Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Too much information. Let's laff.

Brain. Too. Tired. To. Blog.

Monkey Dogman to the rescue. I love this. Thank you Marc!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Alive Day

A group of disabled Iraq war veterans is calling the date of their brush with death their Alive Day. It's a compelling way to reclaim a tragedy and use it as a point of power.

Today is the Alive Day of the Vick dogs, who were taken away by police and animal control just 12 months ago. It's worth a smile in our corners. Major kudos to our volunteer crew (not all shown here, unfortunately) for sticking it out and dealing with the chewed shoes, caveman-like dog manners (at first, anyway), Saturdays lost to training class, vet appointments, poop clean up, endless emails, prying reporters and a hundred other little surprises that come along with adventures such as these.

This photo is from People Magazine's photographer Tim Archibald. (Thanks again, Tim). I should prolly address his other photo that's on our home page now, because I know it's going to get me some grief. I've heard that some are concerned that images of our bust dogs in close proximity are going to incite trouble by giving Joe Public the green light to build up his own sofa-full of __fill-in-the-blank__ (fight bust dogs/game bred dogs/pit bulls). Is that true? I dunno.

If it is, please Joe Public, understand that our V-dogs are often shown together because 1) we cherry-picked them during our evals, in part, for their dog tolerance, 2) like good dog owners, we know their individual limits and 3) we manage and direct them well when they play so they give us their best manners. It just goes to show what's possible, given a little common sense. We're practicing what we're preaching, in other words.

Here's the sermon: Monitoring Play ...Socializing ...Multi-Dog Homes

Back to the Alive Day news, we look forward to reporting on a big rescue case in another state that isn't getting nearly the attention it deserves. Please check back soon. We're sorting through photos and news and organizing it nicely.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Minnesota Happy

Horns blow! Congrats to Vicki Davis and the MN Tri-County Humane Society on your first adoption of an ambassadog. We met the most wonderful 'Brown Sugar' during an all-day conference last month, organized to help local shelters & rescues learn some of BR's best tricks and practices for selecting greats dogs for qualified homes. She tested so beautifully, in front of so many people (!) that Vicki transferred her right into their program.

We hear tell that the Board of Directors is still a little nervous about the whole pit bull thing, but maybe folks here can send them a note of congratulations to help them realize what a good thing they did by allowing this little monkey a chance. *Contact*

And how much do we love that this home has a Viking name? Congrats to Eileen Iverson on your new baby.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Booty Haiku

O your fine booty ..
.. a junk-n-the-trunk beauty.
Genetics, fer sure.

Mom Nature is a
show off: "Lookie what I made!"
Frodo the art piece.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Part II: The Power of Language

For years, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has declared that dogs seized from fight busts are too dangerous to be helped and should all be destroyed. This extreme view snowballed in horrific ways: exaggerated claims of fight drive are shamelessly served up to support genocidal policies like Denver's unforgivable ban. Senior Assistant City Attorney Kory Nelson, who fist banged up fear & loathing using fighting analogies in articles such as this piece for Municipal Lawyer, even went so far as to contact SFACC director Carl Freidman to encourage a full-on ban when SF was deciding to bring breed specific legislation (BSL) to CA.

So needless to say, it was encouraging to hear that the HSUS is softening its policy on the evaluation and rescue of dogs from fight busts. ...LISTEN

Audiotape of Eric Sakach, HSUS, from a press conference at State Capitol on 4/8/08 to promote Bill 1775. Provided by KPCC Radio. The bill died in committee, btw, but some of the messaging that came out of the process was worth celebrating.

"Some of the dogs do seem to indicate that they can be rehabilitated, and we support efforts to do that."

- Eric Sakach, HSUS Regional Director West Coast and Dog Fight Investigations

After the news surfaced, we received word that V-dog Hector and dogs just like him had their best night of sleep in a very long time. Thank you, Eric.

Friday, April 18, 2008

HDNet: The Odyssey

The range of reactions we got from watching this HDNet piece made most of us feel schizophrenic: Proud of our wonderful dogs and their volunteer families, horrified at the language used by the reporter to suggest danger lurking, then a collective swing back to happiness when he admits to feeling fuzzy about the dogs, THEN right back to let-down with his carefully worded warnings planted 'just in case' those happy gut reactions betray and cause calamity further on down the line. Ohhh the pain of being so undecided.

"My eyes say dem dogs are fine...but my brain sez I'm in danger of being lured into a fuzzy stupor and murderous rampage by those sneaky, big headed sirens."

Photo from 'Oh Brother Where Art Thou'

Video PART 1.

Video PART 2.

Okay, we get it that reporters aren't supposed to buy into the sales pitch of their subjects, so we'd forgive Greg for keeping a professional distance from the dogs ....EXCEPT that he's so fearful that his objectivity is blown from minute one. You can't be afraid and objective at the same time - it doesn't work. And if I didn't like the guy so much (I do. He reminds me of a favorite uncle), I'd accuse him of wanking out Media Fear Tactics just to get an adrenalin buzz from bored viewers.

But - IMO anyway - I think he truly did try his best to give us a positive story from the lens of his old world, addicted-to-bad-news journalism style. He said so much in an email exchange today, and actually seemed hurt that we were slapping our foreheads over this piece.

On a happier note, we noticed that the Greg clearly wasn't afraid of the Non-Vick pit bulls in our circles. THEY were A-Okay. So - who knows - maybe there's hope yet.

Pssst: Here's the HDNet Feedback Page. Go easy on them. The world looks awful scary from their shoes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Girls Rule

Play time! No self-respecting beeyotch is gonna let a little hopping varmit like Jonny get the best of her.

Gooooo Penny.

This red diva is one of our best-kept secret weapons. Penny's helped school dozens of BR foster dogs in the fine art of Respect-the-Queen play manners. She works hard for her kibble!


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Part I: The Power of Language

Interesting happenings in Sacramento: A new bill is asking lawmakers to grant authorities the right to seize & sell property used for dog fighting. SB 1775

The ACLU has come out against the bill in a big way. We aren't sure what to think of it ourselves. How will this affect property owners who unknowingly rent to dog fighters? Does this mean landlords will be even less likely to rent to dog owners?

Photo: Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) announcing bill. Brian Baer,

One upshot: The bill allows monies collected from seized properties to be used to reimburse law enforcement and humane investigators AND to care for the animals in the shelters and rescue groups. Hey, thanks guys.

(3) To local nonprofit organizations exempt under Section 501(c)
(3) of the Internal Revenue Code whose primary activities include
ongoing rescue, foster, or other care of animals that are the victims
of dogfighting...

We're not sure how realistic it would be to move those dollars, but we appreciate the language that identifies the dogs as victims. This signals a change in how legislators see exploited animals like pit bulls. As far as we know, this is only the second time this distinction has been spelled out in official documents. The first was when Judge Hudson ordered Vick to pay restitution for the "care and maintenance of the victim pit bull dogs." Yay, progress.

But Calderon loses ground when he slips some moldy myths into his bill:

(5) Dogfighting not only encourages and furthers antisocial values
and violence but it also results in the antisocialization of dogs
thereby making them a danger to the community at large. Police
officers, firefighters, utility, and other municipal workers are at
increasing risk in the course of their employment on both public and
private property because of the epidemic number of dogs that have
been bred and trained to fight each other as well as other animals,
small children, and adults.

THUD. Fighting dogs..."Trained to fight small children and adults?" Ohhhhh brother.

We're pleased that Sacramento is looking out for fight victims and their caretakers, but the language is painfully damaging to the mission of helping those victims. Two steps forward, three steps back.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Crime Against Pit bulls

What happens when soft-tempered pups born into a high volume breeding operation miss out on proper socialization? Something like this...

Photo: Dog hiding during evals this week. It's horribly depressing to see our brave breed reduced to this. (And eerily reminiscent of the damage done to many of the dogs in the Vick case)

This is much of what we found when we went to AZ to see the dogs from this raid in February. Many speculated that dog aggression was going to be the biggest challenge with the dogs. We wish. Manageable dog aggression is a cake walk compared to this terrible tragedy.

Thankfully, we did find a few dogs that are brave enough for the real world - and, yes, they're also fine around other dogs. We can't take more than a short handful right now, but you do what you can. Some will be released asap and some are in a holding pattern while the courts have their day. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, we want to thank the folks of Pima County Sheriff's Department, Humane Society of Southern AZ and Pima Animal Care and Control for helping us and for wanting something better for the dogs. There are too few of us (rescuers) and way too many of them (out-of-luck pit bulls) but these agencies have been incredibly supportive despite the very modest rescue efforts. Even the HSUS is getting involved by chipping in $$ so Diane Jessup can get ahold of 3 or so lawdog prospects. The last time they did this, WA got Hemi, so fingers crossed for another keeper.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Tim and I are in AZ tonight, putting lots of eye drops in our eyes in between putting our hands on lots of out-of-luck pit bulls. More on the pit bull business later. We need to get some sleep and ready for more of the same tomorrow.

But first, a heads up for those who didn't get our email notice about a current story on HDNet's World News Report. A crew came out and filmed the Vick dogs late February, and the final 20 minute story has run several times this week. There's another airing on Friday April 11 and again on Tuesday April 15.

Unfortunately, you'll need to find a friend who has high definition television in order to view it. We're working on getting a copy downloaded online, tho.' Fingers crossed.

I haven't seen it yet myself, but reports coming in say that the dogs looked great, Teddle's boy Sam looked adorable, and the seasoned wartime correspondent - Greg Dobbs - looked, uh, noticeably frightened. Not a good sign. Altho we all felt that he tried really really hard to get past his fears while he was here. I have a feeling this report is going to say less about the dogs, and more about the lens of the media. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 07, 2008


Honestly, we thought the fanfare would be over weeks ago -- and we really do have things we need to discuss besides the Vick dogs. But the impact of this case keeps slamming back on us like Oahu's winter waves to the point where we're regularly soaked in salty wet realizations that maybe maybe this case really did make a difference. These sweet ladies represent a steady stream of visitors who've been trickling in from all corners to see the V-dogs in person. They file in and stare as if they're looking at - for lack of a better word - history. As if to say "Hot damn - you really are alive. You really did make it."

MaryBeth (right) and her daughter knocked us to our knees this weekend with the most sincere expression of love and appreciation and joy we've been exposed to in a long time. They came from new york and they wept when they met the dogs. Risen from the near-dead, these dogs...against all odds. And true to form, Jonny wondered what all the fuss was about (ZZzzzz).

Thank you ladies. You made our week.

Mo Visitors

Recognize this celebrity maniac? ...Put a disk in his mouth and you're good to go.

We had a fun weekend comparing notes on all-things-pit bull with Roo and his accomplished sidekick Wallace during a quick visit to CA. Our local park was blessed by the thunder of Wallace's mojo and we were treated to Roo's fancy footwork. Lucky us. Lookit that man go. Thanks for the fun, Roo!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Landlord Lover

Nope, it's a little late for an April Fool's joke - this really IS BooBoo's new landlord. Somebody pinch me, maybe all the new positive pit bull PR is really paying off. Perhaps it's contagious and landlords everywhere will notice that they too have been duped by the sensation-hungry media and begin interviewing all dogs as individuals.

For more on how to build a good relationship with a potential new landlord read our PDF on renting with pit bulls: RENTING