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Episode 550: How Dogs Saved My Life ft. Zach Skow

By Jasmin and Mariann — July 25, 2020

In the intro to the show Mariann talks to Jasmin about her new favorite book, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, by Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk, and what a pleasure it is to read a book that really gets it about animals. Jasmin announces that she’ll likely be participating in The Goat Games, a virtual event that challenges participants to finish a 5-kilometer run, walk, bike, hike, or swim at a location of their choosing between August 8 and 16 to raise funds for Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Recently, Catskill, like many other sanctuaries, has lost 30% of it’s funding due to COVID-19. Then, in our continued effort to support vegan-owned businesses, we’re shouting out Charlie Fyffe and his amazing guide to 70+ Black owned vegan businesses in Los Angeles. Over 70!

Then, Jasmin talks to Zach Skow. Zach is the founder of Marley’s Mutts, an animal shelter with a difference in Kern County, California. He turned to his dogs to help him when his diagnosis with end-stage liver disease meant that he had to battle to stay sober to access a liver transplant. When Zach recovered, he was prompted to start the shelter to give back, and, since its inception, Marley’s Mutts has now rescued over 5,000 dogs and started a pioneering prison program called Pawsitive Change.

In this episode Zach joins us to dive into how his love for his dogs and their unwavering acceptance of him pulled him through the darkness and brought him back to his authentic self. He shares why Marley’s Mutts is not only an animal shelter, but is a positive force for change in the community, and how the Pawsitive Change Prison Program works to take rescue dogs into local prisons to train with inmates and give both a second chance. Zach also discusses how he sees Marley’s Mutts developing and expanding in the future to support vulnerable humans and animals in need.

“There is nothing more scary than not being able to recognize who you are” – Zach Skow

This Week in Our Hen House:

  • Zach’s journey through 6 months of sobriety to get a liver transplant
  • The dogs that helped him get sober
  • The story of Marley, and his calm elevated spirit
  • How Zach’s commitment to being there for his dogs stopped his suicidal thoughts
  • How the Miracle Mutts therapy pets program works
  • The importance of facilitating change in your life and being open to your potential
  • Where the dogs at the shelter come from and why they are committed to a no-kill policy
  • How the Pawsitive Change program works
  • Why Marley’s Mutts is so keen to expand Pawsitive Change into the juvenile detention system
  • How the work has impacted the lives of real prisoners

Resources Mentioned:

Anti-Recidivism Coalition founded by Scott Budnick

Connect with Zach Skow:

Marley’s Mutts Website

Marley’s Mutts Facebook Page

Marley’s Mutts Instagram

Marley’s Mutts Twitter

Pawsitive Change Program Instagram

Zach Skow Instagram

Zach Skow Facebook

Zach Skow Twitter

Connect with Our Hen House:

Our Hen House Website

Our Hen House Facebook

Our Hen House Instagram

Our Hen House Twitter


This episode is brought to you in part by the Barnard Medical Center. To set up a telehealth appointment today call 202-527-7500 or create an account on

As always, the award-winning weekly Our Hen House podcast is hosted by Mariann Sullivan and Jasmin Singer.


This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at

You can listen to our podcast directly on our website, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcatcher! Also, if you like what you hear, please rate it and leave us a comment on Apple Podcasts! Of course, we would be thrilled if you would also consider making a donation, or becoming a member of our flock (especially if you’re a regular listener). Any amount is hugely appreciated, and Our Hen House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so it’s tax-deductible! Thank you for helping us create quality content, and for helping us bring you a new podcast episode each week!

Don’t forget to tune into Our Hen House’s other two podcasts: The Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan Podcast, and The Animal Law Podcast.

The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by the incredible Michael Harren.

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