Sunday, March 01, 2009

What rain? Shots Fair in East Oakland.

So here's the deal: You decide to do a 'pit bulls only' owner support event in a low income neighborhood, altho' 1) you have hardly any lead time to plan and 2) getting word-of-mouth advertising accomplished is squashed by weeks of rainy, stay-inside weather. You manage to convince eight dedicated diehards to leaflet homes during a downpour in a select, pit bull heavy, foreclosure saturated neighborhood with only (gulp) one week's advance notice. The event date arrives and it's STILL raining.
Well, crap.

Will people show up with their dogs or should we (can we please?) go back to bed? Oh hell no. Not only are clients willing to brave the rain with their dogs, they're already waiting for us when we get there to set up.

Our free shots fair - aka 'Celebrate Your Pit Bull' - event in East Oakland today was planned in an area that's known for its pit bull numbers. Dog trainers don't venture into this neighborhood and there's no such thing as low cost vet care here. But there are lots and lots of dogs. With only a week's notice, the fair attracted a long line of rain-soaked pit bull owners and 50+ dogs for the usual: Free shots, free collars/leashes, free microchips (popular), free spay/neuter vouchers (also popular) and lots and lots of training/handling/behavior advice (very very popular).

The more fairs we do, the more dog owners look forward to them, and the more we learn how to be a better help the next time. A highlight is always meeting the families who adore their beautiful pets and who love to show them off. A good number went home with spay/neuter vouchers. The low point was helping one client recognize that her stranger aggressive dog was deeply troubled. Her young daughter stood next to her and wept while we talked. She seemed to already know what we were ever so gently suggesting.

What keeps us coming back is knowing that pit bull owners will show up to get help for their dogs, even in the pouring rain. If they can get out of bed for this, so can we.

Big thanks to Kim Ramirez & Christine Allen for organizing, Natalie and her Grrrls for vet-teching (you kicked ass!), Dr. Dianne Sequoia for your TLC, our out of town Campers and Oakland Animal Services for assisting, the wonderful BR crew for rolling up your sleeves without a squeak about the weather and our fab donors who continue to support this kind of outreach work.


HEATHER said...

G-d bless for the free spay/neuter, now let's just pray those vouchers are redeemed!

Amanda said...

BAD RAP is...amazing. I wish I could come up with a better word for all the good work you do!

So sad about the stranger aggressive dog. Having been in similar shoes once, I cried knowing what that woman must have been feeling. =( Thanks for broaching an uncomfortable topic, hopefully your words will be heeded.

Donna said...

Thanks Heather. We expect many of those s/n vouchers will be redeemed, and the folks that won't use their's at least showed interest rather than a flat out 'No.' We can build on mild interest!

Amanda - we have a meeting with the dog owner this afternoon. She did let us take her dog away for an overnight at the shelter for safe keeping, but now we need to lay out all her options and help her choose what's right for her family. Wish us luck.

Anonymous said...

I love you guys!

Anonymous said...

I sure do wish I had more money so I could increase my donations to you. What fabulous work you do! Look at all those people who came. Dang!
My heart hurts for the client you mention. Maybe one day she'll want to get another pitbull if things don't work out. She's just made friends with a wonderful source of some fab representatives of the breed.
I can feel the love in the second photo. I'm sitting here smiling like a clown!!!

Thoughts said...

It is so great what you guys do, so helpful for so many people. I hope all of you at BAD RAP know how wonderful you truly are!

jaime smith

TP said...

The work never ends...when it's time to open the satellite office on the east coast let us know!

Anonymous said...

This was such an AWESOME DAY! even if it did rain, it was AMAZING!!!!! to see all these people and their dogs out there in the rain.>
I Hated to leave, it broke my heart , literally to have to come back home, Tim,Donna & Mike..WOW ,It was like a kid leaving home for college, I was missing you guys the moment we got in the car to go to the airport.
I look so forward in in implementing things here in Indy, and youll be happy to know, i saw "my boy" today dona, he looks GREAT!
I miss you guys terribly!!
Take Care & we will talk often & soon.
Kudos to such GREAT work you all do,
Ps, give baby Howie & Lu Lu a Kiss for me!!

Donna said...

Indy is on the right track with your collective fires burning, Laurie! Thanks so much for being a part of our crazy week in Oakland. And keep us up to speed on "your boy" - lucky dang dog.

Anonymous said...

Great looking dogs.
Great program.
Kudos to the Organizers.
Kudos to the owners who came.
Kudos to the Owner with the little girl and the Stranger aggressive dog for allowing you to take the dog and to be willing to discuss options.
That shows a sense of responsibility right there.
Hearts must be aching at this point.
You love them no matter what.
Hope good decisions are made and hearts heal if a difficult decision must be made.
They must be very good,decent people(like all the owners who showed up) and be hurting at this point.

Anonymous said...

Hey Donna,

Although we were cold, and soaked to the bone, we are all in for helping out again. We are just curious as to how many dogs we ended up vaccinating? Let us know when you can use us again. If it makes a difference, Sundays are the best for all of us as that is the one day of the week that we are all off.

Stay dry!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Donna,
I will keep you updated on "My Boy" I need to think of a really cool name that fits him just so.

I miss you guys!

Anonymous said...

Its nice to see how many people have bits, no matter what neighborhood they live in. I think its great that they showed up knowing that they are doing their part to keep the good word going. Such beautiful dogs and most of them seemed to be well behaved. Just goes to show you that they are wonderful dogs no matter where they live. Keep fighting the good fight!!! You guys are doing an amazing job. Can you suggest any organization in Illinois where I can either volunteer, contribute or bring my precious pit to help spread the good work?

Anonymous said...

I was a native Oaklander (Fruitvale district) for 49 years and just recently moved to Brownsville, CA. What a wonderful day you must have all had. A Pit Bull Male (about 1 year old) recently showed up on my porch & as there was no response to my ads & notices...I decided to keep him due to the poor opinion of pit bulls at shelters. Goober has been a wonderful addition to my 6 cats & older dog. Any suggestions for a low cost or free neuter for him? Just rescued a male cat & this gets costly. Thanks for your input and keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...


Amanda said...

Oh Donna, please do keep us updated if possible on the stranger-aggressive dog. My heart does ache for that family, and sometimes it seems the community of bully breed lovers is divided on what to do with a dog that doesn't have the typical people-love-slut disposition that we adore in pitties. Learning more about your approach would be great!

Donna said...

Hi Amanda
This dog was severely troubled and was put to sleep. It was an easy call and only took the owner one day to reach the same conclusion. We're all feeling glad that the shots fair helped us connect with this home ... I worry what may have happened if we'd cancelled because of the rain!

SCD said...

Can't wait for June when you guys come to Santa Cruz! I am Volunteering!

scargosun said...

Made my heart swell to see this! Absolutely wonderful!

The RedC said...

I love keeping up with you guys - wish you were down in the L.A. area! THANKS for all you do!

Dianne said...

Hmm. The link indicates it is from last year? Thanks for helping the family with the aggressive dog... no dog of any breed should live with that much fear.

My cousin just got a Yorky-Bichon and was asking on Facebook for less expensive vet care. I teased him that if he could pass her off as a pit bull he could go to the once a month free clinic where I volunteer!

absolutemarvel said...

I am interested in volunteering at your vaccine clinics. My husband is a vet and I am an RVT and we would be happy to help at your next date.