Pit bull advocate competes in “Survivor” charity event

Pit bull advocate competes in “Survivor” charity event

Hosted by the Rogers Lions Club, Live To Give is an annual charity event inspired by the hit reality TV show, “Survivor.” Competitors are asked to raise money to participate, the first $400 collected is prize pool money, the rest is donated to their charity of choice. Last year the Live to Give competition raised over $27,000 for the competitors charities!

We were contacted by Jesse Longtin who is competing in the event and chose to support Save-a-Bull Rescue. He plays softball with one of our foster volunteers and has met many of our dogs at the ball field. He got to interact with these dogs and fell in love with the breed.

“I chose to represent Save-a-Bull Rescues for this charity event because I have always supported charities and organizations that look out for our furry friends and that help them find great and accommodating homes. My first job was at an animal shelter up north and that is where I fell in love with helping animals directly, and where I learned how many people have misconceptions about certain breeds of dogs. While I have never owned a pitbull, I have worked with, and  have lived with pitbulls owned by my roommates and have only found them to be loving, affectionate, and good-hearted loyal companions. I wanted to focus on giving back to a charity that means something to me this year, and Save-a-Bull Rescues fits that criteria perfectly! It’s a worthy cause that I couldn’t be more supportive of and I have seen firsthand some of the amazing things Save-a-Bull has done for the bully breed in the Twin Cities area. My softball coach, Manuel Solano, has brought his Save-a-Bull foster puppies to games and it has been an absolute joy interacting with them and getting them socialized. I couldn’t be more happy to be representing an amazing charity, while getting the chance to play a mini version of Survivor, which happens to be my favorite show of all time!”

We’re excited to cheer Jesse on as he competes in this event and are honored that he chose Save-a-Bull as his benefiting charity. We’re also really excited that our mission and efforts are spreading through the community in small, but powerful ways as our network of pit bull advocates keeps growing!

If you’d like to follow along this fun competition, visit the Live to Give Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/livetogivemn/ https://www.facebook.com/livetogivemn/

And if you want to donate to Jesse’s efforts in supporting Save-a-Bull Rescue, and to learn more about competition details, go here:


(Note: Enter the amount you want to donate first, then your name and email on the next page, and then enter “Jesse Longtin” when asked which competitor you want you donation to go to)

We’ll keep you posted on Jesse’s outcome after this event takes place July 26-28, 2019.

Special Dogs Look for a Holiday Miracle

Special Dogs Look for a Holiday Miracle

Nothing is better than fun little surprises during the holiday season! Well, this month we got our fair share of surprises here in rescue. We’ve taken in three very special needs dogs this month and one vet appointment after another has revealed some not-so-nice surprises as each of these dogs requires more and more medical attention.

Here are the stories of Kenga, Chunk and Irish – all of whom are in desperate need of a holiday miracle.

Pitbull Mix
5 months

When Kenga arrived to rescue we assumed she’d be a happy healthy puppy. Her ragged and patchy fur told a very different story. She was excessively skinny and was having trouble keeping her food down so we took a trip to the vet to try and get some answers. X-rays led them to believe that Kenga might be suffering from Esophagitis, a temporary inflammation or infection of the esophagus, or Megaesophagus a more permanent condition where the muscles of the esophagus do not work and food and water cannot be moved into the stomach.

Kenga was put on a two week trial to figure out exactly what here prognosis is. During this time she is on medication to try and decrease the swelling and fluid in her throat, to prevent infection, and to keep food down.

Kenga is currently eating from baby highchair since she needs to eat sitting up and then stay that way for 20 minutes after eating to keep the food down. A middle school shop class in Wayzata has offered to build her a Bailey Chair to help her eat more comfortably and that should arrive soon!

Kenga has a follow up visit scheduled for the December 21. If she is diagnosed with Megaesophagus she will likely have to live with medication, a special diet and a Bailey Chair for the rest of her life.



Update 12.18.18: It is with great sadness that we have to share the passing of our little Kenga. Since we introduced her last week, her health declined rapidly. Despite treatment and medication, her esophagus continued to swell and press on her trachea which was very painful and made it impossible for her to breathe. We had to make the heartbreaking decision to let her go.  Kenga’s foster, Autumn, has been an amazing comfort to her throughout her short journey. If loved could have saved Kenga, Autumn was the right person to give it a try. Rest in peace, sweet Kenga.

Old English Bulldog
6 months

Chunk has already had a very long journey in his short life. He originated in Europe where he was sold to a local breeder and shipped to Minnesota. When he arrived, the breeder found that he had a multitude of health problems and refused to breed him to prevent his issues from being passed down the genetic lines. He surrendered Chunk to rescue with the hopes that we could address his problems and offer him some quality of life.

This amazingly handsome dog was believed to have hip dysplasia, cherry eye, a deviated septum and some major trouble breathing. We took him in and immediately scheduled a vet appointment.

The good news: At this time Chunk’s hips are not causing him any physical pain. Vets did not recommend any surgery if/until there is discomfort. His third eyelid is folding up and drying out, giving the appearance of cherry eye. But then it moves back into place, re-hydrates and is “normal” again. Again, we’ll watch for any signs of discomfort and address his eye’s needs at that time.

The bad news: Chunk is having a hard time breathing normally. He will require surgery to widen his nostrils and may need to have his pustules and/or tonsils removed as well. Once he is out, the surgeon will also look at what repairs are needed for his elongated soft palate and they will move forward with whatever is needed to make the surgery successful for Chunk.

Chunk is scheduled for surgery on January 8. We’re hopeful that the doctors will be able to fix his breathing and that will offer him some relief as we continue to treat and monitor his other issues.

Chunk’s estimated medical costs are $1,500

American Bully
6 weeks

Our youngest little patient, Irish, is the most severe of our holiday miracle cases.

At only six weeks old, the tiny puppy was having trouble walking on his back legs and was incontinent. It was clear he had some spinal issues, possibly scoliosis. We scheduled an appointment with our vets who referred us to a neurologist for a full work up of tests, including an MRI. We were worried that scoliosis in a puppy this young would most certainly lead to paralysis as he grew up, with nothing we could do to help him.

After his MRI, the neurologist consulted with other canine neurologist around the country before calling us. The MRI confirmed that Irish has scoliosis and that the vertebrae in his back that “dip” are not causing any compression, they are formed and stable. What is causing a 20% compression of his spine is an accumulation of spinal fluid on the cord. Basically, a cyst of fluid is pushing the dip further down and compressing the spine –causing his partial paralysis and incontinence.

We were relieved to find out that there was a surgical option to help Irish! But it gets tricky: in an adult dog, the surgeon opens the cyst, relieves the pressure on the spine and movement returns. There is a lot of research and case data on these types of surgeries and the outcomes have the potential to be amazing. There is however, NO data on this procedure in puppies because there is no record of his condition showing up in a puppy, ever! We have virtually no information to help us anticipate the outcome of surgery or the potential of re-occurrence.

This leaves us with only two options:

1) We do nothing and he becomes fully paralyzed and incontinent; or

2) We attempt the surgery and hope for the best possible outcome. We don’t know if the fluid pushing on his spine has caused any permanent damage to his cord, but the neurologist is hopeful since the spinal canal before and after the dip in his back is fully formed and functional.

Irish will always have scoliosis, which is manageable, so we have decided to do the surgery and give him the best possible chance at a full life. Surgery is scheduled for January 7. We’re working with Irish to build some strength before his surgery and he’s taking some pre-surgery meds that will help him handle the hours of anesthesia necessary to perform the surgery. If he starts to decline or lose more movement before then, the surgery will be pushed up to the next soonest available date.

Spinal surgery is always risky, and more so on a puppy as small as Irish. But we’re sure that with all the love and support he’s getting, that Irish will be able to fight through it!

Irish’s medical costs and surgery are expected to run $3,200-$4,000 and include a two-day hospital stay and specialized neurologist team.

Thanks to our Heal-a-Bull program, we are able to offer these dogs the best possible chance by providing the medical care they need. If these dogs have touched your heart, please consider a donation to help with their care and follow us on social media for updates and more information.


We are not accepting applications for any of these dogs at this time. Until the status of their health is known and fully stabilized they will not be available for adoption or for an adoption waiting list.


Meet Aspen

Meet Aspen

Aspen is a four-year-old pitbull/boxer mix adopted from Ark Animal Shelter in Hastings, MN

Aspen’s favorite things include his Nylabone, his people, his cats: Ruby, Sophie and Chloe and the swimming pool. He even has his own life vest for the boat!

Owners Laurie & Brent say that Aspen loves to be outside when it is sunny and warm. “There is a hill in the back of the yard that he will lie on top of. He will roll on his back and fall asleep with his legs sticking in the air,” they said. “One time, the neighbor (saw him sleeping like that and) thought Aspen had died!”

Photos by Tangerine House of Design.

Spayed in the Nick of Time

Spayed in the Nick of Time

Our spay/neuter clinic on August 8 was booked solid. At 7:30am there was a crowd of people outside waiting for the doors to open and to be checked in for their appointments. When Ashley B. left  her dog Luna with us it wasn’t until the pre-surgery exam that the vet staff noticed Luna was lactating. While it didn’t look like Luna was recently pregnant, the doctor decided it was unsafe for Luna to proceed with surgery that day.

We called Ashley to let her know Luna needed to be picked up and rescheduled for another day. Ashley was very upset because she was in the process of moving and her housing placement was contingent on Luna being altered.  Without this surgery, Ashley and Luna were in danger of losing the roof over their heads.

Although Luna missed our free Fix Your Pit clinic in August, we promised Ashley that as soon as Luna was ready, we’d cover the surgery cost at another AHS clinic date. In addition, Save-a-Bull director Lori Hames worked with Ashley’s housing counselor to assure them that Ashley was in fact a responsible owner and was meeting the requirements and having Luna spayed.

Luna got her surgery and they got to keep their housing. Luna is a very happy, healthy, and spoiled girl in her new home.

Your donations on Give to the Max Day help us fund the Fix Your Pit program and allow us to be there for those who need help. Healthy dogs create healthy, happy communities where responsible owners have the chance to change the stigma that surrounds pit bulls and ultimately improve their future as a breed. Thank you for your support!

Beyond the Clinic: Community Outreach

Beyond the Clinic: Community Outreach

One of the things we have learned from our spay/neuter clinics is that there are many good people out there who love their dogs and simply don’t know how and can’t afford to give them the care that they really need. The low-income and homeless communities really don’t have any resources for their animals, and unwanted litters and serious health conditions are hurting the pets in those communities. This is one of the ways our spay/neuter clinics have grown to include a Community Outreach Program. While its a small program, it helps those who don’t even have the means to come to a clinic or who need services that aren’t necessarily provided by the human organizations that help them.


Save-a-Bull’s Community Outreach Program aids bullies and their owners who are in need through providing resources and assistance for vetting, food, winter dog clothing and basics such as leashes and collars. The main goal of this program is to keep dogs with their people; to empower the people to get what they need so that they can take care of and keep their pets. We do not want to take their dogs away from them and we do not report to local animal authorities unless the situation is truly needing it.

The people this program benefits are often clients of our spay/neuter clinics who need help with follow up care or with more complex medical issues that were discovered during the routine spay or neuter. Rather than turn these people away because the issue is outside of the scope of the clinic, we find a way to make sure they get the care, medication and attention they need to see their dogs through these issues.

Another way the Community Outreach Program helps beyond our clinics is out on the street. Save-a-Bull Vetting Manager Ian is a nurse/outreach case manager who works for an organization that provides assistance and street level outreach for folks that are long term homeless with addiction and/or mental health. Street level means that he goes directly to their camps and into the woods to find the people in need. Often times these people have dogs and the human organization doesn’t provide any assistance for those dogs, so Save-a-Bull can help make sure they have the basic supplies – food, bedding, warm coats, vaccinations and medication and vet care if needed.


China and her owner lived on the streets together for 12 years. She had been with him since she was eight weeks old and when it was discovered she had untreatable cancer, her owner was devastated. When the time came to let China go, the homeless owner’s only option was to drop her off at a shelter to be euthanized. He refused, it was important to him to be with her in her time of passing. Our Community Outreach Program made this final farewell a possibility. By providing a vet appointment at a clinic he was able to hold China while she left this world and grew her wings.

Because Ian is out and about all day he runs into people with dogs who need help on a regular basis. The stigma of a pit bull living on the street might be too much for some people, but Ian says “I run towards the pit bulls instead of away from them when doing outreach.” (Learn more about Ian’s work here.)

While our program is small, and there is no formal application process to get help, we do our best to keep our ears and eyes open and offer help where needed. Our volunteers actively hand out clinic flyers to the owners of dogs in need of spay or neuter and alert our vetting team of homeless people that may need assistance. Your donations on Give to the Max Day will help support the resources this program and our clinics have to offer our community, thank you.

Supporting spay and neuter and community assistance programs will promote responsible dog ownership and breed advocacy which is an important part of the work we’re trying to do every day.