“Pit Bull” Awareness Month

Yep, I’m sliding into the wan

ing days of the month with this post but bear with me, I have my reasons.  Every October for the past several years I’ve embraced the concept of Pit Bull Awareness Month and celebrated all things Ray and Julius while working towards broad acceptance of seeing my boys and all other Pit Bull types of dogs as individuals, not as lumped sums of their breed, or breeds as the case may be.  My boys are both Pit Bulls in the broadest sense of the word and yet they share absolutely no similar breed DNA.  They are individuals.

 

Sugar, Julius, and Ray

 
In light of all of the ballyhoo with PeTa joining forces with the vitriolic group that I won’t link to here I was planning to sit out this round.  I was asked by a friend and fellow Pit Bull Coalition member to help find an avenue to help spread awareness to the right people.  Here’s the thing: in person I’m pretty confrontational and blunt.  If you threaten or malign my dogs (or anyone I care about) I could very easily try to pull your eyeballs out with my fingernails while trying to figure out ways to really hurt you but when it comes to mudslinging and manufactured “statistics” from zealots, I try not to give credence in the form of attention.  Much like when you are training a dog in a positive manner, you ignore the unwanted behavior and reward the desired behavior.

  
PeTa contends that it would be best to kill all Pit Bull types for their own good to save them from the criminal element who want to adopt them. There aren’t many words in that sentence that I don’t take issue with but many people more reasonable and more informed than I have addressed such lunacy, so I won’t bother other than to point out that of course, I don’t want to see Pit Bulls abused, but I don’t want to see any animal abused.  I just don’t think that killing them all will solve the issue.

  
In the vein of positive reinforcement, I also want to take this moment to write a bit more about what you might and might not see here.  Get it?  Same message but different delivery.  I have a pretty dry and sarcastic sense of humor but you won’t see me engaging in the tongue in cheek “pit bull attack” pictures of dogs licking babies.  Here at Peaceabull we don’t “do” the words vicious, monster, attack, or aggressive even if we are describing how heartily we show love and affection and we don’t assume (well maybe we do, but we don’t verbalize it) that you are working from a point of prejudice about our dogs.  You don’t like my dog?  I’m not going to assume it is because they are pit bulls, and by that assumption I am giving you the benefit of a doubt that you are not an asshole.  (Oops!  There’s the eyeball pluckers coming out!)

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#FreeLucky

#FreeLucky

There’s no denying that Lucky and Cujo were in fact two lucky dogs and oh my goodness, if a name was ever wrong for a dog, then Cujo was it. We began referring to him as Chance; he’d gotten several by now and yet The Blues still got other new names at the shelter. Ion (Lucky) and Iron (Cujo/Chance). I’ll admit, I really never called them by their new names much; Lucky and Chance they were in my mind and my heart. These two were definitely wiggling deeper into my heart, I mean, how can you carry a dog into a clinic, wear her blood on your shirt (like a badge of honor) and not feel like you are now somehow bound together? Can’t happen.

 

Lucky is about 10 months old and presumably Chance’s daughter. She’s a stocky little low rider who wiggles into you as if she’s trying to osmose into you to get that much more loves because she’s never met a stranger and is absolutely positive that all of humanity was set on this Earth specifically to love and dote on her. She’s probably right about that.

Soon after the weekend, the pair was sent to H.O.P.E. for their surgeries where Lucky’s lucky streak continued. There’s a fabulous woman (and friend) who loves Pit Bulls has been volunteering with the Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition by walking foster dogs at our Pack Walks and we’ve joked that she is a lucky charm because the last three dogs she walked were almost immediately adopted afterwards. She also works at H.O.P.E. and though she was at the June Pets for Life clinic volunteering, it was at H.O.P.E. where she re- met and fell in love with Lucky all over again prompting a Facebook campaign that had me in stitches and tears.

Ironically I had just recently had a text conversation with her partner about her level of readiness for a “large” dog and how all of their friends, especially all of us crazy committed pit bull people would be there to support them but understood the reluctance since they are newly settling into a new home.

The campaign started with this picture

Photo by Cassie

and the caption, “This is Lucky/Ion/whatever I name her. I have absolutely fallen in love with her and need her sweet love in my life forever!”

Friends, ever supportive that we are began a very low pressure, reasonable show of support for Cassie’s campaign which became known as #freelucky.

 

Photo by Lisa Reyes and The Amazing Adventures of Clyde

Comments such as “Poster dog for PFL,” “Such a proud symbol of the PFL cause,” “If there was no Pets For Life in Fort Wayne, where would this girl be right now?” (Did I mention the other mom is the Pets for Life coordinator?) “#luckyneedstwomommies” and then there was, “Sarah McLaughlin called, she wants to perform at the #freelucky concert.”

Then the one that may have tipped the scale, “…I really do think it is time for me to devote my love to another dog. I miss Oscar and he would want me to love again….she just left to go back to ACSPCA and it made my heart hurt.”

Photo by Lizz (photobombing dog has already been adopted)

Ultimately,and in record time the campaign worked and Lucky’s fate rested in the paws of the two resident dachshunds.

Photo by Melissa and Cassie

Photo by Melissa and Cassie

Photo by Melissa and Cassie

Photo by Melissa and Cassie

All kidding aside, how fitting that this Lucky dog found her way to these lucky women. This little dog, who in less than one year of being had been bounced from home to home, been protected at two shelters, become a rally symbol of community hope, a symbol of two women who are passionate about saving lives and giving back to their community and has made her final stop with them. I’m sure that when they look at their girl now named Eden, they don’t see a sad little story, but one of success and love written on one kissable, squishy face. #LoveForeverEden

Sugar Marie

So often we read angry, outraged posts from people admonishing rescues for pulling puppies and leaving the Mama to die languish in a shelter. It is a despicable practice and I’m not  going to lie, I hate that it happens and yet I can see a bit why it occurs.  Puppies are generally easy to adopt and often really have a quick “turn around” time in rescue or foster homes.  Saggy, worn out mamas? Not so much and rescues have not only monetary but space considerations to deal with, so while I absolutely hate it, well, no I just absolutely hate it and can’t find a good justification.

I’m pretty proud that both organizations with which I am associated do not subscribe to that practice and our little Candy Bar family was no different. As a matter of fact, that subject was never discussed and it was always a mama and her puppies that we discussed pulling.  When the little family arrived, many of my co-workers as well as people among the internets commented that they would find it hard to not foster fail-especially puppies but I knew that my puppy having days were well over after Ray, so I felt pretty secure that I wouldn’t foster fail.

On the flip side, when Asia recently announced that she would be buying a house and moving out, my first thought (and that of so many of our friends in Animal Rescue) was, “Good! Now you can foster!”  You know where this is headed, right?

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Yeah, my daughter gets attached, it’s true, but her reasoning for wanting Sugar to join the family were good ones, her only hesitancy was that Sugar may be already attached to me, which I explained Sugar seemed grateful for the clean place to land and the good food, but I didn’t feel she was especially attached.  So we sent Sugar off for a few overnight, girls only pajama parties to give her a feel for how life might be and to give her a bit of a break from the Sugar babies that remained at that time.  It turns out that the babies were fine, Sugar was fine and now  we are just waiting for the milk to dry up so she can be spayed (and have a much needed dental cleaning).

Sugar is actually a very good fit for Asia and my granddaughter.  She is small, sweet, gentle and good in all of the situations we’ve had her in so far.

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Sugar is around five years old and no stranger to that puppy making life, as the candy bar crew was certainly not her only litter.  She most likely has not ever received any vetting but she is a lovely little soul who seemingly gets along  with all of the dogs she’s met so far (even won over Ray) and seems to not give two hoots about the cats, so that’s a bonus.

I love that she is such great friends with Julius already and that she and Ray are on good terms as well.  I do love her but not as my own dog and I know she feels the same about me.  If I really had to guess, I’d say she knows where her home is.

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Sugar Babies

Despite my aversion to the “unwashed masses” touching the puppies, I ended up bringing Kit Kat and Godiva to our adoption event on Saturday.  I had arranged for Snickers’ meet and greet to be earlier that morning, so I loaded the three gals up and hoped for the best.  Strange things about this litter and their mama.  As the Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition, we really only deal with the bullie s (Am Staff, Staffies, APBT, American Bulldogs, American Bullies, etc) but I have a sneaking suspicion we got flim-flammed a bit.  We know the father of this litter is a Collie-Beagle mix and Sugar?  She’s small, easily confused with a small terrier or a cattle dog maybe.  Toby and Godiva definitely have lug heads and they all have some Pittie traits, but easily taken for NOT a bully, which worked out well for Snicker’s adopters who rent and have breed bans.  So as it turned out, as of late Saturday afternoon, the Peaceabull Assembly was devoid of fosters.

Toby

 

photo by his new mom

 

I can’t imagine anything more stressful than wishing, hoping, praying and willing you to be healthy, Toby.  We don’t hold meet and greets or adoptions at the homes of our fosters or board members for fear of a constant stream of strays finding their way to our homes.  Toby’s adopters were good friends of a good friend and their application and message were so heartfelt and polite, so we agreed to have them over to Peaceabull to meet all the pups and hopefully find a match.  They had just lost their Pittie, Sammy, days before we pulled the pups and needed to fill the silence so when they fell in love with Toby we went ahead and finalized the adoption, although we all agreed that the following two weeks with his mama and his litter were crucial to this little guy.  Just as we were excited for Toby’s bright future, Joy got sick and died, the remaining puppies began getting sick and we ended up with every single one being treated for Parvo and Coccidia.

Always the sweeter of the two sweet boys, Toby pulled through and though he was thinner and bony, his loving (and sassy) personality remained intact and he was able to still go home with his parents on the previously scheduled day of July 2nd.  His adoptive parents were so supportive and positive throughout the entire waiting period and I absolutely know he will have a good life and I will get Facebook updates (hopefully) daily!  I’d have to say, he was my favorite.

Reece and Baby Ruth

On the 7th we held a invitation-only meet and greet and brought the five pups as well as Coco, an adult female who had an application out to meet potential adopters.  The first family in the door wanted to see Reece and that’s all she wrote.  

  
They were smitten with his fun-loving and easy-going nature and I’m sure his little heart-shaped nose didn’t hurt either.  Reece is “all boy” in the best possible way; the most adventurous but not too mischievous, he negotiated up and down the stairs without hesitation and leapt head first into any situation.  He will fit right in with that active young family.  Reece was definitely my favorite.

Ruthie also found herself adopted after snatching the place right out from under Snicker’s nose, but that is how Ruthie rolls.  

  
She was always the biggest of the litter and as such, was the bully of her siblings from the get-go.  Most interestingly, like most bullies, she had a weakness for the unknown and the day the pups met Julius, they all swarmed him like screaming fans swarming the Beatles, except for Ruthie who yelped and hid for an hour.  Once she determined that Julius was not going to harm her, she became his little shadow.  Baby Ruth was fun, affectionate and eager to be loved.  She went to a home with a sweet woman and her daughter who will love her always and forever.  Baby Ruth was awesome and she was my favorite.

Snickers

Ah, my little Snicker Doodle-do.  Snickers was always the most clingy and the most whiney vocal which was actually how I knew the moment she got sick.  Being that she was a little bit quieter, I set her down and she didn’t whine or bark, so I knew she was sick.  Snickers was always a mama’s girl in the weirdest way-she immediately bonded to me.  All the puppies would rush to Sugar for nursing but Snickers always wanted me to hold her or play with her for at least a minute or two each time she saw me.  Snickers would put her paws on each side of my neck or try to climb on my shoulder to be closer and the home she found will be awesome, I’m sure. This young couple emailed that they wanted her, first to meet on Thursday then maybe Friday would be better since they were moving on Friday so we set a time then we set another time.  Moving took longer than anticipated and by the time we rescheduled for Saturday, I was feeling like I’d be bringing all three gals to the adoption event.  What I found couldn’t have been further from the truth.  Their apartment was immaculate and tastefully decorated and oh so clean.  Apparently it was not left clean and they spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning before being able to move in.  Snickers was always the gal for them and so there she stayed. 

   

I constantly would tell Snickers, “I’m not your mommy and I don’t love you,” but I could tell she knew that she was my favorite.

Kit Kat

After Joy, Kit Kat was the smallest of the litter but she didn’t let that get in her way.  Kit Kat never instigated anything but never took any sh*#t from her brothers and sisters and was always there to back one of them up.  She was probably the most independent of the litter in that she could play with others, play by herself, be cuddled or just hang out.  The funniest thing about this little one?  On Tuesday she woke up and her ears were now like this:

  
I loved Kit Kat for her chutzpah and of all the pups, she got a new name, which was a bit disappointing, because a dog named Kit Kat!  She was my favorite.

Godiva

‘Diva probably changed the most over the three weeks that the puppies were with us.  Before she got sick, she was the largest after Baby Ruth and she was the one I predicted might end up back in the Shelter system.  She was the one who hung on shoe laces and pant legs and fingers and shirts and strings by her little stubborn terrier teeth.  She was the one who would hurl herself into whatever was going on with the litter.  The Diva was never one to start something but she would by gosh finish it.  When she got sick, I think she took it harder mentally than any of the others.  She got smaller both physically and by her personality.  She became more tentative and more cuddly.  During one of my visits while they were in clinic, she actually scampered away from the door and turned her back to me until she realized it was me.  Then she sat in my lap and got some love.

‘Diva’s adoptive family will have to do more than any of the above to keep her and at the moment are actually fostering to adopt* to allow for more transition time.  She has a dog selective…’uncle’ (?) whose stamp of approval is harder to come by though she and her new dog sister Lucy are already in the throes of love. 

  
This family will ultimately end up adopting this little girl who is going to have a wonderful life. She was my favorite.

But what happened to Sugar?  Check back tomorrow.

*As I was adding pictures I got the message that the adoption will soon be finalized. Diva is home.

Guest Post-As Told by Jack

It was the day humans refer to as Saturday. It the day looked like many others but I felt like this was a different kind of day and when I woke up in my cozy nest of grass, I decided that this was the day I’d let them “catch” me. A few days ago, the human I lived with took me to a building that had lots of sounds of other dogs and handed me to a big man who spoke gruffly, but had kind eyes. I didn’t really want to be in the big building with all of the other dogs barking so I gave the big man the okie-doke and slipped through his legs and ran outside but I stayed near enough to the big building because something told me I should not wander far. That Saturday morning, I was feeling itchy from being outside, my skin was uncomfortable from the pulling hair and I was hungry. I ran right up to a lady and let myself be “caught.”

  

A few hours passed and I wondered why I had that feeling that I was supposed to be here on this specific day. I didn’t like being in the building with the loud dogs but then some more ladies came to look at me and one of them who seemed sad when she was looking at the blockheads said, “Yeah, he should definitely come.” Come where?

  

Eventually a few of the other dogs went in the office for a bit but then they were returned to their kennels and it was my turn. When the door opened, I was full of different feelings. I wanted to run away again and yet I also was a bit nervous so I wanted to hide. When I was brought to the office, one of the ladies and the gruff sounding man poked me with needles but they were kind about it so I didn’t cry. I put my paws in the gruff man’s lap to tell him I was sorry for hiding from him then I sat with the lady who didn’t want to touch me. I think she was nervous of all of my handsomeness, so I gave her a little kiss to make her feel happy. It made her giggle and I could tell she was beginning to love me.

  

Instead of going back to the kennel in the loud room I was put into a tiny crate and loaded into what the lady called the Pittie Van and I learned I was going on a Vicktory Ride. Eventually all five of us were loaded and I was nervous when I saw the big crybaby Blue Tick Coonhound loaded. I was sure his voice would give me a headache but he hopped in his crate and fell right asleep. Whew! What a relief! Oh, the pretty girl with the block head is whining-I think she just likes the sound of her own voice. Why does she have to talk so much? No one else is talking. The yellow guy is sitting up in the front seat like he’s special or something and the pup is being good in his little crate too. We’re all wondering what’s going on but we can tell this is a good car ride so no one is scared, we are just a little nervous.

When the Pittie Van stopped we were all unloaded by some more nice ladies who took us to other kennels and put blankets on our beds then left us for the night to wonder why we were moved from one big building with dogs to another one? What’s different? The next few days passed and we began to learn the routine, outside for fresh air, return to clean kennels with fresh bedding , food, dogs leave, dogs come. One kind lady shaved all of my handsome apricot hair off, and I pretended I was mad, but in truth it felt good to not have my skin pulled and itchy-feeling.

  

On the morning they call Thursday, I went for another ride and people looked at my ouchie foot then did some things in my mouth (I think) and when I came back, the little guy who was in the kennel next to me was gone and I felt happy for him, I guess. They said he found his forever home.

Just as I was settling onto my bed, I was brought to another room and as soon as I was in the door, I saw her! I recognized her as soon as I saw her and I ran right over. I was brought on this adventure so that I could meet my forever person and she found me so quickly. I was so excited to see her and she recognized me so quickly that we immediately were wrapped in love. As we cuddled, she whispered to me, “I hope they let me take you home, it will just be the two of us and we’ll be so happy.”

  

As we left the building, I heard something about shopping and getting spoiled…

Ray’s Rebuttal

So, my little brother thinks he’s sooo smart, eh? Here are some examples of why I disagree. He’s always goofing off when Mama tries to take pictures of our my handsomeness.

Derp Face

Derp Face

And he gets these looks on his face that just seem so…simple.

Simpleton

Simpleton

And he has no dignity.

Really?

Really?

But I guess even though he’s silly, he IS my little brother and I love him a lot I guess we might as well keep him.

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20130819_204740Because like Mama says, we are yin and yang.  He puts himself out there and meets people like a good ambassador so that I don’t have to.  I prefer to take my time and hide behind my Mama for a while, so we suit each other just fine.

Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang

 

Mother’s Day

 

It’s hard to be a part of the online community and not glean some enjoyment from all of the great pictures that flooded the web of people with their mothers, or aunts, grandmothers or even of their male parents as we celebrated Mother’s Day. But I have a confession to make: I don’t usually give much credence to those “Hallmark Holidays” in that although we celebrate, we don’t go all out. It’s still the feelings of love and the special times we sharethat make the day memorable .

babies

 

Earlier this week, I received a beautiful and thoughtful necklace from Asia and the baby along with a fun card but even more wonderful was that I got to spend most of Saturday with Asia just running errands and enjoying the company. With our busy worlds and all of the attention and time a baby requires, it was nice just to relax and enjoy the time.

 

Another special gift was less tangible and more gradual, but none the less impactful. Last summer when I “found” Julius, I didn’t really worry about his temporary foster status. He was such a happy, personable dog that I knew he could easily assimilate into nearly any household. He is carefree and friendly and certainly doesn’t know a stranger so I always had the feeling that Julius could go from one household to another without batting an eye because of his ability to roll with whatever life brings.

Juli

Don’t get me wrong, we are all totally in love with the Bean, and I knew he loved us but I just kind of thought that he loved us as the people he lived with now. But gradually things happened. He no longer wolfed down his food because he knew he’d get two squares a day without fail. Instead of curling up at the end of the sofa to be near me, he began curling up in the middle with his head on my lap. Maybe one of the biggest changes is that he no longer throws up in the car and I believe that is because he now knows that car rides usually mean Day-play and that we will always be back to pick him up.

sleepybean

I believe Julius now considers us his real, true, forever family. What more could a mother ask for?