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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.

Categories
Adoption Animal Stories Articles News Pet Care

Willow – After many years, a three legged dog found her forever home

For so many Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes, it takes a long time, to find the right home. Many never do. Some rescuers feel, that it is “warehousing” to keep the dogs in a boarding facility for a long period of time. I guess, depending on the facility and the care they get, that can be the case. Of course, we would like to see all dogs in homes and not in boarding. Willow was in boarding for many years because despite of adoption events, websites, flyers etc, she was not desirable to the public.

Even after she loss of her front leg due to cancer almost 1.5 years ago, nobody wanted her. Until Carol and her family showed up! They contacted us, describing us their needs and we suggested several dogs of ours, Willow ended up being the best fit and after a few visits and help with the David Roe, founder of Pacific Coast Dog Rescue, who is also one of the best trainers in LA, Willow was home for good! Carol and her family have officially adopted Willow with the premise, that Pacific Coast Dog Rescue will be responsible for any medical bills, should the cancer come back.

Willow finally found a forever home. Owner photo credit: contributed photo.

So far, so good, she is getting regular check ups. Please see below a letter from Willow in her forever home and some wonderful pictures. Please feel free to support the many more PCDR dogs, especially our special needs dogs such as Sparky (blind from birth and just recently had $6000 back surgery), Charlie Bear who is permanently in a wheelchair, as he can’t walk anymore and Cute Sweetie, who has had years of skin treatment with a specialist and is finally good enough to be in a foster/forever home. Please let us know, if you would like to foster/adopt one of our wonderful dogs.

Please see Willow’s letter (as provided by her mom Carol):

Dear Ingrid, I’ve been living in my forever home for three months now and I decided it was time to write to let you know how I am doing. Please share this with all my friends at PCDR. I’m very happy here. I get so much love all the time. I didn’t know it was possible to get so many kisses and cuddles and so much attention. I wish I could share some with the other dogs at PCDR. My grandpa calls me “Little Drummer Girl” – I’m always wagging my tail against something because I’m so happy. My family tells me that I bring them so much love, joy and happiness. I try to tell them that they do the same for me! My mom and my aunt call me “Baby Girl” and I love it!!!

Willow and her new family

My grandma is disabled and needs a lot of help.  I’m always watching to make sure that everyone is taking care of her properly.  I like to sit on the couch next to her or lay at her feet.  When she is at the table eating I lay down behind her.  My aunt says that I “have my grandma’s back”.  Annette comes to help take care of grandma.  She’s my friend and she gives me love and takes care of me sometimes, too. I have comfortable beds to sleep on (yes, more than one – I’m spoiled) and good food and lots of good treats to eat.  I have a lot of toys to play with.  My family tells me that I have a “killer instinct”… if my toys aren’t super tough I rip them apart in minutes.  My shark is my favorite toy.

I get to go for walks in the neighborhood, too. We don’t walk too far yet because I get tired, but I’m learning to ride in a wagon and a

Willow in her new racing car.

trailer/stroller so my mom can take me with her on longer walks. That way I’ll be able to ride when I get tired. I’m doing really well with it as you can see. I get told many times every day that I am such a good girl and that I’m so beautiful, so sweet, so special ,so silly, so smart, so wonderful and such a love – so many times that I can’t even count them. I’m very well-behaved – I don’t beg for food (well, sometimes I do!), I don’t get into things that I shouldn’t, and I never have an accident in the house. 

Willow and her shark toy. Contributed photo.

I can be a bit bossy sometimes, so my family has to remind me that I’m not behaving nicely. A girl can’t be perfect, right? Even with my very few “quirks”, my mom and my aunt think that I’m the perfect girl for them. Thank you for finding this home for me. This is where I’m supposed to be. I love everyone here and they love me, too. I have a purpose in life now – I have a family to love and watch over and a yard to protect. I don’t think there is a dog that is loved more or taken care of better than I am. I never dreamed that life could be this good and I could be this happy!

Love and Kisses,

WILLOW

Article written and provided by Ingrid Hurel (Adoption Coordinator at www.pcdogrescue.org)

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

Categories
Animal Stories Non - Profits Pit Bulls Shelter Animals

Maxine – The Pit Bull ~ she never had a home

Maxine was waiting 7 years for a forever home

This is in Maxine’s honor, who waited for her forever home for 7 years and died without it. Please take 7 minutes to honor her memory by reading her story:

Maxine was NOT one of the approx. 1200 Pit Bulls who die in the 12 government shelters in Los Angeles County EVERY WEEK. But she was one of the thousands, who sit in boarding facilities for years and she was one of the many who died in a boarding facility without ever having a home of her own. Maxine suffered from a rare auto-immune dysfunction. She was taken to one of the best (if not THE best) specialists in Los Angeles back in June 2011, when she had some strange pussy sores suddenly appear on her front paws. The specialist treated her with IV-fluids, cleaning of the sores, antibiotics and even laser treatment. Maxine recovered but never fully. Our spunky, feisty, sweet girl, stayed quiet and reserved. But we tried to make ourselves believe, that she was just getting older and had to recover from the illness.

Maxine's "For Adoption" picture

Maxine came to us as a very young dog, almost a puppy. She was found in a rough part of Los Angeles, absolutely terrified of everything and everybody. It took her a while, to settle in and start trusting. But she eventually did and everybody that knew Maxine, LOVED Maxine. Even our handyman, who most dogs meet with suspicion was one of Maxine’s best friend. So, if everybody who knew Maxine loved her, WHY did no one ever adopt her? Well, that is a mystery to us too. But we do know, the statistics, we do know that shelters are over-full with Pit Bulls, we do know, that the nice families usually want Labradors and not Pit Bulls or Pit mixes. We do know, that even though, Maxine was so very pretty to us, the general public did not see her beauty. We do know, that even her sweet kisses and lovely face did not make people give her a chance. We do know, that our hearts broke every time, she looked at us, longing to go to her own home, all we could tell her, was not to give up. And she didn’t. She stayed strong until the end. And the end was on a warm August evening in 2011. Two days prior, sweet Maxine developed those strange, puss filled sores on her feet again. We rushed her to the specialist, who immediately put her on IV-fluids.Because the scores had developed within just a couple of days together with a 106 Degrees Fever, almost 3 months after the initial appearance and treatment and her extensive blood-panel had come back clean, it was bad news. We were recommended to let her go and not put her through anymore, as it was predicted, that this would happen over and over again and get worse every time. So, with a heavy heart, we agreed and one of Maxine’s favourite care-takers, Lisa and one of her close friends, came to be with her during her last moments.

Maxine's last day

Maxine went for a nice little walk, during which we could tell how exhausting everything was to her, as her heart was beating heavily. Maxine smelled the grass for the last time, marked some spots and then we were on our way back to the hospital, to help her cross the rainbow-bridge. We tried to stay cheerful for Maxine, when really both of us, had tears close by. We spent some more time, in the courtyard of the hospital on a soft blanket, feeding Maxine hamburger paddies. She loved it. We didn’t want to let go. We were trying to bargain. Find another solution. There was none. Maxine was very relaxed, just snuggled up and enjoyed all the kisses and love. But we didn’t want to let go because we felt, that this was not enough. Maxine deserved, as they all deserve, her own home, her own family who hugged and kissed her everyday and told her, how beautiful she was. Her own person, who would take her on hikes, on car rides (Maxine loved car rides), who would snuggle up on a soft pillow with her and rub her belly.

Her own person, who would tell Maxine, how much she was loved. We do our best but we have to split ourselves between all the other dogs too. There are so many Maxines, dogs that are forgotten and unwanted by society. Of course, it starts with the irresponsible, ignorant backyard breeders, who produce these dogs. But from all my years of experience of dealing with them, I know, that it is pointless to have them apply any logic to what they create or to get any compassion out of them. They are heartless, cold monsters. They don’t care. The only way to ever stop them is to punish them. But the government won’t do that. The media won’t get involved because “the are just animals” and it is not politically correct to speak out. What about the tax-payers, who spend millions of dollars each year to pay to euthanize all these unwanted dogs? They don’t seem to care either. But what bothers me too is, that people say, they want to rescue a dog but they really only want to rescue, WHAT THEY want.

Maxine on her last walk with one of her friends

What fits their needs. Why not change your needs and expectations and REALLY rescue a dog. Adopt a dog, who most people don’t want for whatever reason: the dog is black, the dog is old (or middle-aged), the dog is a Pit Bull, the dog is disabled, the dog is behavioral issues). Why not? Why are most people so arrogant, that with all their human faults, they feel they need to get a dog that is perfect? Well, Maxine was perfect to us and none of us can express the pain we felt, when we had to let her go. Maxine died peacefully in our arms, she was actually being kissed and held until she stopped breathing and her heart stopped beating. WE WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER MAXINE! But this story is not only about Maxine. This is about all the dogs, that are sitting in rescue boarding facilities and shelters right now and are waiting to either get adopted or get killed (in the shelters). This is about all the Pit Bulls who die because of ignorance. This breed is one of the most wonderful breeds ever. Even one of our Presidents had a Pit Bull, Petey from Little Rascals was a Pit Bull and there COUNTLESS of examples of wonderful Pit Bulls as family members, even service dogs. We need you, as society, to step up to the plate and stop the breeding and adopt the unwanted! NOW. Don’t wait and let any more Maxine’s happen.

Please consider adoption first. Many innocent dogs are waiting for their forever homes. We have many Pit Bulls and other dogs for adoption. The dogs need you, please don’t look away!

Categories
Adoption Pet Care Pit Bulls

Today is Pit Bull Appreciation Day

Appreciation of a loving home – RED after 3 months.

Our new family member Red is still adapting to all the new things in his teenager life. He had a lot of “first-time” moments and has done, mostly, a great job. I’m very glad that we could give him the chance to show what a great dog he is. Red (short for “Ready”) is just a cute goof ball with a medium energy level, and his friendly, eager-to-please and calm personality makes it very easy to work with him and to meet new people. Since he is an American Staffordshire Terrier Mix, I’ve heard a lot of weird comments like: “You don’t look like a typical Pit Bull owner” or “He seems to be nice” or “Does he fight?” or “Do you keep him in the backyard? He is big I’m sure he eats a lot” or “I heard Pit Bulls turn vicious after 3 years of age”… I’m collecting the best ones and will publish a Best Of Pit Bull Comments of Smart:) People List in a couple of months. I generally let these people know to check out PackPeople’s blog posts and interviews about Pit Bulls to get a truer idea of the breed and to have a better understanding for these excellent family companions – even if I want to give them a long speech, I just leave with a smile and my PackPeople suggestion. Please send me the weird comments you have ever heard about Pit Bulls – and be a part of my upcoming e-book!

Lilly and Red became best friends in just a couple days and they get along very well. Every day they chase each other in the backyard and play gently (Samson just ignores him and is not very interested). The only issue we are working with Red is his over-excitement with other dogs and new animal species like mean squirrels. After one month of Red’s adoption, we took him to our first walk in a public park with other on-leash dogs and realized that he is not ready to meet other new dogs up close. I had known Red from the shelter where I used to work – and I never realized that he got anxious around other dogs. He was living next door with other male/female dogs and never had problems or any signs of anxiety. Our walk was filled with shaking and screaming (Red can scream like a pig). I decided to work on the issue and we never leave the house without our pouch of treats. With the method of distracting him early enough before he even sees the object of excitement, and catching his attention with fun things to do, like playing ball and working on his obedience skills, he is getting much better and has stopped jumping, pulling and screaming. He is not yet ready to attend the agility and good citizen certification classes I want him to join with Lilly in the future, but he will I’m sure.

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Categories
Adoption Breeds No - Kill Movement Non - Profits Pet Care Pet Care Pit Bulls Shelter Animals

Speaking Up for Z

We love this entry from guest blogger Katie Jockers at endurapet.com and Beloved Beasts… very important words about believing in – and speaking up for – pit bulls, animals and the mission to save lives. Thank you, Katie! – Rufino and Yurda

[from Katie:]

An interesting thing happened last week:

I exited the grocery store and found myself facing a soft, handsome, 8-month-old tan and white pit bull. A young man was proudly holding his leash. I waited my turn as the lady in front of me dropped her groceries to give pats and praise, and then I asked if I might say hello to the furry man of the hour. Permission granted, I proceeded to pat and compliment and gush. The dog’s name is “Z”. I complimented the young man on how nice and well-socialized his puppy was. Of course, I also took the opportunity to ask if he had attended the rally at the state capital in support of reversing Denver’s breed ban. No? He didn’t even know about it. I gave him the information to join one of the local groups, and scrawled out StubbyDog and BAD RAP’s info for him, which he was glad to have.
(BAD RAP and StubbyDog are both excellent online pit bull resources. Although they are not in Denver, I wanted him to see both)

Then, I can only think he misunderstood me, because then he boasted, “We breed Pits too! We have Daisy and Meathead, Desi and ZanyMan… They all have huge heads, man. It’s sick, Yo.”

Huh?

I didn’t know what to say. I picked up my bag, told him his dog was a sweetie, and started to walk away. I was stunned. As I processed what I had just heard, I began muttering “Idiot!” under my breath. Suddenly in my head the young man was no longer a nice guy out with his dog. He was an idiotic, baggy pants, sideways-hat-wearing, irresponsible, stupid, lowlife punk.

How quickly we change. The things I regarded minutes before merely as unfortunate, yet harmless, fashion choices on his part now became evidence of this punk-ass lowlife monster and propagator of misery for the breed I love so dearly. I hate it that I did this, but I did. I gathered peripheral details and stacked them up against him, almost justifying walking away instead of trying to talk to him.

Let me just say here that I know talking to people who “don’t get” it is not going to change things in a day, and I don’t hold any crazy ideas that some people will suddenly stop regarding pit bulls as badges and things. But I think that when it is safe to do so, we need to speak up for those who can’t. I am not proud to admit I almost walked away and complained without saying something, but I think it is a choice we all have to face and I need you to know that yes, it was hard. It was scary, and even though I am outspoken about animal well-being in general, I still almost walked away.

I knew I had to say something, and I also knew I had to collect myself. I put my groceries in my Jeep. Hopped in, and pulled around to catch him as he walked around to the back of the store. I felt safer up in my Jeep. I had already decided he would not want to hear what I had to say. I waved, smiled, and said just that:

“Hi again! Look, I know you probably aren’t going to want to hear this, but my life is dedicated to working with animals, and I spend a huge amount of time working on behalf of pit bulls. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try. Can we talk for a minute about why I want you to reconsider breeding them?”

“Okay” (Wow! He said okay. Neat!)

“You see, it is clear that you really love Z, and this is not meant to be an attack on you personally… but I wonder if you are aware of the number of pit bulls at the county shelter right now?”

“I know, Man. That’s messed up.”

“So you do know how many are in the shelter right now, and that most of them will be euthanized? Did you also know that all across the US shelters are overflowing with wonderful pitties who will end up in garbage bags today and every day?”

(He stares at me)

“I am talking to you about this because I thought you might want to know. It makes me sad to hear that you’re breeding them, when for every dog you produce, another in the shelter loses his or her chance at life. I wanted to let you know this, so that maybe you will reconsider.”

“Yeah, well it’s my grandpa who’s the breeder. He has a license to breed them and everything, He is real careful about selling them and shit. We don’t fight ‘em, we sell them for protection.”

Here is the place where I had to count three breaths before I responded, “And I can see that your grandpa has taught you well about respecting the breed and cultivating a friendship with Z. That’s great! Can I buy you lunch so we can talk some more?”

Long story, but after sitting on the curb outside as he nursed his milkshake and just talking for 30 minutes, he was asking questions and really doing some thinking. People came and patted Z, who was loving the extra attention. We talked in detail about euthanasia, something about which he had very little information. We talked about why it is especially hard to swallow the fact that anyone would think of breeding pit bulls when just 10 blocks away – where Denver borders our neighborhood – countless innocent dogs have been lost because of Denver’s insane breed ban. We talked about the opportunities available for him to work with pit bulls and the other ways he can gain respect and feel pride – like training, speaking out against breed bans, and educating people about the breed. We agreed that it is likely Grandpa may not change his mind, and will probably tell him the crazy lady at the grocery store was off her rocker, but he promised to talk to him.

It was a better outcome than I had expected, and I guess the reason I’m sharing this is because I’d like to encourage others to try for a minute move beyond the anger, and try to talk to people like this young man. While we might want to flip out and scream, it sometimes pays to try to channel a much calmer, less horrified person for a few minutes… and try to talk to them like we really believe they might change. The result may not always be like this, so be safe, but please do consider speaking up. I am glad I did.

And what did I learn?

I found that had more in common with this this kid than I thought, Yo.

Pit Bulls are currently banned in our nearby city of Denver. More on breed ban here: http://stubbydog.org/2011/03/the-psychology-of-breed-bans/

More articles with and about Pit Bulls: Interview with ChakoInterview with PBRCInterview with PCDRInterview with Downtown Dog Rescue Article about Pit Bulls

Categories
Adoption Breeds Non - Profits Pet Care Pet Care Shelter Animals

Missy's story – The girl from the 405 Freeway, L.A.

Picture an off-ramp at the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles. What do you normally see there? Bushes, trees, maybe trash, plastic bags, cardboard boxes, paper, cans, bottles, maybe old tires, things tossed out of the cars driving by. This is where beautiful Missy was found over 3 years ago.

Missy is a happy, wiggly, kissy dog. She is a beautiful red-head, athletic and affectionate. She is always in a good mood when she is around a human being. Unfortunately, Missy has been living in a kennel facility ever since she was rescued over 3 years ago. She is comfortable there: She gets fed, she goes to play in the yard, she sometimes gets taken out for walks and gets a cookie, every time an employee walks by her. But does she get the attention she craves so desperately? Does she get to snuggle up next to her favorite person or family? Does she get to play ball every day (which she loves!)? Does she get to swim in the pool which is her absolute favorite activity? Does somebody tell her every day, what a wonderful girl she is and how much she is loved? No. Well, that is not completely true. She did have all that for about 2 months. Just recently. Missy got adopted by a nice couple and their teenage daughter. They had a dog before Missy for many years, they live in a nice home with a secure yard and a wonderful pool. They adored Missy, feed her the best food, bought her toys and gave her kisses. So, what happened? Why is she not with her adoptive family anymore?

Let’s reverse: We at Pacific Coast Dog Rescue are very careful when placing our dogs. We look for a stable life-style of our adopters, we make sure, that their home and yard are secure for the dog. We strive to place our dogs with people who are going to be committed to the dog. Who will work through any issues that may arise. We also outweigh the good and the bad, because there is always something in question. In the case of Missy’s adopters, everything matched, except, that maybe, there was a bit of a lack of confidence in handling Missy in certain situations. As mentioned before, Missy is a very happy and wiggly dog and that means, that she can get overstimulated at times. So, the key is, to keep Missy calm and controlled. Not that difficult of a task, as Missy has received our 3 week on-leash obedience training and she LOVES to show off her training. As a matter of fact, her adopters updated us on several occasions about her excellent manners and her obedience. They even had a cocktail party 4 days after Missy moved in, when she impressed everybody with her excellent manners.

We, at Pacific Coast Dog Rescue take the adoption process serious. We always conduct several home visits with the dog, before leaving them at the new home for good. During that time, we practice the training with the adopters. We also check in regularly for the first couple of months and ask the adopters to contact us right away with even the smallest problem or concern. Well, Missy’s adopters informed us, that Missy would get very excited, when she saw people playing basketball. I guess, the moving ball made her anxious. The founder of Pacific Coast Dog Rescue and also our trainer, David Roe, explained Missy’s adopters, how to use the training, to handle her in those situations. Everything seemed to be going well until we got the call: “We are heartbroken, but we have to return Missy. She nipped our neighbor, playing basketball.” How could this have happened? Missy was on a leash. Easy to control. According to the adopters, Missy was on a leash, they walked by the neighbor with the basketball and she jumped and nipped him in the leg.

I wasn’t at the scene but I know, that this was a no-brainer to avoid: 

1. Walk into a different directions, cross the street, go around the person with the basketball. 

2. Follow the training routine, don’t let the dog get to the point of over-stimulation, use the training to keep her focused. 

3. Ask the person to step out of the way because your dog gets nervous around basketballs. 

Either one of those solutions seem reasonable to me. And Missy would still be happy with her family in her home. Instead, this preventable incident turned into a huge scene. 911 was called, 2 police cars, a firetruck, an ambulance and animal control showed up. The person who got nipped in the leg, went to the hospital but his injury was so minor, that he did NOT need any medical treatment. Animal control determined, that Missy was NOT a danger to society, they actually commented on what a nice dog she was, after they tried to agitate her and push to see, how far they could go with her and all she did, was try to kiss them! But according to law, Missy had be quarantined for 10 days. Because she is such a nice dog and was not determined to be vicious, she was able to stay in her home during that time. But I have to warn you: Animal control has ALL the power in these kind of situations, they can determined a dog to be dangerous at their discretion. And then, there is nothing you can do, to save your dog’s life. Especially, if your dog is an American Pit Bull, American Staffordshire Terrier, Mastiff, Bulldog, or a mix of those.

The hysteria is big. So, where is Missy now? She is back at the rescue. Her adopters brought her back with tears in her eyes. I had to hold back, not to start crying, because I know, that I wouldn’t have been able to stop. Missy has always been one of my special heartbreakers because I know, how much she longs for a family to love her. On the other hand, I am happy, that she is back with us, safe. Now I know for next time, I have to be even more careful in placing her. So, that Missy truly has a forever home. Somebody who is sensible to her needs, somebody who loves her unconditionally and somebody who protects her. Because Missy is a wonderful girl!

If you are interested in adopting Missy please visit the website of Pacific Coast Dog Rescue and contact Ingrid.

Please also check the video interview with Ingrid Hurel here.

Categories
Adoption Breeds Interviews on packpeople.com Non - Profits Shelter Animals

The Big Misunderstanding about Pit Bulls – Interview with Rachele from Chako Pit Bull Rescue

Chako Pit Bull Rescue is a 503 (c) non profit organization which aims to alleviate the persecution of the Pit Bull breeds by finding homes for Pit Bulls in need, promoting responsible dog ownership, and standing against breed discrimination. The Pit Bull rescue is based in Sacramento, California. Chako Pit Bull Rescue provides advocacy efforts for responsible dog owners, free and low cost Pit Bull classes, and educational events throughout the year.

We had a great time interviewing and learning from the Social Media Coordinator Rachele, and we’re excited to share with you her experiences, knowledge and insights in helping Pit Bulls and educating people.

Chako Pit Bull Rescue – http://chako.org

Twitter: @chako_org

Facebook: Chako Pit Bull Advocacy and Rescue

Interviewee: Rachele / Interviewer: Rufino Cabang (PackPeople)

Please check out this wonderful audio interview here:
Audio interview with CHAKO Dog Rescue – Pit Bulls rule! by PackPeople

Rachele recommended following websites:

Pawsitive Attention Pet Care Services – www.pawsitiveattention.com, which includes a “Resources Tab” with several useful links, including:

Dog Food Analysis – www.dogfoodanalysis.com

Feline Nutrition – www.feline-nutrition.org

CHAKO on Google+
Spreading the word can help save lives! If you liked the interview please share it with your community by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of this article or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you!

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Categories
Adoption Breeds

America's top 20 breeds. Which one is your favorite?

All dog breeds can make loving and great family companions, that’s for sure. But which ones are America’s favorites?

According to the registration numbers of the AKC (American Kennel Club), the Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed in the U.S. Approximately 149,692 Labrador Retrievers are living in American households. I guess it’s the friendly and mostly happy-go-lucky temperament of the Labrador which makes him so popular; I have rarely met an aggressive or socially awkward Labrador to date. German Shepherds seem to be very popular too, taking 2nd place as guard dogs with their protective attributes, a very loving and smart breed.

Here is America’s top 20 list:

  1. Labrador Retrievers
  2. German Shepherd Dogs
  3. Yorkshire Terriers
  4. Golden Retrievers
  5. Bulldogs
  6. Boxers
  7. Dachshunds
  8. Poodles
  9. Shih Tzu
  10. Rottweilers
  11. Miniature Schnauzers
  12. Chihuahuas
  13. Doberman Pinschers
  14. Pomeranians
  15. German Shorthaired Pointers
  16. Great Danes
  17. Siberian Huskies
  18. Shetland Sheepdogs
  19. Boston Terriers
  20. French Bulldogs

Here are some interesting news items from the American Kennel Club (Source: http://www.akc.org/):

The most popular breeds with the biggest increase in rankings over the past year include the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and the smooth Fox Terrier. The French Bulldog made the largest leap in the past decade, jumping 50 places from 71st to 21st. Other breeds with the biggest increase in rankings over the last decade include the Havanese and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Closing the gap this year, a couple of breeds that had been on the decline over the past decade made double digit increases over the past year – Keeshonden and Anatolian Shepherd Dogs. Bully Breeds have been steadly increasing over the past decade, including the Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

A trend toward larger breeds is seen with the rise of the Great Dane (from 28th to 17th), Mastiff (from 39th to 28th), Newfoundland (from 53rd to 44th), Bernese Mountain Dog (from 58th to 39th) and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (from 104th to 88th). We also welcome 3 new breeds entered AKC’s registry in 2010. The – Leonberger – Cane Corso – Icelandic Sheepdog.

If you are ready to bring a dog in your life, please don’t make your choice by the upcoming trend or just the look of a dog. Consider some factors first: energy level, size of the dog, temperament.  Compare them with your own energy and lifestyle – and know that dogs are social animals with various personalities. It’s important to get informed and well prepared before deciding for a special breed.  Visit dog shows and talk to breeders, if you are not sure about a particular breed. We believe there is no “problem breed” and we don’t want to generalize any breed. If a dog gets proper training, exercise and adequate leadership by its humans, every dog can be a lifetime friend and fun family member.

Quote: “The breed is just the outfit that particular canine is wearing, and sometimes a set of special needs he or she might have. You’re not going  to be able to understand or control your dog’s behavior by considering him or her simply as a ‘victim’ of a breed”.

“As a general rule, the more purebred the dog, the more intense the desire it will have to fulfill its genetic purpose. Therefore, it will require more focus and attention from you in making sure that those breed-related needs are constantly challenged and fulfilled.”- Cesar Millan.”

We at PackPeople urge everyone with a preference for a purebred dog to remember that shelters and rescues are temporary homes to more purebred dogs than people realize. Do your online research to find what you are looking for – think dog adoption first!

Please think about dog adoption first!

Categories
Adoption Interviews on packpeople.com Non - Profits Pet Care Pet Care

PAWS – Philadelphia's largest rescue organization in action – Audio Interview

PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to saving Philadelphia’s homeless, abandoned, and unwanted animals. Philadelphia’s largest rescue organization and only no-kill shelter, PAWS is working to make Philadelphia a city in which every healthy and treatable pet is guaranteed a home. Through its adoption locations, special events, and foster care network, PAWS finds loving homes for thousands of animals each year.

We had a great time interviewing and learning from Adoption Center Manager, Allison Lamond and Development and Administrative Manager Sara Schoenleber. We’re excited to share with you Sara’s and Allison’s experiences, knowledge and projects in helping Philadelphia’s Pets.

Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society  – http://www.phillypaws.org

Twitter: @phillypaws

Facebook: PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society)

Interviewee: Allison Lamond and Sara Schoenleber / Interviewer: Rufino Cabang (PackPeople)

Please check out this highly interesting audio interview here:
PAWSphiladelphiaInterview by PackPeople

Allison and Sara recommended websites:

Petfinder – www.petfinder.com

PAWS Philadelphia’s wish list of needed items is posted at amazon.com, listed under “Paws Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society”.

Spreading the word can help save lives! If you liked the interview please share it with your community by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of this article or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you!

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Categories
Adoption Interviews on packpeople.com Pet Care Pet Care

Handmade leather dog collars by California Collar Co. in Los Angeles

California Collar Co. is a small artisan-run business located in Los Angeles which specializes in handmade leather dog collars, leashes, harnesses and dog accessories. Rilee, the owner, runs a dog boutique in Burbank where the gear is made, displays many different styles of her work and gives you a look into her workshop.  A very sweet, nice person, she takes the time to talk to you and discuss your ideas of the perfect collar for your dog and makes your dog’s new collar very special and unique. We are so glad that we found this young team of artists with a big heart for rescue dogs – Rilee supports local shelters and is a big fan of Pit Bulls – as well as excellent customer service!

Packpeople love the collars Rilee and her team creates  – we decided to go with the Isabella Leather Design with light green crystals for Samson, Lilly, Red and Ringo. We also recommend the Leather Cafe Lead. We’re excited to share with you her answers and insights.

California Collar Co. – Dog Boutique located in Los Angeles

http://californiacollarco.com

Facebook: California Collar Company

Interviewee: Rilee

This is a very unique online shop with customized collars, leashes, harnesses for dogs. Tell us about your products. What do you offer?

– We specialize in handmade leather goods for dogs, including collars, harnesses, leashes, multi-function leads and ID holders. Most of our products come with several leather, lining and hardware choices. With so many options to choose from, we’ve got something to suit just about anyone’s style.

When did you open your workshop here in Burbank and when did you launch your website http://californiacollarco.com?

– We opened our North Hollywood workshop in August, 2010 and our online shop was started back in 2008.

Why did you choose to start a pet business?

– I’m pretty sure this business chose me! I started out making things for my own dogs and everything just kind of took off from there.

Are your products carried only in the US, or they available worldwide?

– Our products are available worldwide through our website. We’ll ship anywhere you can imagine and have served customers from Denmark to New Zealand and just about everywhere in between.

What kind of materials do you use?

– We use 100% vegetable tanned English Bridle Leather for the foundation of our products. The hardware we use is either solid brass or stainless steel, and many of our collars and harnesses can be lined with super soft lambskin leather. We also carry about 40 different shades of Swarovski crystals for those who feel like getting a little fancy.

What inspired you to create this workshop? What kind of feedback are you getting from people?

– I feel like we’ve all become a bit disconnected from the things we buy, so I wanted to create a place where people could see where their dog gear is made and meet the people who actually make it. And after a couple of years of selling online, I really wanted to be able to interact with my customers on a more personal level. One of my very favorite things about the workshop is meeting everyone and hearing about how they met their dogs. It’s pretty amazing to see the effect a dog can have on someone’s life.

Why do you think there has been such an increase in demand for luxury pet products over the last ten years?

– I’m not quite sure about that, actually. My own dogs sleep on moving blankets and still eat out of the same plain steel bowls they’ve had for years, but I think collars are a little different. Every dog needs one and since it’s literally the only accessory they wear all day every day, why not make it a good one?

You carry a wide range of stylish products. What would you consider the most unique items you sell?

– I think the most unique items we sell would be our large breed dog collars. It can be difficult to find collars that are strong enough to handle the antics of a large breed dog while still serving up a healthy dose of style.

Do you offer a warranty on your products?

– We sure do. All of our products come with a lifetime structural guarantee. If any buckles, rivets or d-rings fail or the leather itself splits or breaks from material defect, we’ll repair it for free. If any spots, nameplates or ornaments come loose or fall off, we’ll fix those at no charge as well.

What sets your dog boutique apart from the others?

– The main difference between our shop and more conventional dog boutiques is that we make all of our products from scratch on site. Our customers can see the materials we use and can even choose their own custom color schemes. The workshop setting also allows us to give our customers more personalized attention than they’d normally find in a regular pet supply store.

Can you tell me a little bit more about the collar collections? What kind of collars do you offer?

– Our designs are inspired by the types of collars you’d see back in the early 20th Century, the ones that were made of high grade equestrian leather and adorned with brass studs and engraved name plates. I’ve always loved how distinguished dogs looked back then. We started off specializing in leather collars for large breed dogs, but have recently released a line of collars for small to medium breed dogs as well. Most of our collars are the popular standard buckle type collars and we also carry some specialty designs such as martingales, slip collars and ID holders.

What inspires you to create these collections?

– The thing that inspires me the most is my desire to make dogs look important. It’s no secret that I’m a huge Pit Bull fan, and it’s essential to me to help convey the image of cherished companion for Pit Bulls and other maligned breeds. l want everyone to look at a dog wearing one of my designs and think, “Wow, someone must really love that dog.”

What has been the greatest challenge in growing your business?

– I’d say the biggest challenge has been trying not to grow too fast. I don’t ever want to lose the level of quality and customer service we’re known for.

What advice would you give someone about to launch a new pet related business?

– Do it because you really and truly love it. Everything else will fall into place in time.

Do you have pets of your own?

– Of course! I have two dogs, my beloved Pit Bulls Mija and Daisy. Mija has taught me so much about the breed and about dogs in general. Daisy was supposed to be a foster dog, but she decided she’d rather stay with me and my partner Raz. She is now our honorary ‘shop dog’, so expect to see her if you swing by.

You also support shelters in Los Angeles and you have a foster dog? Would you tell us a little bit about that?

– Raz and I both volunteered with Los Angeles Animal Services for about four years, which is where we came to understand the gravity of the unwanted pet situation. We’ve recently decided to turn our attention to keeping dogs from winding up in the shelter in the first place. We foster dogs from time to time, our most recent being an American Bulldog/Pit Bull mix named Santos. He spent several months at our place recovering from Demodex mange, which was so severe that he couldn’t even walk without his skin cracking open. He’s all healed up now and has since made the trek down to Austin, TX so that Reunion Rescue can find him his forever home.

Why do you think adoption from a local shelter or rescue organization is important?

– I can say from experience that adopting a rescue dog is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Here in Los Angeles, there are literally thousands of dogs available for adoption on any given day. Until we can get pet overpopulation under control, adoption is the way to go!

Are you thinking to add new products to your design line and what are your future plans?

– We’re in the midst of designing a new line of harnesses, which we’re really excited about. And there will be several new collar designs coming out within the next few weeks, all with matching leashes. We’re also looking forward to attending many LA area festivals in the coming year so we can meet more of our fellow Angelenos. So if you see us out and about, stop by and say ‘hi’!

Which websites or pet related links would you recommend to packpeople?

www.DowntownDogRescue.org

www.laanimalservices.com

www.PBRC.net

Spread the word! If you liked the interview please share it with your community by clicking the facebook and twitter icons at the bottom of this article or leave a comment. Thank you!