Monday, February 27, 2012

Two Days at the Dog Show (Someone wash out my eyes!)

Oh, dog shows. Ladies with big butts in purple polyester suits. Dogs with shaved asses. Judges grabbing all the doggies' balls. I just kept thinking, god, please let there be an alien here from a distant galaxy taking notes on our ridiculous planet. I never found the space man with his notepad, but I'm pretty sure I saw just about every other bizarre form of life this past weekend at the IKC Dog Show at McCormick Place.

CBBR and friends with adoptable Lola (left) and
obedience champ, Kobe.
CBBR has a booth at the show every year to raise money for pit bull rescue and to educate the throngs of visitors about the plight of pit bulls (who of course are not a breed that's recognized by the American Kennel Club, and whose lives tend to be drastically less pampered than those of the deodorized Dandy Dinmont whatevers in the show ring.) This is my fourth year behind the CBBR booth, and it's FINALLY getting a little easier to tolerate. Though we met our share of ding dongs, we were impressed by how many people came to our booth to tell us, for instance, that their neighbor's pit bull is the best dog in the neighborhood, or that they just can't wait to make their next dog a pittie. We were also very pleased to meet the owners of a super sexy little purebred Staffordshire Bull Terrier, who donated his services wearing our donation vest for an hour. (This is extra touching because most Staffie and Am Staff exhibitors would rather die than acknowledge that their dog has any relation to a lowly pit bull.) We were also joined by two fantastic young guys whose pit bull, Kobe, had spent the day competing in the mixed breed obedience classes and showing the bougie dogs what's what.

Pimpin' ain't easy. Little Mae more than paid her
own bills, raising $200 in donations.

I have to admit, I started to get the feeling that all of our outreach and education was beginning to add up to less ignorance about pitties. You can keep your weird show dogs and all the bizarre Victorian eugenics of the dog show world, but I must say, we had a great weekend raising money and changing minds about the dogs who need it most. Cheers to all the CBBR volunteers, supporters, and foster dogs who worked so hard to make the long, crazy weekend at IKC a big success. And, for the record, DON'T SHOP! ADOPT!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lily Update!

There are a lot of worst parts of being a dog rescuer. It can be a little rough on your faith in humanity, for one thing. But here's what rescuers live for: A happily-ever-after update on one of your favorite former foster kiddos.

You may remember Lily, who was twice our foster dog after being reluctantly returned by her first adopters. Lily came to us as a waifish, affectionate puppy who still wore the scars of having been mauled by other dogs. She was exceptionally gentle with people and cats, but she was always a little worried about meeting new dogs and would defend herself if she felt threatened (Go figure.)

Lily was returned by her first (really nice) adopters after she couldn't get along with their demanding small dog, and we happily brought her back into our home. We had kind of missed our little redhead anyway. But just a few weeks later Lily met her forever family, which included two loving humans, a kitty, and one very playful female pit bull. It was kind of love at first sight between Lily and her her sister, Dasey. But as the photographic evidence suggests, that initial crush has grown into a major romance.

We couldn't be happier for Lily and her family, and we are grateful to them for giving Lily the kind of home that we dream of for every rescued dog--a home with care, limits, fun, and lots and lots of love. Cheers, little redhead. We knew you could do it.

There are literally hundreds of lonely pitties on death row in Chicago just waiting for someone to help them become as delightful and well-loved as Lily and her sister. If you or someone you know is interested in fostering or adopting a dog in need, message me here or contact Chicagoland Bully Breed Rescue to find out more.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Just Save One Until There Are None: An Update from Phily

For all of you who just stopped sniffling over the recent post from KT, Cam, and Webbie in Philadelphia, here's a quick update:

Webster is doing great in his forever home. His adoption made room for Cam and KT to save a new pittie gal from death row. Indeed, they are now fostering Sam (now Margie)--the luckiest dog in Phily. Consider this a big hug from the whole pittie rescue community for giving one more good dog the promise of a good life.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sometimes Accidents Happen--A Guest Blog on Fostering by My Awesome Sister

As a reproductive rights advocate, women’s health nurse practitioner and contraception counselor, I never thought that I would be faced with the question of what to do with an unplanned addition to my family.
KT, Webbie & Cameron: Perfect foster parents
 and one lucky dog

My partner and I are currently raising the love of our lives: a three-year-old blue-brindle pit bull rescue, Sophia.  Out of our gratitude for the foster mom that pulled Sophie from the pound, we decided that for Christmas we would do the same for another pit.  Without much planning we went to the Philadelphia Animal Control Shelter and came home with a scared and emaciated pocket-pittie named Webster.  He was just 22 lbs when he first came into our apartment.  Nervous and apprehensive, he slowly began taking to my partner, Cameron, and I.  In the evenings he would crawl into one of our laps and fall deep asleep, becoming as heavy and warm as a bag of coals.  It was at these times that I felt the most connected to Webster.  It was as if curling up in my lap in front of the television was the first time he felt truly safe enough to fall so deep asleep.  Like baby and mother, Webster and I started to develop a special bond.  

After a couple of weeks, we began taking steps to recruit a forever home for Webbie.  Starting with an ad on petfinder, the process was encumbered by feelings of loss and sadness.  Webster’s relationship with us was special.  Another family wouldn’t understand him the same.  And most importantly, wouldn’t he think we were abandoning him?  One night as we were snuggling in a giant pit bull/human pile, my partner and I came up with a whole new idea. Looking up from stroking Webster’s velvet ears, Cameron said to me, “You know…we could just keep him.”  I protested at first, “I know, but that is not our life plan.  We have planned our future with room for just one dog.  We love Webster, but he is not supposed to be part of our family.”  Cameron responded with a comment that changed everything. “Honey, sometimes accidents happen.”

Webbie on adoption day.

From that evening on it was nearly impossible to decide what to do with Webster.  As soon as I felt like I would miss him too much, I was reminded that families make these types of adaptations all the time.  An accidental Webster could be the luckiest thing that happened to our family.  Surely we could make room in our apartment for another pittie, we had already made room in our hearts. 

And that’s when I learned that being a foster parent is one of the hardest things to do.  Of course Webster had made his way into our hearts, he basically had done so when we first met him in the shelter.  And making room in an apartment and budget for another dog is always possible.  But I had been right.  This wasn’t our plan.  We wanted to become foster parents to help save pit bulls, not simply to save Webster.  If we kept Webbie it would mean that our family was really truly full and we wouldn’t be able to foster any dogs in the future whose lives were risked everyday that they weren’t pulled from the shelter.  
Webbie making out with his forever dad, Drew.

Eventually the perfect family came forward to adopt Webster; a young couple who were looking for their first dog.  They just wanted to spoil Webster and it was clear that adopting him out to them was the right thing to do.   When we handed Webbie over to Drew and Holly, my heart was much less heavy than I thought it would be.  There was joy and comfort in knowing that this is why we first brought Webster home.  He would get to be the princess of his own home and Drew and Holly would get to know the beauty of parenting a loyal and loving pit.  We are now taking the love that we felt for Webster and using it to get ready to pull another needy dog from the shelter.  Her name is Sam.