Thursday, June 25, 2009

How you can help your local shelter by doing a little Spring/Summer cleaning

For those of us dedicated to this breed or to the plight of shelter animals in general we often find ourselves asking "How can I help?" In a tough economy many of us our finding ourselves with limited funds, making donations difficult if not impossible. There are a number of ways you can contribute to your local shelter without spending money, simply by donating some things you have around the house.

Office Supplies: Many of us have the dreaded desk/phone drawer filled with old pens, highlighters, tape rolls etc. Over the years we accumualte so much more of the items then we really need. Decide how many of each item you need to keep in your house and give the rest to your local shelter. It's one less thing for them to spend money on.

Plants: It's easy to fill your house with plants and sometimes maybe more then you need. Shelters can always use plants to brighten up the look of the shelter and plants have a natural ability to clean air. You should always check to make sure they can take them but many shelters are very happy to have them. Another great thing about many plants is that man can be populated so even if you don't have too many plants you can usually make more from your existing plants. Most vines simply need to be snipped and placed in water. Other basic house plants like spider plants can also be reproduced. You can google any type of plant to see if/how it can be populated.

Old Blankets, Towel, Sheets: Another thing that is easy to hold onto is old blankets. For most of us they can just take up space in our closets. For some animals at the shelter it's the difference between sleeping on concrete or having a nice soft place to curl up on. Try to remember the last time you used the blankets or sheets in your closet. If you can't, give them to someone who can really use them!

Cleaning Products/Cleaning Tools: When we buy a certain cleaning product, mop, scrubbing brush, etc. that you don't particularly like, while we may stop using it we often don't have the heart to throw it out. This items tend to accumulate in a closet or in a box and donating it to your shelter is the perfect opportunity to clear away some clutter without being wasteful.

Pet Items: It's easy to spoil your cat or dog by buying lots of toys. If you have more then 5 toys it's probably easy for you to rank the toys based on how much they play with them. If you have toys your dog rarely plays with, move them along to someone who could make that toy their #1. Collars and leashes are always needed at shelters so if you have any you don't need anymore, donate them!

Furniture: If you have any old furniture you aren't using, check with your local shelter to see if they could use it. Items like desks, book shelves, Shelves or anything they can use to get organized can be very helpful.

Printers and Computers: Shelters can often use these but only consider donating ones that are fairly new and in good working condition.

Last but certainly not least Time: If you have it there are a number of ways shelters can use your help. Walking dogs, spending time with them, cleaning cages, grooming dogs, etc. There are so many areas shelters need help in. If you have some time to spare find out how you can help.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 26 - Take Your Dog to Work Day!

Since 1999, Pet Sitters International has sponsored 'Take Your Dog to Work Day'. If you're interested in organizing an event at your workplace, download and print an action pack for your employer here:

According to a recent survey conducted by The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), nearly one in five companies in the United States allow pets in the workplace.
  • 55 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment
  • 53 million believe having pets in the workplace decreases absenteeism
  • 50 million believe having pets in the workplace helps co-workers get along better
  • 38 million believe having pets in the workplace creates a more productive work environment
  • 32 million believe having pets in the workplace decreases smoking in the workplace
  • 37 million believe having pets in the workplace helps improve the relationship between managers and their employees
  • And, 46 million people who bring their pets to the workplace work longer hours
Top Ten Things to Say To Convince Your Boss to Take Part in TYDTW Day!

The squirrels in the neighborhood deserve a break.
Wagging tails work great when the a/c is on the fritz.
With a dog as your passenger, you’ll be able to use the car pool lane.
It’s a great way to lick the work day blahs!
My dog thinks you’re grrrrrrreat!
Meetings end as soon as Rover starts staring at the conference room door.
You can blame those missing reports on one of your employees’ dogs.
It’s the leash you can do.
Finally, someone at your office will actually be working like a dog.
Friday, June 26, is Take Your Dog To Work Day®!

Source: APPMA 2006 Survey

Friday, June 12, 2009

The DNA Dilemma and BSL

So, the people who saved my dog’s life would like her DNA pulled. Simple, right? We get the test done and, voilĂ , we have her breed(s). Except that I live in Boston, where there are restrictions on pit bulls and pit bull mixes.

If my dog’s DNA test “proves” (because these are not conclusive), that my dog is a pit bull or pit bull mix, then I get to register her as such and pay the extra fees, post the sign under my door and muzzle her on her walks. If the test declares her something else, then she is registered as any other breed, right? Well, not exactly.

One thing more inconclusive than a DNA test, it seems, is the eye of the beholder; the police officer, the Animal Control officer, or the Parks and Recreation Ranger who sees my dog and says, “That’s a pit bull. Where’s the correct tag? Why isn’t she muzzled?” Because BSL is subjective, dogs are subjected to someone else’s arbitrary determination of their breed and then their subsequent responses. It wouldn’t matter if I had notarized DNA test results indicating that my dog is a sheepdog mix; what she “looks like” is all that counts. I could register her as a sheepdog mix, but if Officer Smythe says “that’s a pit bull, you need to register her as a pit bull” then by gum, I guess I have to do that to avoid risking her life. Registering her as a pit bull or pit bull mix doesn’t risk anything, whether it flies in the face of her test results or not. And there’s the rub.

BSL is not logical. It does not address the very real problems of dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners. It does not address roaming dogs and homeless dogs and dog overpopulation, or any of the other issues we face as we advocate for pit bulls and pit bull mixes. Testing my dog’s DNA has nothing to do with how we live our lives in a city with BSL. Like many, I have chosen to register my dog as a Boxer mix. If Officer Smythe & co. have something else to say about that, then I’ll have to deal with it. But DNA testing is not the answer. Educating the general public and eliminating BSL is. I’ll get my dog’s DNA tested—perhaps it will further scientific research. But I won’t rely on it to change the way pit bulls and pit bull mixes are treated in Boston or anywhere else.

~ Anonymous

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hers, Mine and Ours

(The Dogs That Come When Called Are Mine!)

There was a time when I thought a mixed marriage necessarily involved a difference in race, religion, politics or social status. I was wrong. In recent years I’ve discovered that I am in a mixed marriage of a different sort.

Where the family dogs are concerned, my wife is a devout believer in unconditional love. In contrast I am committed to a form of love that is at least structured, if not downright tough on occasion. I’m a fan of the No Free Lunch protocol; she prefers what I guess I’d call the No Earned Lunch approach. She’s the fairy godmother who grants all wishes; I’m the benevolent dictator who does what’s best for his subjects’ well-being – whether they like it or not.

During my working years I was blissfully unaware of our fundamental disagreement regarding the relationship between humans and their dogs. There was no room for dogs in my life or, so I thought, in my heart. My wife had dogs, but for the most part I ignored them.

However, six weeks after I retired I had become a shelter volunteer, fallen in love with a brindle, mixed-breed dog named Cindy, and adopted her as my own. (I’ve already told that story in detail on Cindy’s Dogster page, #622395.) Unlike my wife Cindy did not mind my snoring. Shortly after she entered my life she began sleeping in my bed. She became my constant companion, thereby cementing the idea that she was my dog, just as the other dogs had always been my wife’s.

Although Cindy and I never went to a training class together, it was only natural that I would apply some of what I had learned while exercising other shelter dogs. Within a few weeks after I met her at the shelter she learned to respond to several cues.

She knew sit, down, come, come along (move in the general direction I’m going) and heel. Because I never taught stay as a separate cue, she also knew that sit really meant sit-and-stay-until-released. With the help of trainer Terry Long, whom I’d met at the shelter, I also taught Cindy to wave and bark on cue.

One day on a whim I signed Cindy up for Canine Good Citizen evaluation. Not only did she pass with flying colors, she won a cheesy trophy for Best Performance by a Rescued Dog that day. I was so puffed up that it was hard for me not to gloat.

I hoped that my wife would be moved to follow the same path with one or more of her dogs. I was disappointed. The truth is that nothing could make her love her dogs more than she already does. So why bother?

Several years have passed since Cindy’s one and only award. She is now a little, old lady, at least 13 years old. All but one of my wife’s dogs from that time have gone to the Rainbow Bridge, and of course she has adopted others. I have added another, a red pit bull named Brewski (Dogster #620859), who has changed my life even more than Cindy did.

However, some things don’t change. Brewski is my dog, in the same way Cindy has always been. Brewski knows basic commands and walks well on a loose leash. Captain, Chelsea and Benji are my wife’s dogs. They are all well-loved and lovable, but not one of them reliably responds to a single cue – other than keys jingling or the sound of the electric can opener.

If you ever stop by for a visit, you’ll have no trouble picking out my dogs. They’re the ones who come when you call them.

~ Dave Morefield

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happy Endings Calendar 2010 Photo Submission

Hello Friends!

Have you ever envisioned your rescued pit bull gracing the pages of a calendar? Does your pup have good looks, charm, a touching story, or really cute costumes? If so, here is your chance to make your dreams a reality and share your rescued pit bull with the world!

We are accepting submissions for PBRC's 2010 Happy Endings Calendar. An annual tradition since 2002, our Happy Endings Calendar is full of accurate breed information, heart-warming rescue stories and 12 months of GREAT color pictures of rescued pit bulls! We are accepting pictures now through July 1, 2009.

All the information you need regarding type of photo, submission, cost, etc. can be found here:

Remember that all the proceeds from the photo submissions, as well as the sale of the calendars, are used to help pitbulls in need. Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity to have your furry friend be a pin-up, and to help others in need!

If you have any questions feel free to contact us at:

Good luck! And have fun taking those pit bull photos!

- PBRC's Fundraising Committee