Don’t Label That Dog!

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A study published today has shone a light on how much the public misconception of “pit bulls” as a breed has permeated our culture and behavior.

The initial takeaway for a careful reader is that “Pit Bull” is not a breed of dog.  There are only bully type breeds like,  the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog, American Pitbull Terrier, and a few others that are shoehorned into  the imaginary “Pit Bull” label.  So stating that any dog is a pit bull is just plain wrong.

This study then informs us, not only, that the “Pit Bull” label  is meaningless, but it is also detrimental to a dog’s perceived value in the eye’s of potential adopters.  According to the study “Pit bull breed labels had a negative effect on the dogs’ perceived attractiveness, while lookalike labels did not have a positive impact on attractiveness compared to no label at all”

Let that sink in for a moment…just being labeled as a pit bull, which we have already shown is nonsense, makes a dog seem less adoptable than ANY other breed label out there.

So, not only, are these dogs being discriminated against with ineffectual BSL(breed specific legislation) laws and landlord’s that follow suit, but they also have to fight against a stigma that is completely unwarranted.

Anyone who makes their living in the dog training industry will tell you, any dog has the potential for aggressive behavior if improperly trained and socialized.  Add in a history of abuse and you have a recipe for a violent and aggressive dog, no matter the breed.

The study states “With the limited usefulness of breed-specific information in describing the behavior of mixed breed dogs, a validated behavioral assessment would likely be a better way to inform potential adopters about the behavior of individual shelter dogs.” .  This is truly the only rational solution to the growing epidemic of overrun shelters around the country.

If you would like to learn more about dog training, bully breeds, or how to become active in the pet rescue community, give us a shout, we can probably help!

 

Who is saving who?

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As I lay in bed last night, sardined between my 4 dogs, and fresh off of cleaning a couple dozen piles of puppy poo, I started thinking about what we do.

Since I’ve been actively documenting our daily lives with the dogs, I find myself becoming more and more thankful for them. My thoughts last night drifted from one foster to another, our dogs and the little lady, just lazily making their way through the meadows of my mind. When suddenly it occurred to me how much work we actually put in on a daily basis. How much gross we have to tackle, and how any sane person would be miserable if tasked with our lives.

It made me wonder what makes us so different. Because, in all honesty, I’m never as happy as when I am doing things for our dogs. I’m probably a little less happy when dealing with poopageddon in the morning from the puppies, but I think it all boils down to how much I truly love dogs. Compared to how much our dogs(both the crew and our fosters) give us in the way of love, compassion, a shoulder to cry on, a snuggle when needed, or a good face lick in the morning, the work and gross seem like peanuts.

So I wonder, are we special? Or do others just underestimate how much dogs can improve their mood, their health, and their overall well being? I am confident that it is the latter. I think that anyone who already loves dogs should look into fostering, not only to save the dogs, but to grow as a person, to be more happy on a daily basis, and to have a permanent smile on your face!

If anyone that happens upon my musings should find themselves  becoming interested in fostering a dog, please shoot us an email, we have a pretty extensive network of fellow fosters, rescues, etc around the country. I’m sure we will be able to put you into contact with a rescue that needs your help!

Mama Irelyn meets the crew

This is the first introduction between Mama Irelyn and the members of the crew. The meeting went really well! There was a little bit of growling near the end but I think that was just because Irelyn started to get a little overwhelmed. I’m so proud of how well my guys/girls are able to handle meeting new foster additions. My apologies for the shakiness during the video, Darby Doo decided he wanted to play with my phone while I was recording #fosterparentproblems!

Also, for those interested, when mama Irelyn yawns near the end of the video, that is a sure sign that she was becoming stressed with the situation and it was time for us to stop. Yawning in doginese is a calming signal that is used to convery discomfort with a situation! A good tidbit of information to use in your own interactions with your pups!

WARNING: Dog owners urged to keep pets away from Easter treats to avoid poisoning | Western Daily Press

WARNING: Dog owners urged to keep pets away from Easter treats to avoid poisoning

Source: WARNING: Dog owners urged to keep pets away from Easter treats to avoid poisoning | Western Daily Press

It’s almost easter! This article is a great reminder for responsible dog owners to be proactive about keeping their pups safe this holiday weekend. This article highlights the figures released by the BVA(British Veterinary Association) that showed nearly half of all vets surveyed treated at least on case of chocolate poisoning last easter.

Some tips for keeping the easter goodies out of reach:

  1. Pick somewhere high up, then put the candy higher-Dogs have an amazing ability to get at things that their humans previously thought to be impossible. Give yourself plenty of leeway when storing potentially hazardous food stuffs.
  2. Don’t allow children to have candy unsupervised-If i had to guess, I would put my money on this as being the one reason so many dogs are able to ingest chocolate(or other toxic candy). Children will leave the food laying around and/or share their bounty with their furry friend!
  3. If you haven’t already teach your dog a reliable “Leave it” command, start now!! We practice this to the point of obsession with our dogs. Accidents happens and things will get dropped, having a command that you can trust and have practiced thousands of times could save your dogs life!

Most of all have a great easter!

Woman hurt in dog attack that killed her pet

She tried to pick up her dog, but the boxers began attacking her

Source: Woman hurt in dog attack that killed her pet

This is a tragic turn of events and we are sending healing vibes in this elderly woman’s direction.

Perhaps it is because I just reported a case where a community was trying to uphold BSL laws yesterday, but I couldn’t help but notice that I had to read at least 6 headlines before I saw what breed the dogs happened to be.

If this were a bully breed it would have been plastered all over the news(not just in minnesota) and calls for BSL legislation would be heard ringing from the mountaintops. But because this irresponsible owner happened to fancy Boxer’s rather than pit bulls, this will stay a local news story.

It’s time to switch our paradigm. Regardless of breed, dog’s raised irresponsibly can be very dangerous. Let’s start educating the public about the correct ways to teach a dog obedience and good manners. Lets do away with BSL laws that unfairly punish completely innocent dogs for the actions of a few guilty humans.

Residents ask council to keep dog breed-specific laws

Residents voiced concerns about safety if the law changed.

Source: Residents ask council to keep dog breed-specific laws

Unfortunately these residents don’t understand that EVERY dog, if not properly trained and cared for, will pose a physical danger to their community.

The other glaring problem with BSL laws is that just because a dog appears to “be a pitbull”, that is often times not even the case. Many dogs today, especially rescue dogs, have some bully breed features because of the cornucopia of genes that have been introduced into their bloodline.

It is an unfair stigmatization against a breed that can’t really even be defined in the context of enforcement. BSL laws just serve to increase the number of dogs that need to be euthanized every year, with no real, tangible effect on public safety.

Do you know how to dougie??

Dougie was special from the get go.  He came to us fresh off of an amputation surgery.  He had escaped from his owner and, in what I can only imagine was a horrific accident, a car hit him after he ran out into the road.  Unfortunately his owner did not have the means to provide the necessary care and was forced to do the only responsible thing and release him to animal services.

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His leg was mangled and there was never any question that he needed to have it amputated.  The first night he came to us his scar was one of the gnarliest medical things I have ever seen.  It was about a foot long and ran diagonally from the base of his neck to where the back of the leg used to be and was raised like a mountain range about a half an inch off his skin.  The stitches and staples looked like they could barely contain what was inside from busting through the gash.

I remember the scar vividly.  I was so paranoid that he was going to scratch or bite it open.  I had a recurring picture flash in my brain of me going to his kennel in the morning only to find that the scar had busted and his insides were all over the cage.  I know that is a gruesome thought, but it’s the only result that I could imagine resulting from THAT scar opening up accidentally.

That scar is probably the single factor that was the catalyst to a deep, soul level bond forming between myself and my Dougie boy.  I relocated his mastiff sized crate to right next to my side of the bed.  I moved my computer, modem, TV, and desk perpendicular to his kennel and I proceeded to spend almost every moment next to him for the next two weeks.

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He was an amazing boy during that time, he always would find my side with his wet nose and goose me to get me to love him.  Unfortunately the slits in the kennel were too thin for me to get my hands through so I would have to go all the way around that huge crate to get in there and snuggle him.  I remember thinking that that was an unacceptable status quo and I needed to fix it.  So I got a pair of heavy duty pliers and squeezed two bars together to form a hole that my whole arm could fit through.  After that it was smooth sailing, anytime he wanted to be loved on I could happily oblige without having to move much, it was the perfect setup.

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In the time he spent convalescing we had many good conversations.I would talk to him alot about how he was going to find a home again, how is owner’s still loved him and probably thought about him all the time.  We talked about what was on netflix at the time, and mostly just shot the breeze about whatever topic struck his fancy at any particular time. When Dougie first got here we also had a group of puppies whose names, for the life of me, I can’t remember(I have this problem with most of our fosters) that Douglas would play with through the kennel.  We talked alot about how amazing it was to me that he had gone through all that he had and still had such a sunny disposition.

If there was one drawback to Dougie boy, it was that he acted like a jackass at adoption events.  It may have just been over his comfort threshold to have all those dogs and people congregated in one place. Personally I think it was because he just wanted to stay with us forever.  Whatever the reason though, it wasn’t a good situation and we stopped taking him, relying on the web for his forever owners to connect with him.  This led to Doug being with us for over 5 months.

Needless to say, he quickly became a part of our family after he healed.  He was such an instigator!  From barking at people walking outside(or just any random noise that he felt warranted a good tongue lashing) to starting wrestling matches with the other dogs, he was always getting into something.   It was amazing to watch him go with his 3 legged jaunt.

I have never been around a 3 legged dog before, so watching him acclimate to his new existence was awe inspiring.  He turned his handicap into a strength by using his weight while rough housing with the other dogs, and the way he learned to do things with 3 legs was just really neat to watch.  I was especially impressed with his prowess in tug games.  He made phenomenal use of the head shake and won more matches against myself and the other dogs than I care to admit.

He was asleep in this picture!

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The one story that really sticks out to me about Dougie’s time here was from an adoption event, when he was still going to them.  A veteran that had lost his leg in his service to our country happened upon Doug at the event and just sat with him for hours and hours.  At one point he started crying and, to this day, I have no idea what he said, but he just sat there with Doug, like kindred spirits, until the event ended.  That was the effect Dougie had on people.  He instilled hope that, no matter what, there was always a way to be happy.

Alas, his, meant to be, owners eventually did find him, and when they did it was heartbreaking for me to let him go.  It had been a running joke in the house that Dougie wanted to stay with us so bad that he made sure no one would want to adopt him!  But the day did come, and I can honestly say, he has gone to a wonderful family and home.  He has 3 other dogs to play with(and annoy).  I see videos and pictures of him all the time and it is wonderful for me to share in his forever home with him.

None of that changes the fact that he is, and always will be, a part of our family though.  Just because a foster leaves will never change that!

 

Collectors Shelling Out Hundreds For Dog’s Artwork « CBS New York

One dog is channeling his inner Picasso and collectors are paying hundreds for his work.

Source: Collectors Shelling Out Hundreds For Dog’s Artwork « CBS New York

 

Move over Picasso, step aside Michaelangelo, take a hike Mr. Pollock, there is a new name in the halls of the grandmasters!  His name is Dagger and he stands on all fours.

 

This phenom was not meant to better the world as a service dog and he knew it.  He dropped out of service dog training and decided to apply his prodigious skill to the canvas.

 

Like many true philanthropists, Dagger is using his work to help his fellow canine.  His prints sell for 50$ and his commissioned pieces are fetching a whopping 200$ with all proceeds going to a local dog charity.