactive or aggressive towards other dogs on leash. Hundreds of dogs and their owners have hiked with Mia and Taboo over the years.

Mia’s experience is enormous, having had several hundred dogs cross her path and home one way or another. In 2017 she decided to start her own group with her two main foster volunteers, Samantha and Julia (all sharing a passion for studying and improving dog behavior), that focuses specifically on helping adopters and their dogs getting set up right and resolve issues that arise.


Julia Burtenshaw

Secretary

Julia Burtenshaw Secretary Blue Man Dog

Julia grew up surrounded by animals. On her grandparents’ farm she became familiar with a whole host of creatures, learning to respect them and their needs, appreciate the responsibility that comes with owning animals, and how to work with them. She learned to read the body-language of horses, cows, and dogs, and even how to fight off an aggressive goose.

In her childhood home, she lived with Dalmatians, Dobermans, and Weimaraners – all energetic, powerful breeds, so the foundations of exercise and boundaries became second-nature to her. What small Julia considered “training” was to teach them tricks (balancing cookies on the nose, fetch and then drop the ball, sit pretty, roll over, and play dead) and she would hold little circus performances for her family. As she grew up, years of working with horses solidified her understanding of animal behavior, learning ever more about body-language and the correct timing of corrections and rewards.

After moving to Los Angeles for a career in museums, she adopted her first own dog (through Mia – that’s how they met). Having lived with big dogs all her life, the thought of a stereotypical yappy, snappy, lapdog wasn’t appealing, but living in an apartment and traveling on occasion, Julia felt the dog had to be small. So, she picked Frannie, whose description said “big dog in a small dog body”. (Julia has since learned that a small dog is just a dog, and it is the way humans tend to treat small dogs that turns them into yappy snappy annoyances.) When she met Frannie in her foster home, she was asked to ignore the dog and not to pet her. The reason for this is that Frannie had been a notorious biter at the shelter and was red-listed for aggression when Mia rescued her. Frannie spent a few months with Mia and then went to her foster parents for a test run, alongside some very specific instructions from Mia about how to introduce new people successfully. Julia spent an entire hour speaking with the foster lady, watching Frannie interact with her, and left again. “That dog is great!” she thought, “so cute and affectionate. I better snap her up before anyone else does.” After a second meeting, she adopted Frannie without having ever touched her. Given how sweet Frannie was with the foster mom, Julia knew the same would, in time, be true of their relationship. Her friends thought her crazy, Julia thought it was perfectly reasonable to respect a new dog’s space and spend some time gaining their trust first. Within a couple of days Julia could pick Frannie up, within 2 months she could let her off-leash in full confidence of calling Frannie back to her side — hardly a long wait for what is now the best, most loyal companion Julia could ever have asked for.

Since meeting Mia, Julia has been fostering rescue dogs. It started with some very mellow seniors, but Julia has taken on plenty of challenging cases since. She loves working with them, seeing them improve, and while her heart breaks for every single one that moves on, the reward of seeing them continue to thrive in their forever homes is worth it.


Julia Burtenshaw

Secretary

Julia Burtenshaw Secretary Blue Man Dog

Julia grew up surrounded by animals. On her grandparents’ farm she became familiar with a whole host of creatures, learning to respect them and their needs, appreciate the responsibility that comes with owning animals, and how to work with them. She learned to read the body-language of horses, cows, and dogs, and even how to fight off an aggressive goose.

In her childhood home, she lived with Dalmatians, Dobermans, and Weimaraners – all energetic, powerful breeds, so the foundations of exercise and boundaries became second-nature to her. What small Julia considered “training” was to teach them tricks (balancing cookies on the nose, fetch and then drop the ball, sit pretty, roll over, and play dead) and she would hold little circus performances for her family. As she grew up, years of working with horses solidified her understanding of animal behavior, learning ever more about body-language and the correct timing of corrections and rewards.

After moving to Los Angeles for a career in museums, she adopted her first own dog (through Mia – that’s how they met). Having lived with big dogs all her life, the thought of a stereotypical yappy, snappy, lapdog wasn’t appealing, but living in an apartment and traveling on occasion, Julia felt the dog had to be small. So, she picked Frannie, whose description said “big dog in a small dog body”. (Julia has since learned that a small dog is just a dog, and it is the way humans tend to treat small dogs that turns them into yappy snappy annoyances.) When she met Frannie in her foster home, she was asked to ignore the dog and not to pet her. The reason for this is that Frannie had been a notorious biter at the shelter and was red-listed for aggression when Mia rescued her. Frannie spent a few months with Mia and then went to her foster parents for a test run, alongside some very specific instructions from Mia about how to introduce new people successfully. Julia spent an entire hour speaking with the foster lady, watching Frannie interact with her, and left again. “That dog is great!” she thought, “so cute and affectionate. I better snap her up before anyone else does.” After a second meeting, she adopted Frannie without having ever touched her. Given how sweet Frannie was with the foster mom, Julia knew the same would, in time, be true of their relationship. Her friends thought her crazy, Julia thought it was perfectly reasonable to respect a new dog’s space and spend some time gaining their trust first. Within a couple of days Julia could pick Frannie up, within 2 months she could let her off-leash in full confidence of calling Frannie back to her side — hardly a long wait for what is now the best, most loyal companion Julia could ever have asked for.

Since meeting Mia, Julia has been fostering rescue dogs. It started with some very mellow seniors, but Julia has taken on plenty of challenging cases since. She loves working with them, seeing them improve, and while her heart breaks for every single one that moves on, the reward of seeing them continue to thrive in their forever homes is worth it.


Samantha Swanson

Treasurer

Smantha Swanson Treasurer Blue Man Dog

Samantha started in animal rescue at the age of four, kidnapping any dog or cat unfortunate enough to be outside alone, riding it home in her bicycle basket and announcing “It’s lost, we need to keep him!” As she grew up, her methods became more realistic, helping any animal in need of a home find one. Along the way, training came naturally. It wasn’t enough to teach her Springer Spaniel to go safely up the pool steps, she also taught her to climb the pool ladder.

After graduation from UCI, Samantha spent years in all aspects of the entertainment industry, then switched fields completely to become a Master Pilates Instructor and studio owner. Meanwhile, she’d always felt the longing for a dog, but never felt she had enough time to adopt her own dog.

Then an opportunity presented itself to become a dog foster, and this was the perfect way to test-run full-time dog ownership — along with the benefit of helping dogs in need. Immediately, the behavioral problems of these rescued dogs became a priority. The dogs came directly from the shelter or vet, with no temperament testing and background information. This issue became unavoidable when she was fostering a rescue dog who had a severe fear of other dogs, and then was asked to add a second foster dog, who turned out to have dog-aggression. Bad combo. The rescue organizations did not know anything about each dog’s issue, nor did they have any suggestions on how to deal with the daily drama. Luckily, she had good enough instincts and physical strength to solve the major problems, but no clue about the right way to do anything – and couldn’t find the answers in books.

At that point, Samantha met Mia to foster dogs, and Mia provided all the proper answers to deal with any issue that came up. Now armed with the innate instincts as well as the proper education, Samantha switched careers from telling people what to do with their bodies in Pilates, to telling people what to do with their dogs. She’s also gained an invaluable education by walking dogs, merely by observing so many different types of dogs and dog-issues on a daily basis. Working as a dog walker, the training happens organically as it is now second nature to her.


Samantha Swanson

Treasurer

Smantha Swanson Treasurer Blue Man Dog

Samantha started in animal rescue at the age of four, kidnapping any dog or cat unfortunate enough to be outside alone, riding it home in her bicycle basket and announcing “It’s lost, we need to keep him!” As she grew up, her methods became more realistic, helping any animal in need of a home find one. Along the way, training came naturally. It wasn’t enough to teach her Springer Spaniel to go safely up the pool steps, she also taught her to climb the pool ladder.

After graduation from UCI, Samantha spent years in all aspects of the entertainment industry, then switched fields completely to become a Master Pilates Instructor and studio owner. Meanwhile, she’d always felt the longing for a dog, but never felt she had enough time to adopt her own dog.

Then an opportunity presented itself to become a dog foster, and this was the perfect way to test-run full-time dog ownership — along with the benefit of helping dogs in need. Immediately, the behavioral problems of these rescued dogs became a priority. The dogs came directly from the shelter or vet, with no temperament testing and background information. This issue became unavoidable when she was fostering a rescue dog who had a severe fear of other dogs, and then was asked to add a second foster dog, who turned out to have dog-aggression. Bad combo. The rescue organizations did not know anything about each dog’s issue, nor did they have any suggestions on how to deal with the daily drama. Luckily, she had good enough instincts and physical strength to solve the major problems, but no clue about the right way to do anything – and couldn’t find the answers in books.

At that point, Samantha met Mia to foster dogs, and Mia provided all the proper answers to deal with any issue that came up. Now armed with the innate instincts as well as the proper education, Samantha switched careers from telling people what to do with their bodies in Pilates, to telling people what to do with their dogs. She’s also gained an invaluable education by walking dogs, merely by observing so many different types of dogs and dog-issues on a daily basis. Working as a dog walker, the training happens organically as it is now second nature to her.