With so many dogs in need, we learned long ago that a rescue-only focus was going to bury us quick and burn us out even faster. So our 'teach a man to fish' philosophy was born: As much and as often as we can, we share what we know with animal care professionals around the country in conference presentations, workshops, articles, mentorships and internships that we call Pit Ed Camp.
The work intensive jam sessions of 'Camp' have been especially gratifying because they give shelter staffers hands-on opportunities to work on learning projects that matter: Everything from exercises to keep kenneled dogs content and well socialized, to setting up dog play dates, to running a public training class and a spay/neuter outreach event in low income neighborhoods. Then the real fun happens - After our guests go home, we get to watch them implement lasting change in their home shelters as a result of what they learned.
With shrinking animal control budgets, covering the travel/housing costs of internships can be the biggest obstacle to seeding progressive bay area practices in other cities. In 2011, we were honored to receive a grant from PetSmart Charities to bring shelter workers here via a partnership with Best Friends Animal Society for a busy four days of instruction. But the cost to house them ate up a big chunk of the budget (over 10K) - money that could've gone to other pressing needs - like, providing more free spay/neuters for low income neighborhoods.
Enter the Unexpected Pit Bull Calendar. This generous group of dog loving photographers from organization HeARTs Speak pour their hearts into incredible calendar photos and then give 100% of the profits away to rescue groups. One hundred percent of proceeds donated!
Last year, the UPBC helped us build an addition on our Rescue Barn, which gave us laundry and allowed us to save the lives of some very special dogs including Star.
In the new year, their generosity continues. Thanks to the UPBC's vision, we've been able to buy ... drumroll please ... on-site accommodations for interns in the form of this small guest cabin! How fabulous is that? The cabin will make Pit Ed Camp more affordable and will also allow us to welcome out-of-area adopters and other special visitors. Look how cute this thing is! It will live right next to the Rescue Barn so - of course - the foster dogs will also get a chance to try out real world house skills with visiting guests. Would we have it any other way?
We're thrilled, delighted and downright giddy about the chance to continue this important work and help other communities get the info they need to help their dogs back home. Thank you Unexpected Pit Bull Calendar!
A note about internships: Although the cabin won't be here until after our winter rains end, we're happy to hear from shelter workers and rescue groups who hope to gain experience in favorite methods and polices practiced by BADRAP and our community partners. One of our criteria is that attendees have the authority and their supervisors' blessings to make changes in their shelters based on what they learn in camp. If you have interest, please let us know so we can alert you to dates in 2012. firstname.lastname@example.org