Tag Archives: pitbull rescue

Two and a Half Months

31 Mar

WP_20130304_002

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.

WP_20130302_004
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.

WP_20130320_001

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

Pitbulls

1 Mar

Pitbull_2

I could write an entire novel on Pitbulls: How they got such a bad repuation, What BSL is and why it’s not effective, how mistreated they are, how backyard breeding of pits is creating an overpopulation, and how incredibly cute, handsome, loyal, and loving they are. I could go on forever but it would be really hard for me to organize my thoughts and most of it has been written before. Also, no one will read that much informatino in one sitting so I want to see if I can briefly summarize some of my main arguments.

Number 1: Pitbull is NOT a breed.

I know people have heard me say this before but I’m not sure they listen. The term Pitbull is used to describe a GROUP of dogs with certain physical characteristics. If you have a “Purebred Pitbull” it is either an American Pitbull Terrier, a Staffordshire Terrier, or an American Bull Terrier. It is NOT a purebred Pitbull. I repeat, YOU DO NOT OWN A PUREBRED PITBULL. There is no such thing.

American Pitbull Terrier

American Pitbull Terrier


Staffordshire Terrier

Staffordshire Terrier


Bull Terrier

Bull Terrier

What difference does this make?

It makes a HUGE difference. Pitbulls are judged and discriminated against ALL THE TIME and yet there’s no such thing as a pitbull? Therefore people are judging an entire group of dogs: all three of the purebred dogs, many purebred dogs with similar physical qualities such as the American Bulldog or the Cane Corso Mastiff, and then also including in this group NUMEROUS mix-breed dogs that resemble either the American Pitbull Terrier, the Staffordshire Terrier or the American Bull Terrier.

Cane Corso Mastiff

Cane Corso Mastiff


American Bulldog

American Bulldog

This is also important to remember when you look at “Pitbull” statistics. How accurate can these statistics be when they are collecting date from a GROUP of similar-looking dogs and comparing this data to that of ONE purebred dog?

Another difference it makes?

Sheer NUMBERS. If we take any dog with a large square head, stocky chest, semi-straight tail, docked OR floppy ears and/or other “Pitbull” characteristics that is a LOT of dogs!! There is simply a LOT of dogs out there that can be called “Pitbulls”.

Number Two: The media HAS effected how you think about Pitbulls, and they ARE doing it on purpose.
The media has helped create a bad reputation for Pitbulls in MANY different ways.

Pitbull Attack Headline

Pitbull Attack Headline

Firstly, the media creates a belief that Pitbulls attack more than any other breed of dog by only reporting Pitbull attacks. Pitbull attacks are nationwide news making it in to hundreds of newspapers and on nationwide broadcasts. If a lab or a golden retriever attacks it may make it in to one or two newspapers.
This clearly leads the public to BELIEVE that Pitbulls are attacking all the time while no other dogs are.

The media then adds to this by always putting the words “Pitbull” and “Attack” together in the headline if the attack was done by an alleged Pitbull while hardly ever including the breed of any other dog attack simply stating “Child attacked by dog” or “Dog attacks woman”.
When people see “Pitbull Attacks” in the headlines they don’t even have to read the rest of the story. They already have an opinion in their head. See it enough times and you start to think that all pitbulls attack all the time.

“August 18, 2007 — A Labrador mix attacked a 70-year-old man, sending him to the hospital in critical condition. Police officers arrived at the scene and the dog was shot after charging the officers. This incident was reported in one article in the local paper.

August 19, 2007 — A 16-month-old child received fatal head and neck injuries after being attacked by a mixed-breed dog. This attack was reported on twice by the local paper.

August 20, 2007 — A six-year-old boy was hospitalized after having his ear torn off and receiving a severe bite to the head by a medium-sized, mixed-breed dog. This incident was reported in one article in the local paper.

August 21, 2007 — A 59-year-old woman was attacked in her home by two pit bulls and was hospitalized with severe, but not fatal, injuries. This attack was reported in over 230 articles in national and international newspapers, as well as major television news networks including CNN, MSNBC and Fox.”
Credit: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

http://blog.timesunion.com/dogs/pit-bulls-and-the-media/3597/

Secondly, the media is a huge perpetrator of using the term “Pitbull”. They have ensured that Pitbull has a negative connotation with the previous steps and now they can use the looseness of the term to their advantage. They already know that a “Pitbull” attack story is going to be a huge story, and since Pitbull encompasses all sorts of different dogs the media can call pretty much any dog they want a “Pitbull” just to make a story more newsworthy.

Number three: Breed Specific Legislation is whack.

Yes, I know I’m losing some of my professionalism here, but it simply. is. crap.

Breed Specific Legislation is legislation and rules about specific breeds of dogs thought to be “Dangerous Breeds”. This is often directed at Pitbulls and when BSL is in force there can be complete BANS on Pitbulls in entire cities or even states.

So, what was Number One again?

There is no actual Pitbull breed. The word Pitbull describes many dogs with different genetic backrounds that have similar physical characteristics.

Oh yes, that’s right.

So, we have a blanket ban on Pitbulls, to make people feel safer in their communities, that doesn’t look at how a dog acts, how a dog is treated, or how responsible their owners are but instead bans an entire GROUP of dogs that may or may not have similar behavioral characteristics, but do have similar looks.

Now.. If Pitbull is a term describing dogs based on their looks who’s to decide if my dog is a Pitbull or not?

This is a HUGE problem. It gives policemen and city legislators free reign to decide whether your dog is a Pitbull or not.

Cities with BSL in force spend incredible amounts of money collecting and putting down Pitbull type dogs and then can’t fathom why they aren’t having any results.

Well, for starters, criminals and bad dog owners are NOT being targeted. Anyone and everyone with a Pitbull type dog is being targeted. That seems like a huge waste of resources to me! Criminals and bad dog owners continue what they are doing while good, responsible dog owners are faced with either moving, finding a home for their dog outside of the BSL jurisdiction, or hiding their dog knowing that they’re risking the dog being confiscated (like a piece of property) and put down.. which is a nice word for murdered.

BSL is a blanket ban on Pitbulls that doesn’t really look at what the problems are. Irresponsible backyard breeders with un-altered males and females living together are a problem. Owners that keep their dogs chained and tethered their entire lives are a problem. Dog fighters are a problem. Drug dealers and criminals who have no idea what it really means to own a dog are a problem. BSL makes people “feel safer” but are they?

BSL is ridiculously expensive, is incredibly hard to enforce, hurts innocent people and kills innocent dogs. Period.

Piles of Pitbull type dogs confiscated and euthanised from BSL

Piles of Pitbull type dogs confiscated and euthanised from BSL

Number four: Backyard breeders have created a Pitbull overpopulation.

There are SO many Pitbull type dogs right now that 1 in SIX-HUNDRED Pitbulls is adopted from shelters. The other 599 die. This includes puppies. This is partly because of breed specific legislation and partly because every irresponsible Pitbull owner on earth seems to think that they need to have Pitbull puppies to make a couple bucks.

Pitbull puppies in a high kill shelter that will never make it out because people would rather buy from a backyard breeder.

Pitbull puppies in a high kill shelter that will never make it out because people would rather buy from a backyard breeder.

Some shelters euthanize Pitbulls the second after they walk through the door. They are not allowed to adopt out Pitbulls therefore they immediately put them down.

Pitbull Shelter2

At some shelters Pitbulls account for 50% of the shelters dogs. Because there are already so many Pits in these shelters they only get a few days or even a few hours to live. Their chances of being adopted are slim to none.

139469_oakland_RED_

All of the backyard breeding increases this overpopulation problem and continues the mix-breeding of Pitbulls, since remember, there are no purebred Pitbulls, and this mix-breeding increases the looseness of the term. Because of their size and typical good health Pitbull type dogs tend to have a lot of puppies, often as many as TEN puppies in one litter!

Because Pitbulls are often bred by inexperienced people and irresponsible owners females may be bred too young and too often, and the puppies likely won’t get dewormed or be given any vaccines. Then they are sold to people who will conitinue the process.

If people would adopt Pitbull type dogs from the shelters, instead of buying them from backyard breeders, we could decrease the numbers of Pitbulls euthanized every day (2800 Pitbulls are euthanized a day) and maybe this would give backyard breeders less of an incentive to keep breeding.

Another plus about Pitbulls being adopted instead of bought?
Pitbulls adopted from shelters are most often already spayed or neutered, or they are adopted with a contract dictating that the dog be spayed or neutered. This means that even if an owner is irresponsible and lets their dog roam or the owner thinks that having puppies would be fun the adopted dog CAN’T reproduce.

Read more about Pitbull overpopulation and Pitbull Euthanasia here: http://www.examiner.com/article/pit-bulls-and-euthanasia-rates

Number five: American Pitbull Terriers and Staffordshire Terriers (the most common of the purebreds referred to as Pitbulls) are NOT natural fighters.

Yes, these dogs have been used for years in fighting rings, but what you probably DON’T know is how hard it is to get these dogs to be fighters. SO many dogs fail. When dog fighting rings are busted the grounds are usually littered with the dog bones of the failures. The dogs that WONT fight. Dog fighters make their dogs live in a manner where violence is their only option and they find ways to escalate it. I won’t go into the long gorey details, but it’s important to know that dog fighters treat dog fighting like a science, and not very many dogs will even do it.

A not so well known fact about Pitbulls and dog fighting: Pitbulls were originally chosen not only because of their size and strength but because Pitbulls were the only dogs that would specifically NOT bite their humans when they got in the ring to stop a fight. They were chosen because of their LOYALTY to humans.

The rest of my main points about Pitbulls are based on how sweet they are, how forgiving they are, how much they can overcome, and how loyal they are. Maybe a Pitbull Part Two is neccesary? Stay tuned for why I LOVE Pitbulls.

Miss Mocha

25 Jan

Chase_1
Chase here. (Aren’t I handsome??)

Mom said I have get to tell you all about my new foster sister.

For the past couple of weeks it’s been just me and Mylo and our mom and dad. This has been really fun! We all four fit on the couch together, I barely have to share my toys, and I get at least one whole parent all for myself.
Chase_2
Snuggle_0

This Tuesday, though, mom was gone longer than usual. We were awake from our daytime naps, starting to get hungry, and starting to get worried about her. Turns out she was driving to pick up a puppy for Mylo and I to babysit hang out with.

Mocha_3

Mom and dad calls her Mocha. She’s really small compared to me and she has really cool stripes. (Mylo and I are both stripe-less but once Mylo got in to some wet paint and had spots for awhile.)

See how much more biggerer I am?

See how much more biggerer I am?

Mocha REALLY likes to play. She likes all of our toys, she likes to wrestle and she likes to run and bounce around. Mylo and I are getting so sleepy from babysitting playing with her. My favorite thing to do with Mocha is get her to chase me. I hold a toy in my mouth and stand really still until she gets close and then off I goes! She will follow me around the house for lots and lots of time.

Waiting for Mocha to chase me.

Waiting for Mocha to chase me.

And now I'm REALLY tired from all the chasing.

And now I’m REALLY tired from all the chasing.

Mylo’s favorite thing to do is steal toys from her and then put his face in the corner of the livingroom-beds and chew on it there. In order for her to get the toy back she has to crawl all over his head. He grumbles and growls but she’s not a-scared of him.

He's not in the corner, but this is one of his favorite things to chew on.

He’s not in the corner, but this is one of his favorite things to chew on.

Mom says Mocha is about 16 weeks old. She comes outside with us to go potty and at night time she has to sleep in her box (hehehe mom and dad lets me and Mylo sleep on the bedroom-bed.) Mom and dad are SOOO happy because she sleeps so good. Mylo and I are pretty happy too because we have box-trained puppys before and it can be very NOISY.

This photo made mom giggle.

This photo made mom giggle.

Mom says that Mylo and I have to keep being good foster brothers. I think that this means we have to keep letting Mocha steal sharing our toys, letting Mocha sit on the livingroom-beds and teach her how to sit for goodies. I have all sorts of things I can teach her, starting with begging asking PRETTY PLEASE for dinner. (I’m good at that.)

Mom says Mocha never stops moving so this was the only picture we could gets of her laying down.

Mom says Mocha never stops moving so this was the only picture we could gets of her laying down.

Now that you met Mocha, how about another picture of yours truly??

Look at me with my teeny friend!

Look at me with my teeny friend!

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.

%d bloggers like this: