"A breed of satin and steel. Pit bulls are a mixture of softness and strength, an uncanny canine combination of fun, foolishness, and serious business, all wrapped up in love."

-D. Caroline Coile

Monday, August 30, 2010

Callie's Story

The story of a pit bull who was picked up as a stray by animal control in South Carolina, and ended up on death row at a shelter. Volunteers at the shelter are successful in getting the word out on Callie. She is rescued by a woman from North Carolina, becomes a "foster failure" and ultimately becomes a Canine Good Citizen as well as a Delta Society certified Therapy Dog. This book is an exclusive fundraiser for Carolina Care Bullies, a North Carolina pit bull rescue with which the author, Cathy Klein Nakayama, is a volunteer.

Buy the book here.
All royalties from this book ( $5.67 per book) go to Carolina Care Bullies to help save pit bulls !!!

Authored by Cathy Klein Nakayama
About the author:
Cathy has been rescuing animals for years. She is the mother of three grown children : Edward, Jeffrey, and Jennifer ~ and mom and foster mom past and present - of many fur children, including dogs, rabbits and a horse. She is a registered nurse with six years of Cardiology Nurse Practitioner experience, having received her Masters in the Science of Nursing from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in 2004. She was laid off from her position as a Nurse Practitioner in February of 2010 and while she continues to try to find employment she decided to write another book. Her first book , A Pit Bull On My Pillow is an enormous hit with the "pit bull as a treasured family member" loving crowd. Cathy is a National Anthem Singer and acoustic guitarist and enjoys singing at bluegrass/country/folk jams. She also enjoys speaking French, and horseback riding. Cathy rescued a black labrador retriever (Bailey Bigglesworth) and a chocolate colored pit bull (Callie Pibble) from shelters 2009, to add to her family. Since then she's become active in pit bull rescue, having grown to know first hand what precious, loveable souls they are. She is a volunteer for Carolina Care Bullies and her book royalties go to them to help with rescued pit bulls. She hopes this book will show what wonderful dogs shelter dogs as well as shelter pit bulls are and can be, with appropriate, responsible ownership. She also strives to help change the image of misunderstood pit bulls everywhere, so that more will make it out of the shelters into loving homes. She also wants to help fight breed specific legislation by educating the public on what this precious breed is capable of. In addition, as a Nurse Practitioner, Cathy appreciates well the benefits of pet therapy for sick patients and enjoys spreading the word about how important pets are for both physical and psychological health.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Pit Bull Princess

Get this image on a t-shirt at http://www.thepitbullprincess.com/
There is a large selection of Pit Bull themed gifts, such as clothes, crafts, or things for your home or garden.
Buy something cute AND make a difference!
10% of all proceeds from this online store goes to Pit Bull rescue and education.
Become a fan on Facebook here.

Best Friends Vicktory Dogs Update

This is an update on some of the Michael Vick dogs that were required to stay with Best Friends Animal Society.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Where Are the Michael Vick Dogs Now?

On April 26th, 2007, law enforcement officials descended on a sprawling white-brick house at 1915 Moonlight Road in Smithfield, Virginia. The home belonged to Michael Vick, who was the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons and one of the highest paid players in the NFL. Although the police were there on a drug search, they quickly found evidence of what appeared to be a large, well-financed dog fighting operation.

Fifty-one pit bulls were seized from the property and they sat in local shelters for six months as the ensuing investigation played out, leading to guilty pleas from Vick and his partners in an operation known as Bad Newz Kennels. In most cases, that would have been it for the dogs. Considered a public hazard, they would have been euthanized. But a tidal wave of public outcry inspired government officials to at least consider the possibility of saving some dogs.

The startling string of events that followed included a landmark legal decision, a never-before assembled team of expert evaluators, a leap of faith and a selection of rescuers who were willing to do whatever it took to help. At the heart of it all was a group of dogs that wanted desperately to overcome what had until then been a life of violence and deprivation.

Taken together, these tales showcase a resilience, dedication and commitment that have the power to alter the way society views pit bulls and to reinforce the essential nature of the human-animal bond. The Lost Dogs, for the first time, tells the behind-the-scenes story from the day of that initial raid until today.
From The Lost Dogs website.

Double click to see the entire video

Pre-order your book now!

Click here to see several slideshows of the Vick dogs.
Click here to see the legal documents from the Michael Vick case.

Make sure and check out the Parade Magazine in your paper this weekend. It features an article about the Vick dogs and The Lost Dogs book.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pit Bulls and Perseverance

There are SO many stories about pit bulls overcoming amazing obstacles and tribulations.  Here are just a few...

Leonidas the Amazing 3-Legged Dog! from Game Dog Guardian on Vimeo.

Check out these pit bull's Facebook pages. They were saved from their previous life and have never looked back. They are truly an inspiration.
Cherry Garcia
Sarge Wolf-Stringer

Video du Jour

I am...Humane Education Video from Game Dog Guardian on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ailing Pit Bull Shows a Family What True Love is All About

Are You There, God? It's Me, Hercules
Hello God, it’s me again, Hercules. I know you are busy, what with breed discrimination running rampant and dogfighting (what is THAT all about!) out of control, but I have another favor to ask. I know I am asking a lot, because you already answered my prayers when my leg hurt, and when the tumors were multiplying all over my body. Thank you for showing Dr. Kali where the cancer was — I am doing so much better now without my leg! But the favor I want to ask you is this: could you let me live just a little bit longer, so I can help Kylie when she is ready to go to school? She is so small, and I want to protect her when she ventures out into the world.”

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Photographer Lisa Scarsi specializes in portraits of pets and children, and is also a huge advocate of animal welfare and has worked on a few projects for different nonprofits. In her job as a photographer, she often runs across exceptional stories. This one gave her pause.

Scarsi received a message from Leslie Oakley, someone she’d met at a fundraiser for Friends of Orange County Homeless Pets (FOCHP). Oakley said she had a 5-year-old pit bull terrier named Hercules who had cancer, and she wanted to get portraits of him and her 2-year-old daughter Kylie before Herc's time ran out.

A photo session was scheduled immediately, and Scarsi was deeply touched by the mild mannered Hercules. The palpable love between Kylie and Herc went beyond words-her photos tell the tale. “It was just absolutely touching,” shares Scarsi. “On top of that, the story of ‘how Hercules became their dog’ was pretty interesting and had so many lessons. I just think this is a beautiful story and a teaching story, and one that will open people's hearts to love a pit bull.”

The Story of Hercules
Hercules was born on November 25, 2005 to a pit bull mama named Roxy. One of five pups, Herc was the biggest and cutest of them all. FOCHP volunteer Oakley was smitten with him, but found him (and his siblings) wonderful homes after they were all spayed and neutered. Unfortunately, Hercules was returned to FOCHP when he was 1 ½ years old (in the summer of 2007) because the family did not seek training when Hercules was a puppy and he was "destroying" their home. Oakley took him back into foster care, and prior to putting him back up for adoption, she trained him. “To tell you the truth, he drove ME insane too!” laughs Oakley. “He took to the training sessions very well. He just wanted someone to tell him what was ok and what was NOT ok. He listened and reacted perfectly.”

Oakley fell completely and utterly in love with Herc, but at the time had three other dogs and could not add another to her pack. She put Hercules up for adoption around the end of 2007, when she was seven to eight months pregnant. Several people expressed interest in Herc, but didn’t pass the grueling interview with Oakley. Nobody was good enough for Herc. “I was really strict about his adoption because we did so much work with him and he was now such a wonderful dog, I wanted to make sure the adoptive family would continue the training and discipline. Well, I think I scared everyone away.”

By the time Kylie was born on January 11, 2008, Hercules was still a member of the Oakley pack. Oakley recalls Kylie’s birthday with fondness. “Since the day Kylie was born, Herc was in love. At first it seemed like curiosity, and I thought he would get over it after a couple weeks. (All the other dogs did). But he didn't. Herc just wanted to be in the same room with her, laying on the floor with her, etc. He adopted my daughter when she was just a couple months old and life has never been better. I decided to take him off our 'available dogs' list and welcomed him as a permanent member of our family. I have never regretted that decision. He is the world’s most amazing dog. Kylie truly has a unique bond with him that brings tears to my eyes every time I think about his life span.”

Hercules was diagnosed with mast cell disease (cancer) in the beginning of 2008. It started as one tumor on his back leg, which was quickly removed. About eight months later he had multiple tumors growing up his back leg and into his groin. All of the eight to 12 tumors were removed, and Oakley was referred to an oncologist.

“Because Hercules is such a big part of our life, we do treat him as a family member, which means he gets the best medical treatment we could possibly afford-or go into debt for!” Oakley recalls. “The oncologist gave us options of radiation, chemotherapy and amputation. We chose to amputate because it seemed like the best fighting chance to keep the cancer out of his body and bloodstream and organs. Along with his leg came his lymph node so we could do a biopsy and see if the cancer had reached that far yet. It had not. The amputation took place in January 2010. I do not regret our decision to amputate, but it was a very hard recovery for our family.”

Hercules was walking the night of his amputation surgery, but he remained depressed for a few days. Oakley felt helpless in that she could not explain to him why parts of his body were missing, and why he had to continuously visit the vet only to be poked, prodded, X-rayed, cut, etc. “When Hercules had his leg amputated, it was a challenge. Kylie was not old enough to understand that she needed to be gentle with him so he got a lot of ‘rough love.’ We did our best to keep her from climbing on him during recovery, but the two are inseparable, so I know he put up with some pain while playing with her. But I think he would do it again in a heart beat. I don't know if Hercules' depression was a reflection of my emotions about the situation. Indeed it could have been because my heart was filled with both fear and guilt. I wanted to make sure we were removing his leg for his best interest, and not our selfish desire to keep him around as long as possible. But he looks great now. I truly believe we made the right decision.”

Eventually, life returned to normal and Hercules seemed to be his old self again. Until more tumors appeared.

In June 2010 Hercules had to go back to the vet to have eight to 10 more tumors removed from his body. They were spread from his tail, to his rear end, into his groin, onto the side of his body, onto his chest, and up to his front legs. The poor guy had staples and stitches everywhere! At that time, the vet took another blood panel and ultrasound, which showed him to be free of any mast cell disease.

“All we do now is check for more lumps (which have already appeared) and take things day by day. We will continue to remove any and all tumors and make sure he is happy, and that is the best medical decision that can be made. His comfort level is our priority, along with keeping him around to be with Kylie as long as possible. The day I have to explain to her why Hercules is not here is going to be one of the worst days of my life.”

Hercules is currently content and relishing his role as Kylie’s personal body guard. Leslie will take him to her vet next week to have his new lumps examined and removed if necessary, and she will pray each and every day for his health.

Pit bull terrier resources
“Hello God, it’s me again, Hercules. I just want to thank you for sending so many wonderful pit bull terrier ambassadors to help salvage our reputation and save our lives. I’ve noticed many passionate, vocal groups, such as BadRap, Bless the Bullys, Mariah’s Promise, Villalobos Rescue Center, DenverKillsDogs, Rescue Ink, and of course Best Friends’ “Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog” campaign. And I love the video Jodi Preis just released! She really hit the nail on the head in portraying the truth about pit bulls. Please grant all of them the strength and resources to continue the good fight — we never meant to cause any harm to anybody, yet we are being punished for our breed. I’ll never understand that.

All I want to do is protect and love Kylie and Leslie. I pray that you will take care of them when I am gone.”

*Click here for an update on Hercules and Kylie!*

By Roni Raczkowski, Best Friends Network volunteer
Photos courtesy of Lisa Scarsi, photographer
Video courtesy of Jodi Preis, Bless the Bullys

**Check out Lisa Scarsi's photoshoot of Shorty and his Pits on her blog. Shorty and his furry sidekicks star in the HUGE show, Pit Boss on Animal Planet. If you haven’t seen the show you need to check it out (click for show times). Shorty runs a rescue called Shorty’s Rescue and is committed to spreading the word that pits are really misunderstood “underdogs” who deserve our love and respect.

Walter the Pit Bull

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news

Walter the pit bull dog is lucky to be still alive. Not too long ago, he was a severely abused pup in Brooklyn, left to die on a street by a neglectful owner.

Alex Darsey and Ro Juska are the guardian angels of this puppy, saving his life and giving him the best of love and care after such a horrid beginning.

Walter, when they found him however, was in such bad shape they could not afford to pay for the vet bills. So, they turned to the internet and to starting a blog, to see what would happen.

“Help Save Walter” was a blog, and was also given a facebook page.

“We were hoping to reach out to close friends and family that lived out of town to just kind of give a little bit of help, let people know his story,” Juska said “[But] it was overwhelming overnight.”

Animal lovers are all over the world, and they answered the prayers of Walter and his caring family.

It wasn’t just money that was donated, but stories and pictures of stories similar from all over the world, who have found animals in similar conditions and cared for them.

Four months after starting the blog, Walter is now near a picture of health, a big change from what could have been.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pit Bulls and Kittens

Think Pit Bulls are aggressive and mean to other animals?  Think again.