Beyond the Clinic: Community Outreach

Beyond the Clinic: Community Outreach

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’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. 


Responsible Ownership Isn’t Always Easy

Responsible Ownership Isn’t Always Easy

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!




History of Our Fix Your Pit Program

History of Our Fix Your Pit Program

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.


In our fifth year of our Fix Yor Pit clinics we saw even more growth! Clinic dates filled up almost as soon as we opened registration and we saw fewer and fewer no shows at each clinic. Volunteers and the staff at the Animal Humane Society worked hard to serve all the dogs at each clinic and to date* we’ve seen 109 dogs! We continue to offer microchips and vaccines, as well as assistance with unforseen medical issues that come up during exams and surgery.


But as we continue our Fix Your Pit program, we are seeing more and more need each year. As each clinic fills with clients, we also fill a waiting list of people who need an appointment and are waiting for an opening. As of Give to the Max Day we still have one clinic left in 2019 and we’ve already exceeded our budget for the year. Our goal for 2020 is to raise even more money so we can cover the costs for our six clinics and have more funds available to cover appointments for those who couldn’t get in to one of our clinics.

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 2019 dogs served totals doesn’t include our last clinic in 2019 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!



Give to the Max Day, dedicated to…

Give to the Max Day, dedicated to…

One of our favorite parts about Give to the Max Day is seeing the dedications that come with the donations. We know every supporter values the importance of the spay/neuter clinics, but we love seeing the real driver, the heartfelt reason, they are making a donation today. Donations today were dedicated to:

  • For Quinny!
  • For Zach and Molly – we miss you!
  • Frankie & Alice
  • From Mac and Mary & Bob
  • From the Cottle Family in memory of Milton.
  • In honor of Jolene Coleman
  • In honor of Norma Buddy and Dave — the Gavin Dogs
  • In honor of Thunder the wonder pup
  • In loving memory of our best friend Mikey.
  • In Memory of Baby Tabi
  • In memory of my father Jerry McDonald
  • In memory of my sweet angel Nellie
  • In Memory of Vinnie
  • Jefferson & Madeline – best granddogs ever
  • In memory of Kathy Carlson
  • Nova, Tillie & Duke
  • Opal
  • Fay
  • Thanks for all you do!
  • The crew of 5Pawz
  • To help pups like Linus find the right home
  • To my Jozee miss you everyday baby
  • To our first furry child Shug
  • To our sweet Ernest

Thank you again to everyone who was supported us so far and is yet to make a donation. You are a warm and wonderful part of the Save-a-Bull family and we appreciate your support today and every day!


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!



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!


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.

gunnerba sigmundba

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!