October is really my favorite month now that I know it’s Pit Bull Awareness Month and Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.
My first dog came from a puppy farm (before I really understood what that meant) ‘cause I had fallen in love with a picture of a Chow Chow puppy. Once I got to Raleigh I stared adopting shelter dogs, which has filled my life with wonderful experiences, even the tough ones. I was Labradored, fell in love with bully breeds, and found pups that needed me as much as I needed them.
These cuties are still looking for their furever homes.
The Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) is open seven days a week from noon until 6 p.m. Stop by and find your soul mate. To meet one of these pups pictured here, go to the WCAC Adoption Gallery for a bio and contact information to get in touch with their foster parents.
National Pit Bull Awareness Day was extended to the entire month of October in 2011. It has increased the time for education and promotion of those that have touched our hearts.
Currently there are some good bully breed mixes at the WCAC that have been patiently waiting for their furever families for a very long time. We will highlight one each day in October so stop by daily.
Last blog I talked about a long-timer who had been waiting for her home for a reason. As I started asking staff and volunteers about Batman it crossed my mind – why? What is such a great dog still doing at the shelter 54+ days later? When I asked J her answer was quick and simple: “He’s black and he’s a Pit Bull.” Individually a problem, together they’ve let this sweetheart be continually overlooked.
Okay, fine, there is also the “NO CATS” thing.
Batman is a little over a year old and came to the shelter as a stray back in the beginning of December. He will probably fill out in the chest a little more, but he is a great size at around 45 lbs. And although at first glance he looks like a black and white dog, if you look at him in bright sunshine you’ll see he is actually a lovely brindle.
All that aside, the important stuff you need to know is what the volunteers had to say about his personality.
SMH: “He’s a hugger. He jumps up gently and embraces you with his front paws, nuzzling with his head. It’s touching.”
SB: “He is super sweet and affectionate. He and Biggin are two favorites of mine. You can just see the love in their eyes. I am kinda madly in love with him.”
CB: “He is very silly and fun. [In the Dogs Playing for Life™ playgroup] he was very playful, very fun-loving. Really high energy. He just needs the right pairing of a similar style, and I’m sure he would go to town.”
Batman also got to spend some time with Shannon Johnstone at North Wake Landfill District Park – isn’t he beautiful?
Now I know the weather here in North Carolina is going to be wonky for the next couple of days. Batman will patiently be waiting for you – visit him as soon as you safely can. I know you’ll find your new best friend – I just know it.
Denver still has their breed specific legislation (BSL), but they have conceded that service dogs can be of any breed.
The public vote to determine the status of the BSL in Miami-Dade County on August 14, 2012 was only 37% in favor of changing the current law. StopBSL.org had an interesting post on this “disappointing” outcome. They found it encouraging that 80,000 people voted to repeal the breed ban despite these considerations …
In other parts of the country, education and activism have been able to fight this fear that dogs (i.e. Pit Bulls) are simply “born” vicious. Here is a nice interactive map showing current BSL legislation around the country.
Charo is a lovely brindle brown and white Pittie mix who has been at the shelter since early July of this year. She’s about a year and a half old – a rambunctious pre-teen in dog years.
She is a spunky and outgoing pup who wants to be the center of everything and the life of the party. She would do great in a home that had a yard for her to romp in – note, she’s not going to be a candidate for dog parks as we’ve found her to be rather picky about her playmates in the Dogs Playing for Life play groups. But when she finds those guys she plays well with she is all in and has such a glorious time playing that you won’t be able to keep yourself from scheduling more play dates for her.
Charo will need some training – her previous life and time in the shelter has left her with some bad habits. She just needs a little etiquette training. May I suggest Teamworks Dog Training LLC – I’d love to see her in class.
Shannon tells me that Charo loves to play with toys and has a special affinity for tennis balls.
So, if you’re not afraid of a little work for the most terrific lifelong companion – stop by the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) any day of the week between noon and 6 p.m. to meet this terrific girl. You can also check out all of the available pets on the Adoption Gallery (click here).
Do you have what it takes?
There are always pets in need – you see them everywhere you turn. Within the WCAC one of the ways you can help is to become a foster family. Granted, being a foster family is a tough gig (for obvious reasons) and not for everyone, but the rewards will make your heart grow three sizes every day.
But we need to talk about a few things, like …
You will most likely not be fostering cute fluffy small dogs or puppies. The reason is obvious once you hear it – they are the quickest to be adopted or rescued. It’s the big dogs and pit bull types that have spent months and months of their life in the shelter that need some time in a real home.
Itty bitty bottle-feeder kittens are not easy to foster. They’ve usually been turned in without their momma, which may mean that she abandoned them. This happens in nature for a reason. You will lose many of them and you won’t know why. They will seem happy and healthy when you go to bed and the next morning they will pass over to the RainbowBridge in your arms.
Special needs animals need you. There are always sick dogs and cats at the shelter, more than there is room for, and they need someplace “bug free” to get healthy and strengthen their immune systems. They have to be taken out of the general population to minimize the impact of illness on all the other animals. Let’s face it, if you’ve ever been in a shelter you know the noise and chaos quickly wears on your nerves – but you get to leave and go home. The same is true for many of the animals that come through the WCAC – it’s too much for them and they start to shut down or act crazy in the kennel. They need the love, comfort, and stability of a home and family to make them adoptable.
These are the shelter pets who need you. Next week I’ll talk a little bit about the process of becoming a foster for the WCAC and why it’s not an instant approval type process.
If you’d like to get started on becoming a foster click here and fill out the Foster Application.
So, our first week back home from vacation and with Bubba Rex having gone to his new home it has been – well – different. I especially miss coming home to a wagging tail and a furry face. Mostly it’s been a time of finding toys in odd places and remembering that we don’t have to close every door or rush home after work.
It’s also brought up long buried memories of Tippi and Snips and the quirks of our life with them that are just ghosts in this old house.
I thought I’d leave you with a few photos of Rex in his new home. Last we heard he had graduated to spending about three minutes in the backyard by himself before coming back to the back door looking for his pack.
And this little video of Rex with a new toy is too cute.
I’m sure when we get home from our vacation and there’s no one there to bark at us or give us the “whale eye” it will become quite real that Bubba Rex has moved on to his new furever family.
In some ways it all happened very quickly – JA emailed us after seeing Rex’s flyer at the Pet Supply Plus®. We arranged to meet at Lion’s Park. It went well – Rex was full of beans and took to JA with paws up and mouth open. JA liked our Bubba Rex a lot and we talked about setting up a time for his teenage sons to meet Rex. The universe began to line up for our foster pup and we were able to meet the next day at Lion’s Park again.
There were no games that evening so we put Rex on a long training lead and went out to the outfield for some playtime with a tennis ball. Rex’s personality came through as he chased the ball and rolled around in the grass. He also wrestled with me and tried to nip my feet. The boys were getting lots of laughs out of Bubba Rex’s antics.
So I asked the big question – “Is he your dog?” The boys were quick to tell JA they thought they should adopt him. The smile that spread across JA’s face said everything.
He needed to puppy proof his house first so we dropped Rex off at the Center on our way to the airport Friday morning. That way JA could come by after work and finalize the adoption. It made the transition easier for us in some ways – well, except for the sound of him barking at us as we walked away from the kennel, and waiting to hear from the Center that JA had come for Rex and he officially had his new furever family.
We keep coming across photos and videos on our phones – they are full of good memories, and we wonder about the next step in this journey of being a foster family … there’s even some discussion of working with the itty-bitty kitties that are flooding in to the Center right now.
In the meantime, check out the WCAC Foster set to find your next family member.
Foster Momma dropped me off at the WCAC this morning, where doctor Jen gave me another soothing bath. Dr. Jen was doing a happy dance and when I asked her why she said I was mange free. Best of all, no more medicine on my dinner plate. Foster Momma said she’d still give me a scoop of Alpo with dinner just ‘cause she loves me and thinks I need to gain a bit more weight.
Foster Momma asked the nice vets to neuter me the first time I passed my mange test (you have to pass it two months in a row to be considered cured). That happened three weeks ago – so – so that means that as soon as my furever family and I meet we can start being a family immediately. Well, as soon as we go to the WCAC and take care of the paper work.
Foster Momma gets all teary eyed when we talk about it, but that’s okay ‘cause I know she really wants me to find my family.
She said I should probably talk to you all about my perfect home …
I need somebody who is strong and confident to lead me and give me guidelines to live by.
I would love a couch and bed to sleep next to you.
I need someone who loves to go on walks or runs or hikes in the woods.
I would LOVE a fenced in yard to run and zoom and play catch in.
And it would be just too cool if I had a dog buddy (or two) to play in that yard with and teach me all about doggy manners.
Momma says no cats, as I find them just a little too interesting (if you know what I mean). She also says that small kids would probably not be a good idea as I need to learn to play properly first.
I need an unending supply of treats and Kongs filled with peanut butter and frozen bananas.
Foster Momma just looked over my shoulder and said she thought my list was getting kind of long – she did say “perfect” family. Quite frankly, I’m a dog and all I really need is good food, regular vet visits and lots of love and I’ll be so happy I’ll just about bust.
Ready world – here I am! Email foster momma at firstname.lastname@example.org right now to set up a play date and see if we’re meant to be together. I know we are.
I did promise to write some of the wonderful stuff about our little foster Bubba Rex – although at 62 pounds I’m not sure I’m allowed to call him little anymore. We are excited about this as he’s put on some much needed weight.
But I digress, on to the good stuff …
I find his breed adorable. I know that sounds funny, but it’s how I think about it. I call him an All-American Mix breed. He’s definitely got some Boxer in him with the way he looks, the point on the top of his head and the way he throws those paws all around when he’s playing. Those massive paws and the way he looks when he’s sitting proud on the couch shows off his Mastiff side. And the way in which he keys in on birds during our walks makes me wonder if there is some Pointer in there somewhere. With recent warmer temps Rex’s panting has brought out a beautiful Pittie smile – a big pink tongue and all.
He is near perfect about waiting for his breakfast and dinner. He doesn’t crowd me while I’m fixing it and he’s usually sitting politely as I turn to put it down – I rarely have to tell him to sit. He watches me carefully waiting for the nod of my head as I say “okay” before he races over and wolfs it down – which of course leads to post meal burping, which is always a hoot!
Although he’s become more confident, he’ll still curl up next to me or in my lap on the couch – sometimes to take a little nap and sometimes just to chew on a toy. I also love it when he curls up at my feet at night. He makes a great foot warmer when the temps make those weird drastic drops we’ve had lately.
He has a wonderful soft head. His skin is loose and he’s got some big jowls. Now that the fur has grown back it’s just so soft and cuddly. And then he drops those ears and gives you a look with those big soulful eyes – man, it’s hard not to give in to the boy.
Dining Room Fetch
He loves playing catch and we have great fun having our game time in the dining room. And the pink, spikey ball has been perfect as it’s got great bounce and is soft enough that it doesn’t break things when foster momma messes up her throw, which surprisingly happens more often than one might think.
And it’s downright adorable the way his ears flop as he runs back to you bringing the ball. Of course it’s even funnier when that run turns into a canter as his energy lags.
He’s learned to like his crate, at least when we’re out of the house, so when you make him up a peanut butter and banana Kong he trots right in with a nary a word. Now if we’re still in the house and have put him up for his own safety or in time-out, then he has plenty of words for us … although he’s getting better about it with each instance.
Day by day he is getting better about walking nicely on a leash. He’s always done pretty well on walks, but along the way he decided that he was leader of the pack and that I needed to be protected. We’ve switched to the Halti, which has been great, and when I project confidence and leadership he is an absolute dream to walk.
All in all, he’s a good dog. He’s more beautiful and magnificent with each passing day as his fur grows back and he gains weight. With proper leadership and training he’ll be a wonderful addition to someone’s family.
If you are interested, he is available for adoption through the Wake County Animal Center. For more information, or to arrange a meet and greet, email Foster Momma Suze at email@example.com.
Do you believe that this past Sunday afternoon he did a jig and a twirl and popped the plastic clasp on his harness?
Luckily he did not get loose and the clasp wasn’t broken so I was able to get it back on him. But we did cut our walk short as there were just too many dogs out and about.
I did come away with several observations …
Getting and keeping his attention on a walk is tough.
String cheese works pretty well, but meaty dried chicken treats are not high enough value. (Going to try dried hot dogs next.)
Carrying a poo bag while trying to hold this leash, train him to walk nicely and treat his good behavior does not work.
Birds and squirrels are much more interesting than me or the treats I dispense.
People get him barking.
People walking calm dogs gets him pulling on the leash.
And jacked-up dogs who bark at him get him crazy with barking, whining, lunging, twisting and twirling around on his hind legs.
Bubba Rex (a.k.a. Dexter 66007) is available for adoption through the Wake County Animal Center. For more information, or to arrange a meet and greet, email Foster Momma Suze at firstname.lastname@example.org.