"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

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Raja, the Dock Diving Pit Bull

Dock diving gives a timid pit bull the courage to soar

By Kirstyn Northrop Cobb ((Reprinted from StubbyDog.org)

The SPCA worker knew about the frightened little pit bull running through her neighborhood, and frequently tried to get her in off the streets. Due to sheer determination on the part of the SPCA worker, the little pit bull finally ended up in the shelter, afraid, heartworm positive, and very pregnant. Within a week, little pit bull puppies were born. As is too often the case, the puppies were adopted, but mom was left behind. One of those puppies went home with Ashley Rogers, but had to return to be microchipped. During that return trip, the shelter worker asked Ashley if she would like to meet her puppy’s mother. Ashley said “yes” and was led to an office where the little mommy pit bull was residing during her heartworm treatment. When Ashley sat down, the mommy pit bull placed her head in Ashley’s lap. The shelter worker started crying, because this was the first time that the little pit bull had voluntarily gone near someone, much less put her head in someone’s lap. It was fate, and the little pit bull was adopted and named Raja.

Raja was still nervous, and life was still overwhelming; she would go to the pet store with her mom and cower the entire time. About a year later, Ashley became involved in dock diving, a sport where dogs jump off a dock into a body of water, and are judged by the distance that they soar. Maybe dock diving would be the thing to build confidence in Raja.

At first, Ashley had some concerns about taking a pit bull into a sport dominated by labs and Chesapeake Bay retrievers, but the community was very supportive of her. Soon, Ashley had a winner on her hands, and Raja won the senior title! Currently, Raja is the #1 pit bull in the country, with a personal best jump of 19 feet.

Dock diving did the trick, and Raja gained confidence. And don’t think that the accomplishments stopped at dock diving – Raja has also earned her Canine Good Citizen certificate and passed her therapy dog test! How amazing is that?

Congratulations to Ashley and Raja, two amazing champions!

Leave Those Pit Bulls Alone

Dozzer, a 5 year old Pit Bull (as defined by law) with his owner, Jeff Hickey.
Dozzer was the first dog to be euthanized under Ontario's breed-specific legislation in 2005.

Contrary to Post columnist Barbara Kay’s assertion that, “Anytime you read a story in which animals end up dead or needing to be euthanized after being attacked by a dog, or children being wounded … you’ll be right most of the time if you guess the attacking dog was a pit bull,” (“Killer on a leash,” Jan. 3) there is no statistical proof that a pit bull is a public-safety hazard — no more so than any other type of dog.

According to Dr. Julie Gilchrist of the U.S. Center for Disease Control, a leading researcher on dog bites, “If anyone says one dog is more likely to kill — unless there is a study out there I haven’t seen — that’s not based on scientific data.”

What most likely determines whether a dog is dangerous is the humans, not the breed. In the wrong hands, any powerful breed can pose a risk, even if the animal has not been mistreated. A new client had called me in tears because her newly adopted shepherd sent her to the emergency room after he suddenly attacked her. Had this dog been a pit bull, chances are that story would have landed in the press — and that dog on death row.

Early socialization is important for pit bulls, as it is for all breeds. They are terriers and thus can be tenacious. And, like all terriers, they can have a high prey drive. Prey drive issues are common in a variety of breeds — shepherds, huskies, Jack Russells, etc. — but breed can show it. Owners of any powerful breed ­always go the extra mile.

What is not typical in pit bulls is aggression towards humans. Aggressive pit bulls are not typically family dogs, but “resident dogs”: Dogs chained in a yard, kept in a warehouse, or basement, with no regular positive human interaction. Under such conditions, any breed runs the risk of developing fearful or aggressive tendencies.

For the average pit bull kept as a family pet, things are very different. According to the American Temperament Test Society, among the 15 most popular dog breeds, only pugs and labs rank higher than pit bulls in temperament tests. Pit bulls even beat out golden retrievers.

Pit bull-type dogs are among the most common in North America. In some areas, especially the inner city, estimates run as high as 30% to 40% of the canine population. Yet less than 0.0004% of the pit bull population has been involved in fatal attacks. The truth is that they are a profoundly people-oriented animal.

Large numbers of pit bulls arrive in rescues, or are seized in cruelty cases, near death from having been starved, shot, stabbed, covered in cigarette burns, beaten and scared. Even in these deplorable conditions, it is remarkable how often they will feebly wag their tails and lick their rescuers’ hand.

These facts have not stopped places like Ontario from passing breed-specific legislation (BSL), which has resulted in the deaths of countless harmless puppies and dogs.

When then former Ontario attorney-general Michael Bryant spearheaded the push for BSL in 2005, the McGuinty government never had to prove it had a sound case. It did not consult with the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the Humane Society, animal welfare groups, the Canadian Kennel Club or the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers, all of which opposed the ban. Instead, unsubstantiated statistics and media sensationalism were good enough to sign the death warrant on thousands of dogs who had done nothing except been classified as pit bulls by visual identification alone.

So why do people experienced with pit bulls see them so differently than those whose only experience comes from media hype? Perhaps because a National Canine Research Council study found that an alarming number of media reports cited pit bulls as the dog involved in attacks, when no such breed was ever identified in the police or animal control reports.

These dogs have become the target for irrational fear and hatred, which says a lot more about us, than it does about them.

Written by Heather Morgan. Heather is a Toronto dog trainer, musician, mother and an adoptions moderator for Smilin’ Pitbull Rescue.
Photo by: Jana Chytilova/Postmedia News


Sunday, January 13, 2013

NFL Linebacker Patrick Willis Loves His Dog

Patrick Willis is widely considered to be one of the best defensive players in the NFL. The San Francisco 49er All-Pro linebacker is preparing for the biggest game of the year, a rematch with the Green Bay Packers this weekend to determine who moves on to the league championship. The Bark recently spoke with the man known for his fearsome, physical style of play, not about football … but about his new housemate, a young Pitbull named Zeus.

The Bark: Tell us about your dog.
Patrick Willis: My little man Zeus, he’s not so little anymore, he’s only 10-months-old and over 80 lbs. I’ve been wanting a dog for sometime, and with all my family back in Tennessee, you come back to a empty house all the time, it gets kind of lonely. I need to add a little life to the mix—so, I adopted Zeus, an 8-week-old Pitbull.

B: What’s he like?
PW: He listens well, and is great with people, particularly my little brother and sister. He can be a stubborn at times like all kids when they are young. The one thing he does is tear up his bed, we’re working on that. He’s just an amazing dog, I love him.

B: During the season you must travel a lot …
PW: When I’m on the road, I really miss him, I have a great dogsitter who cares for him while I’m away—she takes him to the beach, to playdates with his BFF. I know he’s in good hands til I get home. It makes it easier on my heart.

B: How did you name him?
PW: I’ve always liked the Greek gods, and Zeus was the most powerful of them all—so I named him Zeus.

B: You are involved with a scholarship program sponsored by Duracell that provides tuition and transportation to attend ProCamps run by professional athletes like yourself. To underscore their mission, they’ve produced a short video on your young life, and it is quite inspiring. Tell us about it.
PW: The program is called “Trusting Your Power” and Duracell is donating $1 to Procamps for every #TrustYourPower tweet we generate with these interviews. The donations will be placed into a scholarship fund to help underprivileged kids attend the camps. I feel blessed to be a part of the program—I was once that kid and know how much attending a camp would have meant to me, so I am fortunate to be involved. Duracell hopes to send 1,000 underprivileged kids across the country to one of the approximate 40 different ProCamps.

B: Watching the video depiction of your childhood and all that you’ve overcome, do you feel a special affinity to Pitbulls, a breed who are often misunderstood, and in a way the classic underdog?
PW: When you are young, you tend to be influenced by those around you—parents, adults, and for dogs, their owners—if you can surround them with love, show them that you care and you’ll be there for them, well, love is a powerful thing, the most powerful thing in the world. The love you give, you will get in return. It shows with Zeus.

B: What is the biggest thing you’ve learned with Zeus?
PW: The responsibility. Sometimes I’ve asked myself, what I have I got myself into … coming home after practice, making sure I attend to all of his needs, it’s a lot of responsibility—but I’m all he’s got, and he’s all I’ve got. It means a lot to me, and keeps me on my toes. I may be tired, but there’s no sleeping in, have to get up and take Zeus out for his walk. I want to make sure he’s not in need of anything. Sometimes I wish I had that growing up. Zeus and I, we take care of each other.

By Cameron Woo

The Angel On My Shoulders

Mercadante, a librarian and animal lover, recounts the life lessons she and her family learned after she adopted a pit bull.

Rumer—named after novelist Rumer Godden—was a puppy “the size of a sausage.” She was an ordinary dog who nonetheless touched the lives of everyone who knew her. With her sideways glance and mascara eyes, she shattered the myths attached to this unfairly maligned, naturally loving dog breed. Whether carrying out her self-appointed task of corralling the horses, participating in daily visits to nearby family members, riding the No. 8 golf cart, playing hockey with her “uncle” or wearing crazy glasses for Halloween, Rumer demonstrated the keys to a life well lived: guilelessly give and receive and seize the moment. Mercadante follows Rumer from her carefree, funny puppy days through a rebellious adolescence, to her physical peak of adulthood and finally to her heartbreaking but courageous end. She evocatively brings to life not only the boundless, inspiring spirit of a dog who “smells like fresh-cut grass, baked pork, and a hint of unmentionables,” but also the beauty of the Southampton, Mass., landscape and the sacredness of a moment. Even more importantly, she sheds light on the importance of understanding the pit bull for its admirably loyal nature—not for its unfortunate stereotype forged by cruel, inhumane owners intent on turning these promising animals into violent attack dogs. Rumer, on the other hand, proved herself to be a joyous, loving and good-natured soul who wholeheartedly embraced life and eagerly became a grounded center for each family member. Also included here is a delightful centerfold featuring photos of Rumer and her family.

A charming portrait of unadulterated pet love.

Review by Kirkus
"Jolene writes with great heart and passion about a dog breed disenfranchised not because of what they are, but because of what we imagine them to be. I love stories that support the underdog, and Jolene's tale of her beloved pit bull terrier is exactly that. It is also a delight to read, and a worthy story to ponder. And you will fall in love with Rumer, I'll promise you that." -Susan Knilans McElroy, author of Animals As Teachers and Healers and Animals as Guides for the Soul "Jolene has truly captured the ways animals enrich and bless our lives in profound ways. Not only is Angel On My Shoulder a story of an exceptional, loving pit bull named Rumer, it is on a larger scale the defense of a gentle, loyal breed that has been much maligned and misunderstood. May it help everyone understand both the true nature of the American Pit Bull as well as the true nature of love."
*Buy the book at this site for $4.00!
Buy now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kaley Cuoco and Dog Shaming

Kaley Cuoco does it again! Check out her PSA from the People's Choice Awards. I spy a pit bull!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

BSL is Contagious. Speak Up Now.

Despite the positive trend we saw in 2012 (more discriminatory laws were repealed or rejected than passed last year), Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) remains a problem in communities around the world and, as we’re seeing in Maryland and Boston, it’s having a serious impact on families right now.

Here’s what we need you all to know: BSL doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It spreads. Areas that think they have a problem will look to other communities to see what they are doing and then copy their actions. If BSL happens in one town, it doesn’t just affect that town – it spreads beyond city or state borders and affects everyone.

BSL is contagious. 

animal farm foundation: BSL is contagious

This contagion affects us all, no matter what kind of dog we have. In fact, BSL affects everyone, whether or not they even own a pet.

While it’s true that BSL discriminates against certain dogs and certain owners, it does one thing across the board: BSL jeopardizes everyone’s safety equally.

BSL is not a “pit bull” dog issue. It’s not something that only affects “pit bull” dogs and their families. BSL denies all of us the opportunity to live in a safe, humane community.

There is no “us vs. them” when it comes to wanting a safe community. Dog owners, including “pit bull” dog owners, want to be protected from the reckless few who disregard the laws that govern responsible pet ownership. Discriminating against dog owners because of what their dog looks like will never make for a safer community. Holding reckless owners accountable will.
BSL fails all of us:
  • BSL is ineffective and expensive (your tax dollars are being wasted). It has never been proven to increase public safety. Learn more about how BSL fails here.
  • BSL is time-consuming and nearly impossible to enforce. Animal control officers must spend time and resources seizing and destroying family dogs, based only on their physical appearances, rather than focusing their efforts on protecting the community from truly dangerous animals.
  • BSL doesn’t treat all citizens equally. Every citizen deserves to be protected from ALL reckless dog owners, regardless of what kind of dog they own. BSL only targets certain breeds or breed mixes, based only on how they look and not based on how a dog actually behaves. Every dog owner should be held equally accountable.
  • BSL targets dogs of all kinds. Think your dog is safe because you don’t own a “pit bull” dog? BSL is a slippery slope and your dog might be the next victim. All it takes is one person accusing your dog of being a “pit bull” and you might be forced to give up your dog. See what happened when one woman’s mixed breed dog was reported to be a “pit bull” dog. BSL has also targeted more than 30 different breeds of dogs, from Boston Terriers and Chihuahuas to Siberian Huskies and Great Danes. No one is safe.
  • BSL and “no kill” are incompatible. Cities can’t claim to be “no kill” if a breed ban is in place. Euthanizing any dog identified as a banned breed, regardless of the dog’s individual temperament, is incompatible with the “no kill” philosophy. Forward thinking animal welfare policies don’t allow for discrimination.
  • BSL creates an atmosphere of fear. Families who can’t move to other towns wind up hiding their dogs. Neighbors get the message that “those dogs” aren’t safe and look at their neighbor’s dogs differently. Myths, lies, and hype take the place of facts, truth, and personal experiences. Fear replaces logic.
  • BSL perpetuates myths. BSL suggests we can accurately identify a dog’s breed based on their looks and that a dog’s breed is an accurate predictor of behavior. Science, like this analysis from the AVMA, has repeatedly shown that both of these concepts are false. We cannot accurately i.d. a dog based only on their physical appearance. And we cannot predict or assume to know how a dog will act in the future, based only on their breed.
  • BSL discriminates against people. While BSL may seem to be a battle about dogs, it is just as much about the people who own them. Stereotypes, prejudice, and assumptions about who owns “pit bull” dogs fuels the discrimination our dogs face. “Pit bull” dog owners are just as responsible and involved in their communities as any other dog owner. BSL assumes otherwise. It’s an insult to “pit bull” dog owners everywhere to be treated as “second class” dog owners who have no regard for safety or the law. It’s not true and we won’t stand for it.
Breed Specific Legislation fails us and our communities. Clearly, it’s not just “pit bull” dogs that benefit from putting an end to BSL. Everyone benefits when breed neutral laws, that hold ALL reckless dog owners accountable for their actions, are in place.

It’s in all of our best interests to defeat BSL. We ALL want safe, humane communities and won’t stand for this discrimination.

If you believe that all dogs should be treated fairly and equally, please take a stand.

Here’s how:
  • Reach out beyond your borders. Your polite phone calls and letters DO make a difference, even if you do not live in the municipality being affected by BSL. Contrary to popular belief, hearing from citizens around the country does have an affect on local politicians. Reach out beyond your town to help those being discriminated against.
  • Boycott towns that have BSL: don’t hold conferences, competitions, or events in these towns. Take your money to places that don’t discriminate. Money talks.
  • Send us your photos. AFF’s Majority Project is designed to put an end to damaging stereotypes that fuel discrimination against “pit bull” dogs and their families. Send us your photos and help us show policymakers that we won’t be insulted any longer.
  • Download the app. Download the free AFF app “Talking Pit Bull Dogs” for a BSL Talking Point guide, including tips for letter writing. Don’t use apps? You can find that info at the end of this webinar.
  • Don’t be silent. Even if you don’t own a “pit bull” dog, it could be your dogs next. Help us stop the cycle of discrimination now, so that no other group of dog owners ever has to take up this fight again. Join “pit bull” dog families in your town and demand fair and effective breed neutral polices. Let your policy makers know that you won’t stand for discrimination and ineffective laws that compromise everyone’s well being.
“Pit bull” dog families and advocates around the country can’t defeat BSL without your help. Please help us stand up for all dogs.

Let’s stop BSL in its tracks.

To download a copy of this poster, please visit:http://www.animalfarmfoundation.org/pages/Posters

Article from: http://animalfarmfoundation.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/bsl-is-contagious-speak-up-now/

Kaley Cuoco's Dog in the Hot Tub

I love Ellen and I am now a new fan of Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory). She has three RESCUED pit bulls and is helping to show how they can make wonderful, sweet additions to a family. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Video du Jour


"Think Different"

Timothy Wilson is a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and the author of the book “Redirect,” about how we change our minds and behavior. Stories are more powerful than data, Wilson says, because they allow individuals to identify emotionally with ideas and people they might otherwise see as “outsiders.”

Jonathan Haidt is a psychology professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University and author of “The Righteous Mind.” He says that people change their minds all the time, but hurling data and rational arguments at people is usually not what what triggers the change. Whether you’re changing your own mind or someone else’s, the key is emotional, persuasive storytelling.

In 2013, let's share our stories about pit bulls in ways that inspire people and speak to their values.
-Kim Wolf