Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Now, the Buehrle family has started a campaign on Change.org and released a PSA with Best Friends Animal Society in support of state legislation that would repeal Miami-Dade's pit bull ban. Below is a re-post of Jamie Buehrle's recent guest blog on Change.org.
Jamie Buehrle is married to All-Star pitcher Mark Buehrle. Mark recently signed with the Miami Marlins.
Mark and I have always been avid animal lovers. When Mark was playing for the White Sox, we hosted “Sox for Strays,” a public-service announcement campaign that featured adoptable animals once a month during the baseball season. Before our 18-month-old American Staffordshire terrier, Slater, came into our lives we already had three Viszlas: Diesel, Drake, and Duke.
When it became a reality for us that Mark was no longer going to be playing for the White Sox, so many things started going through our minds. Instead of worrying about what team he would be playing for, what schools our kids would go to, and how to transition our lives to a new city, our biggest concern was ensuring our new city would allow Slater. Doesn’t that seem ridiculous?
Slater is a member of our family. We had always agreed to make sure that wherever Mark ended up playing, Slater would be welcome. So, when Mark had the opportunity to sign with the Miami Marlins we were harshly confronted with Miami-Dade County’s 20-year-old pit bull terrier ban and immediately knew we would have to live a county over, in Broward.
Mark and I are fortunate to have the resources to accommodate Slater. But, it breaks our hearts that so many families are faced with losing their family pet simply because a local government has deemed their dog “dangerous” based on nothing more than appearance.
We can't imagine ever having to give Slater up simply because a city says we can't have him. Not only would we be distraught at that prospect, but our kids would be devastated. So, when Best Friends Animal Society reached out and told us about their legislative effort to repeal Miami’s breed-discriminatory legislation, Mark and I were happy to help however we could, especially after our first-hand ordeal.
House Bill 997 and its companion, Senate Bill 1322, will repeal Miami’s pit bull terrier ban and finally relieve law-abiding families from making unfair decisions about their family dog.
Mark and I encourage Miami-Dade residents and everyone who agrees that it is time to remove this law to ask Florida state legislators to support these bills by signing my petition.
Our family is excited to be in South Florida. After this legislation is passed, we hope more families with good canine citizens will be able to move to Miami-Dade without worry or hesitation.
Friday, January 13, 2012
January 14th has been designated "Dress Your Pet Up Day". From dressing our pit bulls in coats and boots to protect them from poor weather conditions, to holiday costumes, our dogs do not get much say in their wardrobe!
More and more companies are selling clothing for dogs, even dogs with a more athletic build such as pit bulls. No longer are sweaters, dresses and costumes only for toy breeds. Some of us even spend more on our dog's wardrobe than our own!
Because pit bulls have short hair, sometimes the clothing is truly functional. Winter walks become bearable with a warm coat and boots to protect paws.
Dressing up pets can also help shelters and rescues. A cute sweater can help make a shelter dog appear more approachable. By adding a cute slogan on the side, such as "Adopt Me", the dog can be promoted without any words. It also opens up the doors for conversation, allowing education to the public in a friendly, casual manner.
Whether you own a dog or are promoting adoption of a pit bull looking for a home, showcase some cute canine couture on a pit bull on January 14th!
Sunday, January 8, 2012
ACTIVITIES FOR MORE THAN ONE DOG
Pit Bulls are like potato chips, most people can't have just one! As a general rule, they can be athletic and vivacious dogs, especially at a young age. Having more than one dog in a home means busy owners need to look for new ways to exercise and entertain pets, while also saving time. PBRC came up with a list of fun activities that can include multiple dogs. Some tips to help make play time enjoyable:
- Usually it is best to have one handler per dog and if your dog is possessive of toys or treats, some of these activities may not be appropriate. To help avoid altercations it may be best to save high value rewards for one on one time. Always be aware of triggers that can cause an altercation and avoid them.
- Pay attention to your dog's body language and what it is saying. While many dogs have a rough play style and can be vocal, it is up to us humans to be sure all the dogs are still having fun and playing. Over stimulation can lead to over the top play, which can lead to altercations between dogs.
- If at any point your dog seems not to be having a fun or is over stimulated, a time out may be needed or perhaps playtime needs to end.
- It is a good idea to have a dog already well versed in basic cues such as: sit, down, stay, walking nicely on leash and recall before adding another dog to the mix.
- NEVER leave multiple dogs unattended.
- When introducing new dogs, PBRC offers advice for the "first date": http://www.pbrc.net/dogintros.html
- Recall races: While dogs are in a sit or down stay, move as far away as possible, call dogs to come to you in a happy, excited voice. The dog who gets there first, wins! Multiple handlers can be in multiple locations and can take turns calling different dogs.
- Out for a Walk: Taking a walk can strengthen bonds and exercise your dogs. Dogs who learn to work around distractions have better self control. For tips on loose leash walking, check out our link http://www.pbrc.net/training_looseleash.html
- Play Dates- Supervised play dates in a secure fenced area are great ways to let your dogs release energy! Typically Pit Bulls may have a "rough and tumble" sort of play style. Dog social dogs with similar play styles, paired with responsible owners makes for a happy, tired set of dogs.
- Muffin Pan Game- Each dog has its own muffin pan. Randomly put treats in a muffin pan. Place tennis balls over top of all twelve spaces. Let your dog play a nose work game and see who can find all of the hidden treats first.
- Obedience Classes- Some classes are available for multiple dogs. (Usually one handler per dog). It is a great way to show off your ambassadors and teach your pups some new things!
- Hide and Seek: Dogs are in a sit or down stay while the human hides. The dog is then cued to "Find him!" and is released from stay to track down his missing person!
These are just some examples of activities to share with multiple dogs. Get creative and see what you can come up with!
Buehrle and his wife are advocates for animal rights and were active when they lived in Chicago in promoting shelter adoptions. But Buehrle is also the owner of Slater, an American Staffordshire terrier, which Miami-Dade County has banned along with all other dogs classified as pit bull since 1989. Rather than giving up Slater, an all-too-common result when breed bans hit close to home, Buehrle worked tirelessly to find housing where he could keep his dog and his contract, even if it means traveling a little further to get to work. Even more significant, in an article with the Miami-Dade Herald, Buehrle noted that he would not have signed with the Marlins if he wouldn’t have been able to find housing that allowed him to keep Slater. A state representative is currently advocating to overturn the county’s breed ban. Hopefully Buehrle’s fame and public stance against such bans will help to push the cause. To read the Yahoo/Sports article about Buehrle and Slater, go to http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/big-league-stew/miami-pitbull-ban-forces-mark-buehrle-family-settle-182451604.html