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 RESCUE’S COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAM
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.
by Autumn Brennan
“I raise my voice not so that I can shout,
but so that those without a voice can be heard”
― Malala Yousafzai
In 1993, I rescued my first pitbull in Milwaukee, WI. Maude was a bait dog I scooped up from a crack house. She was covered in deep puncture wounds from bite marks; she more bloody scabs than silky brindle fur.
I fell in love.
I knew that protecting this beautiful breed from violence was important work. Even with my meager retail wages, I needed to provide impeccable care for Maude, not only for the short term surface comforts – but for her long term health. I worked with a local vet to ensure my girl would not contribute to overpopulation or feed into the bad reputation associated with the breed. Maude was spayed, rehabilitated, and her spirit planted the seed of unconditional love in my heart for this painfully misinterpreted breed.
Fast forward 25 years, dozens of fosters and adoptions later, I can honestly say that my children were raised by pitbulls. Standing by my side during home births, fetching diapers and toys for my toddlers, and being the best nanny any Mama could ever wish for – these dogs were made for loving service.
My home became a well-known drop off place for wayward pups in need of love.
In 2017, I made a promise to my children that we would be done with fostering due to my demanding corporate job and travel schedule. I shared my intention with the organizations and kind people that knew my soft heart.
I remember commanding a close friend “If I say YES, to a rescue pup, please remind me of this promise!”
And then my close friend told me about a house of hoarding horrors and a pile of puppies that were struggling to survive. There was one left that no one wanted – a runt approximately 1/3 the size of her siblings. I immediately said “NO”, until she was brought to me, covered in scabs, burn marks, and bloated with the worst case of worms I have ever seen.
I thought I could just rock a quick rehab while my kids were camping with friends. Instead I received the following message: “OMG MOM!, We have only been gone for 2 hours and you rescued another dog!!! Please send pics ☺”
When you are on the edge of your possibility, you are oftentimes granted another opportunity that may feel like a burden at first. When I held this swollen, stinky, starving mess of a pup I sensed her beautiful spirit and desire to be a part of a greater love.
Our pack of rescue pups adored this new wiggle butt and she eventually blossomed into a graceful and sassy velvet hippo.
I named her Malala Grace, after Malala Yousafzai – the youngest Nobel Prize winner who stood up for the rights of girls to receive education in Pakistan. She held her ground in the face of violence and oppression, turning tragedy into triumph.
Malala inspired me because her comeback game was strong as hell. She moved my family and softened the hearts of even the crabbiest of crabby teenagers. She stood for something much greater than a worm infested hoarding house reject. She held her ground, created harmony, and found joy in every moment. She demanded respect and constant snuggling.
And then it happened, in March of 2018 I was without a fancy schmancy corporate job, and still had an intact female to contend with. We needed to move out of our home and relocate. Resources were beyond tight and I did everything in my power to manifest the basics. During our move, Malala went into heat. I felt like the worst dog Mom because Malala had not yet been spayed. When I had the money, I didn’t have the time. Now I had the time, but no money!
I researched rescue organizations within the greater Minneapolis area and “friended” them all on Facebook – just to build a sense of community in the area. I soon learned that Save-a-Bull had a program called “Fix Your Pit” which offered free spay and neutering for bully breed dogs. I met the passionate Save-a-Bull team at a “Pints for Pitbulls” Brewery Tour event and brought Malala’s rescue brother Nandi – a sweet English Bully/Pitbull mix who is hearing impaired. I was encouraged by the engaging staff and was reminded of their amazing resources! Soon thereafter, rescue director Lori reached out and we scheduled Malala’s spay.
I was a Nervous Nelly taking my furbaby into the procedure. All of the dogs I had previously adopted/fostered were either already snipped or too young for the procedure. The staff was in love with her sweet quiet nature, patience and yummy smelling ears! When we came to pick her up, all she wanted to do was snuggle. And snuggle we did!
It’s been 2 weeks since the spaying and Malala has recovered beautifully. We romped at the dog park yesterday and she didn’t hold back on her enthusiasm! To see her in her element, jumping over her slow moving brother and grinning ear to perky ear, filled me with the deepest gratitude knowing that she was safe from unwanted pregnancies, rabies, and had a microchip just in case she ever wanted to take herself for a walk!
The gift of the spay procedure at a time when my family was at our lowest means the world to me. As a parent you want to ensure your children are cared for body, mind, and spirit. Even though Malala is much furrier than the rest of my brood, her heart is still woven with mine. From the bottom of my heart and all of the pitbulls I have been blessed to know and love – thank you!
Giving a voice to the voiceless is why we do this work. It’s why we buy way too many paper towels and store leashes, collars and poop bags in the glove compartments of our cars. We are here to assist the helpless, voiceless and misunderstood. The mission, vision, and function of Save-a-Bull Rescue has served my family with the comfort of knowing that Malala’s health and wellness is in good hands and we are a part of a beautiful community.
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!
Sully is a big beautiful boy that we had the pleasure of meeting at our one of our 2018 clinics. He was the perfect stoic gentleman as he arrived at the clinic with his family. When it came time to check in, he happily went along with one of our volunteers to be weighed and escorted to his kennel to await surgery.
This was Sully’s first-ever visit to a veterinarian and the barking and chaos of a dozen other dogs also waiting for surgery was too much for him. He began to shake and growl and became defensively aggressive when anyone approached his kennel. Luckily our volunteers and the vet staff have plenty of experience with dogs under duress and were able to safely handle him until he was sedated. Once out of surgery we muzzled him for his and everyone’s peace of mind and coaxed and comforted him out of the anesthesia.
Un-neutered male dogs have a higher rate of aggression; the hormone testosterone acts as an accelerant making him more reactive. Learn more about why neutering your male dog is important.
Sully went home and recovered from surgery nicely. He’s back with his family: his favorite kids and dog sibling, and of course a mama that loves him dearly.
“Today my dog was neutered, got his shots, and microchipped all for free thanks to [Save-a-Bull Rescue]. My dog was VERY stressed out to be there….and when they took him from me it got to the point of aggression towards staff. Instead if looking at my baby like he is a monster, they were understanding and patient. His leash was weathered from puppy life, and they gave him a new leash and collar too. Hes was given extra love and care and I couldn’t be more grateful- HONESTLY! I’M BLOWN AWAY by the love. The front desk forgot to give me the paper for me to have him chipped, SAB got me the paper and chipped him anyways! I’m in tears GRATEFUL. — feeling blessed.“
– Tiffany S.
Sully wasn’t happy about everything that happened to him that day, but in the long run he will lead a better life thanks to his mom taking the time to bring him in.
WHY spay and neuter: The pit bull breed faces a devastating prognosis in the general population of animals that end up in shelters across the country. With euthanasia rates higher than any other breed, and irresponsible breeding still on the rise, pit bulls continue to look toward a bleak future. Limiting the number of unwanted dogs by promoting spay and neuter will have a positive impact on this problem.
In February 2015 we held our first free spay/neuter clinic in memory of one of our volunteers tragically killed in a car accident the December before. Alyssa Winters was passionate about helping pit bulls and we wanted to honor that with one free clinic each year. The clinic filled up immediately and the outpouring of support for this type of service was incredible. We knew we had to expand the program – but how? Surgeries are expensive and Save-a-Bull just didn’t have the means to cover that kind of expense on a regular basis. So we took to fundraising on Give to the Max Day with a goal to raise enough money to host four quarterly clinics the following year.
Our community responded with enormous generosity and we easily funded the four clinics in 2016. As we continued to serve people who came to these clinics, we saw more and more need. Many of these dogs had never been to the vet and didn’t have basic vaccinations or microchips. We knew we had to add the option for these services so responsible pet owners could easily be set up for success.
Once again we made a fundraising plea to our supporters on Give to the Max Day and raised enough money to expanded our 2017 clinic schedule to include six clinics that offered free spay or neuter, vaccines and microchips. We also provided new collars and leashes to dogs who came in on ropes, frayed and unsafe collars, or simply without anything at all.
We continue to fundraise to support these clinics on Give to the Max Day and we once again were able to host six clinics in 2018. In addition to the standard spay/neuter, vaccines, microchips and collars, we were also able to offer treatment for minor issues like ear and skin infections and fleas, offer screenings for heartworm and provided hernia repairs.
With fundraising in small excess of the actual cost of our six clinics, we were also able to cover the cost of spay/neuter or medical treatments for several clients who couldn’t make it to one of the scheduled clinic dates. This is how our Community Outreach Program was born. By providing even the smallest amount of care to those in need we are able to reach out to a larger segment of our community and have an even greater impact.
Going forward we want to continue to offer these services to our community and hopefully grow our Fix Your Pit and Community Outreach Programs. We already have six clinics scheduled for 2019 and need your donations to fund those.
Each year we set aside one day, Give to the Max Day, and dedicate it to raising the money we need to fund these programs the following year.
During that fundraising day, we share why these clinics are important and the impact they make on the dogs – and people – in our community, and ask for your support. Our volunteers, partner organizations and corporate supporters pledge matching grants to help push us toward our goal.
Thank you ALL for making these much needed programs a reality. We’ve been touched by your generosity and by the stories of the people who’s lives are being impacted immeasurably.
*Note 2018 dogs served totals doesn’t include our last clinic in 2018 which happens on December 15.
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!
Save-a-Bull Rescue of Minnesota has partnered with Picaboo to create a truly one of a kind custom photo holiday card opportunity. Cards for Causes lets you send custom holiday cards while 50% of the purchase price gets donated to rescue.
Choose from a library of designs and customize it with your photos and message, or create your own from scratch. Each card will have a short blurb about Save-a-Bull’s mission on the back, spreading awareness with each card you send. And 50% of your order cost will be donated to Save-a-Bull to help dogs in need.
And there’s more: Use the discount code CARDS4CAUSES and you’ll save 50% off your entire order – so everybody wins!
EASY AS 1-2-3:
1. Create your card using your own photos and card designs from the design library.
2. Add your customized card to your cart and check out using the promo code CARDS4CAUSES to receive 50% off.
3. Send your customized card to all of your friends and family, while Save-a-Bull Rescue receives 50% of the proceeds of your card order.
And drop us a card at the following address. We’d love to see your designs to celebrate the holidays and share them with our Facebook family!
PO Box 26453
Minneapolis, MN 55426