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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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 (pets.webmd.com)

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!

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Free Spay/Neuter Program Expanding in 2017

Free Spay/Neuter Program Expanding in 2017

Save-a-Bull Rescue is overwhelmingly grateful for the support of our past adopters, our volunteers and our community over the past many years. With your support we’ve rescued and rehomed hundreds of dogs in need – but that’s not enough.

The vast majority of dogs that come into rescue are unwanted or neglected. From large litters of puppies that would have been euthanized just because there was no space for them, to older dogs that no one cared enough about to give basic care and food. While we love nothing more than to take in and help these wonderful dogs, their situations can be avoided by providing education and basic vetting needs to people in our community.

There are hundreds of responsible families that love their pets but simply can’t afford the care they deserve. We want to help our community give their dogs the care they want to provide them, which will lead to a healthier Twin Cities overall.

On Give to the Max Day 2015, we launched our FIX YOUR PIT program and raised enough money to host and fund four free spay/neuter clinics this year.* These clinics allowed qualified pit bull and pit mix owners to spay/neuter their pets free of charge.**

Every clinic we held was at max capacity and we spayed/neutered 81 dogs as of our last clinic on October 22. According to breeding statistics, serving these dogs helped prevent more than 3,000 puppies from being born into a situation where more than one million pit bulls are euthanized in the US every year.

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This year, our goal on Give to the Max Day, Nov. 17, is to raise enough money to expand our program to six clinics in 2017 and be able to include free vaccines and microchips to all dogs participating. We also plan to create educational curriculums that we can take into grade and middle schools to teach children the importance of responsible pet ownership, kindness to animals, dog bite prevention and giving back to their communities through compassion and volunteering.

By helping our community learn about and care for their pets, we’ll continue to create a growing network of responsible owners who will become breed advocates for pit bulls and pit bull mixes. Spayed/neutered dogs are healthier, have better temperaments, don’t wander away from home and of course limit unwanted puppies – all of which is good for them, great for our community and even better for breed perception overall.

Help Support Healthier Communities

donatenowGive to the Max Day is our jumping off point to raise the money needed to fund our clinics each year. We’re committed to the positive impact spay and neuter will make in our community and will continue to grow and add to our Fix Your Pit program. If you would like to contribute to the ongoing success of this program, please donate now! You’ll be helping to make a huge impact on our community and you’ll earn some fun new swag that also helps spread our mission:

 


$25 provides vaccines for one dog at our clinics.

You’ll also get a car window decal that you can sport to promote our free clinics across the Twin Cities all year long. It’s cute and it’ll help make sure that the people who need our clinics know where to find them.

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$50 provides vaccines and a microchip for one dog

Donate $50 and you’ll get the decal and our beautiful 2017 Save-a-Bull calendar! The photos in this calendar, taken by Tangerine House of Design, show off pit bulls in all their beauty and goofiness.

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$75 covers the cost of one spay/neuter surgery

This donation level gets you the decal and a colorful coffee mug that illustrates the wonderful Twin Cities communities that benefit from happy, healthy pit bull ownership.

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$100 covers the whole thing: Spay/neuter, vaccines and a microchip for one dog!

donatenowDonations at this level score you the car decal, calendar and the coffee mug – thank you so very much!

Make sure you join us on Facebook for Give to the Max Day stories, plans for our 2017 clinics and education, and some fun and games all day long!

 


* Thanks to your generosity during Give to the Max Day last year, we raised more than the money needed for our four clinics in 2016. The unused balance has been set aside to be used toward our six clinics in 2017 and to produce the materials for our educational curriculum for children in grade and middle schools.

**A $10 appointment fee is required at time of booking spay/neuter appointments.

A farewell to Etta; a gentle and loving soul

A farewell to Etta; a gentle and loving soul

This story was originally posted Oct 13, 2016, a few days after losing Etta. In the prime of her days with rescue, Etta was featured in our 2014 Give to the Max Day campaign. We will always remember her this happy and spry. Today on Give to the Max Day 2016 it seems only fitting to remember Etta one more time.


Etta was a part of the Save-a-Bull family for almost three years. We aren’t fully aware of the horrors she lived through prior to coming (she was seized from a local dog fighting bust and her body showed countless signs of breeding, neglect and abuse) but we do know she was loved by many while she was with us.

Etta lived with Save-a-Bull directors, Jake and Lacy, her entire time in rescue, with short respite stays with a few other fosters over the years.  She loved all people and toys and treats and would do anything just to feel the touch of your hands on her tired body. She was happiest when she was at an adoption event standing at the center of attention. Though many people fell in love with Etta, no one ever pulled the trigger to adopt her and make her their own.

But sweet Etta always had a home, and love and care, with her Save-a-Bull family. While she was emotionally healthy, she battled many physical ailments and we stood by her time after time, at vet appointments, through multiple surgeries and during long recoveries. The folks at Mission Animal Hospital and Pet Dermatology Clinic in Maple Grove took wonderful care of her over the years and Etta loved her visits. These last few weeks, Etta’s 12-year-old body quit fighting the scars of her past. She had great happiness in her time with us, but was very clear about letting us know it was time to say goodbye – but not before she was officially adopted by  Jake and Lacy.

It is with great love and sadness that we let Etta go. It was always our hope that she’d find a family of her own and we’re honored that it turned out to be us all along. Run free sweet, beautiful Etta – you are in our hearts forever.

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RELATED LINKS

The man charged with dog fighting in Etta’s case plead guilty in January 2015. If you see or suspect dog fighting, call your local authorities. Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states.


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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The Save-a-Bull family is always growing!

The Save-a-Bull family is always growing!

During the day today, we shared all the adorable and lovable faces that have found forever homes through rescue this year. Your support lets us help these dogs over and over again, and each and every one of them sends a big thank you kiss!

Here’s a recap of everyone you saw on Facebook on Give to the Max Day:

Alycia, Alli, Bane, Arianna, Axel, Alice, Asher, Arya, Artie, Bambi, Bart, Billy, Betty, Benjamin Button, Brooklyn, Buddy, Boss, Blue, Bean, Blinker, Baymax, Bo, Bob, Colby, Burr, Cash, Clarence, Cupid, Charlie, Capone, Cricket, Carlton, Carl, Bugsie, Daphne, Deedee, Daisy, Daisy, Diamond, Duckie, Delilah, Delores, Elsa, Cyril, Echo, Eleanore, Ezra, Eva, Garrett, Fonzie, Glenn, Fenway, Evie, Finn, Griffin, Eugene, Galaxy, Harley, Jameson, Harvey, Jackson, Honey Lemon, Jersey, Gwen, Harrison, Jazzy, Gus, Irving, Jack, Kiera, Keeno, Kenzie, Lana, Lily, Kingsley, Linus, Louie, Koda, Lady, Lego, Mojo, Malarkey, Lucas, Mikey, Mundee, Molly, Lucy, Mortie, Mulligan, Mable, Marsh, Neptune, Noah, Onyx, Orion, Nino, Nova, Oscar, Nomi, Olaf, Niles, Oliver, Ollie, Quincy, Rudy, Rozalyn, Rory, Otto, Samantha, Portia, Priscilla, Pearl, Ruby, Pickles, Perez, Truman, Sansa, Scooby, Scarlette, Sutton, Snuggles, Sampson, Shea, Tinkerbell, Tootsie, Tango, Wyatt, Tuli, Vivian, Wally, Willie Nelson, Winnie, Wanda, Tucker, Wrigley, Zoe, Vinny and Zelda.

And the most recent Maxwell, Marley, Sly, Tim Burton, Remi, Bosco, Andrew, Maximus, Drew, Josie, Deacon, Dozer, Barton, Flynn, Riley and Higgins.

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The Save-a-Bull family keeps growing and growing! Thank you for allowing us to help these dogs find homes. And thank you to the wonderful families that opened their arms to a dog with no place to go – you are truly special for sharing your home with a rescue dog.


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 Spay it Forward program!

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Loving, and losing, our elderbulls

Loving, and losing, our elderbulls

This story originally posted on July 6, 2015

Not every dog in rescue will find their forever home. We’ve been blessed to be able to offer long-term retirement homes to several elderbulls over the years. It’s hard to see them go but there’s some reassurance in knowing they felt love while they were with us.


Goodbye Fitz

It is with a heavy heart that we have to share the passing of Save-a-Bull’s longest resident elder bull, Fitz. He was with us for two and a half years and he was 12 years old.

Fitz came to rescue in February of 2013 at the age of ten. He was surrendered by his owner because their child had developed severe allergies to dogs. A fantastic older gentleman, Fitz was great with dogs, people of all ages and almost any situation. He enjoyed going for walks, playing tug, but most of all Fitz enjoyed taking naps.

As with any older dog, Fitz had his share of medical issues but overall was a fairly healthy boy. He made his last appearance with us at the Paws @ the Park event on Wednesday, June 24. He was happy to roll in the grass, meet new people and play with other dogs. That weekend, his abdomen suddenly became swollen with fluid and he was in a lot of pain. The vets suspected a ruptured tumor and the condition was life threatening. Along with the doctors, we carefully considered the risk of surgery and the quality of life he’d be left with at his age should he survive. Together we made the heart-breaking decision to let Fitz go and end his suffering.

Even though Fitz was practically perfect, he never found an adoptive home. But he did have the love of two different fosters while he was in rescue so he definitely knew family. His first foster, Laura, and her two young sons welcomed grandpa Fitz into their lives for two years. When it was time for him to move on, foster Joyelle welcomed him into her home with her dog Maya.

Though Fitz didn’t have a forever home, he does have a forever family with Save-a-Bull. He knew love, warmth, safety and joy while he was in rescue, things every dog deserves. He made a lasting impact on all those who met him with his silly sounds and goofy mannerisms and he will live on in our memories. Fitz also had the love and support of his sponsor, Taren Powell.

We know senior dogs are hard to adopt. It takes just the right person to be willing and able to take on all that an elder bull requires. When we take these dogs in we are fully aware that they may never leave rescue, but we are honored to be able to offer them a place to retire with the peace and respect they deserve.

Rest peacefully beautiful Fitz, our hearts are with you forever.

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Feature photo: Angela Boone Photography

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 Spay it Forward program!

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