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.
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
The past couple weeks have been hard ones for two dogs in rescue – and for their foster families.
Spiral, a 14 week old puppy recently underwent surgery to amputate a deformed front leg, and Ravioli, who’s been in rescue for over a year, fell ill to an ongoing neurological issue/injury. Both dogs are getting all the care they need thanks to Save-a-Bull’s ability to pay for surgery, MRI’s, exams, medications and more.
The foster’s for these dogs have already gone above and beyond to get them to appointments, keep up complicated schedules of medication, and attend to their recovery in their homes. In addition to that, they’ve both set up personal fundraisers on Facebook to try and raise money to recoup some of the expenses the rescue is paying out for their treatments.
Lorelei Noire, Save-a-Bull Foster Manager, and her husband Ian, SAB Vetting Manager and board member, are caring for Spiral. When Spiral arrived in rescue we knew her leg would need to be amputated, but she also needed some TLC to gain weight and get healthy before hand. Ian and Lorelei took care of Spiral and got her ready for the big day. Now post-surgery they are helping her recover and adjust to her new life as a tripod. You can read her story and donate to her fundraiser here:
Nan Hildebrandt, Save-a-Bull Marketing Manager and board member, and her husband Todd, SAB Brewery Tour Manager, have been fostering Ravioli for more than a year. A young dog with crazy high energy, Ravioli has been a non-stop challenge to keep up with until he suddenly presented with all-over body pain and loss of energy. Nan and Todd have taken Ravioli to multiple late-night emergency vet visits looking for answers and are working day and night to keep him comfortable while he stays on four weeks of strict kennel rest. Read more about Ravioli’s condition and donate to his care here:
Save-a-Bull is fortunate to be stable enough to cover the medical costs of illness and surgeries, both planned and surprised. But as the money for care goes out, it has to come back in so we’re ready for the next dog who needs us. We are so very grateful for foster families like these that go above and beyond the physical care of our dogs, but also help us address the financial needs as well.
If you want to help, please consider a donation to either Spiral or Ravioli’s medical expense fund, or with an overall donation to Save-a-Bull Rescue. Every dollar counts and no amount is too small!
Everything we do for these dogs is possible because of the support of our community. Together we’re able to make a difference in these lives and in countless others to come! Thank you for your support and for sharing our passion.
Are you compassionate and caring and interested in being a part of our foster network? We promise not all cases are this hard! We’re looking for loving families to care for puppies and dogs who are waiting to find their forever homes. We’ll provide everything you need and you’ll be paid in puppy kisses and gratitude. Click here to find out more then fill out a foster application to get the process started.
Ivy Mae is a three year old pit bull adopted from Second Hand Hounds by Brittney Moore.
Ivy loves to protect her house from the birds and squirrels in her backyard. She loves to cuddle on the couch at night and snuggle up close when its time for bed. Her favorite time of day is breakfast and dinner.
When Brittney gets home from work she will sit down on the floor and Ivy comes to give her a big hug, holding on tight with her front legs!
Ivy was photographed by Tangerine House of Design as part of our annual Save-a-Bull calendar fundraiser and contest.