Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pittie of the Week: Joy (fmrly Freckles)

This week's Pittie of the Week comes to us from Luzerne County Pit Bull Owners (LCPO) Northeastern Pennsilvania's (NEPA) Avail-a-bullies.

Joe (formerly Freckles) was at NYC Animal Care and Control because her family moved and was originally at risk of not being spayed or rescued due to a mammary tumor. Joy has been cleared by her rescuers' vet for her spay, she will be getting spayed and having her tumor and skin tags removed next week! 

She is so unbelievably cute and happy-go-lucky, just look at these pics!

Here is what the shelter says about Joy:

Per the information that her previous owner shared she did not live with other dogs so will need a little work on socialization with other dogs, she seems to do ok with cats as long as they are dog friendly and she does well with children. Her previous owner also indicted she has never laid on anything like a hard floor, she enjoys soft bedding.. so she is clearly in shock being in the very scary shelter. Roxie will be staying in one of our foster homes to de-stress from the recent events, to receive vet care for the probable skin tags and/or growths she has and will also receive work on socialization. For more information on our adoption process you can visit: We do have many other wonderful dogs looking for homes as well:


Monday, July 2, 2012

Reader Mail!

Here we have another edition of Reader Mail! If there is a particular question you have about pit bulls, please drop me a line at, I'd be more than happy to answer any and all questions!

A red-nosed pit bull
This one comes from Elizabeth. She writes, "I have a 2 yo Red nose Pit. His name is Capone. He is a wonderful dog when he is with my boyfriend but when I'm with him he doesn't listen he pees and poops in the house. He pulls me when I walk him and he doesn't let anyone near me, he wants to bite them, anyone even children. And I love him dearly but I'm scared he will hurt someone!"

Thanks for writing in, Elizabeth!

Capone has issues that many young male pit-bulls have- he is territorial, acting tough, hard to handle on a leash... This makes me wonder if he is neutered? If not, I would strongly suggest neutering him as soon as possible.  It will help with marking (peeing) in the house, aggression and territorial issues  and there health benefits for him as well. You can read more about this here.

Secondly, I would recommend getting a muzzle right away. I recommend a basket muzzle for a strong male dog, rather than a nylon one that may slip off. If he has bitten in the past or threatens to bite anyone, especially children- this is a must. He should wear it outside the home and inside if guests are over. It is for everyone's protection, including his. If he does bite someone- depending on where you live, you could have to put him to sleep. Once he is muzzled, you can work on the other issues.

 If crate training is done correctly, your dog should like being in his crate
If he is peeing and pooping in the house- I suggest crate training (Info on Crate Training) him or putting up a gate to block off a small space for him that is easy to clean - usually the kitchen works best for this. The smaller the area he is confined to- the less able he will be to get away from the smell of his own urine and feces, and dogs hate being around that and will not soil their own "den". They tend to hold it rather than go when they are in a confined area.

For pulling- I suggest a prong collar (read about prong collar training here)- if he barks and lunges, use a sharp yank of that collar with a firm and loud "No!". Your confidence will become apparent to him and he will start to know you are in control. If he listens to your boyfriend and your boyfriend can help you- start putting Capone on his back and place your knee on his chest- he will struggle at first, but soon he will know that you are in charge. If he breaks the rules you put in place for him, place him on his back and stare into his eyes and say "No" in a confident deep voice.

Your situation with Capone reminds me a bit of this dog, Buddy, who Cesar Milan worked with on "The Dog Whisperer." Check it out here or watch part 1 below.

Best of Luck to you!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Perfect Pairs!

This morning I opened an advertisement in my email box from Lord and Taylor- they are having a super sandal sale- and what do I see? I pittie mix features with the shoe-model! I was so excited, I looked into it and found out that it is indeed part of a campaign called "Perfect Pairs". They've teamed up with Best Friends and local shelters to host an adoption event in conjunction with their Sandal Sale.
Each of the dogs in their ads is up for adoption with the local partners! I love it!

To find info on your Local L&T and their local partner shelter, click here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Coat Color Genetics Revisited: White Coats

Last year, I wrote about the genetics of Brindle Coats (read more here.)

Here's what we learned: Dog coat color, shape, and length genetics are based in 16 specific locations of the geneome. The basic color loci are: Agouti Locus (A), Brown locus (B), Dilute locus (D), Extention locus (E), Harlequin locus (H), dominant black locus (K), Merle locus (M), and Spotting locus (S).

Still, this doesn't help the non-scientist understand the amazing differences you see among litter mates... well I recently discovered a little more information about white coats that is very interesting.

Just take a look at the litter from Smilin' Pit Bull Rescue that sweet, adoptable Mama-pittie Onyx delivered:
(Warning, cuteness overload below...)

Onyx, a black short-haired pittie with white spots, had two all-white girls (1 short, 1 long haired), three all-black boys (2 short, 1 long haired), and 1 short-haired brown boy.

But how did a Black dog have pure white puppies? Well apparently the same genes that code for the extension of black and brown pigmentation over the body are present in white dogs, but white dogs are lacking the genes that turn ON the melanin production: ie, inject the hair with melanin from the hair folacle.

[See more pics and learn how you can adopt one of these Adora-bulls, here.]

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Phila ACC Pen Pal Program

Animal Care and Control can be a rough place for a dog to be, but Philadelphia's ACC is doing something very special to ease the strain on dogs living in their shelter and increase their chances of getting adopted through their Pen Pal Program.

Dogs in this program get 1 on 1 attention from their Pal twice a week at the shelter and one out-of-the-shelter excursion a month (hiking, walking, playing outside, practicing basic training, relaxing in a real house...). Pals also agree to help get their dogs adopted through online marketing and outreach. You can find a few of them on Craig's List. While out and about, a lot of the dogs get more exposure and can find adopters that way!

Here are some pics of dogs at PACC enjoying their time with their Pals...

Learn more here. See happy stories of Pen Pal "graduates" here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pit Bull Saves Woman from Oncoming Train

A special dog named Lilly stepped in front of an oncoming train to shield her owner, who had passed out on the tracks, most likely due to her recurrent alcoholism. Lilly is recuperating at home now and her entire $15,000 vet bill was taken care of by donations.

I love this story. It shows how brave and loyal pits can be. I know Bruno would probably do the same for me.

Party 4 Pooches

Are you in Philly?

Come join us at Operation Ava's first ever Party for Pooches on May 24th from 7pm to 10pm at Shampoo Nightclub!  We will have a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and a Doggie Fashion show and even a KISSING BOOTH featuring some of our adoptable animals.  

Admission price includes a 3-hour open bar and finger food, must be 21 to enter.  Proceeds from the event will go to Operation Ava so that we can fulfill our mission of rescuing animals from overburdened shelters locally and nationwide, educating children of all ages on responsible pet ownership and empowering children to make a difference in their communities. 

Operation Ava is one of Philadelphia's largest no-kill shelters and we are happy to say that since the organization began close to two years ago we have saved 1,200 lives.  With your support we look forward to saving thousands more!  Please visit us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @Operation_Ava or visit our website for more info!
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