Sunday, December 15, 2013

No Pets, and No Pits, As Last-Minute Holiday Gifts

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s natural to fret if you still don't know what to get for certain people. A sweater? A gift certificate? Too impersonal? If it crosses your mind to stop by the local pet store or pound or answer that advertisement and pick up a dog to give as a gift, ignore that idea. Even if it feels like the cutest, most loving choice to give a person, whether carefully planned or last minute, dogs should never be given as gifts.  

The gift of a dog or puppy is not the same as the gift of a large, stuffed plush toy, of course. More often than not, wrapping a ribbon and bow around the neck of a living, breathing dog signals only one thing: trouble. Dogs are not toys, and should never be anyone’s holiday surprise. Unlike other holiday purchases, there are rarely refunds or exchanges on dogs. Instead, there are serious, possibly dire consequences. Although the idea of a dog as a gift may sound thoughtful, it is, in reality, thoughtless.

Why? Because the gift of a dog means accepting the responsibility for that dog. It must be more than a well-meant whim. It must be a carefully considered choice—in fact, it should be an informed decision made by all involved, as this may ultimately be a 10- to 15-year commitment. 

Children may at first be charmed by this furry, little plaything that leaps and yips, squeals and turns over onto its back for tummy rubs. But once the novelty wears off and reality of how much work is involved sets in, those well-intentioned gift givers – the parents – will eventually become that puppy’s full-time caregivers. If no one in the household is prepared for the demands of a puppy, the result is likely one more puppy either abandoned by the side of the road, dropped off at a pound or surrendered to a shelter (probably to be euthanized). Neither respectable breeders nor responsible rescue groups will sell or adopt out a dog as a holiday gift. They’re all too familiar with the heartbreaking results of such  dangerous impulse buys.

The decision to bring a dog into the home requires research into dog breeds most appropriate for one’s family, lifestyle and environment. There is no one dog breed that suits all human personalities. The characteristics of one breed may suit one pet owner but not necessarily another. For example, pit bulls are not the right breed for everyone. They are a high-energy breed requiring lots of exercise and lots of commitment to training. Not all dog owners are suited for these requirements.

The choice to get a dog is also a commitment to putting in the time to providing a loving home and covering expenses like dog food and veterinary care—choices that individuals must make for themselves. And although they are gaining in popularity as household pet, pit bulls are a breed subject to a lot of additional restrictions, including exclusion from some homeowner insurance policies and some rental properties.  

Never buy a dog as a gift for another family or friend – no matter how close you are to that person. What you consider an act of generosity could easily be seen as an imposition. If a person want a dog, it’s up to that person to make that choice.

To make certain that your holidays are happy, make certain that your presents do not include a pet.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Holiday Hoopla and Health Hazards

~by Nomi Berger for Pit Bull Rescue Central

With the holidays approaching, it’s time to think not only about celebrating, but also about dog safety.

To ensure that the season stays merry and bright, plan ahead and start early. Change your home from everyday to holiday decor gradually, over a period of several weeks. This will allow your dog time to grow comfortable with everything from new or additional furniture and tabletop arrangements to wall and window decorations. 

To encourage your dog to view this as something positive, reinforce the positivity by keeping him occupied with Kongs filled with cheese spread or peanut butter, or puzzle toys to puzzle over while you slowly transform the space around him.

Be sure to maintain your dog’s normal feeding and walking schedules. And unless you know from past experience that his doggy bed, crate or favorite blanket should be moved to a room far from the festivities, don’t make any changes to your dog’s “go to” place for security.

Whether you’re hosting one event or several, follow the same routine to minimize your dog’s potential uneasiness. Ask any unfamiliar guests and all children to calmly ignore your dog. Monitor your dog for any signs of anxiety or stress, and lead him to his “safe” place if necessary. 

On the other hand, if he appears relaxed and is happily going from guest to guest, provide them with some of his favorite treats to keep him eating out of their hands.

Be conscientious and careful about the greenery you bring into your home. The sap of the poinsettia plant is considered mildly toxic, and can cause nausea or vomiting in your dog. Holly is considered moderately toxic and can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, whereas mistletoe is severely toxic and can cause everything from gastrointestinal disorders to cardiovascular problems.  Christmas trees are considered mildly toxic. Their oils can irritate your dog’s mouth and stomach, causing excessive drooling and/or vomiting, while their prickly needles are hazardous to your dog’s entire gastrointestinal tract. 

Wherever possible, keep all plants beyond your dog’s reach, or else watch him carefully for signs of curiosity in the plant or the impulse to either lick or chew. To err on the side of caution, consider buying an artificial plant.

As appetizing as holiday fare is for people, it can prove agonizing, even lethal for pets. The most notorious offenders are….

  • GRAPES. Although the precise substance that causes the toxicity in grapes is unknown (some dogs can eat grapes without incident, while others can eat one and become seriously ill), keep them away from your dog.
  • HAM. High in salt and fat, it can lead to stomach upsets and, over time, pancreatitis.
  • MACADAMIA NUTS. Within 12 hours of eating macadamia nuts, dogs can experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and hyperthermia (increased body temperature), lasting between 12 and 48 hours. If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.
  • BONES. Rib roasts, lamb chops, turkey, chicken, and duck all have bones. Thick ones and thin ones. Brittle, fragmented and splintered. Whatever the size, shape or texture, they all spell the same thing: danger, which can include throat scratches, stomach perforations, and bowel obstructions. To safeguard against these painful possibilities, all leftovers, particularly bones, should be carefully wrapped and disposed of promptly.
  • ALCOHOL. It’s traditional to celebrate the holidays with more alcohol than usual— both in cooking and in drinks such as eggnog and fruit punch. For safety’s sake, keep these temptations (including partially eaten plates of food and half-empty glasses) out of the reach of your dog.
  • CHOCOLATES. Although chocolate has long been taboo for dogs, most chocolate comes gift wrapped in foil for the holidays. Now, not only can your dog get sick from eating the chocolate, the wrapper itself can get stuck in your dog’s throat or cause problems as it works its way through your dog’s digestive tract.
  • CHRISTMAS PUDDING, CAKE AND MINCE PIE. All three are filled with currants, raisins and sultanas (the “dried” version of grapes) and therefore pose the same health risk. They are also made with fat and suet, and laced with alcohol—from scotch and brandy to sugary liqueurs—all of which can cause severe stomach upsets.

With some careful planning beforehand, you and your dog can be assured of spending the happiest and safest of holidays together.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pit Bull Metal Pop Art is coming to Poppymart... but the artist needs your input!

Remember back in July when Alan Derrick, a 3-D pop metal artist, was asking about the pit bull features you find most endearing? Well, has he got a follow-up question for you! 

Which of these original 3-D metal works of pop art should be donated to PBRC and auctioned off to benefit our cause? 

Sound off and let him know which color you think is best. 

This is 3-D metal pop art. It is not a print or painting. This art form features layers of cut steel positioned one over the next, giving the artwork depth and dimension. The artist, Alan Derrick, splatters on layers of paint creating an illusion which mimics light itself. Each one is an original, hand crafted and signed by the artist.

Learn more about the artist and his art by visiting

How PBRC will benefit
PBRC will receive as a donation, the original artist proof of the work of art created for the limited edition series. The artist proof, the first rendition of the design, is considered much more valuable and collectable by art enthusiasts. This artist proof will be among the items up for bid in our online Poppy Mart auction in September. The funds raised through Poppy Mart are used to help further the work of PBRC.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Submit Your Idea for Pit Bull Tribute Art!

Pit Bull Rescue Central has made arrangements for an established artist to create a special limited-edition work of art that pays tribute to the pit bull. The artist, Alan Derrick, needs your input as to the characteristics that our followers believe should be captured and represented for the breed. 

Derrick welcomes any comments and suggestions you have to offer. You are invited to submit links, photographs, and other images to help communicate your thoughts, including, but certainly not limited to, pictures of your own companion pit bull. Think of what a monument to the breed this project will represent.

There's No Cost & It Helps Our Cause

There is no cost for you to participate. PBRC will receive, as a donation, the original artist proof of the work of art created for the limited-edition series. The artist proof, the first rendition of the design, is considered much more valuable and collectible by art enthusiasts. This artist proof will be among the items up for bid in our online Poppy Mart auction in September. The funds raised through Poppy Mart are used to help further the work of PBRC.

Put In Your Two Cents Worth

The artist will review each and every suggestion, comment, image, request, and piece of advice he receives and will personally follow up with you if requested. This information-gathering research phase of the project will continue until the end of July. Don’t hesitate to contact the artist and put in your two cents worth. Derrick plans to get started creating the design after July 25, 2013.

About the Art

3D metal pop art typically portrays iconic figures or concepts found in popular culture. This art form features layers of cut steel positioned one over the next, giving the artwork depth and dimension. The artist splatters on layers of paint, creating an illusion which mimics light itself. Each piece is an original, hand crafted and signed by the artist. Learn more about 3D Metal Pop Art.

About the Artist

Alan Derrick specializes in 3D metal pop art and personally designs, fabricates, paints, and signs each original work of art in a limited-edition series of 100 renditions. His work can be found in personal and corporate collections throughout the world. For many years, his focus has rarely trailed from human portraiture. This project represents Derrick’s effort to step outside the box and stretch the definition of portraiture to include more than just the human form. Learn more about Alan Derrick.

So send in your suggestions, photographs, web links, and other ideas today to!

You can also go directly to Alan Derrick's website and fill out a contact form.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Call the Pupparazzi! The Happy Endings 2014 Calendar Submission Deadline Has Been Extended!

Do you think your rescued pit bull was meant to represent an entire month as a calendar girl or boy? Can your pup compete with 2013's Mr. May (above) or hold her own as Ms. March?

PBRC has extended the submission deadline for our 2014 Happy Endings Calendar to 11:59 pm on Sunday, July 7! So there’s still time to grab the camera and be ready for that amazing photo op.

Since 2002, PBRC’s Happy Endings calendar—our all-dog calendar—has filled 12 months with wonderful color photographs of good-looking, charming, and active rescued pit bulls along with accurate breed information and heart-warming stories of rescue!

Click here for all the information you need about photo specifications and submission requirements.

Monday, June 3, 2013

PBRC Is Now Accepting Photo Submissions for the Happy Endings 2014 Calendar!

Do you think your rescued pit bull was meant to be a calendar girl or boy? Can you picture your pup as Mr. March or Ms. May? PBRC is offering the chance to share your rescued pit bull with the world!

We are opening submissions for PBRC's 2014 Happy Endings Calendar! Since 2002, PBRC’s Happy Endings calendar—our all-dog calendar—has filled 12 months with wonderful color photographs of good-looking, charming, and active rescued pit bulls along with accurate breed information and heart-warming stories of rescue!

PBRC is accepting photo submissions now through June 30, 2013.

Entry fees are as follows:
1 photo: $7.50
3 photos: $15
6 photos: $25

Click here for all the additional information you need about photo specifications and submission requirements. Note: Photos published in the Happy Endings calendar portray dogs only.

All proceeds from the photo submissions and calendar sales are used to help pit bulls 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.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Attention All Pit Bull Enthusiasts! The PBRC 2014 People's Choice Calendar Call for Submissions Is Open!

Have you taken a picture of your pit bull that perfectly portrays his personality? That proudly presents her playfulness?  PBRC is now welcoming submissions to our annual People's Choice Pit Bull Calendar online photo contest. PBRC is looking for photographs of your pit bull, be it an action shot, a funny moment, a handsome pose, or a contemplative photo in the midst of some beautiful scenery! Submit photos that show your grinners and goofballs, your clowns and camera hams, in action or at rest—whether by themselves, with people, or with other pets.

There is a minimum entry fee of $10 per submission. You also have the option to donate more to PBRC with each submission.

This $10, $25, or $50 donation—and the funds raised from voting ($1/vote)—support PBRC’s listing and screening services to help pit bulls find loving, responsible homes, our spay and neuter fund, and our financial aid fund for life-saving medical treatment.

All submitted photos will be viewed and enjoyed by thousands of voters who will select the favorites. The 13 most popular photos will be published in the 2014 People's Choice Pit Bull calendar—the top vote-getting photo will appear on the cover.

The work of PBRC is done by a staff of volunteers who work 365 days a year to provide free information that educates the public, encourages responsible dog ownership, and helps promote a compassionate world where the positive image of these dogs is restored. The People’s Choice Pit Bull calendar is just one way we promote the positive pit bull qualities.

Visit the 2014 People’s Choice calendar page for more information about the contest. For more information about Pit Bull Rescue Central, visit PBRC online. More questions? Send us an e-mail.

Keep an eye out for the call for submissions to PBRC's 2014 Happy Endings Calendar. We will begin accepting photos soon. The Happy Endings Calendar—an all-dogs calendar published annually since 2002—contains breed information, heartwarming stories, and 12 months of beautiful color photographs of rescued pit bulls!

Monday, April 1, 2013

April's most foolish! The "I Pittie, The Fool" winners....

Our canine clowns and cutups crack us up every day of the year, but on April Fool’s Day 2013, there were a few comedians who caught our eye. 

The winners of this year’s PBRC “I Pittie, The Fool” contest are...

First place: Kullen

Second place: A tie! 



... and ... 


Third place: Penelope

Thanks to all who sent submissions to the contest—and be sure to keep capturing pictures of your playful pit bulls all year round so you can enter “I Pittie, the Fool” 2014!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pit Bull Rescue Central's 8th annual "I Pittie, The Fool" photo contest!

Are you entertained by your bully buddy's antics? Is your canine companion a constant comic cut-up? It's time for Pit Bull Rescue Central's 8th annual "I Pittie, The Fool" photo contest!

Share those silly moments with everyone by submitting a photo to our contest!

To enter your playful pooch in our contest, send your photo, the dog's name, your name, and your email address to Once all pictures are received, the winning photos will be selected by PBRC volunteers. The owners with the best fool of a pit bull will win prizes from PBRC! There will be a first, second and third place winner.

Please submit your photos no later than March 27, 2013 (12:00 Midnight EST). Multiple entries are welcome, but please submit only one photo per dog. And please remember: safety first when snapping those silly pics!

Mark your calendars:
Deadline for photos: Wednesday, March 27 (12:00 Midnight EST)
Voting by PBRC volunteers: Sunday, March 31st

The I Pittie, The Fool winner announced: Monday, April 1

Good luck, and may your hilarious hound win!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Keeping Military Families Intact—Including the Pets!

Because the military lifestyle can involve frequent uprooting and transferring from one state—or country—to another, one might assume that keeping a dog in those circumstances is counterintuitive. Relocation costs can be expensive—thousands of dollars, in some cases—and the US military does not cover expenses for relocating family pets.

But dog ownership offers countless therapeutic benefits and having to give up a beloved family pet—particularly if the reason is related to budget—can be devastating. To help keep military families intact—including the furry ones—the international arm of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has launched Operation Military Pets. Individuals serving in all military branches, and relocating within the United States or anywhere in the world, are welcome to apply for Operation Military Pets grants to help offset the costs of bringing their pets with them.

There has been a tremendous response since its February 2013 launch, says Stephanie Scott, SPCA International’s Director of Communications, who notes that in one month, there have been almost 40 requests for help and the group has already begun disbursing financial aid.

Although the military enacted in 2009 a rule that “aggressive or potentially aggressive” dogs, including pit bulls, are not allowed in US military bases, Operation Military Pets offers assistance to anyone serving in the military, whether they live on or off base; thus, there are no breed restrictions for eligibility. Those forced to live off base because of their dog’s breed may need the most help, in fact. “We understand that off-base housing is more costly and just one more example of why our animal-loving military personnel are forced to shoulder a heavier burden as they are relocated,” Scott says.

Visit Operation Military Pets for more information about the program—including how it got started—and to find out how you can support this important program. As Scott says, "With so many families facing transportation costs of thousands of dollars, we need the public's support to ensure we can help every single military family that needs it."