Meet Jill Helgemoe

Meet Jill Helgemoe

Q: How do you volunteer your time specifically with Save-a-Bull?
I volunteered to foster puppies and seniors. Currently I care for my foster elderbull, Syrtia, and attend meet and greets when I can. Syrtia has had a few medical issues so I have had to take her to the vet several times.

Q: How long have you been with Save-a-Bull?
I started volunteering August 2016.

Q: How did you learn about Save-a-Bull and what made you decide to volunteer?
My female elderbull, Maddie, passed away in April 2016 at the age of 14. I was pretty devastated after she passed. I started looking at other pitties online, and remember seeing both Stella and Ashoka (not sure I spelled that correctly) on Save-a-Bull’s website. I would periodically look on Save-a-Bull’s site as well as other rescue sites for dogs. I wasn’t ready to get another dog yet, but just wanted to look. I had two other dogs at home, Bruce my red elder Doberman, and Lil Pup a young chihuahua that I found and rescued. Bruce and Maddie were best buddies and her passing was hard on him too.

Fast forward a few months to July 2016. My best friend had the grand opening at her tattoo shop, Blackened Tattoo, in South Minneapolis. This is where I first saw Pippa who was also attending the grand opening with her foster parents, Lorelei and Ian. I remember seeing Pippa and went over to see if could pet her. I ended up chatting with Lorelei and Ian. In the course of our conversation they mentioned they needed fosters and that they were going to be getting some puppies in soon. After talking with them that evening I went home and filled out the Save-a-Bull foster application on-line. The rest is history.

Q: What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a volunteer so far?
When I was asked to take in Syrtia I was grieving the loss of my Bruce, as I still am, and Syrtia has definitely been helpful for me in my grieving and healing process. She is such an amazing dog and I am so lucky to have her in my life. Syrtia had also had a loss as her owner had died and that’s why she was dropped off at St. Paul Animal Control. It’s ironic that the two of us found each other, and as I said I am lucky to have her in my life. It’s been really rewarding having her in my home, seeing her recover, and being the happy and loving dog that she is.

I have only had two fosters with Save-a-Bull since l started, and one was a fail. I really admire the commitment and dedication Save-a-Bull and all it’s volunteers have for pitties and dogs in general. It has truly been an honor becoming part of and working with such an amazing organization and group of people.

Q: Do you have any dogs of your own?
Yes I have two dogs as I mentioned. Unfortunately my Bruce passed away the day after Christmas so he is no longer with me. However, I have Lil Pup who is a chihuahua that I found across the street from my house, and Hazel (formerly know as Ally from Save-a-Bull Summer Olympics litter). I also have three cats: Pede, Tiny Toot and Kitty. I love animals and would have a farm if I could.

Q: What do you do for work? For fun?
I am currently a full-time student and I am finishing up my doctorate in psychology. I have one year left and am trying to get my dissertation done. Besides being a student, I work part-time doing psychological assessments at a community based mental health agency.

I also work part-time at the Domestic Abuse Project and I am a licensed marriage and family therapist. My schedule is so full I don’t have too much time for fun, but that’s where the dogs come in! I really don’t have much of a social life because school takes up most of my time. However, my dogs and I go on daily adventures which is always the highlight of my day. I love being outside and walking with all three dogs. When it’s too cold to walk we will walk on the treadmill, and/or play inside. I also enjoy taking classes with the dogs through Canine Coach. Hazel and I are taking the just tricks class right now. It’s a lot of fun and we go home and teach the other two dogs what we learned in class. We will also be taking a lure coursing class in June which we are looking forward to. In addition to hanging out with the dogs, I enjoy biking, gardening and going to various taprooms (with the dogs and my partner).

In addition to having dogs and cats, I have three kids. I guess good things come in threes.

Meet Emily Larson

Meet Emily Larson

Q: How do you volunteer your time specifically with Save-a- Bull?
I am Save-a-Bull’s content coordinator, so I spend my time looking through cute pictures of our foster dogs, and uploading them to their profiles.  I also take fosters information and form bios for the dogs.  I have also fostered dogs in the past, which resulted in adopting my Tommy boy.

Q: How long have you been with Save-a- Bull?
I have been with Save-a-Bull for about 3 years now.

Q: How did you learn about Save-a- Bull and what made you decide to volunteer?
My husband and I adopted our first pittie Belle from a different organization which lead to our love of the breed.  We happened to see Save-a-Bull had a garage sale near us, and we wanted to support a bully breed rescue.  We immediately knew it was an organization for us and began volunteering.

Q: What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a volunteer so far?
Because I deal with the dog’s profiles, the most rewarding experience has been hearing potential adopters say they felt a connection to a dog through their images and bio.  It makes me feel like I have an integral part in finding them their forever homes.

Q: Do you have any dogs of your own?
Yes Belle is my grumpy princess.  She is a 7 year old pit mix that we love to death.   Tommy was a foster of ours that we ended up adopting.  He is a 4 year old pit mix as well.

Q: What do you do for work? For fun?
For work I am an independent contractor for chemistry labs, specializing in nano materials.  I am also the marketing and events manager at LynLake Brewery.
For fun, I like to hang with my pups and my family.  I also enjoy golfing, skiing, and working on house projects with my husband.

Update on Remi

Update on Remi

Adopted May 2016

Dog’s former name Remi

What are the best things about your dog?
Remi is the sweetest pup. She is a people person, sticking as close as she can to whomever is home at the time. She thinks that anyone that she meets is instantly in love with her and will shower them with affection.

Tell us about your dog’s favorite activities, sports or training:
Remi loves to play tug a war with her friend Maddie. This usually involves destroying a sock or two but she thinks it’s the best game ever!

Give us some examples of how your dog likes to spend his/her time:
Remi is happy as long as she as close to possible to a human. That means sitting close enough to touch or sitting right on top of an human.

Remi is also a talker! She tells us when she is hungry, when she needs to go out, when she is ready to bed, etc. Usually she has something specific to communicate but sometimes she just is chatty.

Do you have any extraordinary adventures or accomplishments to tell us about?
Shortly after we got Remi, she got away from our Nanny and kids. She was picked up by a local police officer. My son was very concerned about her going to “jail”. However, the policeman explained that he just wanted to make sure that she got home safe. Apparently, in the hour that she was at the station, she was the model inmate and the officers fell in love with her.

How do people react to your “pit bull?”
Last fall, we took Remi to the local festival where many people had their dogs. Remi got a lot of attention for her shiny coat and her calm demeanor. Many people asked what breed she is and we proudly answer pit bull. When we moved to Chanhassen 10 years ago, we had a AmStaff. Boy did she turn heads in our neighborhood where the lab, golden and doodles reign supreme. We’ve since moved into Excelsior. There are 4 other pit mixes within our block! It’s great to see acceptance of Pitties growing.

What other stories do you want to share?
We believe that Remi was meant to be our dog. In fact, we had gone to meet another pup at a rescue event and were approved to adopt her. However, before we left, my son found Remi inside. He sat down on the floor with her, hugged and talked to her. We ended up canceling our agreement on the other pup because my son could not stop talking about Remi. For several reasons, we needed to wait a few weeks before we could adopt her but we checked the website daily to see if she was still available. Jessica, Remi’s foster said that she remembered my son was hoping that we would come back for her. I think that watching the video of her “talking” to Jessica really sealed the deal for my husband.

Does your dog have any nicknames?
Remster

FAST FIVE with Remi

1. Food: Piggy or picky? Piggy – loves to eat paper

2. Dog beds: Sleep on or unstuff? Sleep # 30

3. Travel: Car rides or car sick? Loves the car but wants to sit on console between front seats

4. Water: No way or splash all day? No way

5. Seasons: A day in the sun or a day in the snow? Sunshine please

Submitted by Sara C.

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Update on Gunnar

Update on Gunnar

Adopted June 22, 2016

Dog’s former name Gunnar

What are the best things about your dog?
Gunnar has the magically power of making you sleep waaaaaaay more then you intended by being a wet noodle when in bed.

Tell us about your dog’s favorite activities, sports or training:
Gunnar love to go play fetch, playing tug and go to the dog park to play doggy supervisor “No rough housing if Gunns is on watch”. Gunnar is also my mini sled dog pulling me around town on my long board.

Give us some examples of how your dog likes to spend his/her time:
Gunnar loves long walks on the beach and to cuddle by the fire on the TV. Gunnar also love to play and cuddle with his baby sister Lola who is a Jack Russel x Maltese.

Do you have any extraordinary adventures or accomplishments to tell us about?
Gunnar loves kids… so much so that he has his own little fan club at my apartment building that come to my door and ask if Gunnar is home to come say hi.

How do people react to your “pit bull?”
We gotten all of the pitbull reactions from “Is that one of dem pitbull dogs?” (Runs to their car as quickly as possible) to AWWWW what a cute little puppy.

Does your dog have any nicknames?
Baby Gunns, Gun Buns

FAST FIVE with Gunnar

1. Food: Piggy or picky? Picky then piggy.

2. Dog beds: Sleep on or unstuff? Unstuff then sleep

3. Travel: Car rides or car sick? DID YOU SAY CAR RIDE?

4. Water: No way or splash all day? I like to drink the whole lake while I swim.

5. Seasons: A day in the sun or a day in the snow? Day in sun.

Submitted by Andrew S.

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The “Only Dog” Dog

The “Only Dog” Dog

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!