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Lio: A Tail of an Amazing, Adoptable, Misunderstood Dog Part 5 — Roomies

On a sweaty, sun-shiney, famously hot Cola Monday, July 9th, 2018, Pawmetto Lifeline Medical Director Mike Kokernak drove Lio over to our house, Lio’s head undoubtedly pressed up against the car door window so as to give Mike a hint to roll it right on down. Cue, then, a heck of an ear-flopping, jowl-flapping time in the wind and a smooth highway ride to Lexington. This would be the beginning of the first day of Lio at our house for a 4-month foster period (set to end November 9th, by the way, unless he finds a forever home by then). 

But with Lio coming into our home, we needed to make sure we handled the “multiple dog” situation correctly.

First things first. Lio and our dogs don’t have a “bond.” In fact, they aren’t all that crazy about each other. Ava and McClane are practically inseparable, but ’tis not the case for Ava and Lio, nor McClane and Lio—nooo way. However, Rebecca and I can provide some pretty clear insight on Lio’s preferences and needs when it comes to the commonly asked question of “what about other dogs in the home?”

Now, allow me to briefly introduce Ava and McClane, our pups, for the purpose of this post about a sort of “roommate-ship” we have among the two dog “parties” within our household. Meet 5-year-old German Shepherd/Chow boy, McClane, adequately named after Die Hard John McClane—hey, maybe he’d never had glass shards embedded deeply into his feet, but he’d definitely been through quite the troubles before finding peace through rescue: heartworm positive, shot in the foot, hit by a car, as thin as a rail, intestinal parasites, and ehrlichiosis (tick-borne infectious disease). John McClane enough. Today, McClane’s a belly-rub lovin’, Kong-slammin’, home alarm system with an affinity for “giving paw” to any person who has the pleasure of meeting him. He himself has come a long way with resource guarding his meals and high-value treats. McClane likes other dogs—particularly females, smaller dogs, and those who aren’t overly active.

McClane, with dolphin bear face.

Here’s Avalon “Ava,” 5 (or 6? Ish?), cattledoggy, staffy, husky, chowy lass (ehhhhh, let’s make this easier: “All-American Shelter Dog”). She’s unabashedly a mama’s girl, a wader of the water, and a snuggle session extraordinaire. We knew we had to have her in our lives and home forever after one sleepover, a special “PJ Party” night away from Pawmetto Lifeline. She and McClane hit it off in a heartbeat! Ava likes other dogs, but can play rough. She is remarkably good at reading other dogs’ cues and body language in interactions, though. (This would come in handy the first week we had Lio.)

Ava, sunbathing with a smile.

When Mike came over with Lio to the house, it was imperative that we establish at least familiarity between the dogs even though they all had met in the Pawmetto Lifeline indoor dog park twice just one and two weeks before. We chose to start with a very matter-of-fact, very natural walk with all three dogs on leashes down our street. And we are thankful we did! Walking as a pack seemed to be the safe way to go.

Since this walk, here’s what we know and have learned about Ava and McClane and Lio’s relationships to date:

  • Lio has continued to walk alongside other dogs on a walk. Maybe not right next to them, but alongside them with a couple feet to have to himself (we don’t blame him). He likes getting moving. He enjoys the fresh air. He’s also good on a leash with the right human control and involvement, which we’ll discuss in an upcoming post. He isn’t leash-reactive like he was barrier-frustrated on adoption row at Pawmetto Lifeline. Ultimately, these walks are a nice opportunity to provide exercise for all simultaneously. 
McClane, Ava, and Lio on a walk in our neighborhood, August 2018.
  • Animal Care Specialist Leon Panoo will tell anyone this until he’s blue in the face (and I agree with him): “Like I always say, Lio is fine with other dogs as long as they don’t get in his face or mess with him.” It’s true; if Lio’s unsettled, his ears pin back and he gives “the side eye.” He’s not a fan of being in too close of a proximity to McClane in particular.
  • Which leads me to this: McClane does not seem to appreciate Lio on his turf. We’re working on counter-conditioning right now with him, to change the way his brain perceives Lio’s presence. When Lio is outside and comes up to the sliding glass back door letting us know he wants to come in after playtime, McClane charges up to the door, growls, and barks at Lio. It’s as if he sees him as a threat. 
  • No. Toys. With. Other. Dogs. Around. Lio. EVER. PLEASE. Lio “marks” where a toy is, even if he’s not actively playing with it. On one of the first few nights with Lio, I’d cleared up all the toys on the ground in the backyard including a rubber ball with which Lio had just played. I nested/disguised it among some items on our wrought iron table on the back patio. Lio was already outside and we brought Ava out to join him. He stood next to the table after a few moments, and when Ava trotted toward it (with what I believe was with ZERO intention of getting the ball that was on top of it), Lio perceived her arrival at the table as her coming to steal his toy; let’s just say that he definitely let Ava know that the ball was his. 
  • Ava and Lio can be outside together. They don’t really engage, actually. More like coexist in the same space. Since the aforementioned “ball atop table” incident, Ava keeps her distance from Lio. From what I can tell, she’s not scared of him, but it’s like in her head she knows to tell herself, “okay, okay, fine, he needs his space…”
  • We rotate the dogs in our house. It is an extremely rare occasion that all three dogs are in the same exact space of the house at one time. If Ava and McClane are outside in the fenced backyard, Lio is free to roam the whole house. If Lio is in the backyard, Ava and McClane have the whole house to themselves. If Lio is eating a meal in his room, his door is normally shut unless Ava and McClane are in our room with the door shut. When Ava and McClane are eating their meals downstairs, Lio is up in his room. Sound complex? It is, but it’s what we do to make it work to create an environment for Lio that’s not a kennel while he’s still up for adoption.

Rebecca’s dog Annabelle wants to play with other dogs, and is incredibly social. Rebecca had to most separate Annabelle and Lio while she fostered him, but it was in everyone’s best interest. Completely understandable.

For Lio, a home with no other dogs at all would be first choice. If there is another dog, a very laid back, non-intrusive demeanor is much, much needed.

It’s her turn for the baby pool, and he seems to get that. Too small of a pool anyway.

It’s safe to say that Ava, McClane, and Lio are “roomies.” Roommates. They live in the same home, but they’re not heavily involved with each other, they’ve got their own schedules, and they all have separate goals and needs. Okay, fine, they don’t share a mini-fridge though.

Until soon,

Lio’s Foster Mom

That look when you just want to lounge by yourself with your humans.

Check out all of Lio’s special blog posts in his series: http://pawmettolifeline.org/blog/category/lios-adventures/

Check out Lio’s very own Facebook album: https://bit.ly/2wozmas

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BREAKING NEWS Ringworm is NOT a worm!!!

What exactly IS ringworm? It sounds gross!
Ringworm is a fungal infection affecting the skin, hair and occasionally nails of animals (and people). It manifests itself on kittens generally on the head, around the eyes, ears, feet, and tail in round areas of hair loss that are rough and scaly.


It is NOT a worm, as the name may lead you to believe. In fact, it is very closely related to Athlete’s Foot found commonly in humans. While it is a zoonotic infection – meaning it can be passed between species – it most commonly affects young animals and those with suppressed immune systems. Young kittens are notorious for not grooming as effectively, which is why we see it more often in kittens.

It is not as scary as it may sound!
If you were to search ringworm on the internet, you’ll find lots of scary pictures and clinical information that makes it sound very difficult to deal with; however, it is not as hard to handle as it sounds, and the Foster Care Team are here to support you every step of the way.

What does a foster home need to be prepared to treat kittens with ringworm?
Ideally, the animals are kept in a space in the home that you can completely clean with bleach or a specific hydrogen peroxide-based product that kills the fungus. This could be a spare bathroom, a utility room, or a room where there is limited furniture and wood floors or linoleum.


Can you foster ringworm if you have carpet?

Yes, but it is harder to keep clean, and more difficult to keep the spores out of. It would not be ideal.
– Linens and items you are able to use especially for fostering (Pawmetto Lifeline can provide these).
– Food, litter and litter box, and toys for your foster animals (Pawmetto Lifeline can provide these).
– If you have other pets, they absolutely need to be kept separate due to the degree of contagion. So no socializing of your foster kittens with other animals in your home.
– Understanding. The amount of handling does not have to be limited, but you need to take extra precautions when handling the kittens (no rubbing their fur on your face!) and being diligent about washing before interacting with others after handling the infected kittens.
– Patience. It can be difficult to keep kittens for a few months and not get attached to them but rest assured they will find forever homes, and you helped them with that!
– Love and affection! These kittens need just as much love and socialization as the next kitten, they just happen to require a different kind of care.
It’s best to not have someone in the household who has a compromised immune system that could be susceptible to getting infections.


What is provided to the foster home?
– Medication and treatment for the fungal infection – lime dip and oral medication
– Instructions on the treatment process
– 24/7 support from the Foster Team staff every step of the way
– Kittens! Cute, fluffy, adorable felines!!


Why should I consider helping?
Every foster parent is a life-saver!


Due to exposure risks for the other animals, shelters have to handle cases of ringworm in a very regimented way, isolating the animals and limiting contact with them since we are handling so many other animals. This is a rather sad situation for kittens who need lots of attention, love, and playtime.
Shelters are a high-stress environment, and animals tend to get healthy and stay healthy in a less stressful home environment.


If you have questions or would like further information about fostering a pet with ringworm, please visit http://bit.ly/PLFoster

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Heartworms: The Silent Killer

A cute lover valentine havanese puppy dog with a red heart is looking upward, isolated on white background

Heartworm disease is serious and potentially fatal. It affects dogs, cats, and up to 30 other species of mammals. Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. It is caused by parasitic worms (heartworms) living in the major vessels of the lungs and, occasionally, in the heart. Heartworms are transmitted (as microscopic larvae) through the bite of an infected mosquito. The scientific name for the heartworm parasite is Dirofilaria immitis.

Heartworms can cause a variety of medical problems affecting the lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys. Any of these problems, alone or in combination, can lead to death. While treatment is available for dogs, it can sometimes be costly and complicated. In cats, heartworms can cause a respiratory disorder that mimics feline asthma. However, there is no approved medical treatment for heartworm disease in cats.

Although heartworm disease is virtually 100% preventable, many pets are still diagnosed with it each year. The American Heartworm Society (AHS) estimates that 1 million dogs in the United States are infected with the disease and that its incidence may be rising. Cats are susceptible to heartworms, too, and even indoor cats are at risk. Studies have shown that more than 25% of heartworm-infected cats live indoors.

Treating Heartworm Disease

In dogs, if heartworm disease is detected early enough, it can be treated before permanent damage is done to the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. However, if the infection has been present for a long time or consists of a large number of worms, the risk of complications can increase. In these cases, treatment can be more expensive and complicated, and dogs may need many months to recover from the infection. Hospitalization may be required.

For cats, there is no approved medical treatment for heartworm disease. Your veterinarian can discuss with you how to monitor your cat and manage the signs of disease. Antibiotics, steroids, and other medications are sometimes recommended. For cats with severe breathing problems or other complications, hospitalization may be needed. In some cases, surgical removal of adult worms may be attempted. However, this surgery is costly and has some risks. 

Prevention

Fleas and heartworms can be easily prevented by using safe, effective, and easy- to-administer monthly medications. Some of these products are given orally, whereas others are applied topically to the pet’s skin (these are called spot-on medications). There is also an injectable heartworm preventive for dogs that can be administered every 6 months by your veterinarian.  

Some heartworm and flea preventive products have the added benefit of also controlling other internal parasites of concern, such as roundworms and hookworms (in dogs and cats) and whipworms (in dogs). Some products also target other external parasites, such as ticks and mites. 

In some cases, the best protection for your pet may not be the use of a single product, but rather the simultaneous administration of more than one product to effectively control parasites. Your veterinary team can help you decide which strategy may be best for your pet.

Preventing heartworms and fleas before they can become a problem is the safest, smartest, and most effective way to combat these parasites and keep your beloved canine and feline friends healthy! Ask your veterinarian which product(s) he or she recommends for your pet’s situation. 

Caution: Some parasite control products cannot be used on cats. Consult your veterinarian regarding which specific products can be used for cats to safely prevent fleas and heartworms.

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Manners Matter: Training Your Puppy

  • Puppy training is an important step toward a lifetime of good behavior.
  • Puppies respond better to positive reinforcement than punishment.
  • Puppies should always be supervised or should be kenneled when you are away.
  • Training should be consistent and involve everyone in the family.
  • It’s important for puppies to be socialized around other people and other pets, but consult your veterinarian before exposing your puppy to other dogs.
  • Puppy kindergarten is a good way to socialize your puppy while having access to a training expert for guidance.

Why Is Puppy Training Important?

Like children, puppies need to learn the appropriate behavior for living in a household and interacting with others. Puppies also seek positive reinforcement and are willing and able to learn. 

Unfortunately, many puppies grow into dogs that are eventually surrendered to shelters because of behavior problems. In most cases, it’s not the dog’s fault. It’s simply because he or she did not receive proper training.

Proper puppy training early on will help you avoid bumps in the road and lead to a better relationship with your dog in the years ahead.

What Should I Know About Puppy Training?

There are several basic rules of puppy training that will lead to a more rewarding experience for everyone involved:

  • Avoid punishment. You should never spank or yell at a puppy, yank at a puppy’s collar, or rub a puppy’s nose in urine or feces. Punishment may not only weaken a puppy’s trust in people, but also lead to aggression, fear biting, and submissive urination. If the puppy has an accident, simply say, “no” in a firm voice, and take him or her outside. Consult your veterinarian if you are having problems housebreaking your puppy.
  • Reward good behavior. Puppies respond best to positive reinforcement. Reward good behavior with a piece of kibble, a pat on the head, or praise.
  • Be consistent. When you are training the puppy, make sure a consistent command or hand signal is used by everyone in the family. If, for example, one family member says “here” and another says “come,” the inconsistency will confuse the puppy.  Consistency will make it easier for the puppy to understand what you are asking for.
  • Puppies should always be supervised. Until your puppy is trained, he or she should be supervised at all times or placed in a kennel or crate when you are away. This will reduce accidents in the house and keep your puppy from chewing on or swallowing items that could be dangerous.
  • Nothing is free. Make your puppy work for what he or she wants. Before feeding, or giving a toy, ask your puppy to respond to a command, such as “sit.” Once you receive an appropriate response, praise the puppy and give him or her the food or toy.
  • Keep training sessions short. Like children, puppies have short attention spans. Training sessions at home should only last for about 10 or 15 minutes. A short daily training session is more effective than a long weekly one.
  • Make sure your puppy is comfortable being handled. Whenever possible, you should handle your puppy’s paws, ears, mouth, and body. When your puppy is tolerant of being handled, it will be easier for you to trim nails, brush teeth, clean ears, and give medications. It will also make for less stressful trips to the groomer and veterinary clinic.
  • Expose your puppy to other people and pets. The earlier your puppy is introduced to other people, the more comfortable he or she will feel around them, and the less likely he or she will be to exhibit shy behavior. Exposure to other pets is important, too, but be careful not to take your puppy to a dog park or to visit neighborhood dogs until he or she has been vaccinated. Consult your veterinarian to find out  when your puppy is ready to be around other dogs.
  • Provide your puppy with appropriate chew toys. When your puppy starts teething, he or she may want to chew on furniture, clothing, hands, and other inappropriate items. Simply say “no,” without yelling or shouting, and give the puppy something more appropriate to chew on. Avoid giving your puppy a sock or other article of clothing to chew. These items may be inadvertently swallowed, and may also give the puppy the message that it’s okay to chew on clothing. Consult your veterinarian about which chew toys are safest.

Why Should I Consider Attending Puppy Kindergarten?

Attending a puppy training class led by a training specialist has a number of advantages. First, you will have an expert to provide guidance and answer questions or concerns that you may have.  Second, it will give your puppy an opportunity for socialization, both with other puppies and with other children and adults.

Puppy kindergarten classes are offered by many veterinary clinics, dog training facilities, and pet supply stores.  It’s important to find a course that emphasizes positive reinforcement rather than punishment. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on the best training courses in your area. Among other things, these classes should cover:

  • Basic commands such as sit, down, stay, and come
  • Crate training and housebreaking tips
  • Leash walking

Reputable training facilities will require your puppy to be vaccinated before attending the course to ensure that puppies aren’t exposed to diseases while their immune systems are still developing. Some vaccinations need to be  given at least 10 to 14 days before the class begins in order to protect your puppy. Consult your veterinarian about when your puppy will be ready to attend class.

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Bringing Home Your New Kitten

  • Your kitten must receive veterinary care before being introduced to other cats.
  • Your kitten must be vaccinated against various diseases on a schedule, beginning at 2 to 3 months of age.
  • Your kitten should be spayed or neutered before 6 months of age.
  • Proper nutrition is especially important for kittens, which need two to three times as many calories and nutrients as adult cats.

The Basics

Bringing a new kitten home is exciting. The following guidelines will help you and your kitten adjust to this big change in your lives.

Kittens can leave their mother and littermates after they have been weaned, usually at 8 to 10 weeks of age. Like human babies, kittens require special care, including veterinary care, feeding, and socialization. The best time to bring a kitten home is when you have at least 1 or 2 days to focus on helping him or her adjust to new surroundings.

To safely transport your new kitten home, you’ll need a carrier. Leaving mom is a big deal for your kitten; a carrier will help him or her feel more secure. Don’t use another pet’s carrier because its smell could be stressful to your kitten. Place a towel in the carrier for warmth and to absorb urine in case of an accident. Carry an extra towel.

Before your kitten has contact with other cats, he or she must be tested for feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus, given a physical examination, tested and treated for parasites, and vaccinated. This will prevent the spread of a disease or parasites to other pets. If you have other pets, talk to your veterinarian about how to introduce your kitten to them.

Before you bring your kitten home, prepare a small room or space that will be his or her own for the first few days or weeks. Having a smaller area to explore at first will help your kitten get comfortable with his or her new home. Cats don’t like to eat next to the litterbox, so place the litterbox on one side of the room and the food and water dishes on the other. Make sure that your kitten can get in and out of the litterbox without help; it might be necessary to provide a litterbox with low sides. To help your kitten feel secure, make sure that the room has hiding places. If there isn’t furniture to hide beneath, place cardboard boxes on their sides or cut doorways into them. Providing a warm, comfortable bed is essential. You can purchase a pet bed or line a box with something soft; using a sweatshirt that you’ve worn will help your kitten get used to your scent.

When you bring your kitten home, put the carrier in the room you’ve prepared. Open the carrier door, but let your kitten come out when he or she is ready. After your kitten comes out, leave the carrier in the corner as another hiding place. Every day, scoop out the litterbox and provide fresh food and water.

Your kitten may hide at first, but he or she will explore when no one is watching, becoming more comfortable with his or her new home. Your kitten will likely want plenty of attention from you—you’re his or her new mother/littermate!

After your kitten has been to your veterinarian, becomes comfortable in his or her room, and develops a regular routine of eating, drinking, and using the litterbox, you can let him or her venture into the rest of your house. At this point, you need to make sure that your kitten stays safe and has enough privacy to eat, sleep, and use the litterbox. Keep your kitten’s bed, litterbox, and food/water dishes in the same place so that he or she knows where to find them.

Veterinary Care

Kittens receive some immunity (protection against disease) from their mothers at birth and through nursing. Because this immunity slowly wears off, kittens should be vaccinated against various diseases on a schedule, beginning at 2 to 3 months of age. Ask your veterinarian for details.

Intestinal parasites are common in kittens. Fecal examinations and treatments (dewormings) are usually repeated until two consecutive fecal examinations have negative results. External parasites (fleas, ticks, and mites) are treated with products approved for use on kittens.

Kittens should be spayed or neutered by 6 months of age. This helps to control pet overpopulation and reduces the chance of behavior problems and some medical conditions.

Feeding

Proper nutrition is especially important for kittens, which need two to three times as many calories and nutrients as adult cats. A mother cat’s milk provides everything a kitten needs during the first 4 weeks of life. Cow’s milk should never be given to kittens or cats because it can give them diarrhea. Most kittens are completely weaned between 8 and 10 weeks of age. At 6 to 7 weeks of age, kittens should be able to chew dry food. Feed a name-brand kitten food with the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement on the bag or labeluntil your kitten is approximately 9 to 12 months old. When your kitten is 3 to 6 months old, feed him or her three times per day. When your kitten is 6 months old, start feeding twice daily.

Socialization

Cats learn how to socialize with each other from their mother and littermates; therefore, if possible, kittens should remain with their mother and/or littermates until they are about 10 weeks old. Kittens that have human contact before they are 10 to 12 weeks old are more likely to interact well with people throughout their lives. Handling and playing with your kitten can help you bond with him or her. Feral (wild) cats haven’t been socialized with people as kittens and may fear and avoid people throughout their lives. Your kitten should be gradually introduced to other pets with care and supervision. Ask your veterinarian for advice on the best way to do this.

Enjoy your new kitten, and let your veterinarian know if you have any questions.

Kitten Supplies

  • Brand-name kitten food with the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement on the bag or label
  • Food and water bowls; ceramic and metal are preferred because some pets are sensitive to plastic
  • Cat toys that don’t have small parts or string that can come off and be swallowed
  • Cat brush; brush your kitten gently twice weekly
  • Cat toothpaste and toothbrush; it’s best to start toothbrushing during kittenhood; aim for at least three times per week
  • Breakaway collar and identification tag
  • Scratching post and/or pad; when your kitten uses it, reward him with praise and/or a feline treat
  • Litterbox
  • Litter; low-dust, unscented scoopable litter is best
  • Cat carrier
  • Cat bed
Posted in Rescue | Comments Off on Bringing Home Your New Kitten

Are you a hero to homeless pets?

 Consider the following questions:

  1. Do you pick up a dog/cat on the side of the road and immediately drive to a shelter or rescue?
  2. Do you get a pet from Craigslist or Facebook to take them directly to a shelter or rescue?
  3. Do you pick up an injured pet, take them to the vet, but are upset that the medical care is not provided for free?

If you answered yes to the above questions, you are not being their hero. A hero or guardian angel provides temporary shelter, medical care, and aids in finding the pet a new home through networking with rescues or other resources. A hero does not defer the responsibility to organizations that are already doing what they can for homeless, injured, or dying animals.


When picking up a stray pet, answering a craigslist ad, or seeing a free puppies sign on the side of the road, you should make the decision to help that animal with the conscious thought that you may be inconvenienced for a short while and that you are committing to providing a safe haven with medical care and love until a forever home can be found.


If you are unprepared to make that commitment, it is counterproductive to be a “keyboard warrior” through social media by being argumentative, aggressive, or hurtful through comments or reviews when a rescue is not able to immediately respond to your situation. It does more harm than good to all of the animals who are in danger of euthanasia at municipal shelters when staff takes valuable time to address baseless accusations on social media rather than focusing on helping the vast number of animals that are losing their lives every day in our community.


Be their hero. Take action to provide safety, food, and love for the small amount of time before finding their forever home instead of being a “keyboard warrior.”

Be a part of the solution, not the problem. Do more than send an email; participate in every phase of the rescue effort for stray or homeless pets. Foster, board, donate, fundraise, market the pet to ensure they get the best home possible.

You have one pet; rescue organizations have hundreds every day in their care. Don’t ask others to do what you are not willing to do. Be their hero! 

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They Deserve Better…

“It takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal.” – Joaquin Phoenix

Everyone has seen the news stories about dogs being beaten, left for dead, intentionally starved, and the list goes on and on with the depraved acts inflicted upon Pitbulls by people who see them as mere property or a means for a profit.

In 2017, in Winnsboro, SC, a malnourished pitbull was unfortunately euthanized after being found tied to a porch and severely emaciated. In 2015, Caitlyn, a pitbull mix, was found in Charleston, SC with her mouth taped shut with Duct Tape after being dropped off in a neighborhood. In 2011, Richland County deputies discovered a dog fight in progress with at least 30 pitbulls present that were confiscated.

The examples of cruelty cases within our state over the past 10 years could go on and on. The Pitbull is the most abused, neglected, and underprotected breed in our state. They are used for profit from breeding or fighting, as well as being kept as guard dogs with little socialization or training. These acts further the negative stigma and poor reputation of the breed.

Through legislation, such as mandatory spay/neuter, the appeal of breeding for profit or fighting would be significantly reduced. This would also eliminate unwanted litters, overbreeding, and overpopulation of Pitbulls.

It is our duty to protect the breed and ensure that they not only deserve better, but are treated better.

Join us in the mission to ensure the safety and protection of this misunderstood breed.

Posted in Bully Breed Crisis | Comments Off on They Deserve Better…

Fact vs. Fiction: Protect the Pitbull

Over the past 60 years, the Pitbull type dog has gone from ultimate family dog to ultimate bad dog with a reputation for aggression due to factors beyond their control. The bully breeds are not wired for aggression, but are a direct product of their environment. In this article, with the myths published by Best Friends Animal Society, we explore the truth behind this loving, care-free group of dogs that yearn to be accepted and protected from constant persecution.

MYTH: Pit bull terriers are more aggressive than other dogs.
THE TRUTH: Aggression is not a breed characteristic or personality trait, and is not specific to any one breed of dog. The American Temperament Test Society, which provides a uniform national program of temperament testing for dogs, has found that pit-bull-terrier-like dogs passed the test at a higher rate than many other dog breeds, including golden retrievers and border collies. While Pitbulls rank the highest in medical costs associated with dog bites due to their muscular body and strong jaws, they are not inherently aggressive without external influences of their environment.

MYTH: Dogs of certain breeds are more dangerous or likely to bite than others.
THE TRUTH: Breed has nothing to do with it. A peer-reviewed study found that nearly 85 percent of dog bite fatalities were from unaltered dogs. Other factors that contributed to bites were abuse or neglect, tethering for long periods of time, and lack of socialization with people and other animals.

MYTH: Pit bull terriers have locking jaws.
THE TRUTH: There is no such thing as a dog with a locking jaw. Pit bull terriers and pit bull mixes are no different physiologically from other dogs.

MYTH: Pit bull terriers are not good family dogs and that’s why you see so many in shelters.
THE TRUTH: Pit-bull-like dogs are actually some of the most popular types of dogs in America. According to Vetstreet.com, the American pit bull terrier is one of the top three favorite breeds in 28 states. Because pit bull terriers are so popular with unlicensed breeders and criminals, they are being overbred for profit, under socialized, and thrown away when they no longer serve a purpose. These factors, along with lack of breed education, have led to an influx of pit-bull-like dogs in shelters.

The key to keeping the bully breeds safe and out of harms way are mandatory spay/neuter regulations, education, and stronger penalties for backyard breeding. Without proper socialization, training, and treatment, the bully breeds can not be the ultimate family dog that they so long to be once again.

Join us in the crusade to protect and provide justice and understanding for dogs that are bully breeds.

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