As we sit smack in the middle of outdoor patio season, let’s pause to take a moment to think about our dogs. We love sitting on the patio with our friends, meeting new people and socializing for a few few hours (we especially love coming to the Save-a-Bull brew tour events!) But how does your dog feel about that? While we promote dog-friendly events, and encourage you to bring your dog, if he enjoys such things, please take a moment to consider if he actually wants to be there.
The following is an excerpt from an article by Jill Kessler; it’s an oldie but a goodie. The author talks about her disdain for dog parks and why. We see many similar correlations in overcrowded, loud, fun-for-us patios. Be sure your dog loves this chaos as much as you do, as controlled experiences are key training opportunities for your dog.
I am not a Dog Park advocate.
October 8, 2015 | Jill Kessler Miller
…let’s look at [dog parks, patios] from a dog’s point of view. Dogs thrive on stable relationships. Notice I did not say “pack!” They set up and like to maintain relationships with things that they know: their people, our human friends, their dog friends, their housemates, etc. Unless there are the exact same dogs every time they go to the dog park (which is nearly impossible), they have to re-establish their relationships with not only the dogs they already know in context of the new dog present, but they also have to establish a relationship with that specific new dog.
Some dogs can handle the stress of this–but most cannot. Thus you’ll get what appears to be random fighting, random aggression towards a dog they know, random odd behaviors (“gee, never done that before”), seemingly sudden guarding behaviors (territory, owner, another dog) etc. It’s not random or unpredictable–it’s the stress you, as an owner, causes by going to the dog park! Dog parks require skills that most dogs do not possess, nor would they according to how we have bred them for hundreds of years.
Lastly, I’m very wary of the “unknown” factors. Unknown dogs, unknown owners, unknown relationships and interactions, unknown damages. I don’t like surprises, and dog parks hold way too many unknown factors for dogs’ safety.
One of my main reasons for not being a dog park advocate is what I can’t control my dog’s experience and/or other people’s dogs (and I think it goes without saying, the dog owners). Because dogs are learning all the time, I must control as much of their experiences as possible, so that they build a solid foundation of behaviors that are appropriate and desirable, such as impulse control, bite inhabitation, and exchanging rewarding, affiliative, positive social interactions.
All mammals remember frightening encounters over non-eventful or even fun encounters. It’s a primal survival brain mechanism, designed to keep us alive. Dozens of positive encounters can be overridden by one bad one; thus I must make sure my dog has only positive experiences for several years, until they are mature and have a solid foundation before I expose them to a possibly unsure environment.
If your dog gets bullied, attacked, frightened or even just overwhelmed at the dog park, he will bring that experience and the subsequent conclusions he made with him everywhere. The reactions can vary from “I’m scared and must get away as quickly as possible at all costs” to “If I come on strong and attack first, maybe I’ll be okay,” to just about anything in between.
Also keep in mind that fighting and bullying in dogs is a learned behavior just as much as anything else, and therefore once your dog does it a few times, it’s now learned and bound to be repeated over and over again. And make no mistake–many dogs enjoy being a jerk! Your best bet is to not let it start in the first place, whether it’s your dog being the bully or being the target.
Of course I recommend dog-to-dog play! If your dog has a few friends that he or she really enjoys, please go for it! Set up play dates, meet somewhere where they can safely run, sprint, wrassle, and jump about. Since dogs generally play in pairs, try for either just the two, or in even numbers, you’ll find it works out better. Some dogs only want or need a few friends (just like people), and some are social butterflies, and can make friends wherever they go. Pay attention to who your dog is, not who you want them to be. Stay within your dog’s comfort zone, and you’ll have a happier, safer dog.
Source: www.jillkessler.com, Photo by Jeremy Wiens
Adopted September 2015
Dog’s former name Olaf
What are the best things about your dog?
He can not get close enough when he cuddles. He snores with his eyes open. He is so careful with my 2 year old nephew and 6 month old niece and has loved every dog he’s met.
Tell us about your dog’s favorite activities, sports or training:
Running zoomies, sleeping, chewing on anything and everything. Talking (he makes a very unfortunate sound when he wants me to feed him, water him, or let him outside) it’s hilarious.
Give us some examples of how your dog likes to spend his/her time:
Chance’s favorite thing is being close to me or his grandma! He is the biggest cuddler I’ve had in a dog. At night, he lays in my bed and doesn’t move.
How do people react to your “pit bull?”
Chance gets tons of complements on how beautiful his coat is.
What other stories do you want to share?
Chance was my foster fail and it was love at first sight.
Does your dog have any nicknames?
Sir Chancelot, Moose, Chancey-Pants, Chauncey
FAST FIVE with Chance
1. Food: Piggy or picky? Piggy
2. Dog beds: Sleep on or unstuff? Sleep on
3. Travel: Car rides or car sick? Car Rides
4. Water: No way or splash all day? No way
5. Seasons: A day in the sun or a day in the snow? Day in the sun
Submitted by Tiffany G.
Did you adopt a Save-a-Bull dog? Click here to share an update with us!
Being a first time dog owner in my adulthood was probably the best time for me to adopt a dog that wasn’t fond of other dogs. There was no comparing her to a previous dog that got along with other dogs, and my expectations were completely unformed. Here’s what it’s really like having an “only dog” dog in your life.
“She had little interest from adopters because she couldn’t live with other dogs and was placed on the euthanasia list.”
My girl Haddie is a pit bull. She was found as a stray at around two years old, so I will never know her history. She was at a shelter for a month but even though she was sweet, potty trained and loved people, she had little interest from adopters because she couldn’t live with other dogs and was placed on the euthanasia list.
Fortunately for Haddie (and for me!) a rescue saw the potential in her and pulled her from the shelter and made her available for adoption. About the same time, I began my search for a dog. I knew I wanted a people-friendly, snuggly dog, which is why I specifically wanted a pittie. Then Haddie’s and my paths crossed – I knew the moment I saw the first picture of her that I would be hers!
As Haddie and I got to know each other, I learned that having an “only dog” goes a lot further than simply not being able to have two dogs at home. I found out Haddie lunges at cars and at other dogs so she needs to be on a leash at all times and I need to make careful choices about where we go. Sure it’d be nice and more convenient to be able to bring her along to a friend’s house who has dogs, or to go to dog parks and let her wear off energy with other dogs. It would be great to let her loose in the yard and to be able to walk down any street regardless of traffic or other dogs out in their yards, but we can’t.
But Haddie is by no means missing out on life! I find creative ways for her to have fun. We go on at least two walks a day and we find low traffic roads to walk on and explore woods or grassy areas. It’s great exercise for both of us. We find fenced in tennis courts, play areas at schools, baseball diamonds, or even little fenced in cemeteries and I let her run wild!
Haddie also loves to swim, but her big pitty head doesn’t make it look the most graceful so she wears a life jacket. I bought a fifty foot floating leash that I keep her on while I wade in the water with her. Since we both enjoy being outside, we’ll sometimes find a nice quiet park, I’ll put her on a tie out and we’ll lie in the grass and take it all in.
Haddie and I have worked really hard to create a happy and manageable dog-free routine. We’re also working with a really reputable trainer this summer to try and find a little more balance, but it’s likely Haddie will always need to be an only dog.
“I feel that Haddie’s lifestyle is more rewarding than it is unfortunate; she isn’t missing out on anything!”
I feel that Haddie’s lifestyle is more rewarding than it is unfortunate; she isn’t missing out on anything! She gets plenty of exercise and adventure, she has free reign of the house, a comfy bed we share at night that is purposefully positioned next to the window for her viewing pleasure, a full belly, and a mom who loves her so insanely much!
I also feel the emotional bond between me and my dog-reactive dog is heightened because we spend more time and physical closeness together. Yes, a little more planning is involved when I need to be gone for extended periods of time or if I want to take her places where other dogs might be, but as I look over at her sleeping right now, snuggled with her blankie, tears come to my eyes – I wouldn’t trade Haddie for anything in the world.
Just as some people don’t enjoy other people’s company, every dog isn’t going to love every other dog; and that’s ok! Besides, if I had more than one dog, it’d be hard to spoil them both as much as I spoil Haddie.
I know we all want to give as many dogs a second chance as we can, but don’t look past doing it one dog at a time. Consider adopting a non-social dog. They may not like other dogs, but that doesn’t mean they won’t love you with every ounce of their hearts. If you feel connected to a “must be only dog,” trust that feeling and give that dog a loving home. It’s been the greatest thing to ever happen to me.
Thank you Sara Chrudimsky for sharing your story about life with Haddie.
If you think you’re interested in giving an “only dog” dog a home, please email our adoption team. We frequently have dogs in rescue that take longer to place as we wait for the right home to come along. The challenges with these dogs might be greater, but the rewards are unlimited!
Foster families. They are the center, the heart, of rescue. We can’t do anything without their caring, commitment and undying support. No dog can come into rescue if we don’t have a place to keep them, and our foster families open up their doors again and again to make sure we can keep saying “yes!’ to dogs who need us.
And fostering is incredibly rewarding to the people who care for, and grow to love, the dogs that pass through rescue. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked fosters “What makes your foster dog love-a-bull?” and they told us what they love about the dog they currently have in their home. You’ve seen these posted on Facebook all month, but here they are again, all in one place, for a powerful look at why fostering is so important both to rescue, and to the families who take dogs in as their own.
We 💖 Jeff & Alexa
What makes Remi love-a-bull?
When we get home, she’s so excited, that she’ll even help you untie your shoes! She gets really excited for treats that her tail will go so fast and she can’t contain how happy she is.
Her floppy ears have a mind of their own. Depending on her mood, they’ll drastically change how they are positioned.
Remi is the perfect size, petite but muscular and she is beyond beautiful!
We 💖 Kristina (& Stewart)
What makes Stella love-a-bull?
Stella is the ultimate super sweet and cuddly pup. She always wants to be around us, she’ll get up from any nap just to follow us to the next room.
She loves snuggling up next to her foster brother or her humans in the middle of the night.
She loves attention and being touched. She expects constant belly rubs if you’re nearby or she’ll put her head under your hand so you can pet her.
She is a professional fetch player. She will find a ball or toy, drop it off for you and bring it back every single time. She won’t stop until you do.
She prefers to lay on top of us, not next to us.
She vocally tells us how she feels. When she needs to go outside she barks really softly and runs to the back door and she shows her excitement for walks and food with loud whimpering.
When you ask her if she’s ready for bed, she gets up from whatever she’s doing and walks to the bedroom and waits for someone to help her onto the bed or open the kennel door for her.
She gets herself comfortable in her kennel as soon as she sees us putting our coats on to leave. No need to ask her, she is just such a good girl!
We 💖 Jill & Ciara
What makes Syrtia so love-a-bull?
Her gray muzzle and beauty marks, which give her character, make her look more distinguished and wise, and command respect.
The way she grunts as she makes a nest in her blankets.
She loves to cuddle and will cuddle with the cats, the dogs as well as her humans.
Being greeted at the door with a wiggly butt and ball in her mouth.
Her gentle demeanor, and big pittie smile.
The way she uses her big pittie head to gently push up against you and tell you she wants some love and pets.
Her high fives, paw shakes, and other moves she uses to impress you in order to get some treats.
The way her butt wiggles and her eyes light up when she plays ball and will bring her ball back to you to throw again and again.
She’s an easygoing dog and is already potty trained, knows basic obedience commands and walks great on a leash.
She loves to ride in the car and is a great car rider.
She loves everyone and gives great kisses.
Despite her age, she still has lots of energy and lots of love to give.
Overall, she is just the best elderbull in the whole world!
We 💖 Tammy & Jillian
What makes Beaux love-a-bull?
Beaux has the sweetest face that you just can’t help falling in love with.
We also love that Beaux is an amazing cuddler!
Everyday when we get home, Beaux is ready and waiting to greet us with the best wiggle dance you have ever seen!
Even though he came to rescue with some leg issues, he doesn’t let that get in his way! Beaux is just a happy-go-lucky puppy.
We LOVE his kisses!
Beaux has the happiest personality that can brighten any mood. You just can’t help but smile when you are around this little guy!
We 💖 Ricardo
What makes Peetie love-a-bull?
Peetie is a complete and total ham. He has a very playful personality and a huge handsome smile. He’s intensely curious about the world and will keep you company while you work around the house.
He’s an energetic dog who loves to play fetch, go on runs or long walks and wrestle with his rope toy, but he is equally lazy and snuggly at home. His new favorite thing is to lie for hours on the recliner and watch very quietly from the window as people and cars go by. When he’s not in the recliner, Peetie likes to snuggle with resident dog, Sheba, too.
His affection is universal!
Peetie has been with us since August and his transformation has been incredible. He’s become quite comfortable and relaxed in a home setting with consistently-enforced boundaries and expectations. He used to be very insecure, following me from room to room and crying if he wasn’t in the same room. Now, he’ll take long naps in the living room while you roam about the house, and he’ll enter and stay in his crate quietly when you leave for work or extended periods.
We 💖 Cassie
What makes Jezebel love-a-bull?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
The first thing you want when I get home is a scratch.
You are “outspoken” and spunky.
When I get up in the morning you don’t let me, you lick my face and snuggle in for an extra five minutes before you will let me get out of bed.
You play so well with the kitty cat.
Every dog you meet in a normal environment you get along with.
You love little kids.
You are always a work in progress like me.
You love love love food.
I didn’t have to teach you to fetch you just knew.
You love to be outside.
You are a Class A snuggler.
You love to jump in the bathtub.
You will be so hard to let go when you find your forever family!
We 💖 Lori (& Peter)
What makes Perdy love-a-bull?
Perdy is “love-a-bull” because she was the underdog. The one who found herself pregnant in a shelter with a euthanize date.
We brought Perdy into our home and she fit in perfect with all of our dogs immediately. We have a very diverse pack including a dominant female queen of the house. Even our queen bee shared with and befriended the beautiful Perdy.
She is a loving family pet who almost didn’t get the chance to shine.
Since having her babies, Perdy has gone from being a wonderful momma dog back to the joys of being a happy-go-lucky dog. She loves to play with her toys, run with the dogs and just be the sweet love-a-ble girl she is.
Perdy is the perfect Valentine’s sweetheart!
We 💖 the Farrelly Family
What makes Hallie love-a-bull?
Little human Maddie:
She is so big and snuggly, I love my buffalo!
Little human Leighton:
Eye, ear, nose. (We think she’s beautiful too, Leighton!)
Foster Mom, Nicole:
I love how much she loves Leighton and Maddie. She gets very excited to wake them up each morning. There are times that she is impatient and will bop Maddie’s bedroom door open with her huge melon because I am not moving quick enough for her.
I love when she gets excited about something and flips on her back squirming on the floor with an upside down smile.
I love that she has presence, she sounds like a heard of elephants coming down the hall!
Foster Dad, Desmond:
I love that it doesn’t matter where she is in the house, if I sit down on the couch she is immediately next to me. Then she will proceed to nuzzle behind me, pushing me to the edge of the couch. If I change couches to give her more room, she does it again. She loves to be with her humans.
I love that she will find blankets and burrow in them snorting and rolling around like a boar.
We all love how much Hallie likes to make us happy; she likes to please her people and loves praise.
We 💖 Jolene & Steve
What makes Alex love-a-bull?
Alex loves to argue and stand his ground. You tell him to stop bugging his foster siblings, drop a toy or come to you when he feels he doesn’t need to listen and he will just talk right back to you, similar to your typical teenager. (Trust me, this is hilarious)
Alex is a major cuddler and loves to snuggle up on the couch and watch TV with us.
Boy does Alex love to give kisses. He knows he was saved from the streets of Indiana and shows his appreciation daily.
To think about the condition he arrived in, patchy fur and sickly looking, to healthy young man with a beautiful coat of fur has really made our hearts soar.
When Alex arrived he acted as if he had never experienced the joys of having a toy to play with. The experience of finding Alex a toy he connected with was such a rewarding experience. Now, he loves all toys!
Alex also acted as if he had never heard the word “treat” before. Trust me, this is no longer a hidden mystery to him!
We 💖 Jeanette
Roscoe has been adopted! But what did you love about fostering him?
He wakes me up by crawling over the bed and putting his paws and chin on my face.
He is very smart and loves mastering new tricks and training.
He tries to sneak more food when I’m not looking and has fallen into his food bin more than once.
He has a weird obsession with underwear.. LOL
He soothes himself with mouth nibbles on me or his doggie foster brother, especially when he’s tired and wants to sleep.
He loves meeting new people and is friendly to everyone!
He is quite good at fetch and is starting to be coordinated enough to catch the ball in air.
He snorts when sniffing the ground like Pumba from the Lion King.
He really loves to cuddle and he’s not too big to be a lap dog.
We 💖 Ashley, David & Lane
What makes Tina love-a-bull?
Tina has an amazing smile that brings our family so much joy! She loves to snuggle and every morning greets me with a great snuggle sesh.
She is a very happy dog and has a great head tilt. When she hears noises on TV, she looks around and tilts her head every which way. She has a big ol’ head that is just adorable.
My nephew loves that he can play with her and cuddle her too. He said he loves her great personality.
Overall, we love Tina so much and can’t wait for her forever family to love her too!
We 💖 Danielle
What makes Kelsey love-a-bull?
Kelsey is the most beautiful dog in the world. She has stopped traffic with her gorgeous looks!
She is a low rider, seriously one of the lowest to the ground dogs you can think of!
Kelsey is a major snuggler. She can find you no matter where you are in the house. If you are down for a nap, Kelsey is in!
She snores like no ones business. We are thinking she is probably part pig because of it!
No joke, Kelsey needs negative exercise because she is seriously so lazy.
She is OBSESSED with children of all ages and all people. Kelsey is the definition of a lover.
When she gets random bursts of energy it makes me laugh so hard!
Her one blue eye is to die for!
We 💖 Lorelei
Foster manager Lorelei and the Lion King litter.
Save-a-Bull’s foster manager, Lorelei, is the glue that holds our foster program together. Not only does she take dogs into her home, she offers coordination, mentorship and support to the dozens of families that currently foster for the organization. If you’ve ever considered fostering a dog, Lorelei would like you to share the following insight with you:
We need you! Why foster?
Flexible, forgiving, family, future.
We all know the high-level reasons why you should become a Save-a-Bull foster home. Fostering keeps pit bulls out of shelters. It also frees up more space in shelters for incoming dogs and minimizes euthanasia rates. You are literally saving a life.
But did you know that fostering increases the chance of a dog getting adopted and prevents the chance of a dog being returned to a shelter environment? While in foster care, dogs learn appropriate socialization skills with humans and other animals. They experience all the things we take for granted (i.e. TV, noises from cooking, car rides, a regular schedule, baths, weather including snow and rain, couch snuggles, post person delivering mail, etc). You help them develop the skills needed to become a perfect companion animal and fit into a perfect forever home.
But, fostering is so much more!
Fostering is flexible.
There are no rules that you have to have a dog in your home at all times. You can foster a couple times a year, all the time, or temp foster on the weekends. You choose what age dog is best for your life style – puppies, adolescents, adults and geriatrics. We have them all, and thanks to our intake/matchmaking team, we can search out and find any kind of dog you may want to foster.
Fostering is forgiving.
You don’t have to be a perfect person, have a giant house or large yard. You can live in an apartment, work full time and go out on weekends. All that truly matters is that you have the ability to give time and love to a dog – that will love you in return. Many of our dogs come with sad stories but the compassion and care you show to your foster will change their lives forever. Pit bulls are all about instant forgiveness. If you mess up by putting the gentle leader on wrong, miss a meal or don’t open the door in time for a potty break, they will forgive you and move on. Lesson learned.
Fostering is about family and fun.
Fostering is a family adventure; everyone engaged in the common purpose of caring for the dog. Children of all ages can participate in family walks, responsibility of feeding times, poop pick up and discovering that through volunteering they can personally make a difference in the world. Entire families are welcome to spend time together at adoption events and Save-a-Bull gatherings.
When you become a foster with Save-a-Bull you join our family. Fosters, mentors, volunteers and leadership all join together in the mission of rescuing pit bulls from homelessness, neglect, injury and abuse. While rescue can sometimes be hard work, the Save-a-Bull community often comes together to celebrate each other and our pups.
Fostering is our future and foundation.
Foster homes are the heartbeat of Save-a-Bull. Without homes we would not be able to save lives and find adopters the perfect family pet. Foster homes also help groom good dogs that go out into the community to act as advocates for the breed. Dogs and volunteers as positive role models help build awareness and support of Save-a-Bull and increase our reach to help the dogs that would be lost without our help.
Fostering is about growing the size of your heart, about the unselfish act of loving and letting go. In the short term you are immediately saving a life. But in the long run you have no idea how fostering can fulfill and change your life until you give it a try!
Join this group of incredibly special people who open their homes and their hearts to a dog that deserves a second chance.
If you would like to help us save even more dogs, apply to foster with Save-a-Bull Rescue. You provide the love, we provide everything else.
Q: How do you volunteer your time specifically with Save-a-Bull?
The majority of my time has been fostering 23 puppies, getting them ready for their forever homes.
Q: How long have you been with Save-a- Bull?
In July 2014 I was approved to become a foster, and picked up my first foster pup on August 9.
Q: How did you learn about Save-a- Bull and what made you decide to volunteer?
I had recently put my Dalmatian Perdy down after 13 beautiful years with me. I didn’t want to replace her, but I needed to fill the void. My neighbor Brigette Mengerson posted that Save-a-bull had puppies coming in via transport and foster volunteers were needed. I talked to her about the commitment duties, etc. She said the puppies would be adopted within weeks after their arrival. She lied.
Portia, my first foster pup stayed with me for six months. I didn’t want to give Portia up and was sad when the approved application arrived, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to foster any more pups if I were to foster fail with her. So I reluctantly took her to her new home when the family fell in love with my little girl and two weeks later she was adopted on Valentine Day. Best decision ever as I have had 22 pups adopted since Portia. I always tell myself, and other fosters, don’t get attached because you can’t bring another pup into the house until the one you have is adopted.
Q: What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a volunteer so far?
I would say that having 22 pups from 2/15 to now and knowing they are all in wonderful homes is enough reward for me. If I had a larger house and larger yard, I would take on more pups, but for now 1 or 2 puppies is my limit.
Q: Do you have any dogs of your own?
I have 3 dogs of my own. When I first started volunteering, I only had 2 pups. Bella (golden retriever mix that was my dad’s dog) and Nova (chocolate lab/pit mix that was my nephew’s dog). After Portia left, I was given Vadar (Dobie/Pin/Chi mix). I think my family thought I was depressed after Portia was adopted that Vadar would fill the void. Wrong, I wanted to continue to foster, and decided that since Vadar was so small, I could handle at least one foster pup with no problem.
Q: What do you do for work? For fun?
I’m officially retired but I still design the newsletter and annual report for one of my credit union clients. I’m not taking on new clients, I just do the work to earn a little spending money each year. Weather permitting, I walk my dogs individually for exercise. I am an avid sports fan of football, basketball, baseball & soccer. In the spring/summer, I coach and play softball. Everyone in the league knows I’m the player with all the foster pups. I enjoy seeing my pups all grown up and they all still remember me and give me lots of puppy kisses. In the winter, I have taken to binge watching shows that I missed because I would work 24/7 and had no time for TV or movies. I used to read a lot, but watching old movies and TV series is more fun.