Future Fly Ball Champ

I shared a picture of my favorite resident at the Jacksonville Humane Society on Facebook yesterday.  Her name is Barbara (I know, it’s terrible) and when I look at her I see a Fly Ball or Agility champion.  I am obsessed; she is just so.freakin.awesome.  Here, see for yourself:

Agility Dog

Fly Ball Dog

Pit Bull

Tennis Ball

Right?  Oh, you’re not convinced that this is the coolest dog ever?  Check out this beautifully dirty mug:

Dirty Mouth

and Super ears!

Tongue

Fly Ball Dog

This girl needs to be on a Fly Ball team.  In fact, I have been able to teach her some tricks without using one single treat.  Her obsession with tennis balls is so great that they are an even bigger reward for her than any treat could ever be.  B’s future is absolutely limitless, she just needs to get the heck out of the shelter system.  I think she would be pretty perfect for a younger guy that could take her to the beach for endless games of fetch and picking up chicks.  I mean, I certainly would go talk to any guy that had a pup as cool as her!

Gorgeous Pit Bull

Barbara is available through the Jacksonville Humane Society.  If you know of anyone in the market for a super athletic, smart, and loving pocket pit tie, feel free to share this post!

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

Some pictures from Buddy’s day:

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You might recognize the pretty little lady from this post.

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I’d say those are some happy pups, wouldn’t you?  If you missed it on Facebook, here is the link to my Etsy shop.  It’s sparse right now, but I plan to add new listings every day or so, so check back often if you think you’re interested!

Passively Positive Pit Bull Advocating

Almost without fail every time I take my dogs for a walk someone (if not multiple people) say something like, “Wow, is that a pit bull?”  or “Oh, that’s a pit bull, isn’t it?!” referring to Maggie and ignoring the other two dogs.  I always respond with something like, “They’re my rescues, aren’t they great!?”  Remember this post about just calling them “rescues” or something like that?  I still love it and am pleased when I am able to politely dodge their question and reply with something cute instead.  But then I’ll get home from that walk and check my google alerts.  For every one alert I have set up to flag a variety of different topics, I get literally ten about pit bulls.  (I have it set to give me ten per day per topic, I only wish I was exaggerating this since they are almost always negative!)  So then I post a cute picture of Maggie on Instagram with something like #mypitbullisalover #notafighter but guess what? #I’mFeedingIntoTheProblem!

You gotta love a pit bull's smile.

I recognized once before that my good intentions were in fact adding to the problem and I talked about it here.  It’s a good read for anyone that means well by saying, “It’s all in how they’re raised!” and I would recommend taking a peek at it.  I also recently read a fantastic article about a former “pit bull” rescue that realized their community was beginning to view pit bulls in a positive light so they dropped “pit bull” entirely from their mission and now just focus on rescuing all dogs and educating the public on responsible pet ownership.  It occurred to them that if they continued to focus on just pit bulls, all the attention could undo what they had accomplished.  Check it out here.  But then I read this article by And Foster Makes Five and literally hung my head in shame.  Uh oh, guilty as charged!  If you stop reading this post right now and head over to read AFM5’s piece I would be happy as a clam, because she says it perfectly, and much better than I will.  Go on, I’ll wait.

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It was great, right?  And makes SO much sense, right?  I fear that we have almost made pit bulls too popular.  “But that should be a great thing!” you say.  Well yes and no.  The reason it is concerning to me is directly linked to the incredible number of pit bull stories in the news, which I am fully aware of because of those google alerts I was talking about earlier.  Did you know there is no standard definition of what a “pit bull” is?  Click here for an absolutely fantastic article that illustrates beautifully how varied the definition of a “pit bull” can be.  Imagine this scenario: a dog bite occurs.  The first reporter on the scene asks around about the type of dog involved and no one could give them a definitive answer.  A couple of people mention it had a “big head” and was “muscular”.  The reporter doesn’t know much about breeds.  They think back to all the other stories they’ve heard about dog fighting and pit bull attacks and decide that this must have been a pit bull, too.  And there you have it, another negative “pit bull” story makes it to the news.  The dog very well could have any other breed but it doesn’t matter.  The damage is done.

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So what’s my point in all this?  Basically exactly what Stephanie was saying in her post.  Let’s stop victimizing pit bulls and coming off as coo-coo pit bull fanatics which is just pushing away those that aren’t sure yet how they feel about the breed.  I don’t know about you, but the quickest way to get me to either tune out or disregard what someone with an opposing view point has to say, is for them to be loud, obnoxious, or worst of all, come off as uneducated or pushy.  Am I saying we should all go into hiding with our pit bulls so that they are never seen?  Never share a picture on Facebook or Instagram?  Never write a positive pit bull story on our blogs?  Of course not!  But I for one am going to stop using things like #lovernotfighter and instead do my best to always focus on being passively positive.  That’s got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?  “Passively Positive”.  I’m not going to scream and shout to anyone within a 10 mile radius that pit bulls are the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I am just going to continue writing pieces and sharing pictures of all the wonderful dogs I encounter, pit bull and everything else alike.

Gracie Gets a Home.

Last weekend I got to do one of the most exciting adoptions I’ve done in a long time.  My in-laws had mentioned a while back that they would be interested in adopting a dog, if the right one came along.  She would need to be past the puppy phase, cat friendly, low maintenance, and their biggest request: cuddly!  I kept the idea in the back of my mind, but no dogs were really jumping out at me as a good fit for them.  Then I got the news about Gracie.

Pit Bull adoption Gracie was found over a year ago in a ditch with her 6 puppies, so weak she couldn’t even walk.  Her puppies were adopted but Gracie ended up in a boarding facility due to lack of foster homes.  Then Last Hope Rescue was able to get her moved over to Pet Paradise where she at least got more interaction with humans.  An employee fell in love with her and ended up adopting her.  We were all ecstatic because Gracie has always been a favorite due to her exceptionally sweet nature and we were so excited for her to finally be in a real home.  Sadly, the adopter experienced some personal problems and Gracie landed back at Pet Paradise.  As soon as I heard, I sent a picture to my mother-in-law and asked if they would want to meet Gracie.

Pit Bull tricks

Look at this impulse control. Such a smarty pants!

Pit Bull tricks

Pit Bull tricks

  They said, “Yes!” and I got to work coordinating getting Gracie from Tallahassee to Jacksonville for the meet-and-greet.  Lucky for me, the woman that originally fostered Gracie, who knows the most about her, and undoubtedly has the most love for this sweet girl, now lives in Jacksonville too and was able to come with me to get Gracie and bring her to the meet-and-greet.  Our only concern was with Gracie and the cat.  We knew that she had lived with cats without incident in the past, but because Gracie can be picky with the dogs she does and does not like, the possibility that she might not like their cat was in the back of our mind.  We got Gracie to their house on Friday evening and it was pretty much love at first sight for everyone involved.  We made the decision to keep the cat separate the first night to let Gracie relax and get comfortable.  On Saturday I went back over and did the introduction.  And wouldn’t you know it, everything went better than planned!  Seeing Gracie and the cat at ease with each other (okay, so their cat is still trying to figure out exactly what Gracie is, but she will be comfortable soon) was all it took for the adoption to be finalized!

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Gracie with her new human and feline sisters. Cat? What cat?

Gracie has had one of the roughest lives of any dog I have encountered, yet she is truly the sweetest, happiest dogs on Earth.  All this girl wants or needs is someone to love her…and to cuddle!  She is the epitome of a pit bull: smart, resilient, forgiving, and loving.  I am thrilled to now have her in my family where I know she will experience nothing but love and happiness from here on out.  Welcome home, Gracie!  We love you!

Gracie came from a terrible background but now she lives every dog's dream.

Handsome Eddie

So remember the post with the momma and puppies?  Well, my friend that had them (we have since found a rescue for the puppies, yay!) has another dog at her house that she rescued a few months back that I’m hoping to help as well.  Meet Handsome Eddie:

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Quite the stud, huh?  She took him out of an abusive situation and has been layin’ on the love extra thick like ever since.  When she first got him, Eddie was rather nervous, but he has since bonded deeply with her boyfriend, which is pretty darn cool considering most dogs that come from abusive situations tend to be scared of men.  Though he can still be a little shy, he has been doing an excellent job learning what it means to be a loved member of the family.

Staffordshire Terrior

Here is Eddie when my friend first got him. If you look closely, you can see some of his wounds.

Eddie lives in a house with multiple other dogs and gets along great with all of them, male and female alike, with one little (pun intended) exception: their small dog.  He would, errrr, probably enjoy playing with him a little too much.  Hey, it’s ok to have one little flaw when you’re as good looking as he is, right?!  Eddie is also learning plenty of commands and recently discovered the joys of a flirt pole (though my friend says a tougher toy is in order.)

Sleeping Pit Bull

In addition to being well behaved, sweet, and incredibly good looking, Eddie is also fully vetted, including being neutered.  My friend is fostering him completely on her own, without the financial or networking help of a rescue.  She will happily keep him until the perfect home comes along, but since she has to shuffle Eddie and the little dog around, we are hoping that will be sooner than later.  If you happen to know of anyone in the market for a super handsome stud like Eddie, please let me know!  (Or click the ever popular share button to help increase his exposure, wink wink.)

Handsome Pit Bull

What a stud!

Last, but never least, I have to put in yet another little plug for my Maggie Moo.  Have you voted for her yet?  Pretty please take a second and visit Your Pit Bull and You’s Facebook page and do so!  We appreciate it more than you’ll ever know!

Handsome Dog

Bragging Rights

I mentioned on the Facebook page on Saturday that we were thinking about taking the pups a dog park.  A guy that I work with was telling me about it so when we got up on Saturday I found the site online and read about it.  It sounded great!  The park is 42 acres, has a lake (which is getting a dock that will be used for dock diving, which of course made us think of our friends at And Foster Makes Five), offers agility classes and trails for hiking, and has strict rules that must be followed.  I know a lot of people are weary about taking their dogs to parks because of all the opportunities for something to go wrong, which I generally agree with, but this sounded so structured (not to mention you pay to get in) that I felt confident it would be a positive experience.

Pit Bull

 Maggie was SO excited to go on a trip.  I love seeing her confidence growing each day.  A year ago, she would have been flattened to the seat in fear, look at her now!

We decided at the last minute that even though we felt really good about the place, it would be wisest to just bring one dog to check it out the first time.  So we did, and I bet you won’t believe this, but we picked Maggie Moo to be the lucky one.  The other two are so much older and lazier that we knew they wouldn’t mind a quiet afternoon alone, lounging in the air conditioning.  I’ll admit, I got a little nervous when we pulled up and saw just how many people were there.  The place, huge as it was, was packed.  We brought Maggie inside to pay and so they could confirm she was current on her rabies, and they gave us a brief tour.  Now, maybe I’m hyper sensitive to these things, but just felt like they were giving us a little extra scrutinization because of Maggie’s breed.  But being the angel that she is, she was great, even when a pushy German Shorthair Pointer rudely got in her face while we were squished inside the office.  That’s my girl!

Hiking Trails

We chose to head to the section of the park with the trails (partially because we love trails, but also because it seemed less packed) and we got down to business: havin’ fun!  I have seriously never been as proud as I was of Maggie that day.  Every dog we encountered from big to small, hyper to mellow, Maggie would look at me for cues on how to act.  She’s never been a fan of dogs getting in her face too quickly but instead of telling anyone to back off, she would just look at me and I’d tell her, “It’s ok, Moo.  Good girl, let’s go now!” and we would continue on our way.  She never got more than 10-15 yards ahead of us before turning around to check in or running back over for a quick pat.  Moo would come the second we called her, even when other dogs were right by.  Her impulse control was simply amazing!  I just can’t stop bragging to anyone that will listen about how proud I am of her.  She’s the best.  End of story.

Backyard Lounging

We didn’t stay too terribly long because everything was going so perfect we wanted to make sure we ended on an excellent note.  We will most definitely be back!  They offer lots of different classes and I’m trying to pick which one I want to sign up for.  I can’t wait for them to put the dock in so we can check that out, too!  The rest of the weekend has been spent lounging around and (obsessively) checking out Your Pit Bull and You’s Facebook page to see how Maggie is doing in the contest.  If you haven’t already, I would sooo appreciate if you voted for her!  Puh-puh-please go here and “like” her picture.  (I know, begging is so unflattering, but I just can’t help it!)  We hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend, too!