Friday, April 30, 2010

i am blue.

i am not rare,

not really blue (I'm a black dilute), not different from any other pit bull (the "blue nose" myth).

i am being over-bred in every city in america.

i'm everywhere - especially in 'pit bull puppies for sale' ads.

if you see me walking down the street and call me a 'blue nose,' my person may roll her eyes and try really hard to be nice because ... she knows you're sorta gullible.

i am beautiful and i am dying in every shelter in the country because the hype is bigger than the truth.

please share this myth buster poster wherever dogs are feeling the blues.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

elephants save stray Houston pit bull

Houston residents who'd like to adopt a pit bull still can't rescue a friend from local shelter: the Houston SPCA is still holding to it's no-adopt policy, which means literally thousands of beautiful homeless pit bulls die in the shelter each year without help or hope.

But the bully gods refuse to let their beloveds be forgotten, and have seen fit to send Houston a special ambassadog that thousands can gaze upon and adore. He's in - of all places - the Houston Zoo. Oh what sweet bully karma!

The dog - named Max - was once a stray but now has a home in the elephant's habitat and he provides companionship to both the elephant and the keepers. He's being called a 'mutt terrier,' but don't let him end up at the SPCA or that face of his will buy him a quick trip to the freezer. If his face isn't enough of a give-away, Max's personality style is all about it: He's reported to be brave and unaffected by the noise and chaos that can come along with zoo life, and his working drive helps the keepers fine-tune their training skills, which are incredibly important when managing multi-ton elephants. He's also a classic social butterfly and likes to greet zoo visitors. Of course he is .. he's a pit bull, after all!

The keepers knew the pup had the makings of a good barn dog because he wasn’t frightened by the elephant noises or skid loaders used to clean the yard. He goes inside during the elephant baths that draw an audience in the morning. While the elephants are scrubbed and rinsed, Max stays close to the windows to greet guests and stay dry.

The zoo sure seems proud of him. He has his own placard outside the elephant habitat (below), his own: Zoo Page ... and a facebook page too, with lots of photos and videos. Go make yourself a fan!





For more scoop on the Houston SPCA's archaic no-adopt policy for pit bulls: LINK. According to the Houston SPCA's webpage "The Houston SPCA is what is termed an "open door" shelter, meaning that we accept every animal that is brought to us. However, as a service to our community, we have set aside about 25 % of our animal housing spaces to accommodate strays." Strays like Max.
EDIT: In the meantime, Houston's Bureau of Animal Control, - BARC - is trying the best they can to help dogs-in-need with an all-breed adoption policy that includes pit bulls. Thank you BARC. We love knowing you're out there.

Hat tips to BR alum love-child Boris for the hot tip on Max

Monday, April 26, 2010

"She was, quite simply, the best." Pit bulls that inspire

Darla: An Artist's Muse

Celebrated New Yorker artist Peter De Séve lost his dog recently after a long and happy life together. Darla was a pit bull who wriggled her way into Peter's illustrations in the same way that she wriggled her way into his life.

This was a painful loss for De Séve and is family. He describes how he found Darla running scared on the streets, and the influence she's had on his art in his most recent blog post. We're not at all surprised that, as of this writing, he hasn't wanted to post again since adding this tribute last month. Understood, understood.


In Peter's words:

...From the moment we spotted her twelve years ago on a cold and rainy night in Brooklyn, clicking down the middle of Court Street, she had us. Or perhaps I should say she had me....

I used Darla in as many pictures as I could, whenever a canine was needed (often even when one was not).
She was the sweetest, gentlest, funniest dog I ever knew and an important member of our family...


We've been longtime fans of De Séve's work. Tim was saddened when he found out that the dogs in Peter's work were actually his own pit bull. He was a staple in T's history lectures back when he was teaching History of American Illustration classes at the Academy of Art University in SF. He is adored for his stream-of-consciousness line sketches and warm, humorous, caricatures that make us fall in love with every person and animal he invents.

We're so sorry to see that his little muse has passed on, but heartened to know how much she delighted and inspired. That little piebald face of hers infected the readers of New Yorker and beyond. There's a true pit bull for you .... always finding a way to surprise us, charm us and then leave us wanting more.

Randall, Paulina, Fia and I are are all heartbroken, but we know how lucky we were to have her in our lives. She was, quite simply, the best.

Indeed, she was. Godspeed little Darla, and thank you Peter for sharing her with all of us through your wonderful art. (h/t Isaac Orloff for the news)



Annabelle: Inspired a cafe for dogs

Another darling that inspired her person towards creative life changes is Annabelle. She was a Hurricane Katrina survivor and a not-so-wanted guest in a New Mexico shelter after the storms. She barely made it out alive when a diehard rescuer caught wind of her plight and drove her back to safety in SF. Annabelle's big spirit and hurricane style personality came crashing into the life and times of Maureen (Mo) Murray and made a permanent impression. They were meant to be together.

Sadly, this diva passed on a short time ago of brain cancer and left Mo broken hearted and devastated. In her own words...
We miss her so bad you don't even know. There is a hole in our hearts as big as the sky and the only way we know how to survive without her, is to keep her spirit close with us. That's why we're opening AnnaBee's. She woulda loved having a place to hang out in Pacifica, in addition to the awesome beaches!


Mo recycled her enormous grief into a project that allows lucky dogs to be royalty for a day:

She opened a cafe - called AnnaBee's - that serves healthy style foods just for dogs, including pizza (wheat free or whole wheat crust), chicken pot pie, duck pâte brisée, waffles with peanut butter and bananas or yogurt and blueberries.

Okay, I'm hungry now - what about me? Lined up next door is a row of surf shops and carry-out restaurants, and Mo encourages the humans to grab a bite and bring it into the cafe where dog and people can eat family style and have themselves a day.

We had to see this brainchild for ourselves, so spent part of our Sunday soaking up the surf and sun and groovie vibe of Pacifica (AnnaBee's is right next to the beach). Besides dog dinners and cool art, they carry a bevy of spoiled dog wares like fancy collars and jackets. Sweet. Honky Tonky scored himself a pink trimmed gold lame vest number - Ooo la la - and we expect he'll be rocking it out in the Pride Parade in June.

Any and all pit bull dogs get a 10% discount at AnnaBee's - so go check it out and soak up the sincere love this lady demonstrates for the dogs. Above, Mary Ellen and Maureen voguing with Elliot and Honky Tonk

The best part of our visit was seeing what Mo has been able to accomplish with the driving force of her dog's memory fueling her on. Annabelle lives on (in bright pink with frills, no less) and every dog that gets to be very spoiled and very special for a day can thank her for that.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Baby time! Sadie helps her people raise a Tiger

We love getting check-ins from our adopters, and this one came with cute baby videos. What fun!

Some of you might remember Sadie Mae ... the cute blue bombshell that landed in our Pit Bull Hall program in '06 after suffering crushing injuries (dog bites) to her front legs. Proud adopters Ingrid and Hayden have done such a nice job introducing their son Tiger to Sadie, and it shows in this video - where both dog and Tiger are being meticulously coached in proper touch. Such a great example. And they're getting ready to do it again with another baby on the way.



Sharing the Learning. Hat tips to Brent Toellner for highlighting the Dogs & Storks website with info for expecting families with dogs at home. Brent routinely investigates dog-related incidents that involve children in an effort to help us all wake up to the importance of parental responsibility. It's not always easy to read the details, but so very important if we ever hope to evolve into a smarter society that safeguards its children from unnecessary harm. Here's a recent interview with the Dogs and Storks founder, Jennifer Shryock.

Thanks to Ingrid and Hayden and all the other 'wide-awake' parents out there who are setting the example.

Friday, April 23, 2010

photo of the day: a sign of times to come

the setting: on site on the porch of the BR barn, 8am on a sunny day
the characters: two foster dogs (Pinky and Roadie) and husky playboy
the scene: right before contractors arrive, three young dogs fall into crazy fun social time. to be followed by psycho-zoomies, grass grazing, breakfast and blissfully peaceful naps


it's a wrap!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

appreciating volunteers - round two

So many volunteers to thank, so little time. Here are four more people who keep BR alive and moving forward. Once again - we salute everyone who volunteers their blood sweat and tears to help the underdogs among us. You are compassion defined.
(in case you missed round one.)



Many of our supporters have met the inimitable Susi Ming through email correspondence after making a gift to the group. Suz has been volunteering as BR's Secretary and sage advisor of all things holistic and corporate (somehow, they mesh) since our beginning. She's also the one who inspired us to stay on the look out for dogs that were geriatric and/or in health crisis. She and her hubby Charlie have been taking in special needs dogs since we met them, and have provided the best care and family comfort a dog could hope for. We're still not sure how she does it all. After her 9-5 day is done, Suz wears the hat of the president of Bull Terrier Rescue. And if you think you're spinning a lot of plates, go see how many needy bull terriers she has to keep track of. Knowing Suz, every single dog will get exactly what it needs, come hell or high water. Suz is shown here with a homeless senior named Georgie. Always a multi-tasker, she brought Georgie to a meeting and by the time she left, she'd helped us organize our budget while assessing his personality, and had brainstormed up a good home for him. We've come to believe that she has magical powers.

Tom Becker is so behind the scenes that I had to steal this photo of him from the Net (sorry, Tom). But we couldn't appreciate volunteers this week without flagging Becker. This proud-to-be-a-geek is the reason we can find our way to the Cyber World everyday. He's been our tech support extraordinaire for years and doesn't even roll his eyes (in front of us, anyway) when we explode our mail programs again or ask the dumbest of questions. I seriously don't know where BR would be without Tom's help. When he's not leading Luddites into the light, he's perfecting his skill as a photographer (that's his photo, below). He's owned by a gazelle-like pit mix named Chloe and a cat. He's single too, ladies. Oh -- and he's a Mac Man.



Many of BR's favorite dogs have Katie Moyer to thank for their lives. We met Katie when she adopted our Katrina survivor Sydney (right) to be a companion for her sweet senior pit bull, Toby shown here. Since the adoption, she got bit by the rescue bug and has become one of BR's steadiest foster homes. She's not afraid to try a new challenge and, with the help of Linda Chwistek, has smoothed dogs with health issues and caveman manners into awesome super stars, including Stella Polari, Binky and Huckleberry. It really is wonderful to see the dogs morph in her care. Part of the Katie 12 Step Program includes lots of obedience training, at home and in class. Adopters that select one of her projects get the fun of having a dog that has CGC style manners and is as well socialized as you could hope for in a dog. We heart you Katie!

Catherine Godlewski came to BR ready to learn and she sponged every lesson we could give her. She and her partner Brett Green both joined our Ambassadog team while we were at Oakland Animal Services and jumped in to help wherever help was needed, even taking home a lil' girl named Tulip for ongoing vet care -- which ended up in a full adoption. Catherine got the dog training bug during her mentorship and kept coming back for bigger challenges. We watched her evolve from a good dog handler to an excellent handler, and now she gives up her Saturdays to helping ill-mannered shelter dogs receive the learning they need to become more adoptable. She's shown here shining up the halo of a handsome boy from Berkeley Animal Services. She and Brett were one of the first to raise their hands when Oakland Animal Services brought in a group of dogs from a cruelty case and are now fostering Brutus - a peanut butter loving pup that lived his first few months of life in a shed. They told us "well, Oakland is our town, so we had to do what we can to help out." That kind of commitment is music to our ears.

Thank you for caring so damn much.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dogfighting videos = free speech, Part II

(Read Part I HERE.)

Well, the media's buzzing again with news that the Supreme Court issued its ruling in United States versus Stevens, the federal criminal case in which Stevens was convicted for selling videos depicting dogfighting and hogcatching. The Supreme Court ended up agreeing with the Third Circuit and striking down the federal statute as unconstitutional because it was overbroad.

In my first blog about this case, I said that the case really wasn't about dogfighting or dogfighting videos. I still think that. The crux of this whole case is whether our legislature wrote the law too sloppily. The Court basically said that a literal reading of the language of the statute could criminalize many other otherwise "innocent" behaviors and even though the Government said that it did not intend to prosecute those "innocent" behaviors, the Court said it would not "uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the Government promised to use it responsibly."

I know many of you are up in arms and disappointed and angry. I get it. And I understand the horror that Justice Alito writes about in his dissent that crush videos are already selling again based on this statute being stricken. I read the Supreme Court's opinion only to say that the Court won't uphold a statute as constitutional based only on the Government's assurance that it won't apply the law as broadly as it's written. The Court very clearly stated (and appeared to hint) that it was not deciding whether a criminal statute that was indeed limited to crush videos and other depictions of extreme animal cruelty would be constitutional; today it only decided that this particular statute was not so limited.

So many of our laws are horribly written. It's just that not many of them get in front of the Supreme court. This was a terribly written law that gave prosecutors much too much discretion.

So what now? I stand by my initial review of this case. It's our job is to get on the horn fast and tell our congresspeople that we want them to do their job and write a better, more narrowly tailored law criminalizing what they intended to intially: extreme animal cruelty, including dogfighting and crush videos.

bling that gives back

Did you know that it's National Pet ID week? Fancy that. So it seems today is the day we all should get a new tag or two for our pets. Or, our neighbors' un-tagged pets. Here's what's up:

Free Tags from Found Animals

Los Angeles based animal advocacy group Found Animals is giving away free Pet ID tags all week long. I just got one for my new puppy, Elliot (yay). When you order your tag, you're added to Found Dog's newsletter list. Which is a good thing - these people are doing some great work in SoCA and could use our support. Here's the link to the FREE TAG ORDER FORM.
Easy, peasy. (3 per household. while they last)

** EDIT: the tags have all been officially gobbled up. Thanks Found Animals! **

Fetching Tags + Paco Collars = Stray Gold Rescue Support

We've been seeing dogs running around for months with cool little organically shaped bits of metal flashing from their collars - usually, Paco Collars - that say goofy things like 'Sexy Beast' or 'Mama's Baby.' Finally it dawned on us to ask WTF is up with those crazy tags? They're multiplying and showing up wherever dogs are sufficiently spoiled. They're from a company called 'Fetching Tags' and they seem very motivated to bling out your dog while helping him get home in style. In fact, nothing says "My pit bull is family" like a great collar and tag.

If you order a tag from Fetching Tags or a new collar from Paco Collars, they'll donate 20% of your order to BR. Cool huh? They must know how pit bull people are about dressing up our dogs. (Do you feel marketed?) Here's the who/what/why of the project, called Stray Gold. And the code you need - in case anybody asks - is CABA01.

Thanks to all the givers. We really appreciate the love!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Angels in action: BR volunteers

It's National Volunteer Appreciation week. If you're someone who gives your time to make the world a better place - we salute you. Throughout this week we want to introduce you to some of the folks who work behind the scenes to help us help the dogs in need. These people have been super loyal to the pit bulls, and work tirelessly to keep the mission of securing the future for this breed in front and center. They're truly warriors of the heart and we would be lost without them.
I've seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives. ~Tracy Chapman

Napa County native Deassa Binstock has been with BR from way back, starting when she became a foster failure for little Fiona (shown, with her CGC certificate). She also owns BR alum Albert, a newly knighted therapy dog. This busy lady is a natural dog handler and has been instrumental in helping the pit bulls of Napa Humane become more adoptable. She travels long-distance on many a Saturday to bring shelter dogs to Pit Ed, and she also assists Linda Chwistek with training classes. She recently took a Napa pit into her home as a BR dog (Pyper!) and is writing her adventures in this Blog.

Deassa works as a vet tech and keeps us grounded with her sage advice and technical support. When little Maude was sicker than sick, she and the staff at Silverado Veterinary Hospital went out of their way to comfort both her and her devastated foster mom. It's hard to imagine what we, or Napa County, would do without Deassa around to advocate for the dogs.


SF native Kim Ramirez is called the 'Bully Momma' of the group for good reason. She's a nurturer by nature, and is the one we turn to when we have a shy or troubled dog that needs her special brand of TLC. Kim took former Vick dog Frodo on as a foster, but from the start, it was clear that they were meant to be family. She's also one of the key people who provide compassion holds. It takes a special gift to be able to provide love and comfort to needy dogs before letting go.

Kim is also the architect behind our Shots Fairs. She knows how to nose out a good location and whip up a first class education event with her eyes closed. While she might be sweet on the dogs, she's no push over when it comes to defending them from prejudice or mistreatment. You gotta see her working a Shots Fair sometime to see her passion in action. It's inspiring.

Holly Schneider will be embarrassed when she sees herself in this blog, but that's her style. She's one of those people who jumps in to help wherever help is needed, but then acts like she doesn't do enough. Well hell's bells ...This lady has saved our butts more times than we can count - most recently, with the barn project. As a gifted contractor with amazing networking skills, Holly stepped in and solved many of our deadline headaches, saving Tim from a nervous breakdown. We owe her a lifetime of margaritas.

When she's not on the barn roof swinging a hammer or whipping a crew of workers into action, she's helping sassy dogs in training classes, doling out advice at shots fairs, or raising her hand to foster. Her and husband Magnus are owned by BR alum Daddy-O, a mastiff mix named Sophie and are now fostering two BR dogs. Oh wait .. didn't they just pick up a stray from the freeway? Just another day in Holly's busy life.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lovin' on pit bulls in Hayward

The rain gave us a break last Saturday so we could finally do our spring 'Celebrate Your Pit Bull' public outreach event. This was the first time we've done an event in Hayward, and we were excited to see who would show up with their pit bulls.

The Hayward Animal Shelter staff rolled out the red carpet and helped make this a very positive event. Clients gathered up for free shots, microchips, s/n vouchers, leashes/collars, support and advice ... LOTS of advice to help them enjoy their pets.

Every fair seems to have its own personality. The theme for this one was definitely ... "Welcome to Hayward. Can you help me train my dog?" Everyone seemed to want help with that ... even a few dog-less people beelined over to our tables and asked for early training advice on their way into the shelter to shop for a new pet.

Some of the shots fair clients who came for help: We met a family who was a bit overwhelmed by their reeeally big American Bulldog's caveman manners. They loved that dog, but wow, Mr. Drama Dog just made the short list to our Pit Ed classes. We met a couple whose son just dumped his dog on them, and they showed up to get the pup on track with shots and training advice. The young guy on the left here came with his workmate and was all ears about training help. And we all loved the sweet guy who drove his puppy in on a specially designed Puppy Mobile (below) There were so many more people that I didn't get to talk to because they were busy getting help from one of shots fair volunteers. It felt like a training convention going on in that parking lot.

Below, a dog owner (there's a puppy in that dog crate) talks with shelter director Jenny Comstock.



The pups below each went home with spay/neuter vouchers - the parent dogs, too. No problem, and thankyouverymuch. In the photo, BR volunteers Berenice Mora, Christine Allen and Cris Cohen are soaking up their fringe benefit puppy fix from the day.



Sign of the times.

We met Jorge for the first time at this fair. He's a brand new resident of Hayward and is still getting to know his way around, but was happy to meet up with some friendly pit bull people. San Francisco had been his home, but finding a rental that doesn't discriminate against pit bulls proved to be impossible, so he migrated over to the east bay in order to stay committed to his young pet. That's a man who loves his dog.

We expect to be seeing more of Jorge as his girl finds her way to training classes - and I'm predicting! - a Canine Good Citizen certificate.



Big thanks to Kim Ramirez and Christine Allen for wrangling, to the staff and volunteers of Hayward Animal Shelter, to the kick ass BR shots fair junkies, to Dr. Dianne Sequoia for your expertise, to Tina Vickrey for shots, to Dr. Singer for surgeries, and to the Hayward pit bull community for loving your dogs so much.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dobby-Dobby-DO!

Dobby (pronounced Dah-Bee) is one of the pups we were able to save from the Oakland cruelty bust last month. The little elf is named by his foster mom after the Harry Potter character that was imprisoned and abused by his captors.

Our little red house elf is doing well now, though. Thanks to a loving foster family and Daphne and Scoopy -- two dogs who love them some puppies. We'll be making Dobby available for adoption next week, so keep your fingers crossed for a happy forever home soon. Go Dobby, Go!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

BR's Year End Report

Did you finish your taxes? Then you deserve a lovely walk with your dog for all the time you've spent at your desk.

If you're one of the people who counted BR and/or any other animal related orgs for your charitable contributions in 2009, we thank you very much. Times have been tight everywhere, so your donations have extra meaning.

Our 2009 year end report is out. We wanted to show you where we spent your gifts last year, and give you some idea about where donations are headed this year...
2009 Year End Report
We pick and choose our projects very carefully because, frankly, time is short and we want to get the most impact for our mission from each rescue, each conference and each connection made in the animal welfare world. We hope you agree with our direction and thank you for joining us on this wild journey (aka Mr. Toad's Wild Ride) with pit bulls. It sure has been fun!

Photo from Ihasahotdog.com

The times -- they are a'changing?


"No dog should be euthanized solely because of their breed." Hear hear.

That's what Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is trying to legislate in Virginia. When he was Attorney General in 2006, apparently, he issued an opinion stating the same thing. Now that he's governor, he wants to mandate that no public shelter can kill an animal based only on breed. Virginians, you can contact your local assemblyman to let them know where you stand on the Governor's amendment and don't forget to thank Governor McDonnell too.

Meanwhile, in Ohio, House Bill 79, which was introduced last year and currently assigned to committee, legislators heard testimony about whether or not to delete the language that defines a "vicious" dog as "belonging to a breed commonly known as a pit bull dog." Representative Murray, who's on the committee, seems to really be thinking about whether the current law had unintended consequences. "[The law] has probably caused a proliferation of ownership of these animals[.] [T]he unintentional result is we've stigmatized and probably caused more injuries in the long term."

Also in Ohio, after the resignation of dog warden Tom Skeldon, Lucas County animal welfare is ripe for positive change. Unfortunately, there are still some commissioners who are trying to maintain Skeldon's policy of euthanizing all pit bulls and refusing any pit bull adoptions. Newly hired dog warden Julie Lyle has a tough road ahead of her, and it looks like she could use some support.

I'm hopeful for these folks who are swimming against the current in an effort to influence their communities (despite internal politics) to treat each dog as an individual. I'm thinking that sending a little note of support or encouragement their way would be most welcomed.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

BR alum facing homelessness. Help, please.

Hard times are hitting a little too close to home these days. We just learned that one of our adopters is desperately trying to keep her family together after losing her home.

Ironically, La Tricia bought her house back when she adopted Olive in '04 to avoid the panic of landlord discrimination. She even put a Canine Good Citizen certificate on her girl and then fostered dogs for BR before giving a home to a street stray. She never thought she'd have to worry about keeping a roof over her head again, but here she is, facing homelessness like so many Americans.

Do you know of any pit bull friendly rentals in the SF bay area? La Tricia is looking for a one or two bedroom apartment - preferably in the east bay - for two adults and two sweet older dogs. Her rent cap is around $1000/mo. Please send any leads to La Tricia. Wish her luck, guys.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Picture perfect! Our day with Lori Fusaro (and her friend Loretta)

It takes a special brand of dog lover to capture the essence of a dog's individual personality inside of a twenty minute photo shoot, and Los Angeles photographer Lori Fusaro showed us how it's done during her recent photo shoot in Oakland.

It was a long, tiring and fantastic day and every single dog was treated like a super star. She rolled around on the ground with the dogs, laughed, teased and tickled them into giving up some magical moments now caught on film. Every BR supporter who scored a hard-to-get photo session walked away saying, "Wow," and now we're all loving the results of the day. Check out this slideshow with Lori's FAVORITE PICKS Be prepared to get the song stuck in your head all. day. long.

Lori's work is sublime. I've been lucky enough to see all the proofs and can't wait to string some of them out here over upcoming days/weeks for all to oogle. Two of my favorites are of Loretta (below). She's one of the dogs that was seized in the Oakland scumbag breeder raid. Just lookit that face ...



Loretta is another one of those anomaly dogs: She's covered head to toe in fight scars, but instead of throwing down, she seems to go out of her way to play bow and wag at fellow dogs. The kicker was when her foster mom reported that she went into play bow for some stuffed animals that were displayed inside dog crates at the pet store. Okay - that's kookie, but we'll take it!

This little girl is so well adjusted that we figure she's going to go move out of her 'get-to-know-you' evaluation period and go up for adoption as soon as she's spayed. If you're shopping for a new love, you would be so wrong to pass this girl up. She's the reason we all love pit bulls so very much.



Speaking of crates, we want to thank Pet Food Express for donating enough for each of the bust dogs we took in from the Oakland case. Thanks guys! ... and thanks again to Lori for your brilliant vision.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

a good guy brindle from a far away land

We woke up with a strange dog in our house the other morning. That happens a lot around here, but this one confused me for a quick minute. "Whoa. Who is this and how did he get here?'

Cobwebs cleared, it all came back. Chopper is his name and he just flew in from Indianapolis. It's a crazy story, but - ahem - while Tim and I were hurting from the loss of our husky Simon and scouring rescue websites in search of a new family member, we came across the story of a very handsome sled dog who was saved thanks to the good deeds of a Good Samaritan and a male brindle pit bull. A pit bull who helped save a husky? A husky who likes intact pit bulls? Our ears perked. It seems that the dogs became fast friends while skittering around in an Indy neighborhood together, trying to stay alive in the mid-winter freeze. Good Samaritan Renee has a history of helping wayward dogs and saw fit to lure them in to safety. Problem was, the Husky was the shy type and too afraid to approach her, but after some convincing on the pit bull's part, he finally followed his lead in and found himself in a warm garage with square meals and new human friend. Mutt and Jeff. Or, Chopper and Adai. Two peas in a pod, safe at last.

Renee located a husky rescue to help with the furry one, but the pit bull was big time out of luck. Indy pit bull rescuers were stretched to the max with the task of helping dozens of dogs from a huge bust, so pickins were super slim and the Good Sam was on a tight time table to find them new digs. And so, in march the suckers. After watching the dogs' videos again and again and melting over the story, Tim and I made plans to bring both to CA -- the husky, to adopt as our one and only, and the pit bull to place. Oh wondrous happy happy joy joy.

Chapter Two: It turns out the husky was destined to stay in the midwest. (Sad for us, but happy for him) And the pit bull? How could we say no? He's here now. Not quite what we were expecting to do when shopping dogs, but who are we to thumb our nose at such a special little guy after all he did to help a husky?

Now that he's landed, we see that Chopper is one of those "I need to please you" types, ... a bit of a Yes Man, actually. He's so far dog tolerant if not dog social (updates later) and he's big on licking his lips and dancing back and forth on his little white feet to show you how much he appreciates your friendship - and your treats. And, he's a senior. His unregistered microchip traces back to an adoption from Indianapolis Animal Control eight years ago. Somewhere between that adoption and this rescue, he learned some impressive obedience skills. Always a mystery, these dogs.

So! brindle lovers! ...We'll be holding him here at the house for some more get-to-know-you time, then we'll be searching out foster or foster-to-adopt options for him. Let me know if you have a heart for his type; we'd love to introduce you.

To be perfectly honest, I felt a mild panic when we woke up to him the other morning .. "Oh NO! another dog to find a home for - What have we done?" but thanks to a strong Peets coffee and a big slurp or three from Chopper, it all made sense. He was destined to come to CA, even if it meant hooking up with a wayward husky who won our hearts online in order to get us to notice him. Nice job, boys - and thank you Renee.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

two travelers make their mark: Red and Phatman

How often do pit bull survivors from fighting rings get headlines that call them a "A phenomenal dog" with "a huge heart?"

We're saluting the passing of most wonderful Bad Newz Kennels survivor 'Red' today, who made a home in Monterey County after hitching a ride on the famous cross country RV trip that brought 13 Vick dogs to a new beginning in CA. Red did some amazing work changing minds in this part of the country before finally dying of cancer early this week. We'll always be grateful to the SPCA for Monterey County for saying 'Yes' to Vick's dogs, way back before any of us knew what they would be like. Bravo Monterey. And thank you Red. Godspeed, little man.

Phatman Part III

Our happy traveler has made his way to the east coast. Phatman made his patriotic pilgrimage to the White House and various landmarks in D.C. before escaping to the beauty of the coast. Cindy's photos are so beautiful that we had to put them in a slideshow to show them off proper. Take a look-see below. This pup sure is giving us the travel bug.


From Cindy: After beautiful beach weather in Wrightsville Beach, NC we traveled up to Washington DC. It was the beginning of the Cherry Blossom festival. Phatman visited the Lincoln Memorial, the National Monument and the White House. Then after a quick visit to Pennsylvania we were off to Boston where he saw Fenway Park and the Boston Harbor. From there we drove up the coast of Maine (absolutely beautiful) where he had another beach day at York Beach and visited a light house in Portland.

When we were walking around downtown Portland we met Connie - a fan of Badrap. From sea to shining sea!!

Today he went to Lake Champlain in Vermont and next we'll be off to Niagra Falls, New York. Almost everywhere we've been, especially Savannah, Boston, Maine, and DC, people from little kids to grandmas want to meet him. We have people constantly stopping us to ask what kind of dog he is, ("is that a Pit Bull??"), can they pet him, and to tell him what a handsome boy he is. It's been amazing. Occasionally you hear someone saying "did you see the head on that dog?" as they're passing by (and I laugh) but most people just want to love all over him and he's been loving all the attention.

Phatman's Latest Photos

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Newsy News

Barn Update
We're moving forward! ... Skylights are in place and flashed; solar voltaic system on order; windows are in and doors hung.

Good Friday turned into Excellent Friday when an Oakland inspector signed off on five different building inspections all in one swoop. Barn roof = check. Plumbing = check. Framing = check. Electricity = check. Foundation pour = check.



We're moving into the final stretch. Next step: flooring (inc. wooden porch in breezeway), barney ceiling, sheet rock, finishing details ... and bring in the kennels. Hot damn!



Sal brag



Lookit that handsome boy. Salvador's mom Jackie Gunby sent happy news of his first hospital visit as a Delta therapy dog. Below her quotes, a favorite repeat of the video that made us all fall in love with the goober guy; being trained by Sara Scott while he lived at Oakland Animal Services. We always knew this boy was destined for goodness.
"Last night Sal did his first hospital visit at Kaiser Roseville - first hospital visits can be a little spazzy with all the smells, people and gadget traffic, etc. However, our fabulous boy was absolutely stellar, possibly the BEST first visit I've ever seen from one of my own dogs or others' dogs! Yes, I'm biased, but he kept his focus, stayed on his stool for longer periods of time (2-3 minutes) than I anticipated, really connected with the patients and staff. And, we didn't get one single negative breed comment - not one! We had lots of "gosh is he a PB, Staffy, (insert your favorite breed here)?” Lots of "what a well-behaved boy," "he's so soft!" and other positive comments." - Jackie