Rescue dogs aren’t broken, many are pure bred


My two rescued dogs, Rosie and Ben


Lately, I have been hearing how amazed the people attending adoption events are, at the great condition of all of the rescue dogs, and how incredibly surprised these people are at the number of pure breed animals available.

The perception that only pure bred dogs are of good healthy stock is astonishing to me.  Apparently, most people don’t know that millions of pure bred dogs come from puppy mills, the product of unhealthy and horribly abused parents.  Dogs for sale in pet stores are always from puppy mills, no matter what the store owner will tell you.

There ARE reputable breeders out there, but many pure bred dogs come from back yard breeders, who provide little or no vet care to the puppies or the parents.   Many of these puppies are sold on street corners or on the Internet. A new addition to your family who is sick or dies is probably not what you had in mind when you brought home the puppy!

You should know that most rescue groups go to great lengths and spend inordinate amounts of their own money to make sure that every dog they put up for adoption is in perfect health, has been temperament tested, groomed, vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed or neutered.  Many of these animals have come into rescue by being saved from death at shelters, or found on the streets or abandoned homes, or tossed from a moving vehicle.  The dogs are dirty, tired, sick, or injured, and every one of them is scared and wondering what they did wrong.

Each one receives the special love and treatment they deserve and each one becomes an adoptable dog again, ready to connect with a new, and hopefully forever family.

Though puppies abound, many rescue dogs are older and frequently get passed over for younger animals.  Older dogs are housebroken, have lived through the eat-everything-in-site puppy stage, and all they want is a meal, a comfy couch, and love.

Some rescue dogs have been so abused that special treatments or surgeries are required to save their lives, followed by many months of fostering.  Don’t discount a three-legged dog or one with special needs.  They need homes too and many of them are pure bred too.

At a recent PACC911 adoption event, Pug Rescue found many people who were shocked at the number of Pugs available for adoption.  Surprisingly, 25% of all dogs in shelters or with rescue groups are pure bred.  In fact, rescue dogs come in all ages, sizes, breeds, colors, abilities, temperaments, and each one has a unique personality.  Give a rescue dog a chance!

If you can’t bring yourself to walk down the rows at your local shelter or Humane Society, attend an adoption event in your area (check for an event in Phoenix) or go to You can enter your zip code, the species, age, breed, and size of the animal you want to add to your family.  The shelters and rescue groups post their adoptable animals on this site.

Give a rescue dog a loving home today; they’ll be eternally grateful, and you’ll be glad you did!

Author’s note: Both of my dogs are rescues.  Rosie, who is a pure bred Pit Bull,  was born and  lived at a no-kill shelter for over two years until a rescue group came and saved her.  Ben, who is part Pit and who-knows-what, was thrown from a moving truck at a park.  A rescue group saved him too and now I am the lucky one who gets to share life with them both.  Rosie is a bit wacky and Ben is attached to me like Velcro, but I wouldn’t trade either one of them for a million dollars!


Another bully breed slam

If the “have it your way” slogan is true, then it’s time for everyone to write to Burger King and their ad agency, Crispin, Porter, and Bogusky, and let them know you won’t be eating there any time soon.  Why?

Last night I saw an ad for their new breakfast menu, featuring a mailman marching down the street.  During his march he referred to Rottweilers and Pit Bulls in a very derogatory tone.  I am SO tired of news casts, product commercials, television shows, movies, and people in general, slamming dogs who fall into the bully breed category.

Several years ago Burger King created an ad campaign that featured a rooster in a fighting ring to promote their new chicken sandwich.  I wrote a scathing letter to their CEO asking that it be pulled due to it’s obvious support of cock fighting.  Surely, I wasn’t the only one who wrote to them, but I never saw that ad again.

We have a voice with our computers, our pens, and our wallets.  If you agree with my position and want to be part of ending bias and condemnation for bully breeds, then please write to Burger King at and to the ad agency at

I did!


Hotel for Dogs

This morning I went to see Hotel for Dogs and I really liked it.  It was entertaining, humorous, emotional (I needed tissues), and fun.  Friday, the dog star of the movie, was extraordinary and I wish I could teach my Rosie to do some of the things that dog did so effortlessly.

The Animal Control officers were portrayed as villains and nasty men, the scenes in the pound were dark and scary, implying the importance of taking care of your animals.  And the message that animals deserve to be treated with compassion and kindness was loud and clear.

Where the writers and producers of this movie failed miserably, was at getting the message out that spaying and neutering your animals  is imperative to control pet populations, and that adoption should be your first choice when searching for a dog.  This movie was the perfect venue to drive those key points home to every person who enjoyed the movie, and yet, until the end of the credit scroll…after the cast listing, key grips, producers, writers, location thank yous, and other things most people don’t care a lick about, passed, there was one single line that suggested adoption as a good choice when choosing a dog. It says – “Help a Furry Friend.  Adopt, Volunteer, Donate.”  If you didn’t sit through all of the credits, you missed it.

In fact, at the end of the movie there is a nursery filled with puppies, which would suggest to the viewer that dogs having puppies is a GOOD thing.  I assure you, it is NOT.

As an active member of the rescue community where I live, we are all well aware of the need for animals to be spayed and neutered.  Over 60,000 animals are killed every year in my county alone, so do the math around the country and the numbers are staggering.

I was hopeful that this movie would focus on the importance of adoption and spaying and neutering, and it missed the mark entirely.  And it was the perfect place to educate children…and their parents…in an entertaining way.  How sad.

Hope for 2009

Since my dear friend and animal angel Toni adopted out 8 dogs this past weekend, she has room to save more dogs from our local county shelter.  She called this morning only to learn that all of the dogs on the “E” list are Pit Bulls.  Though Toni’s specialty is saving and placing Pits, her group has a limit on how many they will take, so today she cannot save a single dog, and tomorrow they will all die.

This has put a black cloud over an otherwise happy time of year for me.  Don’t get me wrong, animals die every single day in my county…and across this country. ..but it’s always harder this time of year for some reason.  I think all animals should be inside, celebrating with their families, and eating good food.

Education is sorely needed.  All animal owners need to know that breeding is the cause of these staggering statistics for Pit Bulls:  some will learn and others will thumb their noses and mate their breeding bitch yet another time.  Toni recently saved a female Pit who had been used to breed and deliver so many puppies that she was so emaciated she could no longer carry a litter to term.  She was tossed out on the street, so sick she nearly died.  Today she shares a warm and loving home with a family and another canine friend.

Another Pit rescued a few days ago was found wandering the streets.  She was so emaciated she could barely stand and it was apparent that she had been used as an ashtray…there were cigarette burns all over her body.   She is being fed, is in a warm place, and is sleeping on one of my Rosie’s beds so she had some padding between her bones and the floor.  Once healthy enough, Toni will work her magic and this loving girl will enjoy a loving home of her own.  But she is one of the very lucky ones.

In my county,  219 dogs are killed every day, 365 days a year.  Thirty percent of all dogs turned into the county shelter are Pit Bulls, and 73% of those are killed.  Three of every ten Pit Bull puppies won’t reach their second birthday.

Some of this issue is cultural.  I live in close proximity to Mexico where dog fighting is considered a sport.  But this issue isn’t just ethnic…the desire to own a fighting dog crosses all socio-economic and cultural boundaries, making it difficult to affect change.  Right now a Pit Bull is a status symbol, especially for young boys and men.

Many animal rescuers concentrate on neighborhoods where animals are considered property in the hope that they can teach the people to get their animals spayed and neutered (for free if they’re Pits); how to properly care for their animals; and they watch for signs of fighting and game dogs.  The children are our best hope though, but since they’re taken to fights at an early age, the problem continues generation after generation.

My hope for this new year is that fewer animals will know abuse; that fewer animals will be born; that more people will know that animals are not property; that more people will know that animals are sentient beings with feelings; and that more animals will find loving, forever homes; and that fewer animals will be killed due to overpopulation.

Happy New Year everyone!  Here’s to 2009 being the best year ever!!

Free to good home

Have you read some of the postings on Craigslist written by people wanting to rehome their pets just because a new baby is on the way?

Read what was posted on Craigslist in Jacksonville !

“After two long years of being on a waiting list for an agility dog, we have
been notified by the breeder that, at long last, our number has come up and

We must get rid of our children IMMEDIATELY because we just know how time
consuming our new little puppy is going to be and it just wouldn’t be fair
to the children. Since our little puppy will be arriving on Monday we MUST
place the children this weekend! They are described as:

One male – His name is Tommy, Caucasian (English/Irish mix), light blonde
hair, blue eyes. Four years old. Excellent disposition. He doesn’t bite.
Temperament tested. Does have problems with peeing directly in the toilet.
Has had Chicken Pox and is current on all shots. Tonsils have already been
removed. Tommy eats everything, is very clean, hou se trained & gets along
well with others. Does not run with scissors
and with a little training he should be able to read soon.

One female – Her name is Lexie, Caucasian (English/Irish mix),
strawberry blonde hair, green eyes quite freckled. Two years old. Can be
surly at times. Non-biter, thumb sucker. Has been temperament tested but
needs a little attitude adjusting occasionally. She is current on all shots,
tonsils out, and is very healthy & can be affectionate. Gets along well with
other little girls & little boys but does not like to share her toys and
therefore would do best in a one child household. She
is a very quick learner and is currently working on her house training –
shouldn’t take long at all.

We really do LOVE our children so much and want to do what’s right for them;
that is why we contacted a rescue group. But we simply can no longer keep
them. Also, we are afraid that they may hurt our new puppy.

I hope you understand that ours is a UNIQUE situation and we have a real
emergency here!!! They MUST be placed in rescue by Sunday night at the
latest or we will be forced to drop them off at the orphanage or along some
dark, country road. Our priority now has to be our new puppy.”

Sounds just as ridiculous and ignorant when you have to “rehome” your pet, doesn’t it?

Are Pit Bulls the new “minority?”

Here we go again…today I received email from an animal welfare colleague asking that I sign a petition against a proposed ban on all dogs considered to be from the bully breed category; Ohio HB 568.  You can go there now if you like, even before you read any more.  Ohio HB 568

How does one legislate compassion, love, morality, or decency?  Good question, because this breed is continually persecuted because they are strong, tenacious, and loyal to their owners…they used to be called the babysitter dog.  Some have been trained by unscrupulous holders who consider watching animals fight until one is critically injured or dies, a sport.  It is barbaric!

Ohio HB 568 proposes that:

  • No person shall own, keep, or harbor a dog that belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a Pit Bull dog.
  • No later than 90 after the effective date of this bill, a person who owns, keeps, or harbors a Pit Bull dog will be forced to surrender the dog to a dog warden.
  • Within 10 days of surrender, the dog will be euthanized.
  • If an officer has probable cause to believe that a dog is a Pit Bull, the officer may apply for a search warrant.  After obtaining a search warrant, an officer shall seize the dog and transfer the dog to a dog warden, who shall euthanize the dog within 10 days.
You want to kill ME?

You want to kill ME?

This reminds me of the gathering up of all Japanese Americans right after Pearl Harbor and interring them in camps around the country.  Talk about profiling!!  At least most of the Japanese were eventually released.  Arrested Pit Bulls will not enjoy the same luxury.  And no one forgets the concentration camps run by Hitler.  Is this as far as we’ve come?

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) Massachusetts is discussing something similar with HB 5092.    You can read about that bill at Massachusettes HB 5092

Do people in general, and specifically the people who govern, really believe that instituting this type of legislation will really deter this type of behavior?  Viscous and violent people remain so, no matter how many laws are passed.

Everyone appears to be aghast at the genocide taking place in Darfur; I certainly am, but how is this any different?  Yes, there are many of you out there who don’t consider animals to be equal with man, but both humans and animals are living beings and we both suffer in the same ways.  We also respond to love and compassion, food and shelter.  We usually will do anything our “parents” ask of us too.

Banning an entire breed of dog is genocide.  Are we not more civilized than this in America?  And if we’re not then what is the future of the human race?

How does government legislate the values of animal owners?

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  This was originally written earlier today and since then I have learned that nothing is underway to restrict any specific breed.  I do, however, still have the same questions.  Read below.

How does government legislate values? Aren’t the values of a pet owner the issue when considering a ban on a specific breed? Legislating a ban such as this is profiling, pure and simple.

When the media and others say that pit bulls are dangerous, they are making a generalization, just as insurance companies use generalizations when they charge young men more for car insurance. Doctors too, use generalizations when they tell overweight middle-aged men to monitor their cholesterol, even though many of the men in the middle-aged and overweight category won’t experience heart trouble

Because we don’t know what breed of dog will bite someone, who will have a heart attack, or which young man will get into an accident, predictions are made by generalizing. Here’s a generalization: Dobermans, Great Danes, German shepherds, and Rottweilers are frequent biters, and the dog that mauled a Frenchwoman so badly a few years ago that she was given the world’s first face transplant was a Labrador retriever. With this information, how does government go about banning only one breed of dog? It certainly has not been successful in either Denver or Detroit.

The media contributes to Pit Bull profiling as well. While interviewing a man whose two pets had been killed by the police who recently raided the wrong house, an MSNBC reporter said “…wow…and your dogs weren’t even trained Pit Bulls.” Emotionally charged comments such as these only fuel the fire about Pit Bulls, especially since the dogs in question were Black Labs and not Bully breed dogs.

Pit-bulls aren’t a single breed! The American Staffordshire terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier, and the American pit bull terrier, who have a square and muscular body, a short snout, and a sleek, short-haired coat, are all tossed into the general Pit Bull category.  Bully breed dogs have characteristics that some consider “troublesome.” Their gameness, determination, and insensitivity to pain are nearly always directed toward other dogs. Pit bulls are not bred to fight humans; in actuality, a fighting dog that goes after spectators, its handler, or the trainer, is put down.

The Bully breed dogs have been called the “babysitter dog” because their temperament is one of devotion. In fact, many of the dogs rescued from the Michael Vick compound were found to be gentle and safe and have been adopted into homes with children. One of those dogs is now a therapy dog.

And finally, you should be aware of this information, excerpted from a February 2006 issue of The New Yorker, and written by Malcolm Gladwell:

“In the case of the young boy who was attacked in Ottawa several years ago, the dogs in question were un-neutered, ill-trained, and charged-up by the child’s screaming and advances. These dogs had a history of aggression, and an 18 year-old, irresponsible owner with a pile of citations about the dogs.

Ottawa could easily have prevented these dogs attack, with the right kind of generalization—a generalization based not on breed but on the known and meaningful connection between dangerous dogs and negligent owners. But that would have required someone from the city to track down the owner and check to see whether he had bought muzzles. And it would have required that someone was sent to make sure the dogs had been neutered after the first attack. And it would have required an animal-control law that insured that those whose dogs attack small children will have to forfeit their right to own a dog.

It would have required a more exacting set of generalizations to be more exactingly applied. It’s always easier just to ban the breed.”