Sticks & Stones May Break Their Bones, But Rescue Will Help Make it Better

Sticks & Stones May Break Their Bones, But Rescue Will Help Make it Better

At Save-a-Bull we really love to try and help dogs with special medical needs. Because of fantastic supporters, we have the money to try and fix or at least address any obstacle that may keep a dog from getting adopted.

Pippa was one of those dogs.  She  found herself at a shelter in Indiana after being picked up as a stray. Our rescue partner in the area sent us a picture and told us she was having trouble walking, but would we be interested in taking her in?  Without knowing any other details, we said “Yes! When can she be here?” Pippa made the long trek to Minnesota on June 4, 2016.  Even though she was in a lot of pain from trying to walk with her bad legs, she was the sweetest dog and just wanted to cuddle in your arms.

When Pippa arrived our first move was a trip to the vet to get a diagnosis. Pippa had a birth defect called Carpal Flexural Deformity which caused her front limbs to fold over themselves and made her walk on her elbows with her chin touching the floor. The worst part was that there was no surgical fix for her condition.  So Pippa began intensive physical therapy both in-home and at a therapy center where she used a water treadmill to try and straighten and strengthen her legs. It was a long shot, but we hoped for the best.

After just a few treatments we were shocked to see the improvement she was making!  She slowly started gaining muscle in her legs and flexibility in her paws and would do small things like holding bones to chew on with her paws and digging in the yard. These were huge strides for Pippa!

We are extremely happy to report that Pippa’s legs now look visibly normal.  She is able to walk and run like any other happy puppy with no restrictions.  After a long day her feet sometimes still turn out, like a ballerina, but she’s no longer in pain. She is sweet, sensitive and smart and we’re so happy to be a part of her journey back to health!

Pippa’s case was a rare case, but we’ve also helped many other dogs with more standard orthopedic issues this year:

  • Chance, Roo and Polly all suffered from leg injuries and required amputation surgeries. These tri-pods didn’t let that slow them down and they’ve all been adopted!
  • Delilah had a similar condition to Pippa but was older and was not able to make the physical therapy strides Pippa did. She will never be fully able to walk on hardwood floors, go for long walks or jump.  But she was adopted by a family that is perfect for her and is happier than ever.
  • Duckie was malnourished and spent a majority of her time in her kennel as a puppy, causing her legs to bow and have what is called “paddle feet.”  With some good nutrition, a little therapy and a lot of love, you can’t even tell!  She’s grown fully into her strong legs and enjoys walks, runs and play dates at the dog park.
  • Ritzy and Opal both had leg fractures that required surgery and pins for correction. Ritzy has been adopted, but Opal is still facing a few other medical issues that we’re happy to address before she can be adopted.
  • Boss had a fracture in his leg after being struck with a  baseball bat.  He was put in a cast and the leg healed perfectly! Boss was also adopted.
  • Stella needed a Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) to repair cruciate ligament rupture and patella damage. She’s currently recovering and in week three of a 12-week recovery process.
  • Ruby was a stray taken in by animal control. AC officers knew there was something wrong so they called us and we took her in. Ruby needed FHO surgery to repair her hip and is currently undergoing water therapy on her road to recovery.
  • Ginger came to rescue with a broken leg that wasn’t treated properly and had healed incorrectly. She’s currently undergoing physical therapy to strengthen her leg and will be available for adoption soon.

We are continually grateful for our supporters who keep us going and let us say YES to cases like these. These are all wonderful dogs who would not have had a chance to explore their best life without a little help. Thank you – from Pippa, Chance, Roo, Polly, Delilah, Ducky, Ritzy, opal, Boss, Stella, Ruby, Ginger and the countless other dogs who come through rescue each year.


Thanks to you, Save-a-Bull has had the opportunity to rescue and rehome a lot of deserving dogs this year. But that’s not enough! Supporting spay and neuter assistance programs for our community will promote responsible dog ownership and breed advocacy which is an important part of the work we’re trying to do every day. Donate today and be a part of our Fix Your Pit program!


Chance, Pippa, Opal and Roo photos by Tangerine House of Design.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trying to Save a Tiny Life

Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trying to Save a Tiny Life

In March Save-a-Bull was notified about a pit bull puppy who had suffered a severe head injury at 4 weeks old. The puppy was an innocent bystander in an argument gone terribly wrong in Indianapolis, IN (news story).

As a result of his injury he was unable to walk, eat, bark, see, or hear. There was hope that as his brain healed that some of his functions would come back. The puppy was named Niko.

After much discussion, Save-a-Bull brought Niko into rescue, knowing that brain injuries are a big gamble. The rescue committed to providing all the medical care he needed and a foster home to recover in. We were all realistic about the fact that we didn’t know how much function he would gain and if he would ever be “normal,” but we were willing to give Niko the chance at a normal life.

At 5 ½ weeks old when he arrived, Niko’s vision was compromised, he walked but leaned to the side, he ate liquid food, and he had regained some hearing and the ability to bark. At his first medical evaluation, he had an MRI that revealed an extensive frontal lobe injury. The frontal lobe is where impulse control drives are managed.

Next, Niko went to the ophthalmologist to learn the extent of the damage to his eyes. We learned that his eyes actually worked, but his brain injury prevented communication between his eyes and his brain to register sight.

At his foster home Niko was going about his daily life learning to be a regular pup with “quirks.” He lacked the impulse control to know when he was full when eating, and he was very mouthy and could not learn to stop that puppy behavior. As a puppy, it was excusable, but as he matured into a full size dog, it became a concern as his bites were getting stronger and causing physical damage. Over time he developed anxiety exiting his crate which resulted in him biting at his foster parents.

As Niko got older, he was having more frequent outbursts during the day. He began attacking the resident dogs, unpredictably and continuously without any reasonable provocation. When his foster parents broke up  the fights, Niko would redirect on them and often drew blood. After the “episode” was over, he would come back wagging his tail with no recollection of what had happened. For everyone’s safety, Niko was fitted with and had to wear a muzzle at all times. He had no idea why we were doing this to him and he seemed sad and sullen as his quality of life began to deteriorate.

Niko was not a bad dog. He was actually a really great dog sometimes. Other times his aggression was unmanageable. It was sad to watch him worsen, and not fully understand what was happening around him, or how to deal with everyday situations. His brain injury simply wouldn’t allow him to lead a normal, happy life.

On August 14th his fosters, Lori and Peter Hames adopted Niko. On August 15th Niko “Whitedog” Shea was put to rest. It was one of the hardest decisions they ever had to make, and Save-a-Bull stood by their side in support.

We choose to remember only the best about Niko. He was charming in a crowd and at events and he loved new people. He was smart as a whip and learned many tricks in his short time with us. And he was adorable in his stylish Thunder shirt collection that was used to calm him. He was born an inherently good puppy and never had a chance to live the life he deserved. We will not let the lessons from his life slip away from us. He continues to inspire us and the work we do to rescue, protect and assist the dogs who need us and to make greater strides in teaching overall care and kindness to animals.


No charges were filed against the man who hurt Niko because at the time of the trial there wasn’t enough evidence that Niko would suffer permanent damage.

Thanks to you, Save-a-Bull has had the opportunity to rescue and rehome a lot of deserving dogs this year. But that’s not enough! Supporting spay and neuter assistance programs for our community will promote responsible dog ownership and breed advocacy which is an important part of the work we’re trying to do every day. Donate today and be a part of our Fix Your Pit program!



The Wonderful Thing About Tigger: Surviving Parvo

The Wonderful Thing About Tigger: Surviving Parvo

In the coming year, all our Fix Your Pit Clinics will provide free vaccinations and microchips to the dogs who come in for their free spay or neuter. Vaccinations are an important part of good overall health and one of the easiest ways to ensure your dog doesn’t pick up anything life-threatening – like parvo.

Parvo (Parvovirus)
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness. The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problem (

Coincidentally, while our clinics are intended to prevent this disease, we saw our only parvo case this year at one of our clinics. A pair of young men came to our summer clinic with a young pup they said they could not care for. They asked to surrender the pup and we took him in on the spot. We named him Tigger and planned to have him checked out and neutered that day during our clinic.

tiggershampooBut the more we hung out with Tigger the more we felt that something just wasn’t right with him. And then, Tigger pooped and everyone instantly knew what was wrong  (Parvo has a very distinct, terrible smell).  We quickly washed him up and administered quick parvo test and, with positive results, Tigger was rushed to the e-vet to begin fluids.

Parvo sucks, and though Tigger was very lucky, it can be deadly. In 2014 we lost three beautiful, tiny puppies to the horrible disease. Parvo is also extremely easy to prevent with a simple vaccination.  At our spay and neuter clinics coming up next year we plan to offer up these important parvo vaccinations to owners who request them. Responsible dog owners will not only be protecting their own dogs but also other dogs in the community by lessening the spread of the disease.

Healthy dogs, healthier communities. It all starts with a free clinic and a little vaccine!

*Tigger made a full recovery and was adopted this fall!

Thanks to you, Save-a-Bull has had the opportunity to rescue and rehome a lot of deserving dogs this year. But that’s not enough! Supporting spay and neuter assistance programs for our community will promote responsible dog ownership and breed advocacy which is an important part of the work we’re trying to do every day. Donate today and be a part of our Fix Your Pit program!


Fix Your Pit clinics are helping support the community

Fix Your Pit clinics are helping support the community

In February, we held our first Fix Your Pit free spay/neuter clinic. Partnering with Kindest Cut, we’ve launched a program to help families with pit bulls and pit mixes spay or neuter their dogs. The Fix Your Pit program focuses on the importance of spay and neuter for a dog’s health and behavior benefits, but also as a way to help minimize euthanasia rates of pit bulls and improve the health of our communities.

Fifteen dogs took part in the February 13 clinic. Save-a-Bull volunteers were on hand to help the Kindest Cut staff care for these dogs.


Our next clinic is right around the corner on April 2, 2016 and two more clinics are scheduled to take place in 2016. Help spread the word about these dates so more families can take advantage of the free services to spay or neuter their dogs. Click here to see our schedule.

These clinics are made possible by the generous support of our community. All funds were raised on Give to the Max Day in November of 2015.


Rescue & Running: Both are tough, but worth the effort

Rescue & Running: Both are tough, but worth the effort

by Lacy Schramm, Co-director, Save-a-Bull Rescue

Me and Baby Lola, 2008.

I would never consider myself an athlete. I never really enjoyed sports, and never played on any varsity teams. My usual line was, “I will only run if someone is chasing me.” Exercise was a dirty word back then. However adopting my first dog, Lola, in 2008 started a fitness revolution in my life and led my husband and I into the rescue world.

That might sound a bit dramatic, but adopting a dog was truly the catalyst that changed the health of my family. Jake and I started walking Lola every day and venturing out for hikes on the weekends.

In 2010 I signed up to run my first 5k with a friend. At the time I couldn’t even run for two minutes straight. I certainly wasn’t a runner. Gradually building up endurance and mileage through the Couch to 5k plan, I was able to complete that first race with minimal walking. It was tough, but I did it and felt proud for doing it. Over the next few months I continued the running plan and stepped up to a 10k, which I liked even better. Jake joined me and we ran our first half marathon together in 2012.

A funny thing happened- somewhere along the way I started to really enjoy running. Not just the sense of accomplishment when it was over, but I actually enjoyed the entire run. I started looking forward to my runs and feeling frustrated when I missed them. Who was I? Well, apparently I turned into a runner. 25-year-old me would never believe it was possible.

Cisco ran the Fast and Furry in 2010.

Cisco ran the Fast and Furry in 2010.

Running is also something I can do with my dogs, and it’s great for them too. Most of the time I choose to run with a dog, especially my energetic foster dogs. I ran my first  Fast & the Furry race with Cisco, a foster-dog in a wheelchair (talk about inspirational; what excuses did I have for not running?)! Since then we have run a few Fast & the Furry races and sponsored a TC10k team of Save-a-Bull volunteers. Every Thanksgiving, Jake and I run the Turkey Day 5K through downtown Minneapolis, and a few Save-a-Bull volunteers and dogs have joined us along the way.

Rescue can change a dog’s life, but getting a dog can change your life as well. Looking back at all the choices I’ve made in my life, adopting Lola was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I have the before and after photos to prove it.

I’m personally inviting you to run or walk with Save-a-Bull Rescue at the 2016 Fast & the Furry 5k/8k event. Whether you sign up to walk your dog, or try the Couch to 5k program and run the 5k with us, the community and dogs in rescue will benefit. Register today and set up your fundraising page to collect donations for Save-a-Bull. Then show up for a fun, fast and furry morning to benefit the rescue community.


May 21, 2016 • Harriet Island, St. Paul

The Fast & the Furry 5k is less than three months away! Join our team and help raise money to support pit bull rescue and services at Save-a-Bull. How do you get involved?

1. REGISTER for the Fast & the Furry here:
Click here to register >

All registered human participants will get a race shirt.
All registered canine participants will get a bandana.
Participants registered by April 24 will get a custom race bib with their name and their dog’s name.

2. CREATE A FUNDRAISING PAGE as part of the Save-a-Bull team
Click here to set up your fundraising page >

Note from Event Organizers:
Be sure to include your NAME (the same that you registered with) on your fundraising page so we know who to credit. You must have already registered to participate in the Fast and the Furry 8K or 5K9 to earn incentives. Fundraising incentive prizes will be calculated based on online donations made to your page by May 18th. Any donations received at the event will be accepted by not counted towards prizes and the announced total at the event.

3. START COLLECTING PLEDGES from friends and family!
Fast & the Furry awards prizes at different pledge levels, learn more.

PLUS: If you reach $400 in pledges for Team Save-a-Bull we will give you a coupon for 40% off all Save-a-Bull merchandise you purchased at the event!

We look forward to seeing you and your dog at this fun event in May.

Appointments still available at free spay/neuter event

Appointments still available at free spay/neuter event

Our second free spay/neuter is clinic is right around the corner on November 21. THERE ARE STILL APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE. This is an important opportunity for pit bull owners to spay or neuter their dogs free of charge, please help spread the word!

If you know a family with a pit bull that could take part in this clinic, please share or download and share the poster below. The more people we reach the better!

FIX YOUR PIT Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic

for Pit Bulls and Pit Bull Mixes of qualified low-income pet owners*

Kindest Cut Melrose Animal Clinic
@ the Animal Humane Society
845 Meadow Lane N.,
Golden Valley, MN 55422

A limited number of appointments are available, reserve your spot now!
Call 763-489-7729 or visit for reservations.

*Applicants must income qualify. Please visit for details. A $10 reservation fee required.

And watch for more spay/neuter clinics in 2016 as a result of your generous donations on Give to the Max Day!

Fix Your Pit Poster