Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Girls Club - Words from a Foster Mom

Rachel is one busy lady. She volunteered to take a recent rescue case (Jolee!) home to help her get ready for her big debut at Pit Bull Hall. Move over twins! - a pit bull's moving in. In her own words:

As an employee at the East Bay SPCA, I've fostered hundreds of animals. From kittens and cats to dogs and puppies. From healthy animals needing socialization to sick ones needing time to get better. From tiny day old felines to large epileptic canines needing observation. It is always a different experience and so far I have only adopted one of them: my beloved Kelly, who is no longer with us and who I miss every day. Everyone always thinks I am going to adopt the foster animal du jour, but those that know me well know that I will not. I like fostering. I like getting them ready for adoption. I like helping them out. But I like giving them back and seeing them in their permanent home much, much more.

I just finished a short foster period with a great dog named Jolee, a current Pit Bull Hall resident. BADRAP pulled her from the Martinez shelter when I said I could foster. They said they would find one "that is a good fit for my household" and boy, did they. You see, I have two cats, one 2-year old son, 3-month old twin girls and one grumpy, but accom- modating, husband who doesn't like dogs. Jolee was a delight. She was excellent in her crate, was housebroken, was fabulous with all the kids, and only disliked the cats because they were "scary". She was a fast learner, did excellent in the Saturday Pit Ed classes that foster parents take their dogs to, and recovered quickly from her spay surgery. I really could not have asked for a better dog.

She is a lovely dog that might not have made it out of the shelter alive. But thanks to BADRAP, their foster program and Pit Bull Hall, she has a chance to find her perfect forever family. I'll send her my good thoughts and well wishes while she patiently waits for them to show up. Any family would be lucky to have her.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Yes, Chickie Sue, there really is a Santa Claus

You've been so kind, and Chickie Sue is feeling your good vibe....Chickie Sue Happy Dance!

News of this orphan's predicament has brought out the holiday spirit in everybody....One reader is donating a wire crate so she can view her surroundings better in her week-time foster home (she's in a slightly stuffy vari-kennel now) and another was inspired to double her holiday donation to help with her care. And look at the fun new friends we made who want to help spread the word.

What do they say? With every crisis comes opportunity.

We hope to update the blog soon with other BAD RAP news items, but until we do, I asked Chickie Sue's friend Steve to write a little something about his buddy. Steve is a pilot, btw, and while everyone wants this man & dog to be together, a pilot's demanding schedule won't allow it....Just thought I would get that out of the way!

This is one happy-go-lucky, fun, optimistic, wiggly, and if I do say so myself VERY cute girl. She falls into a daily routine with ease, and happily adjusts to spur of the moment diversions. She draws a crowd wherever she goes, and people love her. She even managed to form a line of kids in Montclair the other day, all waiting to have their faces licked by a very happy Chickie. She rarely barks, she is crate trained, house trained, tolerant of other dogs (actually gets along well), and has the ability to settle down and either snuggle with you or entertain herself with a toy or her own tail!

What else would anyone ever want in a dog? I can’t figure this one out. (BTW, if those little ears worry anyone they do come with the benefit of not blocking the TV when she is sitting on your lap!!)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Village Gets Busy

Since leaving kennel life, Chickie Sue's world has gotten much bigger. As promised, here are pix of our orphan girl with her friends passing time while waiting for her permanent home to find her. (Confused? See Blog below.)

Driving under the influence of Chickie Sue.

A fun visit at 'the office' with her friend Steve.

Don't tell the passengers, but....

How much do we love these ladies!

Berenice's kids have dubbed her 'Chickie Soup.'
Nice downstay, girls!

Come back soon for more pix and updates!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It Takes a Village

Rescue work is the ultimate roller coaster ride; one day you're sailing on the best high ever because a dog found a home or earned his CGC title, and the next day, a new challenge crops up to poke big fat holes in that optimistic glow.

Miss Chickie Sue, the Queen of Optimism herself, has been one of those dogs that's kept us up worrying late at night. Not for something she's done, but for the dumb luck that's so far kept her from getting a real home. She came into our program waaay back in July, and before that, lived at Oakland Animal Services. A diehard resident of Pit Bull Hall, she's endeared herself to everyone. But she's watched so many dogs come and go to new homes that we have to wonder if she thinks her life is supposed to be lived in small one hour snippets during her out time. The fact that a former home cut her ears short has hurt her. What hurts US is that, like it or not, looks DO matter to people when they shop for pets. And with so many pit bulls competing for homes, a dog like Chickie Sue - no matter how charming - is bound to wait longer.

Recently, it became clear that months in confinement were wearing thin on Chickie Sue's spirits. She's a trooper, but really, enough is enough. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, we had no where to put her. I tossed and turned and wondered: How do we possibly give this dog a quality life when no one will take her into their home? At this point, asking Chickie to live for hours on end in a crate or even a cozy kennel run is unacceptable. Since dogs live in the moment and have no concept of future adoptions, we owe them our best to make sure that their 'Now' is acceptable, and even enjoyable.

I brought the dilemma to the volunteer crew for a frank discussion about limited resources and quality of life issues. (Note According to Wikipedia, "a dilemma is a problem offering two or more solutions, neither of which is acceptable." - How true!) I wasn't looking forward to our talk, especially since zero solutions might lead to difficult and painful decisions.

What the crew came back with reflects the dedicated soul of this group: Together, they decided we would ALL give Chickie Sue a life out of the kennels by sharing the responsibilty of caring for her around with everyone until a permanent home could be found. No small feat. So, a volunteer who was short on time would house her, while others who had no room but extra time would commit to fun weekend get aways. Others raised their hands to take her on field trips, and another built a daily schedule to record her new social calendar. I have no doubt that this group is going to give Chickie Sue a very happy life while she waits for that golden application. This is a dog that THRIVES on adventure, variety and fun.

We learned a lot about each other and our collective commitment to these animals through this dog. It takes a village to help a pit bull like Chickie Sue find a home...And what a fantastic village it is.

Check back for new photos and reports on Chickie's new adventures. And of course! - if you're interested in meeting her, please contact