Advocacy and Activism Animal Stories Articles Pit Bulls

What’s it like having an ‘outlaw dog’?

I almost forgot to write about this interesting meeting between my dog Red (Rednose – American Staffordshire Terrier Mix) and an unenlightened human, at my hair dresser’s about 2 months ago.

I was late to my appointment and couldn’t drop off my dog at home, so I called the hair dresser and asked if I could bring my big dog with me. She said, “Of course you can bring your dog.” Red and I walked into the hair salon and he showered everyone who came near us with kisses, his tail constantly wagging for 10 minutes, and he loved the attention and affection. Before I sat down in my chair I asked everyone if they were comfortable with me having my dog nearby. No complaints, so I placed Red right in front of me on his blanket. He laid down and watched the people, calm and super sweet as usual. Everything seemed to be perfect and everyone enjoyed Red’s friendly attitude.

Red at the beach

I was getting my hair cut when the customer to my right was finished and left. A new customer, a tall blonde lady, sat down. Red was excited to see the new woman and tried to get her attention by being super cute and staring at her. He got her attention, and she called him to come over. I let him go, and he was all over her, licking her face and trying to get as close to her as possible. He laid next to her and she patted him for awhile. Then, she asked me about his name and what kind of dog he is.

I said, “Red is a Pit Bull Mix.”

The woman (in her early 40’s, dressed in a business suit) stopped patting him and looked at me, repeating “A ‘PIT BULL’? I mean a ‘PIT BULL,’ PIT BULL?”

(*”Pit bull” is NOT a breed. It’s a generic term often used to describe all dogs with similar traits and characteristics known to the public as “pit bulls.” When we use the term “pit bull” here, it should be understood to encompass American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and mixes of those breeds. Source: Pit Bull Rescue Central).

I said, “YES, he is an American Staffordhshire Terrier and Rednose Mix, he probably has some other breeds him as well.”

I explained to her what a PIT BULL is and she listened, interested. She: “Oh my god, really? I can’t believe it. He is so sweet, loving and well behaved.” Her voice was not excited anymore – it sounded more like she had dry mouth and needed a glass of water. Me: “I know, he is a total sweetheart and an absolutely perfect dog.”

I could feel I was talking to someone who was totally prejudiced about Pit Bull-type breeds. The woman: “You know, I’m an attorney and I just heard of a case where a Pit Bull attacked a neighbor’s child. The child needed 14 stitches and we can be very happy that the dog did not rip the child apart.” Me (in my dry-German way): “Oh really? Why did the dog attack, and what happened to the dog?” She: “I don’t know why he attacked the innocent child. They took him to the pound and he got what he deserved.” Me: “What he deserved? I’m very sorry to hear that. What kind of experience have you had with Pit Bulls until now?”

Lilly & Red

I had second thoughts – should I start a heavy conversation with her or just ignore it?

She: “I’m usually not a dog person (I DISLIKE), but I kinda like your dog. I still can’t believe he is a Pit Bull. I hope he won’t go after your kids one day. My friend is a firefighter and he told me some ugly stories. What is it like having an outlaw dog?” I was not surprised she used the word “outlaw”… I mean, as an attorney she needed to do that. This is the point where my eyes and the eyes of my friend and hair dresser met in the mirror. I smiled and said: “It’s great. We love it. He is definitely an enrichment in our lives.”  I turned around to her and said: “You should read more about this type of dog, educate yourself and meet more Pit Bull-type dogs, if you are interested in dismantling your prejudices.”

Now my hair dresser, another friend of hers and two customers got involved. A very interesting conversation was engaged by this woman. In the meantime, Red was busy licking the woman’s hand and legs, and being an ambassador for Pit Bull-type mixed breeds. I knew I was not with “dog-people” who knew a lot about dogs, and I had to handle this differently than the talks I have with rescue friends, dog advocates or dog lovers. I listened for the first 20 minutes and then I started asking questions, and educating them about Pit Bull-type dogs, their needs, temperaments, and of course about responsible dog ownership. I also told everyone about some really good resources where they could learn more about this (of course I mentioned PackPeople). The conversation ended at a nice point where everyone agreed to look at a dog as an individual and not to discriminate against an entire breed, with all the negative publicity surrounding it.

Pit Bulls and their cousins can be great in a multiple animal household, if handled properly. Please contact us for more details.

The responsible pit bull owner is aware of the heritable attributes of their breed’s behavioral makeup and recognizes that pit bulls have an inescapable genetic history. Pit bulls make wonderful and loyal family companions. Like all dogs, they require intelligent, responsible and dedicated ownership.

Bottom line of my visit at the hair dresser and the hour-long debate between hair dressers and customers: I got an awesome cut, and no one really knew the facts about Pit Bull-type dogs. Today, I know much more about this type of dog than I did 2 years ago, because I educated myself, did not discriminate, opened my mind, heart and view.

When I adopted Red I fell in love with his personality, and didn’t care about his look or his heritage.

Many Pit Bulls are waiting in U.S. shelters and animal rescues. Search here. Please always adopt never shop! ~ Thank you.

Adoption Advocacy and Activism Animal Stories Articles Get informed and educated

When Animal Lovers become Animal Hoarders

Where is the fine line between the act of ‘loving animals and  ‘hoarding animals? When does a case become extreme?

The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC), defines an animal hoarder as someone who:

  • accumulates a large number of animals;
  • fails to provide minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation and veterinary care;
  • fails to act on the deteriorating condition of the animals (including disease, starvation and even death); and
  • fails to act on the deteriorating condition of the environment (severely overcrowded and unsanitary conditions), or the negative impact of the collection on their own health and well-being.

Legally you are allowed to have 3 dogs in one household in the city of Los Angeles. 3 dogs – I think that’s pretty fair. I don’t know many people who own more than 3 dogs and are able to responsibly take care of 3 or more dogs and full fill their needs. It’s very tough and challenging to organize 3 or more dogs in between work and daily errands.

I have a friend who owns 5 dogs and does a great job, the dogs are all happy and healthy and live a fulfilled life with him and his wife, who works from home. They own a huge yard, go on long hikes and work with their huskies. Of course, I would love to have a ranch, stay at home and have a bunch of dogs running around and offer them a healthy life of freedom and fun, but unfortunately that’s not the reality by common urban living standards. Most people are totally swamped with the needs of just 1 dog.

I have heard many stories about hoarders. A friend of mine is working on a smaller case, where a woman keeps 15 dogs and 12 cats in a 2 bedroom house with a small backyard. It is very difficult to convince these people – most of whom are suffering from a Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – to give some dogs or cats to the care of other rescuers or people. They harbor a fear that if they seek help the animals will be euthanized, my friend told me. Hoarders justify their behavior with the view that the animals are surrogate children and that no one else can care for them. Many of the hoarders begin on a mission to help animals that somehow gets out of control. After they become overwhelmed, they find they can’t stop, and they often don’t know what to do, so things continue to deteriorate. Some even pose as rescue groups or legitimate sanctuaries.

A so called “animal rescue/shelter” in Southern California. Photo taken by a former worker – over 150 dogs live in a warehouse type facility in Riverside.

As the number of animals in their care increases, they are unable to keep up with the care and veterinary attention needed.  Still, they often see themselves as the animals’ savior, even as the pets suffer. Individuals insist that all animals are happy and healthy—even when there are clear signs of distress and illness. According to Hartford Hospital, compulsive hoarding is a problem that often accompanies other mental disorders, including depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia and certain anxiety disorders, among others. Hoarding is thought to be a subset of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Cats are the most hoarded animal, followed closely by dogs. Animal hoarders are usually well-intentioned and believe they are helping the animals in their care. They often cannot see the situation as it is and have a disconnect from the reality of their pets’ desperate need for basic care and medical attention. Approximately 72% of animal hoarders are women.

I don’t know if you have heard of the Victims Of Spindeltop Raid – where over three hundred pit bulls were seized by law enforcement on Tuesday, July 17, 2012, in an alleged animal hoarding case in Montgomery County, Texas.

If you suspect someone of hoarding animals, don’t hesitate to alert the local authorities to the situation. Because hoarded animals are usually in terrible condition, the sooner they can be rescued the greater their chances of recovery and survival, and of finding people who will care for them properly. The ASPCA recommends calling both a local animal rescue, shelter, or welfare group, as well as adult protective services or other government health agencies.

Have you had an experience with an animal hoarder, or do you know someone you want to help? Let us know.

If you see a typo, please let us know at If you have a story idea that you would like to share, please drop us an email ~ Thank you.

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Hike or bike?

Not every dog is good for biking, consider hiking instead!

Get some great exercise with your dog outdoors. A long hike or a bike ride? Which one is the best choice for you and your dog. All dogs love to walk and follow you every where you go. Spending time with you outdoors is on of the most important things for your dog. Outdoor activities will bond you with your dog and keep you healthy. Sun, rain or snow. Let’s go!

Animal Stories Articles Pet Care

The Elegance of Gymnastics and Dog Training

Guest article by Julie Stack ~ Thank you for submitting

I always look forward to the Womens’ Olympic gymnastics sports competitions. The Olympic gymnasts are mesmerizing to watch as they tackle each apparatus with such grace, artistic ability, strength, and flexibility.  A gymnast must have complete focus, strength and coordination to perform well, especially on the balance beam.  As I watched the Olympics this year, I wondered if there are similarities between gymnastics and the world of dog training.  For one, it takes time to learn and practice whether you’re a dog trainer or giving that dazzling gymnastic performance.

I have always been in awe of the balance beam, since it requires not just technical ability, but strength and timing can make or break you.  Consider the careful steps one must take and the timing it takes to always land on the balance  beam after each back walkover or giant leap in the air; if you misjudge the distance, you will fall.  As I train with the shelter dogs, I often think about that fine line one must walk with the dogs and its similarity to a  gymnast walking on the balance beam.  Just as with gymnastics, you need to hit that mark each time or deliver your dog treat on time when teaching a dog  “sit” or  “down” so that the dog understands the association. In gymnastics the goal is to always stay on the balance beam without losing balance, and in dog training you need to keep your balance also, and stay focused on your dog so he does not get distracted.  Becoming a world class gymnast requires rigorous training hours and discipline to achieve Olympic dreams.  Dog training also requires discipline and focus and trying to help the dog you are working with achieve greatness, so they have a stronger chance to be adopted or make progress during training classes.

Several active star canine athletes are Prince and BeeBee at the Washington Humane Society. They are roommates also, and I really enjoy their company when I volunteer. BeeBee has a beautiful brindle coat, and is definitely the one who wants to be taken out first, and she is very confident and wants to go out in the yard to work on training or run around with her friend Prince. BeeBee is a whirlwind, and if she were a person, she would be a world traveler! She has very attentive sits that would score her a perfect score in the Olympic games!

The other great guy, Prince is very charming, and has a warm presence, he looks to you for confidence and is polite and really wants to be a part of your home!

Please consider fostering or adopting Prince or BeeBee. They are located at Washington Humane Society , 1201 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC, 20002. If you would like to do anything extra to help Prince or BeeBee, please contact Danielle Bays at

Adoption Animal Stories Articles Pet Care

AYLA – PackPeople’s new foster dog is waiting for the perfect home

Update: AYLA got adopted 08/12/12, YAY! 

This is AYLA, a Corgi/Shar-Pei Mix rescued from the North Central Animal shelter on Sunday 07/29/12.

I went to the shelter on Friday to take pictures of adoptable dogs — I know that the North Central Shelter doesn’t get a lot of public attention when it comes to pictures and networking the dogs. Since I live close to the facility, I made this city shelter my new project.

At the shelter, I started handing out my little treats, one after another, to these adorable dogs, small, medium, big. After walking through every single kennel, I discovered this little, super-funny looking white dog, yelping for attention. I kneeled down to see what type of dog she is… and I just saw a very funny-looking dog. She immediately pressed her body against the bars trying to lick my fingers, so I passed her some of the juicy treats I had brought with me and realized that something was wrong with her skin. I asked one of the kennel volunteers to take her out, so I could take pictures of the dog without the bars in front of her face.

Ayla with one of the workers at the North Central Animal Shelter, the day she got out.

Her name on her ID card was “Gretta.” I did not like it, and I named her AYLA. I already committed myself to this dog by giving her this new name, I knew it, but tried not believe it. She was hyper, jumping, running and trying to get out of the kennel area. I really liked this dog and she reminded me of our French Bulldog – very silly. I took a few pictures and asked questions.

I know the staff isn’t really informed about the dogs and barely know anything about them, but I liked the guy who showed me the dog, a very friendly volunteer. Her kennel card said, “Found as a stray, came in microchipped and spayed in July.” Nobody claimed her of course.

A Corgi/Shar-Pei mix? Indeed she had the shape of a Corgi, but she looked more like a Pittie/Husky mix to me. We played a little and I petted her dull fur. Half of her coat was already gone and you could see the pink skin. All itchy, dry and red. She had a serious demodex mange going on and smelled really bad.

After 20 minutes with AYLA I left the shelter with my pics and I tried to get her out of my head… NOPE, did not work. The next day I visited her again. I wanted to know if I could put a hold on her for a few days, and try to find a boarding facility before taking her home. They said they wouldn’t take holds but they would give me 24 hours before putting her down. She was on “the list,” one of the first ones who would get killed, because she is a medical case.

Ayla with one of the volunteers.

I talked to my husband and we got her out on Sunday morning before I left to go to work. With the help of my friend Ingrid, I was able to place her at Pacific Coast Dog Rescue until I could get her to the vet for an exam and start treating her skin condition. She was in our care, our responsibility and I was happy. Happy for this little silly dog, and that she made it. AYLA. We visited the vet, she got her bath and her first treatment. After the vet visit, we walked through the neighborhoods and I tried to take some more pictures of her clean fur.

After 5 days of boarding we picked her up today to ease her into her new home with her new foster family (us) and her new friends Lilly and Red. She is sitting in her crate and watching us closely. After a while of whining she relaxed and fell asleep.

Please follow Ayla’s healing process and apply for her if you think that you are the perfect match. She needs medical care for her skin condition. We are covering her medical bills right now. We started the treatment and the new family needs to continue until she completely heals.


I’ll update information about her disposition and character very soon! AYLA GOT ADOPTED:) Her hair is growing back and she loves her frisbee.

Advocacy and Activism Animal Stories Get informed and educated Pet Care Uncategorized

We had to take down our article 08/02/12 about Toni Eakes and “A wish for Animals”

Why Toni Eakes should not be involved in animal welfare – A true story about ‘A Wish for Animals’

After Toni Eakes lawyer contacted and threatened us we needed to take down the article temporarily.

I had a blog post here recommending that people not work with Toni for a variety of reasons and I got an email from her lawyer to take my post down.

Shoot me an email if you want to share your experiences or insights at or leave a comment here. ~ Thank you!

UPDATE: Please read this update post about Toni Eakes

Animal Stories Articles Health Pet Care

‘I Want a Dog, But All That Hair?’

Guest post by Steven Frost:

A common complaint, from people who don’t own pets, when they visit a dog owner’s home is ‘Oh, I’m covered in hair. How disgusting’. Dog’s moult. It’s an inescapable truth when it comes to owning a dog. Understanding why dogs shed hair can only help the owner and the dog in the long run. Perhaps understanding will help those people who don’t own dogs, due to the hair loss problem, change their minds and make an investment in one of these extraordinary pets.

It is commonly known that dogs weren’t always domestic animals. Most likely they evolved from the wolf, through manufactured breeding by humans. The most docile wolves would have been used to breed causing certain characteristics to be handed down the generational ladder. Using this technique the modern dog was born. This is key as we must remember that dogs evolved from a wild animal. In the wild, certain hormonal triggers in the body control the dogs’ hair loss and growth. As the seasons change the dogs body can tell whether it needs to shed some hair, in the warmer months, or grow a thick winter coat. In the contemporary world of central heating the dog’s body finds it harder to regulate its hair loss. The heating comes on; the body receives a message to release hair. The heating goes off; the body receives a message to grow more.

This is Fenna, a Cocker Spaniel. The Cocker Spaniel has fur on the main part of its body which does not grow continuously, but sheds regularly.

So in reality, by having a modern home we cause this conflict in the dog’s body. Now, I’m not suggesting that we must get rid of central heating to keep a dog, but it seems that the dog can hardly help but shed all over your brand new carpet. Another factor to hair loss can be nutritional. If a dog’s skin is dry and flaky this can be caused by a lack of oils in the diet. A simple dog supplement can easily overcome this. This writer found Yumega to be a good source for the essential omega oils that keep a dog’s coat and skin healthy. It’s easy to administer, financially reasonable and most importantly, it improves the general health of your dog.

What is your experience with dog hair?

Advocacy and Activism Animal Stories Articles Pet Care Pet Care

Street dogs of Philippines – Help needed!

The Dog is supposed to be Man’s Best Friend, if the dog gets a good person to look after him then life is good but unfortunately this is not the case for most of the dogs in the world.

I have seen all kinds of dogs living in many different kinds of conditions. Some are so well pampered that they do not really know that they are still dogs, others are looked after very well and are a very important part of the family. Some are only useful to the owner as long as he can make money from them and some are just living on their own as nobody really wants them. All around the world, many dogs get lucky and are really treated well, they get the best food, regular medical checks and inoculations, their own bed to sleep on and even clothing to match that of the owner.

With this article, I am not saying that the Philippines is worse than anywhere else for the poor treatment of dogs as there is terrible abuse of dogs happening in the developed countries, but a major difference is that in the developed world there are strict laws to protect the unfortunate animals – while here in the Philippines there are laws, but like many laws here, they are of a very low priority to the government agencies.

As you drive around the streets of Manila or anywhere in the Philippines, you would see many dogs roaming around looking for food. Most of these dogs belong to someone but unfortunately their owners doesn’t care about them, they had been abandoned because the owner got a new pure bred dog, sometimes a dog who belong to a poor family is luckier because they are given table scraps and their family are not abandoning them, everything is still on a case-by-case basis. I also know some rich families who adopt dogs from the street, so I guess social status is not the basis of being a responsible dog owner. If dogs are not fed at home, then it’s up to the poor dog to find food for himself; he can eat dead animals, and rotten food which has been thrown away by people.

Many of these dogs get very badly treated by people who throw sticks and stones to drive the dogs away. Many small or young dogs are forced by hunger to compete with the bigger street wise type of dog who gives no mercy regardless of size so many of this kind of small dog gets open wounds which can easily get infected because nobody will take care of the injuries or treat them. Its so sad to see a dog with a skin disease which has caused all the hair to fall out and in many cases the skin goes pink. These dogs are constantly scratching and open up wounds on their skin as the itching is totally uncomfortable. Because of infection these dogs usually do not survive and their dead bodies can become food for other starving animals so the infections can be passed on to others.

In some cities, there is animal control… who will take dogs if they are roaming in the streets, and if their owners will not get them, they will be destroyed in 48 hours. There are even speculations that, the said animal control or dog pound are selling the dogs to illegal dog meat traders, though it has not been confirmed yet. Some syndicates are getting stray dogs, so that they can sell their meat. It is illegal to eat dogs in the Philippines, but just like any other law, some people can get away with it. Luckily, we have Animal Kingdom Foundation, a UK funded animal shelter, who rescue dogs from illegal dog meat traders.

Before I end this article, I would also like my readers to know that even homeless people are capable of loving dogs, and it only proves that those who have less can give more.

Friends, I want you to meet Mang Rudy. He lives in a push cart with 16 dogs and 2 cats. For me, he is luckier than those who have big mansions, massive money on their bank account because Mang Rudy has best friends who will never abandon him no matter what.

Blog post by Kristine –

If you want to support Indonesia’s rescue groups here are some links:

1. Animal Kingdom Foundation– it is an organization rescuing dogs that are supposed to be butchered.


2. Island Rescue Organization– it is based in Cebu and they are rescuing street dogs.


3. CARA – it is a no shelter facility group, who help street dogs and cats.

4. AARRC– it is located in Kalibo Aklan, founded by a Dutch National.


5. Philippine Animal Lover’s Society. —- It is a group of people, who work through networking using facebook to save street dogs.

Website: donation details here.

Facebook link: Philippine Animal Lovers Society

Related posts: Oscar – A Street dog of Istanbul – Romania’s Street Dogs

Animal Stories Articles Health Pet Care Pet Care

Audrey, the Worms, and Drontal Plus

Meet Audrey, the latest canine member of our happy family. I think she’s the cutest little Pug puppy ever. Of course I may be just a wee bit prejudiced.

Before we adopted her, my wife and I agreed that this little cutie would receive nothing but the best. We went online and ordered top quality puppy food and other dog supplies well in advance of the big day when we brought her to her new “forever home”. After about a week we started to be a little concerned about Audrey’s health. Although we were feeding her the highest quality puppy food, she seemed to be losing, rather than gaining weight. She also seemed to be struggling with diarrhea more often than not.

So, we took Audrey to her first appointment with our family veterinarian, Dr. Laurel Shaw. It didn’t take long for the good doctor to diagnose Audrey’s condition: gastrointestinal parasitic worms. Yuck! We were horrified at the diagnosis! However, Dr. Shaw explained to us that we needn’t be alarmed. Parasitic infection is one of the most common problems that young puppies face. Fortunately, it is also a condition that can be easily remedied with the treatment that she prescribed – Drontal Plus deworming tablets.

Although it’s a topic that we all would rather not think about, dog owners do need to know some simple facts about intestinal parasites. Puppies are often infected with parasites even while still in their mothers’ wombs. They can also accidentally ingest the parasites after they’ve been born. The most common symptoms are weight loss and diarrhea, as we had noted in Audrey’s case. If not treated early, puppies may also develop a pot belly, pale pink gums, and become easily tired. Parasites can take weeks or even months to develop from egg and larval stages into adults. Deworming medications usually only target worms in the adult or late immature stages. Since puppies can be exposed to these parasites numerous times, deworming medication must be administered at regular intervals.

Doctor Shaw explained that this approach is known as “strategic deworming”. Under this protocol, pups are dewormed at two week intervals beginning at two weeks, continuing through twelve weeks of age. In cases where the puppy is severely infected, treatment may continue on a monthly schedule until they are six months old. She also stressed that even if the puppy has received deworming treatment prior to adoption, one must not assume that the puppy is parasite free. The strategic deworming schedule should still be maintained, based on your pup’s age.

Well, we’re happy to report that our sweet Audrey is now growing like a weed. At 12 weeks she tested negative for parasites so we were able to discontinue treatment. Her body is finally catching up to her head size and her coordination is much improved. She’s simply a beautiful, bouncing, black bundle of unconditional love.

This is Binky, a Pug Mix waiting for a forever home at the East Valley Shelter in Van Nuys, California. His ID: #A1317465. He is in danger of euthanasia.

We hope that you will find room in your heart to adopt a homeless pet and, when you do, please be sure your new pet receives a thorough veterinary check-up, right away.

 This is an guest author entry by: Scott Cann

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L.A. Love & Leashes Benefit Event – The first non-profit pet store

Hey PackPeople,

We need your support: my friend Marissa is volunteering for a great organization in Los Angeles called L.A. Love & Leashes and she has asked me to help get them some exposure. Please read what they do and how you can help support their awesome work.

This Thursday night, June 28th, there is a special benefit for L.A. Love & Leashes – the first non-profit run “pet store” that adopts out only animals from L.A.’s city animal shelters. Milo Greene, an LA-based band getting some big buzz recently (on Letterman Tuesday, profiled in the LA Times over the weekend and sold out the Troubador last week) is playing. There will be an open bar, food (passed appetizers) by celebrity chef Sepi Kashanian and there is plenty of onsite parking.

If 100 tickets are sold, L.A. Love & Leashes can renew its lease after the summer. In their first six months, they’ve adopted out 224 dogs and cats (and one hamster) from LA’s city shelters. It’s a new, humane model for pet stores and the first and only store of its kind supporting our city shelters in L.A.

You can learn more and buy tickets on their website: – Make a donation here.

Where and when?: Thursday, June 28th, 7:30 – 10 p.m., 2750 Casitas St., Los Angeles, CA 90039

Please support this creative new model to increase shelter adoptions! Thank you for sharing and supporting.

L.A.’s first pet adoption store for rescued shelter pets.