Tag Archives: MN pitbull rescue

Two and a Half Months

31 Mar

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There comes a time for every foster parent when your foster has been with you for long enough that giving them to another family seems impossible. It may be a different length of time with every foster, and it may be different for every foster parent, but never-the-less it almost always happens. We have had dear, sweet Mocha for 2 1/2 months now. She was about 6 months old when we got her so she is now fast approaching adulthood. Mocha hasn’t had a real family her entire puppy life. She has been cared for, fed, played with, and snuggled with.. but she hasn’t had a real family to call her own.

Cozy.

Cozy.

With some of my fosters I have reached the point of “difficult to imagine giving you to another home” sooner, but with Mocha it really hit me at about 2 months.

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I think it took a little longer with Mocha because I find it slightly easier to foster puppies. They are so young and will adjust so fast. I know that when I DO give them up they will get to spend the entire rest of their lives with their forever families and I know that they will TRULY be a part of someone’s family.

But now Mocha has lived an incredibly large portion of her life with us and she’s almost an adult. She’s happy. She’s learned the ways of our household, she loves having two big brothers to wrestle with and pick on. We have spent time with her teaching her manners and how to be a good house dog and throughout this time she has grown attached to Gene-dad and Chelsea-mom.

Playing tug with big brother Chase

Playing tug with big brother Chase

People always think that the hardest part of fostering will be giving up the dog. In most ways this is completely true (unless you consider the war on dog hair in the house harder..) but for me it’s a little different. It’s not so much that I can’t see MYSELF without my foster dog.. but instead that I feel like a terrible person forcing THEM to leave us. After two and a half months you’ve obviously bonded with this four-legged bundle of love, but YOU have been aware that they aren’t going to be a permanent member of the family. The dog has no idea.

Part of the family.

Part of the family.

Mocha doesn’t know that she won’t be here forever. She doesn’t know that we’re essentially trying to get rid of her. She can’t understand the phrase “it has to be done in order to help others.” All SHE knows is that she’s currently happy and loved, and she loves being here. It’s THIS feeling that makes it so hard for me to imagine the day that Mocha gets adopted.

Snuggling with Mylo-brother.

Snuggling with Mylo-brother.

And on that note, I can’t believe we still have Mocha. She’s the perfect little pocket-pittie. She’s a big dog wrapped up in a compact package. She’s potty trained, crate trained, sleeps all through the night, has decent manners and learns quickly. It pains me that she’s not spending these months with her forever family. They could be taking her to training classes and working on her leash skills with long walks in this beautiful spring weather. They could be creating a routine for her and telling her every day that she’s their beloved pet. Instead Gene-dad, Mylo-brother and Chase-brother are spending these incredibly important adolescent months with her. We’re happy to have her, but I’m sad that her eventual forever family is missing out on it.

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If you’re interested in adopting Mocha check out her petfinder page here.

I’ll have a short Mocha, please.

22 Feb

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While I’m not a Gold Card Member of Starbucks by any means I have recently fallen in love with the Brindle Mocha. This Brindle Mocha is not a coffee drink, but is addicting in nature and has a heartwarming effect on people. Best of all she is currenlty residing in my house while she searches for her forever family.
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I can’t get enough of her. She’s a teeny pocket size pittie (weighing about 30 pounds at 6-7 months old) with a larger than life personality. I go back and forth on whether she’s more like a gymnast or a football player. Sometimes she’s gracefully hopping through the snow, always with incredible power but in adorably cute strides, or she’s sashaying across the floor going straight into her high-flying grande-jete onto the couch. While other times she’s shoulder-checking her foster brothers who are 2 and 3 times larger than her or flying into your knees with the grace and power of Hagrid (any Harry Potter fan’s here?)

This is what they were doing while IIII cleaned the house.  Way to pull your weight kids.

This is what they were doing while IIII cleaned the house. Way to pull your weight kids.

Mocha is incredibly energetic and athletic, but she’s also very manageable. She can stop and listen to you in the middle of her playing even though she’s at, arguably, the most hyper/non-attentive age of her life. She is potty trained, she knows “sit”, and “go kennel”, she knows to sit until her food bowl is down, and she “knows” she wont get attention unless all of her feet are on the ground (she has a few problems following this rule even though she does seem aware of it). She knows when she’s supposed to quit playing and she’s working on “down” and “off” (as in “off the couch”- she doesn’t particularly like this one). She’s inquisitive and is a quick learner. All of this rolled in to a tiny little brindle package makes her just about as cute as one little puppy can be.

Because she’s so stinkin’ cute it’s really hard not to adore her. It’s harder still not to fall in love with her. Chase and Mylo are wrapped around her petite little toes, and foster daddy thinks she’s just the right size to be his lap dog. Mocha agrees with foster daddy and to date he is the only one that can get her to snuggle on her back.

Can foster dad get any cuter with this little girl?

Can foster dad get any cuter with this little girl?

Since we can’t keep her ourselves without giving up our foster-career Mocha is on the hunt for a forever family of her own. Her ideal applicants would love dogs, love to exercise, love to give her yummy treats, and would be excited about furthering her training. If you’re in love with Pocket Pitties Mocha is the girl for you! She’s patiently waiting.

Foster brothers are keeping her company while she waits for her furever family.

Foster brothers are keeping her company while she waits for her furever family.

Missing in Action. A little bit of news!

10 Jan

So, I feel like I haven’t blogged in FOREVER. Let me tell you right away, this IS NOT because I haven’t had anything to blog about, but instead because I don’t have the right words for all that’s happened lately.

I intended on writing a wonderful post about Sophie’s Christmas surprise. A couple of days before Christmas my brother and sister-in-law decided to start the “foster-to-adopt” program with Sophie! I was SO excited! Not only does she get a fantastic new family, two human siblings and a great new home, but I’ll also get to see her for the rest of her life!! My 7 year old niece, Mia, had been begging for Sophie for over a month and couldn’t believe it when her parents said she was staying. Sophie has met Mia before and has always been head-over-heels for her in return. The first thing I felt was extreme happiness and then a huge amount of relief. This time, instead of being torn into pieces between the fact that I SHOULD be happy, and my sadness and hurt about giving up a dog, I can focus on the fact that one of my fosters, and one that I love SOOO much, will remain in my family! I’ll even get to dog sit! I’ll get to see how she’s doing and I’ll always know JUST how much her family loves her. What more could a foster ask for?!

So you’re probably wondering WHY I didn’t write her amazing adoption story 2 weeks ago when I found out that she was getting a home, especially such an EXCITING home, for Christmas. I had every intention of doing so.. but the longer I waited the more we discovered that Sophie isn’t quite as happy about her new home as we all are.

Here’s a little backround on Sophie.. Sophie was just 12 weeks old when she came to our house. She had been with her siblings her entire life. Her first night in our house was her first night without them. She was scared and probably felt all alone.. but she soon discovered that she wasn’t alone. She bonded immediately to her foster-brothers Mylo and Chase. She became a confident, ram-rod of a puppy, and people who met her fell instantly in love with her.

I never had ANY idea that without her big brothers around she’d be insecure, afraid, and lose all of her spunk and character.

When we dropped Sophie off at her new house she was very scared. She wouldn’t go up to anyone other than Mia and she wouldn’t wander around the house. We all assumed that she would adjust quickly and be her ramrod-self any day. We all said “theres a lot going on today, she will adjust in a couple of days” and “She’s a puppy, it wont take long.”

During the next couple of days Sophie spent a lot of time with Mia but she continued to be afraid of her new house and her new family. Unless she was with Mia she mostly stayed in one room. Worst of all she decided to be incredibly afraid of her new dad. She wants nothing to do with him no matter what he does.

I have been putting off writing her adoption story because I assumed she would adjust soon and then I could write her happy story. I didn’t want to write about her incredibly happy news if she’s NOT happy and we’re not sure it will work out.

I decided to write her story now, though, because there are lessons to be learned from it.

Sophie has been in her new home for two weeks now. She has stopped running away from her new baby brother (she’s still not too sure about noisy babys but he’s not QUITE as scary anymore), she recently decided to brave some new rooms in the 3 story house, and she has gotten pretty used to her new mom. Unfortunately she’s still incredibly scared of her new dad.

Sophie’s behavior and attitude towards her new dad is such a shock because she was a huge daddy’s girl at our house. She’s never been afraid of men in our house, in fact, she’s never been afraid of anyone. What we failed to think about, however, is that Sophie had never spent a day of her life without a dog sibling. We got her directly from her litter as a pup and then she had Mylo and Chase. We never imagined she’d be so insecure without them. She was always so incredibly brave and outgoing. I never stopped to think about how she would adjust to being an only dog. I’ll admit that I’m always a fan of my foster dogs going to homes with other dogs, but I do also strongly believe that single dog homes are wonderful too. Especially single dog homes with children. I was so focused on the fact that she’d be getting two amazing parents, a 7 year old who can’t get enough of her and a bouncing baby brother to grow up with. I was completely sure that it’d be a great situation. Now I’m discovering that it’s a situation for me to learn from.

As a foster parent I will have to do a better job of testing my fosters in a variety of situations. I’m not saying it’s my fault that she’s adjusting so slowly, but if I had been expecting her to be a nervous, shy and insecure dog I would have been able to discuss this with the new family. If they weren’t EXPECTING her to adjust quickly, as puppies typically do, it may not seem so weird that she’s not.

Perhaps if I had tested her in a larger variety of situations I would have known what we needed to work on. I could have taken her to public places without Mylo and Chase. She could have been entered into puppy socialization classes. These are things that her new family will probably have to do now because I didn’t know that she needed it.

Her new family is trying everything they can to make her comfortable, but she’s simply not adjusting to her new dad. This makes ME sad, and I know it’s making her new family sad. I continue to tell them to give it time but eventually it needs to be decided if the situation is good for anyone involved.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that Sophie will get over her fears and get to stay with her new family, especially since I was so excited about this family! I thought that I had escaped the heartbreak of giving her up. We all want it to work out SO badly, but now we need to focus on making sure that whatever happens we act in the best interest of both the family and Sophie. I hope that, no matter what, her story can be a learning experience for everyone involved.

Sophie Here!

23 Nov

Hi Hi!  Sophie here!

Whoops. I got stuck.

I hyjaked hijacked Chelsea-Mom’s computer.  I REALLY enjoy stealing her things, He-He (don’t tell her I hid her shoe in that box I sleep in).I try not to damage her stuff, but I just can’t help myself sometimes. I AM just a baby after all..(Chelsea-Mom says it’s lucky for puppies that they are so cute.. I don’t know what I need luck for, though.. I’m so awe-some I should be called The Incredi-ble Sophie!)  Pajama pants are my favorite things to steal from Chelsea-Mom, but it’s not just her stuff!  I like to steal Gene-Dad’s stuff too.  He has such nummy slippers.  Anyways, before Chelsea-Mom see’s me I have some things to say!  Chelsea-Mom told me the other day that I have a LOT to say and that I’m very noisy for such a little gal. I’m pretty sure she’s fibbing.  She says that I’m even noisy when I’m SLEEPING, but I don’t see how that’s paws-ible.  Gurl dogs don’t snore.  Everybody knows that.

Me NOT snoring with Mylo.

So, first off.. My Chelsea-Mom tells me that she and Gene-Dad are not my “forever” fambily.  She says that I’m jus living here for awhile.  Well, what the heck?!  Where’s my forever fambily!? I really like life with Chelsea-Mom and Gene-Dad and I love my  brothers Mylo and Chase! (They let me pick on them a lot.  Chelsea-Mom says that’s what little sisters are for.) I like snuggawing with my whooole fambily on the couch, I like to play with everyone outside, and I LOVE playing tug-o-war with whomever (2-legged or 4-legged) wants to play with me.  So, you see, I’m kinda sad that this is not my forever home.  Chelsea-Mom tells me, though, that there are thow-sends more than I can count, dogs looking for forever homes, and that she likes to help as many as she can.  She PROMISES me that I will love my new forever home as much as I like her home.  I want to believe her, but I’m still kinda nerv-us.

Chase makes me feel better when I’m ner-vus.

Even though I’m kinda nerv-us and I don’t want to leave my “foster” (I guess I’m a “foster”?) house I can’t wait to meet my new parents and see if I’ll have siblings to pick on or not!  I hope they take me for car rides, let me play with tug toys, let me snuggle on the couch, and maybe even someday sleep on the bed!  As much as I love Chelsea-Mom and Gene-Dad I’m ready for my new parents!! How much patience can one little puppy have?!

Some other things I love?

Leaves.  Chelsea-Mom says something called the “wind” is what makes them fly around and makes them so fun for me to chase.  I’m not sure what “wind” is.. but I know leaves are a whole lotta fun!!

When Mylo and Chase (my “foster” brothers) wear collars.  Then I have something to grab on to!

Wearing sweaters.  Chelsea-Mom calls me a Purdy Girl when I’m wearing my sweaters.  Gene-Dad says that one of my jackets has an El-vis style collar.  Who’s El-vis? I bet he’s not as cute as me!

El-vis collar.

Jumping!!  I love to pounce off the couch!  Preferably right on to one of my foster brothers.. but I’ll jump on to other things too.

Chase wanted to wear a sweater too, but it didn’t fit him.

Tug-o-War!  Chelsea-Mom says I’m fereles feerless not a-scared of anything.  Brother Mylo pulls me all over the place!  Brother Chase is usually on my side though.

Something I don’t like?

Something Chelsea-Mom calls “Sno.”  It appeared on the ground last night and it’s really cold!!  Chelsea-Mom said that I still have to go potty outside tho. Boo.

I also don’t like that I have to sleep in that box thing while Mylo and Chase get to sleep on the bed. SO NOT FAIR.  Chelsea-Mom says it’s because I’m a puppy and that my new fambily will want me to be used to that box. I told her last night that if she let me sleep on the bed JUS ONCE! I’d never tell anyone.. and I thought she caved, but then in the morning I woke up in that box thing again!!

Me in my crate when I was littler. I broke the box the other day.

I like pretty much everything else.  I’m happy to be with Chelsea-mom, Gene-dad, and Mylo and Chase for the time being, but I really want to be someone’s forever pet.  Will you take me home with you??  I’d make a GREAT Christmas present.  I look adorable in ribbon. 

Passions and Participating

7 Nov

It’s pretty clear to anyone who knows me that my passion is Pitbulls.  I believe that they are incredibly sweet and loyal dogs who have been mistreated and taken advantage of.  Because Pitbulls don’t have very good English skills I choose to do their talking for them.  (I almost wrote that they don’t have a voice.. but Pitbulls are notoriously vocal dogs, so that’s most definitely not true.)

I choose to stand up for them when people put them down, whether I’m at a wedding, the grocery store or the bar.  I may not change anyone’s mind, but maybe they will learn something.

I choose to make sure that my pit-mix is an excellent example of the breed.  I’m aiming to get Chase therapy certified, but until then I make sure he’s always on his best behavior at the vet, the parks, or anywhere else I take him.  I get no greater joy than seeing someone come up to Chase asking “Is that a Pitbull?” with trepidation, and then finding him to be a calm, gentle, loving giant (at 80 pounds he’s a big pit-mix).  Again, this may not change anyone’s mind, but maybe, just maybe, somewhere down the road they will remember their good experience with a Pitbull-type dog.

I choose to foster Pitbull’s.  I choose to help save lives.  I choose to be an available safe home when a Pitbull needs to be rescued.  On top of helping save lives, fostering Pitbulls gives me more ammunition when I argue with drunks at the bar.  Drunk: “Pitbulls are terrible- why would you let them in your house? They’re going to bite your hand off.”  Me: “I have yet to have a mean Pitbull in my house.  As a matter of fact I find them to be much more well-rounded than many other breeds”.  Drunk: phpphbbb.  (It’s hard to argue with drunks.)

My most common arguments.

I do these things because I’m head over heels in love with this breed.  I STRONGLY believe that they shouldn’t be judged simply because of the way they look.  Have people learned nothing in all these years?  Dogs are no different than people (except for their lack of opposable thumbs-which makes them useless when I tell them to do stuff for me).  They come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  Their behavior differs from dog to dog, not breed to breed.  There will always be some similarities between dogs of the same breed; but there will be many differences as well.

I don’t expect everyone to share my passion.  I don’t expect that everyone I know will instantly fall in love with Pitbulls simply because I tell them how wonderful they are.  And that’s fine with me.  Everyone I know has their own issue to be passionate about.  I know people passionate about politics and people passionate about the environment.  I have friends passionate about children with disabilities and family members passionate about educating our youth.  Without all of these different passions the world wouldn’t go around.   What is most important is that these people are PARTICIPATING.  Regardless of whether they share my passion or not they are getting out and doing their part.  They are standing up for something, educating anyone they can, and taking part however they can.

There are many different ways to get involved no matter what you’re passionate about.  In the animal welfare and animal rescue world alone there are hundreds of ways to get involved. Some of the people that I admire most have dedicated their lives to help rescue, and educate about, Pitbulls. Check out Ashley Owen-Hill from Lucky Dog Rescue (luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com) or the founders of Bad Rap rescue (badrap.org).  Read about people who started programs like Priority Paws, a program right here in MN that brings Therapy Pitbulls and youth groups together (http://www.arottalove.net/blog/), and learn about the founder of MN Pitbull Rescue (mnpitbull.com).  These people are incredible.  They make me feel as if I’m doing practically nothing.  These are people for me to look up to as I continue working with Pitbulls.

What these people do is amazing, but they couldn’t do it alone.  Many people who are very dedicated to animals aren’t able to dedicate their whole lives to saving them.  However, choosing to participate in even the smallest of ways helps programs like these survive.  There are many seemingly small gestures a person can make that will make a world of difference in the big picture.

People volunteer their time.  These volunteers are the core of any good rescue/education program.  I feel like I have so little time to give, and yet here these people are walking shelter animals, working at an adoption events, helping rescues with their administrative duties, helping train rescue dogs, taking their personal dogs out to classrooms ect. The list goes on and on.

People get involved with fundraising. Not everyone wants to be out in the cold walking dogs or volunteering to clean kennels.  Fundraising can be a fun social event and is a totally great way to help save lives!

Many people who don’t actively participate in animal rescue donate!  There are some incredibly generous donators out there and there are many others who don’t have a lot to give but still donate what they can to causes they feel strongly about. Every dollar counts. I know rescue groups with more than 20,000 friends on Facebook.  How amazing would it be if every one of those friends donated just a dollar a month?

If money and time are short for you like they are for me look in to fostering! I feel like it’s such an easy way to participate because one: I already have dogs, so it doesn’t take any extra time, and two: it’s free! The best part about fostering is that even if you foster fail you saved a life!  What could be better than that?

For Pitbulls one of the most important things a person can do is to make sure that THEIR Pitbull is a good example of the breed.  Every positive experience that people have with the breed is another step in the right direction for the breed as a whole.  This doesn’t involve being involved with any rescue group, it simply requires people to be responsible Pitbull-type dog owners.

Sometimes a person’s actions at home are enough.  Loving the pets you own and treating them well is enough in my book.  That’s one, or two, or three less animals to worry about.

So, you can see that there are many ways to get involved, each as important as the next.  I greatly enjoy sharing my love for Pitbulls with such an incredibly passionate, strong willed group of people across the US and throughout many other countries.  We HAVE to be so passionate about our love of Pitbulls because the people discriminating against them are just as passionate about their hate.  I know that this is how other people feel about THEIR passions and I feel incredibly lucky that their are people out there sticking up for the underprivaliged children, the environment, farm animals ect.

Whether you are passionate about Pitbulls, like me, or something else I suggest that you find a way to get involved and participate. Sometimes the smallest things make all the difference. 

Why I Won’t Foster Fail

15 Oct

For those of you that don’t know, a foster failure is a foster family that ends up adopting their foster.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing.  That dog ends up with a great home.  But what about the next dog they may have fostered?

There are many reasons why I won’t let myself foster fail.

Its true, I have ended up letting go of fantastic dogs, and I’m sure I will be forced to let go of many more who I have fallen for in the future.  I hear all the time, “oh, Chelsea, you love that dog, why don’t you keep him/her? They love you and you love them”, but I can’t do it.  Take a second to think about what would happen if everyone foster failed. There would be no fosters left.

Me saying goodbye to foster “Gunner”

Reddie, my foster coon-hound was rescued from a hoarding situation at 2 years old.  The rescuers had nowhere to put all of the dogs so after the miserable life he’d ALREADY had he ended up in the pound.  He had a bum leg, and was therefore not considered a highly adoptable dog.  Many of the other dogs were put into shelters and rescues where they had a chance to get adopted but Reddie sat in the pound for 3 months where his bum leg continued to deteriorate.  He was supposed to be put down after 30 days and was living on borrowed time.  Finally Critter Harbor found a foster, me, and he was rescued, after months, from his living hell.

Foster “Reddie”

 

Hank was found on the streets and brought to a pound.  Minnesota Pitbull Rescue needed a foster family in order to pull him from the pound and managed to find one, me, the NIGHT BEFORE he was put down.

Hank and Reddie are both fantastic dogs with great demeanor.  They are dog friendly, people friendly, and kid friendly.  They both needed some training, some love and some rehabilitation, but they adjusted to their new lives fairly quickly and their new owners are, and will be, incredibly lucky to have them.

This happens to SO many great dogs.  They are pulled in the nick of time because a foster family is willing to take them in.  But what happens to the ones that aren’t pulled in time?  They are put to sleep, whether they are great dogs or not.

Now, I don’t believe that I saved these dogs lives.   It’s entirely possible that another foster family may have stepped up and taken them in, but what if they hadn’t?

Me and Foster “Tigger”

 

I feel that if you believe in something, and you care about something, you can’t sit around and hope that someone else will take care of it.  I can’t rely on other dog crazy people to save all the dogs because there’s always more that can be done, and in order to do it people need to actually DO it.  You can’t sit around and have faith that other people will fix things.

“ When you find your passion in life… follow it, believe in it, fight for it… and most importantly: DO IT. That’s why you’re here.”  -Ashley Owen Hill www.luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com

Every single person on earth has the ability to make a difference, but few people actually do.  I refuse to foster fail because I couldn’t forgive myself for not trying to make a difference.  Because I refuse to foster fail I inevitably end up getting rid of fantastic dogs, and it kills me to do so.  However, I have two wonderful dogs already and I truly believe that my incredible foster dogs will make other people as happy as I am with Chase and Mylo.  NOT foster failing helps the animal rescue world go round.  If I can continue to be a part of that I will be thankful every day, even the days that hurt.  I will soak up the love from my fosters while I have them.  I will be hurt when they go, but I will snuggle up with my dogs for the day and know that another family will get to enjoy what I do, and another dog can be rescued because of what I do.

Me saying goodbye to foster “Ginger”

Foster failing would be the easy way out for me.  I think everyone would admit to taking the easy way out in life a time or two, but I know that the pain I feel from giving up a dog I love, and the constant worry that I have about their future, is NOTHING compared to what I would feel if I couldn’t foster anymore.  Every time I saw a sweet face that needed saving I would know that I’m relying on someone else to rescue them.  I can live with a little hurt.  I can’t live with that.

 

 

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