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!


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.


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!


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!



“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


“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!



“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.



“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.



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

BETH, Save-a-Bull Volunteer



“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!


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.


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!



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 (

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!


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.


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.



$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.



$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.


$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.