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!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Adora-BULL videos

check out this cuteness from a super cute (& vocal) pibble who really doesn't want a bath.
Winnie hates baths so much she won't even set FOOT in the bathroom!

And this one, where a pibble is whining not to go to bed. Bruno does this all the time, but the howling is so cute sometimes, its hard to resist.

Pittie Pick-me-up!

Tired of looking at the poor emaciated faces of pitties waiting to find a home? Well now you can check out StubbyDog's Rescue Dog of the Week to see all the amazing transformations of lucky and adoptable dogs all over the country.

Check out this week's doggy, Dumpling, a four-month-old who was abandoned, emaciated, only 24 lbs and had the worst care of demodectic mange and secondary infections that the vets had ever seen. He has made such an amazing recovery!

Dumpling BEFORE
Dumpling AFTER

Now he is 1 year old, 47 pounds and is happy and playful. He loves to play with his foster buddy, loves to cuddle and is available for adoption! Check out more pics of Dumpling enjoying life!

Dumpling is available for adoption through Rocket Dog Rescue, which is located in San Francisco, CA. You can check them out on Facebook or see Dumpling on PetFinder or check out his blog.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Running off leash

Every once in a while we like to take Winnie and Bruno to run and enjoy the outdoors off the leash. Unfortunately, Winnie can't be taken off the leash anymore- not since we took her to her Great Grandpa's house in Allentown and she almost ran across the road to chase a group of Deer.

But Bruno is SO obsessed with balls and sticks that he can be off-leash just about anywhere and will follow us and stop dead if we tell him to- not sure where he learned this, but it makes sense given that all we have to say is "Crate" and he goes right into it.

They love Fairmount Park in Philadelphia- a park with a few baseball diamonds and an open field where he can run and chase balls for hours.

Here Bruno is lugging around a giant branch and Winnie is rolling herself in the sand. (Needless to say they both got baths afterwards!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Before & Afters...

An animal may look skinny, beaten, scarred, and at the end of its rope... but don't overlook him. Love can cause some amazing transformations...

Please think about adopting an animal in need.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Dogo Bite = A Pit Bull Attack

Again, the media is misrepresenting a dog attack as a pit bull attack.
Recently, a dogo argentino bit the face of a reporter who was reporting on his amazing rescue from the Ice in a Colorado reservoir.
Nor surprisingly, the media pounced on this story an portrayed the dog as a pit bull- which would be impossible because pit bulls are not allowed in Denver, anyway (and usually aren't 85 pounds!)

This story prompted responses from both sides on ABC's webpage such as...

"The reporter is at fault. Why would should put her face down into a strange dogs face? He clearly felt threatened and she should have known better. The dog is not at fault and she owes her viewers an apology. I tell my children to respect a dogs space and they are 3 and 7 and know this why didn’t this woman? I feel bad for the dog and owner and hope nothing bad happens to the dog because of her ignorance."



See the video here- where the owner describes the dog as an Argentinian Mastiff right before he bites the reporter. Unfortunately, you can see that the reporter was leaning in, petting him all over his face, and goes in for a kiss- which is not how you want to approach a strange dog. I hope this is a lesson for parents and individuals out there who need to learn that dogs are animals- pit bull, dogo, or any other breed- they are animals and they are unpredictable and can get nervous in any situation. Dogs to not have words or hands to defend themselves with- so when they feel threatened, they use their mouths.

Read more.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

McDonald's Pit Bull Ad

Finally McDonald's pulled a radio ad that said that eating a Chicken McBite was less dangerous than petting a stray pit bull. Thanks Mickey D's-- but my dog was a stray pit bull once, and I can assure you, petting him is a lot safer than eating your "meat."
Listen to the add here.

First of all, why did they need to air a radio ad saying how safe eating their food is? Well, perhaps because this photo of the "pre-chicken nugget "meat" paste that they use to make their nuggets was leaked onto the internet. Read about how its made below:

Someone figured out in the 1960s that meat processors can eek out a few more percent of profit from chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows by scraping the bones 100% clean of meat. This is done by machines, not humans, by passing bones leftover after the initial cutting through a high pressure sieve. The paste you see in the picture above is the result. There's more: because it's crawling with bacteria, it will be washed with ammonia... Then, because it tastes gross, it will be reflavored artificially. Then, because it is weirdly pink, it will be dyed with artificial color. Read more.
Not only does their food barely qualify as "food," their advertising agency clearly is failing as well. Due to an overwhelming internet response, McDonald's had to issue the following apology:

"The ad was insensitive in its mention of pit bulls. We apologize. As soon as we learned of it, we tracked the source and had the local markets pull the ad immediately. We'll do a better job next time. It's never our intent to offend anyone with how we communicate news about McDonald's," Ashlee Yingling, spokesman for McDonald's Corp.
Good job boy!

HEY MCDONALDS- My Rescued pit bull was a stray!

Pittie Pix: Ezra Caldwell

Photographer Ezra Caldwell takes beautiful images of his white pit-mix, Putney. Some are action shots, others at rest, all of them are beautiful and show the elegance and sweetness of the breed.
Check out more photos here. Photos are available for purchase on Etsy.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sleeping with Pitties

Photographer Ezra Caldwell
This is how the four of us sleep... we really need a King size bed!! We've tried kicking them out before- Winnie is fine with it (in the summer time), but Bruno whines and whines until he gets his way. The funny thing is- before we adopted Bruno, Winnie would only ever bother us to sleep on top of the covers at the foot of the bed. Then she learned from Bruno that being under the covers is WAY cozier. Now she noses and paws at the covers just like him. We notice that in the winter she is all about heat conservation, snuggling to the bottom and pushing herself into the warmest spots, but in the summer she'll be content to sleep on the cool leather couch in the living room. Bruno on the other hand, tends to over-heat, and will get up and bug us to come back in a million times a night.

Do you let your pitties sleep with you? I think it is rather hard not too- they're so cuddly and snuggly... and persistent!

Monday, January 30, 2012

What would you do?

Will anyone speak up if they witness someone trying to adopt a pit bull for fighting?

The show "What would you do?" (watch here on Hulu) sets up a hidden-camera to see if anyone would stop a dog being sold into dog fighting.

While this would never happen (fighting dogs are usually bred for the purpose and can fetch large sums if they comes from prize-winning blood lines) its surprising how little direct confrontation there is.

I'm happy to see one man directly confronting the couple, but I know I would be much more aggressive - I would have called the police immediately.

Remember, dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states and is a felony in many, so it is somewhat surprising that people are often more likely to speak up about rude cashiers on this show than a felony in progress.

This does bring up the very real issue of the importance of background checks for adopters. While many dogs are purchased from bloodlines, amateurs would not hesitate to adopt a pit for $20 from a city shelter to use as a bait dog. Serious screening is of the utmost importance to make sure these dogs don't end up in the wrong homes. As the most abused breed on the planet-their breed is already a huge hurdle to overcome if they want to live happy comfortable lives, so shelter workers need to balance the desire to find fast homes with the need to find GOOD homes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Current Cuties at ACC

Here are some gorgeous (and sometimes baby!) faces from the URGENT folder that I couldn't help but share with you all:
How could you not wanna scoop up little 4 month old Pal?
4 month old Amber is a beauty!!
Teeny tiny 1 year old Lexie loooves belly rubs
1 and a half year old Hazel who gives kisses through the bars
3 year old Chloe is a little shy but loves to gives kisses

3 year old Wanda loves to play ball and wag her tail

"4" month old Scrappy (my guess is he's about 2-3 months)
7 month olf Betty loves walks and warm laps

Monday, January 23, 2012

Make a Pittie your Valentine!

This Valentine's Day, make a Pit bull your valentine! Check out these cute pit-bull themed gifts for your loved one(s) or for your pittie(s) from Etsy (click the pics for the links). Missing that special someone? Adopt a pittie from a shelter today!
Proceeds of this card are donated to animal rescue: 5$ on Etsy
6 Valentines for $10 @ Etsy
Pittie Magnet for $5.99 @ Etsy
(Or get the gift set for $20)
Only $2 on Etsy
15$ for six letterpress Valentines @ Etsy
And for your pittie.. Heart-shaped dog treats: 7$ for 8 oz.
Or adopt your own future Valentine:

On the EUTH LIST TODAY(1/23): A little Girl named Santa, super wiggly and friendly and has been waiting patiently since Christmas for a home.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Photo Book Projects: 25% of Books goes to BADRAP

If you loved the Photo Book projects as much as we did, check this out- a message from author Melissa McDaniel:

The Photo Book Projects need your help to keep the projects going, and to help spread their message of compassion for all animals. Please help by purchasing a dog photo book and spreading the word about the projects. Their goal is to sell 500 books over the next 48 hours and but they can only do it with your help. AND if you act now and purchase one Thursday or Friday, 25% goes to pit bull rescue BAD RAP. Click here to help and Please Cross-Post to help them reach their goal:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pitties of the Week: 6 Baby Brindles

Everyone wants a puppy, right? Then these guys shouldn't have a hard time finding a home- that is unless their stripes, big heads, and short muzzles scare potential adopters away.

While volunteering, I have definitely come across families ready to adopt a pitty pup like these, only to ask what breed he is and walk away at once!

The other possible problem with puppy adoptions (and this is true of all breeds) is that puppies grow into dogs; and pitty puppies grow into pit bulls. What might be cute now, may look fearsome in 10 months.

Well meaning adopters also may not have pit bull experience. As a pit-mom, I know owning two pit bulls has its challenges - and new adopters of pit puppies may not know what they are in for.

If you DO have pittie experience, consider a puppy to add to your home! A big pittie brother or sister would really enjoy one of these cuties running around!

Click here to learn more about these pups and to contact Animal Haven in Soho, NYC. 

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