Give to the Max Day Results

Give to the Max Day Results

Now that all the dust has settled from our Give to the Max Day whirlwind, we’d like to take one more opportunity to thank each and every person who took the time to donate to our Fix Your Pit campaign. We believe the services we’re funding at these clinics will make an impact in the number of unwanted, neglected and abused pit bulls in our community and we’re thrilled you feel the same way.

Here are some numbers and stats that illustrate the results from our 2016 Give to the Max Day fundraising and how awesome you really are. We thank you again and again, for making our goal a reality!

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Supporters made donations in the name of or in memory of those they care about the most. The messages that came with the donations are as valuable as the dollars themselves. We are beyond touched that the work we do means as much to you as it does to us!

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Volunteers See Beauty in the “Beastliest” Puppies

Volunteers See Beauty in the “Beastliest” Puppies

Meet Gunnar and Sigmund. Both these boys came to rescue as strays, picked up by animal control and who’s owners never came for them. And they both suffered from severe cases of mange. Mange is a condition where mites live in and burrow through the skin of a dog. Severe hair loss, scabbing and infections are painful and if left untreated can compromise the dog’s immune system and even lead to death.

Mange is a difficult issue to treat, but the outcome is generally very good given enough time and diligent TLC. Save-a-Bull volunteers are some of the most dedicated people you’ll ever meet and will never hesitate to take in and help one of these dogs.

So what does it take to treat mange? It takes only two small doses of Bravecto, which is the easy part. It also takes daily medicated baths where the shampoo has to sit on a wet, wiggly puppy for at least 10 minutes. It takes  coconut oil rub-downs every single day to keep the scabs from drying and tearing the skin. And lots and lots of laundry – not only to keep the dogs bedding and area clean, but because these mange dogs smell terrible! Their skins is oozing and pussing as it tries to heal and they feel most comfortable wrapped in a tshirt or coat that needs to be changed multiple times a day.

Who wouldn’t want a mange puppy?!?!

But our volunteers take in and care for these dogs over and over and the result, as they come back to healthy, happy dogs, is amazing – as  these before and after photos will prove.

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This year, we took in Gunnar and Sigmund, as well as Dexter, Newton, Indy, Penelope, Julio, Matilda, Knox and  Leila and watched them all bloom into beautiful bully butterflies who were ready to start the next chapter of their lives without a worry in the world!


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!

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Starting From the Beginning: Youth Education

Starting From the Beginning: Youth Education

Spay/neuter programs for dogs is a big part of contributing to healthier communities. Not only are dogs who are spayed or neutered physically healthier than those that are not, they also tend to be less aggressive and have less urge to roam away from home which keeps them safe and out of harm’s way.

Another aspect to healthy dogs & healthier communities is in how we live with and how we treat the dogs and other animals around us. And the best way to spread that information is through the bright young minds of the children living in these communities!

“Paws-On” Education

girlscoutsSave-a-Bull volunteers, and their dogs, are often asked to speak with groups about a variety of dog-related topics. With younger kids, we address basic dog safety. This summer, we visited with a group of first graders from Golden Valley Summer School and a Minneapolis Girl Scout Troup. We talked about the proper way to greet a strange dog and how to react when a loose dog approaches them, and the kids practice both scenarios with our dogs. Some were scared at first, some were overzealous, but they all left with the proper knowledge and new skills to smartly and safely interact with dogs in their neighborhoods.

For older groups of kids, like the charter school in Brooklyn Center last year, we talked about pit bulls in general: myths and facts, breed discrimination, responsible ownership and dog fighting. The kids were incredibly open and interested in the more serious side of dog-related issues. We also talked about what rescue really means, breeding, how we work with animal control, volunteering opportunities, and more.

The great thing about opening a kid’s eyes to something new, is that they then go out and share their newfound knowledge with others! There’s no way of knowing how much impact that child will have on the people around him – but it’s an amazing thing to consider!

Building For the Future

With the success of and requests for more of this kind of education, we’re developing a curriculum of pet-related sessions that we can easily bring into classrooms across the Twin Cities to teach awareness on a host of important dog-related topics like:

  • How to Approach a Dog
  • Dog Bite Prevention
  • Kindness to Animals
  • Pit Bull Myths and Awareness
  • Giving Back Through Volunteering

We have many Save-a-Bull ambassador dogs who, along with a representative of the rescue, will be prepped and ready to come and talk to classrooms, youth groups, scout troups, community centers and more. Education along with Q&A and interaction with the dogs will help inform and excite kids about being a proactive and positive role model for animals. Handouts materials from these sessions can be taken home to further share the education with their families.

Teachers and youth leaders will be able to request workshops that best fit the needs of their groups and everyone will have fun learning, teaching and building better communities – together!

We’re very excited about this new part of our Healthy Dogs Healthier Communities initiative and hope you’ll continue to support our mission AND call on us to come and speak to your kids soon. Watch for the program to officially launch in early 2017.


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!

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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.

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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!

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

Save-a-Bull Volunteers Go The Extra Mile to Make Clinics a Success

Save-a-Bull Volunteers Go The Extra Mile to Make Clinics a Success

When we decided to launch the Fix Your Pit spay/neuter clinics, we partnered with Kindest Cut – a low-cost veterinary provider that now operates as part of the AHS in Golden Valley. Obviously we are passionate about these clinics so when we were asked to assist on the days of our clinics, volunteers jumped at the opportunity to help!

A group of nine volunteers showed up to help at each of our four clinics. They took on a variety of jobs like greeting clients and helping them fill out registration paperwork. As they checked dogs into the clinic, they weighted each one and escorted them to their kennels to await surgery. Many clients did not have a regular experience with a veterinary office and were a bit nervous about leaving their beloved dogs, so a big part of the process was helping reassure them that their dogs would be fine and that they were doing the best thing for the dogs they love!

 

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“I loved talking to the owners while they brought their dogs in. Most of them just wanted to know they were going to be okay.”

CAROL, Save-a-Bull Volunteer


“These owners genuinely cared about their dogs – there were lots of hugs and kisses before we took their dog into the back!”

MACKENZIE, Save-a-Bull Volunteer

 

While the staff prepped dogs and performed the spay and neuter surgeries, volunteers assisted with cleaning surgical equipment, laundry, making ID tags for the dogs who got vaccines and anything else the surgical team needed. As dogs came out of surgery, volunteers used hot bean bags and blankets to keep their body temperatures up. And when they started to wake up, the dogs got lots of cuddling and reassurance to get on their feet and walk off the anesthesia.

 


“The staff at the clinic really stood out to me. They knew the name and other details of every dog. They really cared about the dogs and would tell us who was shy, cuddly, etc. It made me feel good about the work they do.”

JESS, Save-a-Bull Volunteer

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“My favorite part was helping the pups wake up. I also enjoyed watching the surgical process. It was very interesting.”

CASSIE, Save-a-Bull Volunteer

 

Once the surgeries were complete, and the dogs were awake and alert, their owners began to come back for them. Each owner got a full recap of the pre-surgical exam and complete post-op care instructions. They were happy to see their dogs and the dogs were certainly happy to see them too!

 

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“Clients were so nervous at first but really grateful once they realized the experience was a smooth one.”

LORELEI, Save-a-Bull Volunteer

 

Animal Humane Society’s Kindest Cut program is a full service veterinary office that offers low-cost spay and neuter surgeries, wellness services, and dental care to cats, dogs and rabbits belonging to families with limited means. When we partner with them, we cover the full cost of spay/neuter, vaccines and microchips for pit bull owners who sign up for our select clinic dates. It is our hope that we also bring awareness that low-cost veterinary options are available, so everyone has the resources to care for their pets.

 

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“For families who are financially limited, ensuring their animals can be spayed and neutered is invaluable.”

Jeanette, Save-a-Bull Volunteer

 

Each of our four clinics this year was completely booked. In total we spayed or neutered 81 dogs and helped set their owners up with a positive experience and information about proper veterinary care for their pets. It was extremely gratifying to meet and talk to the people in our community and to offer this assistance to those who really want the best for their pets and care about making a difference in not only the lives of their own pets, but for the breed in general.

 

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“The more people in these communities who we can educate the more they can hopefully educate others.

BETH, Save-a-Bull Volunteer

 

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“I’d love to see us be able to do MORE clinics!”

HOLLY, Save-a-Bull Volunteer

 

Because the clinics were so overwhelmingly well received, we knew we had to find a way to host more clinics next year, so we’ve put the wheels in motion and have six clinics already scheduled for 2017:

February 11, April 8, June 10, August 12, October 14 and December 9. Watch for these dates to be added to our schedule and for booking of appointments to open up a month or two before each date!

Of course our goal on Give to the Max Day is to raise the money needed to cover all these clinics now. Please help us with a donation today – thank you!


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!

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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.

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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!

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