Thursday, July 30, 2009

Front page smiles

It's a great day when a local paper puts smiling pit bulls on the front page. Even better when the paper is celebrating a humane society's decision to bring two fight bust dogs into its adoption program. HUZZAH!

We're so proud of this gal and her community that we could just .. well, we are* crying. Thank you again Ukiah!

A second chance at life: Humane Society accepts rescued pit bulls - LINK

The dogs will be great family pets, according to Dodds. Jett and Zena met for the first time when they were introduced at the shelter, and now they are inseparable. "Boy, are they in love!" says Dodds. "Jett loves the ladies. He is a little player," she laughs.

thursday tidbits

Some new items recently added to our blog sidebar --> Please note that the National Canine Research Council is now offering its classic book 'Pit Bull Placebo' for free. You can't beat that. While you're looking over NCRC's new and still-being-improved website, don't miss this fascinating page that outlines some of America's history with canine issues and hype. Share it, bookmark it: NCRC

Also, a fun poster created by our friends at Animal Farm Foundation will test your skill at identifying Pit Mixes. Link to the (big fat) PDF by clicking on this image.

Think you can identify a pit mix? I used to, but not anymore. The results of DNA testing are throwing everything we thought we knew about breed identification right out the window. We will keep this graphic and link in the sidebar of the blog for easy access. I hope some are able to share this with their local shelters for some lively discussion.

BARN NEWS! Huge thanks to Lisa Lindelef for pushing the bar right over the 25K mark yesterday morning with your donation. Wow - you guys sure are making me spend a lot of time in Photoshop updating the Petey graphic. Love it.

Barn Raisers: Louisa Squires, Susanna Mason, Karel Bagwell, fairy dog mother Susie Allen, Lynda DeRosa, Joan Gates, Mark Maggi, Patty Marques and Robert Stewart. We are at the $25,500 mark -- well on our way to $26K!

Don't forget that Paco Collars has a special gift for anyone who gives $1000 or more to the barn raiser. (thank you Ana!) Every one of us needs to tighten our belts right now, so we appreciate what you can send more than you know. The early success of this fundraiser is a true testament to the tenacious spirit of pit bull advocates.

For those people who are in a position to give $500 or more, please send a photo of your dog so we can honor the beast that inspired you to be such a generous person! Giving Tree There are a number of givers I need to track down for their dog's pix. Please send yours to: *Thank you!*

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Charlie Brown style karma

Happy nods and hat tips to Sula Foundation prez Ken Foster for this: A 'semi-official' list of NFL teams that have said "No" to signing M Vick.
The NO List

Altho they haven't said so officially, we can pretty much guarantee Vick won't be playing with the Raiders in Oakland - ie BAD RAP country. Not without a full-on media driven war, that is.
1. Atlanta Falcons. (We know it kind of goes without saying.)
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (They've been silent since Vick was reinstated; had previously said they aren't interested.)
3. Detroit Lions. (Pre-reinstatement.)
4. New York Jets. (Pre-reinstatement and last week.)
5. New York Giants. (Recently.)
6. San Francisco 49ers. (Pre-reinstatement and post-reinstatement.)
7. St. Louis Rams. (Pre-reinstatement, and possibly post-reinstatement.)
8. Dallas Cowboys. (Pre-reinstatement and recently.)
9. Washington Redskins. (Pre-reinstatement and recently.)
10. Houston Texans. (Pre-reinstatement.)
11. Indianapolis Colts. (Pre-reinstatement.)
12. Seattle Seahawks. (Pre-reinstatement.)
13. Buffalo Bills. (Post-reinstatement.)
14. Cincinnati Bengals. (Post-reinstatement.)
15. Miami Dolphins. (Post-reinstatement.)
16, Kansas City Chiefs. (Pre-reinstatement and post-reinstatement.)
17. Philadelphia Eagles. (Post-reinstatement.)
18. Jacksonville Jaguars. (according to WaPost.)
But we will not think about Vick ... We will not think about Vick ... We will not think about Vick.

THE BARN. A standing ovation to these recent, most generous Barn Raisers. We've raised $24K towards the $100K goal - nearly one quarter of the way there! This is a substantial amount and represents our cost for the blueprints and basic materials to raise the barn's poles (it's a pole barn) and frame out the structure. Absolutely fantastic!

Bless you Megan Cahill, Tracey Thompson, Nicole Gagne, Janine Axelrod, Mayuree Asawatangsathian, Marci Shaffer, Lori A Fusaro, Mario Gutierrez, Bentley Adams, Frank Romeo, Deborah Graham Clifford, Rachel Abend, Roxanne Alden, William Revie, Shirley Palma, Laura Blanco, Laura Gray, Sherie DeDore, Lisa Wayne, Lisa Stovall, Perry Hernandez, Rosalie Ball, Jacki Planck, David Kreaden, Susan Ledlow, Nicol Brickman, Maria Lee-Muramoto, Jessica Wilson, Hannah Kiernan, Krista Lloyd, Yuru Feng, Nancy Groom, Jeff & Marie Anderson, Andrea Ball and Amanda Verlander.

Off to raise the bar on the chart now!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A real hero scores a touch down.

We need more heroes like this. Yesterday in Kentucky, a waitress saved a pit bull thrown from a bridge. The quotes in the story and the quick, no nonsense way in which this rescue was performed are nothing less than brilliant. Just what the doctor ordered the day after .. well, you know.


“It sounded like something hitting a wall,” restaurant server Bradley Cooper, 22, said of the noise that turned heads. “It was very, very loud.”

Westbrook and two other servers raced to the riverside to shout encouragement to the dog as it swam in circles a half mile way. At the sound of their voices, she said, the dog paddled toward them on the Kentucky side of the river. Louisville firefighters preparing for dive team training went out with their boat to get her some 20 feet from shore.

“I wanted to give her some hope, to let her know somebody was waiting for her,” Westbrook said. “I was afraid she would give up and drown.”

The Barn Raising is going so well. Fantastic. We'll post a progress update at the end of the day. Thank you, hero people.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Animal Cruelty Charge: "Not guilty"

Vick reinstated in NFL. I hit a dog over the head with a frying pan once. Complete accident. I was rushing in the kitchen, hand held pan just at the hip, foster dog sprung up to say hello just as I was twisting around - WHAM! - they connected, and the pup hit the dirt. Thankfully the dog didn't hold it against me - all-forgiving pit bulls. But my dog, my pit bull - she saw it, she was horrified. She looked at me as if I'd hit her on the head - lowered her body, looked back at me over her shoulder as she slunk away into another room. OMG! Those moments that you wish you could take back.

But the moment was indelible: Sally suffered for that dog; she put that event into a context I never imagined a dog could do - 'the other.' Based on what she saw, mom wasn't safe when frying pans were out and it took a long, long time - years - before she'd start to believe that they weren't going to hit her in the kitchen, too. She remembered. A dog remembered a moment, a fearful event that telegraphed down to her bones and embedded into her psyche.

I have to wonder what this dog - now named Halle - witnessed at that Moonlight Road property. And I have to guess she still remembers what she heard and saw there. The public may forget, but she won't. The dogs are watching, Mr. Vick.
There is no ghost so difficult to lay as the ghost of an injury. - Alexander Smith

Not guilty

Let us never forget that, while Michael Vick pleaded guilty to "a" dog fighting charge in his more recent hearing (11/08) in the state courts, he "also pleaded not guilty to a count of cruelty to animals" (source) Not guilty of cruelty. No cruelty. Naw. Didn't happen. Not a bit.

Halle remembers.

I don't think we need to waste our time hating Vick or the organizations that have given him a free pass. We have better things to do. Karma is much more efficient at righting wrongs, and she has a steel trap memory.

Photo: Halle during evaluations at the Hanover Pound, VA.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A camp for special, dog-lovin' kids

A group from Super Kids Summer Camp came out to meet our homeless pit bulls at the Oakland Animal Shelter today. They came out last year too, after camp director Andrea Vu Nguyen adopted one of BR's pit bulls, Bailey - a hurricane Katrina dog. Bailey serves as an important mascot for this unique program, which is designed for kids with autism. The kids take turns caring for their dog friend during their weeks together - which includes a five day camping trip, away from mom & dad!

The difference in the kids' comfort level with dogs since last year's visit was unmistakable. They were so much more willing to touch and connect. I love that a dog can have such a positive effect. The girl that would barely talk last year was a chatterbox today and told me all about dogs and how to touch them and what colors they are.

She did end up telling me that she wanted to adopt a dachshund someday, though. Ha! Sorry, Phatman.

I'm so proud of our big bubba head. He settled right down for those kids and he even took a few excitable pinches in stride. What a Love Man.

Kids & Dogs Pit bulls - They rock good vibes.

Photos: Andrea Vu Nguyen

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Barn-Tastic! We met the pledge today!

This is incredible. You helped us go over the $1800 needed to meet Aron Woolman and friends' $8500 challenge today, and now we can finally raise that bar up above and beyond. Lookit this thing go. (See Petey graphic in sidebar) --->

Right now, we're just $500 away from the 20K mark. (I feel like an NPR announcer) Can we reach this goal by the weekend?

With luck, we'll be ready to cover the materials ($25K) needed to frame out the barn and break ground before the end of July!

Barn Raisers: James Schier, Kathleen Bieganski, Jackie Tracy, Anna M Stone, Sandra Ambrogio, Patricia Franzino (thank you Patricia!), Gwyn Burdell, Casey Good, Sheri O'Rani, Dina Hitchcock (you stop), Lee Vannucci, Christy Lusareta, Stevena Vincent, Katrina McNeil, Barbara Holmes, Dave Rees, Daniel Clark, Heather Franklin, Frank Pelliccio, Sheila Weisenborn, Brooke Suchomel, Natascha Hamm, M Kathleen Condron, Jennifer Suzuki ... Thank you good people!

MO Dog Shuffle - We sent three Missouri dogs on the next leg of their journey yesterday...Zena (above), Beauty and Jett all left us. Zena & Jett went north to Mendocino County.

Leslie Dodds was waiting to meet her two pups. When people ask us how to jump start shelter adoption programs that help pit bulls, her example always comes to mind. She shows us what can happen when you offer your local shelter sane solutions and steady help. Leslie's got a 9-5 job in the insurance biz, but she still found a way to volunteer herself into becoming the resident pit bull expert in two shelters in Mendocino County. She's grassroots in a big way. By working hard to train shelter dogs and facilitate solid adoptions, she's given that county's pit bulls a seat at the table.

We asked her to take a MO dog on a lark - Maybe she had a foster spot tucked away somewhere? Even better, she was able to use her partnership with Humane Society for Inland Mendocino County to bring two (two!) of the Missouri dogs into the shelter's adoption program. I asked her how she managed to make that happen and this is what she told us:

Well we are totally in loved with the new babes as I'm sure you knew would happen. Zena started kissing up to the shelter director right away. Smart girl!

As you know already, when I first started out at the Humane Society, I helped their one pitbull get adopted and then they weren't going to bring any more in. Our new shelter director stepped up and started letting me bring in one or two really sweet guys. She was terrified of pitbulls before she started this job and now she cries her eyes out when they leave.

We had our board meeting last night. We had already agreed to take one dog and the other was going to animal control to work in our pitcrew program. I brought up the idea of taking both of them last night at the meeting and the vote was absolutely unanimous to bring them both in. The Humane Society for Inland Mendocino County went from not wanting any to stepping up and taking in 2 bust dogs. I couldn't be any prouder of our wonderful shelter.
- Leslie Dodds

We join you in "couldn't be prouder," Leslie. Kiss those beautiful dogs for us. Photo above right: Leslie huggin' on Jett, the cutey-pie from this week's AP slideshow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A thousand words. MO bust dogs hit the airwaves.

The AP ran a slideshow of some of the dogs from Missouri today, along with an article about the difficulties of finding rescue options for this group of dogs. I'm glad the reporter is watching this story. After all, bust dogs are really shelter dogs but with a lot more stacked against them. (Tim calls the attention paid to bust dogs 'affirmative action' for pit bulls.)
MSNBC: 'Homes tough to find for dogs seized in raids'

This AP photo shows Jett, who'll be joining the adoption program of the HSIMC - Humane Society for Inland Mendocino County. I think Tim's telling Jett just how lucky he is in this photo.

BARN UPDATE We're now only $1800 away from scoring our $8500 pledge challenge! After this week of bust dog insanity, I just can't wait to raise that bar. Big thanks to the recent barn raisers: Hanni Wagner, April Nockleby, Katherine Moyer, SWM Automotive, Sabina Lundquist, Amanda Jackson, Kelly Waggener, Barbara Groatgroat, RN Services, Andrea Ives, Lori Ferguson, Jacqueline Barrett, Jennifer Hart, Barbara Lauterbach, Cara Smith, Don Keenan, Mary Lovejoy, Susan Furukawa, Dianne Rhodes, Phyllis McMorrow, Carol Cohn and Jaime MacDonald.

Disaster Relief: Missouri comes to Oakland

There are three dogs from the Missouri-centered dog fighting bust snoring in our living room as I search for the words for this blog entry. It's been a whiplash week around here. We didn't expect to even think about these victims until a little later this summer. Til then: plan some summer socials, swim more, paint kitchen...riiight. Fate is a tricky beast and she had other plans. Ten bust dogs slid through a legal loop and were signed over by a Missouri dog owner last week who'd neglected them terribly, but who also gave them the gift of early release, so they were as free as birdies. It was only a few short months ago that this same batch would've probably been destroyed, but you remember how we all made a big fuss about that? --- Times, they sure have changed.

Problem is, the midwest is packed full of out-of-luck pit bulls and despite the months-long efforts that went into planning housing and care for 400+ dogs in MO, these ten were squeezed out. We got a call on Friday asking if we could assist with finding space. Gulp. Lord knows fast foster options are hard to find, so. What to do?

They didn't just need a place to be stashed, they deserved a quiet place to decompress so they could be assessed for adoption potential. And while our living room might be able to fit 10 crates, our brainspace would not be so accommodating.

Nothing else you can do in these situations but dial up friends and holler for help. So, hollering ensued and the most wonderful thing happened: People shouted back with a chorus of 'Yes.' People, as in, our shelter partners and rescue friends and foster homes. Immediate relief came from three east bay shelters who all offered temporary kennel space until the dogs could rest and be distributed. Beautiful. Oakland Animal Services, East Bay SPCA and Berkeley Animal Care Services all opened their doors. And with that incredibly kind offer (hey, we have our own* crushing pit bull overpop problem like everyone else), a crew from the HSUS loaded up the dogs - these dogs - and drove all night to get them to friendly territory. The dogs arrived a week ago Monday - scared, curious, excited and beautiful.

Above: BR dog handler Kim Ramirez gives 'Freddy' some love at Oakland Animal Services.

What are they like? Like the Vick dogs, their personalities are a mixed bag. We have the timid/cowering dog, the pushy/optimistic dog, the easily aroused dog and the low key love bunny. We have every range of dog tolerance level from been-there-done-that dog aggressive to the please-be-my-pal dog social. We have highly adoptable, needs some work, and sadly damaged compassion hold status. As always - individuals, individuals.

Once the transport and housing issue was worked out, our job was to suss out the personalities to learn who they are, then match them to willing foster homes and adoption programs -- and, all this in a big hurry since busy shelters needed their kennel space back. Leslie Dodds, who earned an award for her community partnership work with pit bull friendly shelters in Mendocino County, didn't hesitate to say Yes. So did Vick dog healer Nicole Rattay who recently started a compassion-based rescue in sunny San Diego.

We knew which dog would end up with Nicole the minute we laid eyes on her - a cropped female with an affectionate, velcro personality. She has fight scars aplenty and a painful eye injury that had been left untreated for way too long, but she's a survivor and she's not nearly ready to leave this planet. That left seven dogs for BR's foster care and/or compassion hold program. (We're still sorting)

The Barn! In the middle of chaos, our faithful scribe Susi Ming has been sending us emails with wonderful news updates: Another donation for the barn. And another! Oh that sweet, blessed barn. How welcome you will be! I hope to slow down enough today to see where we are with our challenge and list the recent givers.

I want to wax philosophic now about the beauty of working as a collective with like-minded people to get a job like this done in ten fast days - and yes, that includes members of the HSUS who wanted these dogs to get a second chance as much as we did. But someone's waking up in their crate and a thumping tail tells me that full bladders are waiting. So I'll post these videos to show you who landed here from Missouri and you can bet there will be more to this story coming up as we dig in deep with this summer's adventures.

1. Video Beauty

2. Video Jimmy

3. Video Violet

4. Video Edison

5. Video Zena

Saturday, July 18, 2009


This is exciting ... We're at our half way mark for the $8500 matching gift challenge that was made just a few days ago to jump start our fundraising campaign. Wow - halfway! This video is making its rounds right now and is worth playing more than once...(and hey, isn't that Roo & Wallace playing kissy face in there?). Hat tips Shannon Karageorge.

Big shouts to song writer John Shipe for giving the dogs an anthem...And many thanks to everyone who showed up to get this barn raising off the ground. We're singing!

Paco Love

Paco Collars has made a really generous offer. Anyone who makes a four-digit donation ($1000+) will receive complimentary Paco goods. Check it out

Thank you to Carole Daniel, Kristi Johnson, David Thach, Sibohan Kennedy, Maureen Murray, Diane Yanovick, Jessica Morris, Hanna Fushihara, Mike and Christy Short, Alexis Deville, Christine DiGangi Hughes, Lisa Wolverton, Alison Green, Holly Ailts, Thomas Brake, Kristin McCormish, Cathy Parlato, Lisa Neely, Kristin Tassin, Sarah Williams, Sheri Cardo, Gina Farr, Connor Cook, Harrier Zucker, Pamela Averill, Cindy Kemp and Christiann Keith for helping us build our barn. WOOF!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Our first givers - Thank you!

Aww. See how excited TugTug is?

He overheard us say that kind hearts donated $2500 yesterday towards the big $8500 matching gift challenge. The bigger gift was offered up by dog lovers Aaron Woolman, Jackson Thomas, Tuck Souto and friends, who are watching closely to see if their challenge is met.

Enormous thanks for getting this started: Andrea Jones, Jennifer Clark, Joanne Jaimedes, Melea Cassell, Aubrey Strause, Jennifer Varkoly, Diane Androvich, Karen Ilier -- and special thanks to Pam and Glyn Quarterly for your most generous donation from the shores of Bermuda. Fundraiser link.

We're almost one third of the way to this match. Not bad! With a little luck, we can help the odds:
AP Article - '450 dogs seized in raids face tough odds'

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Did somebody say fundraiser? Help us build a barn!

Dogs like Nelly must have super-psychic abilities -- they seem to call out for help at all hours from photos taken at bust cases as well as the kennels of crowded shelters.

YES NELLY - We hear you and your kinfolk loud and clear!

A Barn Raising
Rescue can never seem to do enough, but we can always try to create more ways to be a help. In our corners, we recognized the need for a landing pad for dogs that arrive from emergency situations. But this stuff is expensive, and since the country's donations generally slide towards the larger orgs that have a bigger public presence, we're now reaching out like we've never reached out before.

To help us do this work, we've got plans on the drawing board (below) for a modest holding facility. It will be just under 1000 square feet -- not huge, but big enough to allow us to say Yes more often to bust cases as well as emergency situations here at home. We're asking for a big 100K to get this moving, and to be honest, we're feeling a bit of pressure due to the bust in the midwest that may land dogs in all our laps sometime late summer or early fall. There's no time like the present to kick this campaign into gear.

Our first donor gave $1000 to kick this off. Hurrah for kind hearts! Thank you to Roller's family, Carolyn and Joseph Noble.

What we need listed in green chart below.

Check it: Our first big Matching Gift Challenge.

A special friend in North Carolina whipped up a fundraiser in his circles and organized a $8500 matching gift challenge to get this bar moving up. Please help us meet this challenge! Thank you to those who've already sent donations. Your gifts will be tallied up and offered here as the bar starts to nudge it's way up towards the goal. Feel free to tap Tim ( for ways you can fundraise for this campaign. And check back here often for frequent updates.

Print and Share this fundraiser! Link to PDF (11MB)

Thank you, Thank you!

The Ripple Effect of Giving

Salvador Update

Speaking of gifts and well spent generosity, we want to thank the Friends of Oakland Animal Services for donating a big $700 towards Salvador's leg surgery. Sal's video here. This special boy has been limping since he first came into the shelter as a stray from what appeared to be a collision injury (hit by car?). We held him at the shelter for longer than usual while vets puzzled over the best surgical treatment and frankly, because he didn't have a foster spot where he could heal.

But the bully gods must've seen us tossing and turning over Sal's predicament because they sent us the fairy godmother of healers. Jackie Gunbar is the CA chair of the Delta Society, and now she's Sal's new mom! Her org's mission is to "help lead the world in advancing human health and well-being through positive interactions with animals." Our beloved Salvador, who had his surgery last week, is now recuperating in the safety of her home. Touch-Junkie Sal is a natural for the therapy work that Jackie does thru Delta Society, so when she and her husband Greg agreed to adopt him as their next family member and therapy dog star, our hearts soared.

Thanks to all of our donors including FOAS, the little Oakland street stray is about to start an important new career healing others under Jackie's tutelage. How's that for good news?

How to DONATE to the barn raising.

Friday, July 10, 2009

St. Louis MO - Been there, Done that

... Now what?

Most animal folks who watch the news know by now that the Humane Society Missouri spearheaded one doozie of a raid this week, resulting in the arrest of 26 suspected dog fighters and sweeping over 400 dogs from several states into custody. ROCK ON HSMO!

This isn't the first time they nabbed a bad guy. We all cheered when they broke up a large dog fighting operation in 2007, and we were honored to work with them to eval all 27 of the dogs from that raid (right). As a result of their good working relationship with rescue orgs, over one third of the dogs went on to new lives. Here's just one: Caelyn

As expected, we're getting a lot of mail from people who want to see the dogs from this recent bust evaluated and given a chance to be rescued. First thing's first tho': Remember that the dogs still belong to the accused, and they deserve their due process. If and when the dogs are released to the authorities, that's when we can begin speculating about their rescue.

Yes, it's a big case but it's good to note that the animal welfare community has had many dress rehearsals for helping animals from bigger disasters, so - I'd like to think - we're getting better at helping the victims. We're trying, at least. During Hurricane Katrina, groups worked together to help thousands of pit bulls as well as non-pits. (Below, one of the hundreds of Hurricane Katrina pit bulls at Lamar Dixon waiting for 'What's next?' ... Did she survive? Most did not.)

Now the bad news. One of more difficult lessons from Katrina however may play out in this case. This is, reputable rescues and shelters may not be able (or in some cases, not willing) to collectively absorb all the foster status dogs from this case. There are just too few of us. And that may be the most difficult lesson of all.

The St. Louis case faithfully mimics what's going on in shelters all over this country: Too many needy pit bulls, never enough adopters or rescues willing/able to meet their needs. No one knows that more than our own local Oakland Animal Services, where staff and a team of dedicated volunteers work butts off daily to deal with adoptable pit bull and pit mixes - their numbers on the increase since the economy took a nosedive. Long story short: even with hardcore efforts, good dogs still lose out.

While we need to stay hopeful, let's also remember that 1) reputable rescue groups need to identify qualified foster homes now more than ever and 2) When we have to let dogs go as we so often do, it's never the dogs' fault. We just have too damn many dogs and never enough helpers. The bitch that was Katrina is a reminder that in all kinds of disasters, including the economic disaster and this cruelty disaster, good efforts do not always add up to the widespread happy endings that victims of these cases so richly deserve.

What you can do: Find out if your local rescue takes in cruelty cases, and if they do, suck up and offer to foster. Seriously. I'll outline the things foster homes need to know in a separate blog. If you have a lease that won't allow you to have a temporary dog, consider fundraising for the rescues are set to raise their hands for these dogs. (Like, - ahem - ours!)

Stay tuned. This case won't be going away anytime soon and there will be lots of twists and turns in the road to report as we humans decide how much room we have in our lives for out-of-luck pit bulls.

Answer to the question above. Yes! This was one of the (few) lucky dogs that did survive Katrina post-rescue.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Gracie - Another Vick dog heard from

We nearly missed this one, published May 9. Gracie is very likely related to our dear Frodo. Kudos to the Richmond Animal League for stepping up for the dogs from this case. How eerie it must've been to have this happen almost right in your own backyard.
Richmond-Times Dispatch Link

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Nelly News

For all the Nelly fans out there who want an update on our dragon imp, you'll be happy to know that she is happy as ever and even had the energy to march in the pride parade last weekend. We were prepared to put her in the truck if she tired, but she didn't miss a step and charmed the masses ta boot. I think pink is her color and The Little Man below just might agree, even if he does play hard to get. Thanks to all who care so much about her to write and ask - it means a lot to us! - Tim

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Growing up and out - Your help needed for an important fundraiser

This senior dog's name wasn't supposed to stick, but she came into Oakland Animal Services with toenails so long that they curled into her pads, causing her toes to swell. So, meet 'Toes.' Dumb name, I know, but when your day is a busy blur, that creativity can just fly out the window. We figured she was so sweet that a new friend will certainly re-name her, right?

Unfortunately Toes had a seizure in the shelter lobby last week, which led to the discovery of a tumor on her pancreas - dammit. It's bad. It's causing her to wobble a bit and it threatens to shake her like a SF quake again if her blood sugar dips close to empty. If you're a crowded shelter, heartbreak decisions about very sick dogs are relatively cut and dry. And if you're a rescue, you weigh out all the other dogs that need medical care and you make the tough but necessary decision to let go. Toe's prognosis is bad, so we've got to get ready to say good bye. But not so fast -- first we have to give this girl an extended party.

We're giving Toes a compassion hold, meaning, she gets a few days or hopefully weeks living just like a spoiled princess. She's in a home now and is sleeping on soft blankies, playing with new dog friends, eating the best table scraps and getting opps to smell the air and lie in the grass. Readers may know that we do a number of these kinds of cases throughout the year, and while they aren't as sexy or headline worthy as bust dog cases, we believe they're just as important.

Because compassion cases as well as dog fighting and other cruelty cases tend to show up without much warning, it's not unusual for our living rooms to get crowded with last minute crates. After the Vick dogs arrived, we had thirteen dogs spread around in our living/dining room before they finally left to waiting foster homes. Crazy, man (don't tell the neighbors!) We grin and bear it, but there are clearly better ways to do this work.

So what took us so long? After slapping our foreheads and realizing that we need to create a more appropriate setting, we kept our eyes open and finally found the perfect half acre setting to build a barn - or, 'guest house' with exercise grounds for incoming dogs. No more pushing the sofa aside for new dogs, and no more long hours in a crate. New dogs deserve roomier kennels to unwind in.

I had no idea what a pole barn was until we started pouring over internet sites that sell kit houses and kit barns. What a fascinating shopping mission! We settled on a modest but attractive design that will allow us to house compassion holds like Toes in roomy comfort as well as provide decompression relief for fight bust dogs that land here en route to their next way stations. It's very exciting, and sorta scary.

Capital Campaign

To make the barn a reality, we'll be doing our first ever capital campaign. But before we launch the fundraiser, we're looking for a few matching gift challenges to boost the project. Can you help?
What's a matching gift? --> INFO

If your employer has a matching gift program, or if you're willing to arrange one as an individual, please send a note to Tim so we can 1) remind ourselves that we're not altogether crazy for fundraising during an economic downturn and 2) so we can have your challenge ready and waiting to be met when we launch the campaign. Tim will help you get your paperwork in order.

For all the dogs who will benefit, a million thanks!