Thursday, August 18, 2011

summer camp - where the good guys come out to play

This past week of difficult headlines has made us even more appreciative of generous donors who value the work of education and advocacy, and whose recent gifts allow us to continue this mission - most notably, barn raiser extraordinaire Aron Woolman and Pat Oddone (who sent a gift on behalf of Erich Borat). Thank you.

We're also grateful to PetSmart Charities, who has been helping shelter pros from around the country get to several on-site training opportunities including home-sweet-home Oakland for hands-on work with the dogs we all love. This work is in partnership with Best Friends Animal Society. Don't you love how many good guys are out there?

Last weekend, we were fortunate to host representatives from Davis County Animal Control Utah, Iowa City Animal Control and Adoption Center and the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County (WA) for four days of workshops, presentations, training, gab and fun. We call it 'Pit Ed Camp' and the only thing we were missing was the s'mores (on the shopping list for October's camp).

Camp is set up to give attendees a glimpse into BR's key activities including housing and socializing the dogs in our barn, working them in Pit Ed Class, evaluations in a shelter setting and finally, putting together a shots fair. They also tour Berkeley Animal Care Services, and learn how the community of Berkeley has been working so hard to help the dogs. (Report from Maddies Fund on Helping Berkeley's pit bulls). Above: Tracy Roddam from Davis County Animal Control Utah takes low rider Nita through class. (Pssst...She was a pro). Below: Catherine Godlewski demonstrates the fun of canine nose-work to provide enrichment and confidence building to bored shelter dogs.

The favorite hands-on 'workshop' seemed to be our outreach event in East Oakland, where campers helped us distribute necessary resources to low income pit bull owners: vaccinations, microchips, leashes/collars, training help and spay/neuter surgeries. Everyone worked their butts off at this event, setting up crates, registering clients, helping dog owners with important information. I don't know if Brigitte Draper knew what was in store; once we found out she was an RVT in Utah, we dragged her into the spay/neuter van to help with surgeries. Her help made all the difference. Shown on the right here, with Beth Garland on the left. Thank you, ladies - and thank you Sonoma County Animal Services for loaning the van. PHOTOS!

We're getting ready to host two more camps in 2011, and yet more in 2012. These are probably the single biggest activities that give us Badrappers real hope for communities in other parts of the country. Thanks to so many smart, compassionate doers in the sheltering world, pit bull type dogs are finding their seat on the bus - and there's no turning back.


A&A Friese said...

How amazing it is to have so many passionate and hardworking people in the pit bull community. Rock on Bad Rap! What an encouraging post.

Carla Morgan said...

Thank you for targeting so many different areas and topics in your training. I wish my area would take advantage of this in Pa. So many pitbulls up for adoption at the SPCA and nearly always included in their description is what a "bad rap" this breed has been given. I just love the work you do Thank you for all the untold hours you spend on this and for your great passion. Carla Morgan

Dianne said...

How do I sign up for a camp in 2012? I have assisted with our feral cat neuter/spay clinic so I have some hands on experience, and I have some $$ to donate (sold my condo). It looks like a lot of hard work and a lot of fun.

Nora said...

How does a shelter get a person to your camp? I would love to see one or more of the shelters around me, Atlanta,GA, send a person or two through that camp. There are a couple of great PitBull rescue and education groups around here, but none have the resources for this type of class.

Donna said...

Hi Dianne and Nora. Thanks for asking.

Right now, participants secure their spot after being approved via a grant from PetSmart Charities and application with Best Friends. Your shelter head may have already applied for the grant - Ask'em. We keep camps small so everyone can get more hands-on opps, but if we get a last minute cancellations, we have a short list of shelter workers who are not under the grant but who're hoping to get this training. If you work with a shelter, let me know and I'll send an application and put you on that wait list.

At some point, we'll open this up to rescuers who are not affiliated with shelters. For now, we want to make sure the shelter staff get first priority since they make so many daily decisions for pit bull type dogs.

Thanks again. I do hope we get to toast marshmallows with you someday!

Anonymous said...

Shame on you for closing off comments in the Pacifica article ("moving on?" that's despicable -- the family affected will never move on from this event). Your decision really does nothing to rehabilitate the image of pitbull aficionados in the aftermath of this tragedy.

The administrator of this blog's comment threads should look in the mirror, reflect on their actions, and encourage healthy discourse within the community on this topic. Step up and be a leader, not a coward.

Donna said...

Anon - The topic has played out. If and when more evidence comes to light via the forensics reports, we'll consider re-opening a discussion. For now, please respect that our hours for moderating a civil online discussion are limited and we have responsibilities beyond providing a platform for the small number of people who were hashing it out.

Cathy Sproul said...

Actually, I had an answer--a real actual answer--to DubV's question, and I wanted to post it except the comments had already been closed. (I know, it's me being behind the curve...yet again.) Still, Donna, I understand and respect your need to move on.

Donna said...

Sorry Cathy! Maybe DubV can be encouraged to make his or her profile public so you can have an exchange. I hope so. Thanks for dipping in and for understanding why we wrapped up that thread.