How Mean is Your Pup?

Do you guys remember the challenge we talked about last week? We want you to send us some photos of your ‘dangerous’ dogs (pitties, dobermans, rottweilers, GSD, mutts, etc!) at their ‘meanest’. We will then turn the shot into a fun graphic with text, and share it on here, as well as on our facebook page. Not only will this help to spread awareness for these misunderstood dogs, but each submission will equal one pound of dog food, which will then be donated to a nearby animal shelter, courtesy of And Foster Makes Five! What more could you want? Helping animals, in two different ways… it doesn’t get much easier than that!

So please send us your best shots! Submissions should be sent to sel1490@gmail.com, and must be received by Friday April 26th.

In the meantime, here are some of the awesome submissions sent in by our friends and readers thus far. Which one is your favorite, and why?? We wanna know!

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Recognize the ladies in this photo, and the pups in the next? You should! They’re from Temporary Home, Permanent Love!

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Thank you guys so much for your submissions thus far! It is such fun to see adorable photos of your pups, and find fun ways to express their personalities. The homeless shelter pups will be even more thankful!

Licking Discrimination

We hope everyone is enjoying the weekend! We have had 10 entries to the ‘mean’ pit bull photo contest, and we are so excited to see such adorable photos of our readers’ pups. This means that we are up to 10 lbs of food to be donated to a local shelter… which is not nearly enough! So keep them coming, friends.

We realized that in our attempt to dispel myths about pit bulls, we were doing a huge disservice to all of our other bully and misunderstood breeds. With that being said, we want to open the contest to anyone who has a breed of dog that experiences persecution as a ‘dangerous dog’. This might include dobermans, rottweilers, german shepherds, etc… whatever loveable dog you have that gets uncomfortable stares or rude comments from time to time.

To brighten your weekend, I thought I’d share one of our first reader submissions… this is a fellow celebri-blog-dog, Leroy! His mama is the author of Leroy and Company, and he is a fellow LCPO rescue dog! Let me know what you think, and please, send me those photos. You’re helping homeless dogs, people!

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Challenge: Changing Stereotypes

Guess what today is? Our 100th post! And we think that deserves something special, don’t you?

Many of our blogging friends (including my BBF* Morgan at Temporary Home, Permanent Love) have found unique and creative ways to simultaneously increase readership and blog involvement, while also giving back to their local shelter communities.

Morgan & Maggie from TH, PL

Morgan & Maggie from TH, PL

*BBF: Best Blogging Friend

They call it ‘Kibbles for Comments’ or some similar idea, where the more involved their readers get, the more food they donate to their local shelters. How cool is that?! We wanted to copy them follow in their charitable foot steps, but with our own unique twist…

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So we wanna know: what is the ‘meanest‘ thing your pit bull does?? Let’s change some stereotypes, people! For each photo you send me, with info about what is happening, I will make a graphic like this, and share it on the facebook page. Who knows; maybe one of your photos will go viral! AND spread pit bull love at the same time. Simultaneously, you will be earning one pound of dog food, which we will then donate to a local shelter. You have two weeks to send in your stuff, so let’s get started! This is a super easy way for you to make a difference. My email address is sel1490@gmail.com, and I can’t wait to see how creative our readers and blogging friends can be.

If you don’t have a pit bull of your own to use for the photo, borrow one from a friend, or better yet; head to your local shelter and spend time with one of their adoptables! They could use the social interaction, and I’m sure they’d be happy to be your model.

Less-Words Wednesday: Sharing is Caring!

Because, really, do you ever expect things to be entirely word-less around here??

We choose to feed our dogs in their kennels, in an effort to prevent resource-guarding issues before they start… but it seems like the girls were a bit confused this AM ūüėČ How do you prevent these issues, or how do you manage dogs who have already developed tendencies to guard toys or food or people?

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PS- Please do not judge our mess! We are remodeling the basement, which is where our dog kennels and food are usually kept. It’s made for a pretty cramped bed room! But stay tuned, we will share some photos of the upgrades in the weeks to come. It will be a new and improved dog room (and laundry room, but who cares about that??)

Why Dogs?

Why dogs? What is it about these furry, funny creatures that can capture our hearts and change our lives? We (I use this term loosely!) dress our dogs up, afford them the best of medical care, take them to meet Santa Paws, provide them with quality organic food, and even throw them birthday parties… in the last 15 years, the US jumped from $17 billion to $43 billion in the amount of money we spend on our pets.

But if you are reading this blog, it is safe to say that you probably agree that loving our dogs is not all about the money. In fact, the financial ‘investment’ is probably the furthest thing from most of our minds. Loving our dogs is about loyalty and companionship, entertainment and comfort. But, the question remains: why dogs? Why not pigs or horses, or even inanimate items that constitute hobbies… trucks, fishing poles, etc?

Is it the way they love? Unapologetically and without restraint. Tongues flying, paws prancing and scrambling, they want to get as close to us as possible. They rest their heavy heads on our knees, as their deep eyes look into our own, expressing what their mouths cannot. Scientists may argue that this ‘adoration’ is simply an appropriate appreciation of resources, and acknowledgement of the vessels that provide them (ie: we bring home the bacon). However, I argue that all dog lovers know the difference between a friend’s dog, staring longingly into our eyes while we nom down on a burger, and our own dog’s adoring glances when we’ve been away for an extended any amount of time. Not to mention, what about when that loyalty extends to those members of the family who are not the ‘pack leaders’? Many new parents discover a new found love for their dogs, once two-legged puppies enter the scene. When properly introduced, dogs can take on a role that is fiercely protective of the children in their family, who have no resources to offer in exchange. Many adults will look back on their childhood most fondly when recalling memories that highlight their family dogs. Perhaps even more noteworthy, is the fact that dogs who have been socialized appropriately may display affection toward other (prey?) animals in the house, be it dogs, cats, and even bunnies.

Via tumblr

Via tumblr

Perhaps it is their zest for life, their passion, if you will. Watching a dog run and tumble in hot pursuit of a bouncing ball, or dashing and splashing their way into a cool pond is enough to bring a smile to even the most cynical among us. They bring a uniquely lighthearted intensity and exhuberance to everything they pursuit, be it chasing birds, stealing food from the table or hard-core napping. For many dogs, even training can be fun, and our pups respond almost as if they want to help us learn!

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Is it their obedience? It can’t be that, because Gaige doesn’t have an obedient bone in her body, and yet still, she is the apple of her dad’s our eyes! In fact, it is sometimes in her contrary disobedience that we are nevertheless able to so clearly see the depth of our affections for her.

Perhaps it is their honesty. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a dog with a particularly good poker face. Even with three pups in our house, if I walk in to a plate pulled off of the counter (Georgia) or a chewed shoe (Gaige), their guilty mugs identify the perpetrator almost immediately. Even more worthwhile are their honest evaluations of the people they encounter in their environments. I will trust Tonka’s perceptions of character over any reference or compliment I hear, because his reservations have never once been wrong.

My boys <3

My boys ‚̧

We cannot forgot the dog’s intelligence. Sometimes during a particularly intense training session, it seems as if Georgia’s mind is working so hard, I can actually see the lightbulbs flickering and eventually turning all the way on. Dogs are intelligent creatures, but more than the way they learn, is what they perceive. They seem to possess a wisdom far beyond their years, and hold the secrets to some of life’s most lingering questions. The greatest lessons I’ve learned in life, have come from my dog.

You have to give dogs points for their patience, which I must admit, is commendable if for no other reason than that most of us don’t possess much of this attribute ourselves. This trait is visible not just when it comes to begging endlessly for food. Our dogs spend their lives waiting for us… waiting for us to come home, waiting for us to understand their requests, waiting for us to broaden their environment to walks and adventures. They wait for us, not with frustration or annoyance, but with an unbridled joy when we finally return, get it, or explore.¬†Another trait that humans should envy is the innate confidence¬†that many dogs possess, which is admirable because it often exists regardless of physical stature or athletic abilities. The tiny Chihuahua isn’t afraid to yap at the massive Dane, and the diminutive Corgi doesn’t hesitate to dive head-first into the water.

I think my favorite canine trait is loyalty, which I believe to be different than love. No matter how the days pass, full of activity and outdoor romps, or spent lazily indoors, our dogs greet us with the same frivolity, regard us with the same adoration, and protect us with the same courage. They forgive us when we are unclear or inconsistent, and are always looking toward the future. Although our dogs have memories, or at least recollections, that allow them to recall where they hid their favorite toys or just why they hate the bath tub, they are quick to forget our mistakes and flaws.

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You may most admire their companionship and observance (and I’m not just referring to the squirrels outside the window) by they way they move with you through the house, shadowing your steps in and out of rooms, never letting you out of their sight for more than a few minutes at a time (unfortunately, even when it comes to the bathroom!). Again, cynics may suggest that this behavior is simply a creature being on the alert, anticipating the possibility of potential rewards such as outdoor romps or surprise snacks. I prefer the belief that my dogs can’t bear to let me out of their sight. For our dogs, not only must they keep an eye on us, but they prefer to be physically touching us: laying on our feet, nestled against our body, or heads resting on our hands. They romp through the woods, running far ahead, but occasionally turning back to us for a quick pat on the head, seemingly reassured by our presence. Not to mention, what person do you know that would be happy to go along for a car ride with you, no matter the destination or length, just content to be by your side?

Dogs are endlessly resilient and courageous. To meet Georgia is to know nothing of the neglectful past she has endured, and the same can be said for so many dogs who have experienced trauma and violence. Their courage is impressive, seen time and again in stories of devoted dogs laying down their lives to defend their ¬†family members. The next time you roll your eyes or yell as your dog barks ferociously at the door, take a second to analyze that act. Sure, it could be a hyper-active overreaction to the mailman. At the same time, how many of our dogs would valiantly defend us with everything they have? I know I would be my own life on mine…

Those of us who work with rescued dogs, who may have seen horrors we cannot imagine, may point out that not all dogs exemplify this list. Certainly, some dogs become withdrawn from play, and are hesitant to embrace the environment around them, etc. But somewhere inside of these dogs, is a little soul that yearns to be cuddled and protected. In spite of their fears, in their hearts lies a fighting spirit that enabled them to endure their tragic past. It may take time for traumatized animals to come back to their natural state, and maybe some won’t ever recover completely, but I believe that this list describes what we all know to be the essential Man’s Best Friend .¬†Sure, there are some quirky dogs that just don’t fit these stereotypical tendencies… and yet their owners love them all the more for it! The dogs that are ornery, difficult, and aloof can sometimes inspire the most devoted companionship out of us.

At the end of the day, I think most of us can agree that the reasons and the depth of loving our dogs are one of the few things in life that defy words, and travel just out of the grasp of language. Nevertheless, we try. So tell me: what is it about dogs, or perhaps your dog in particular, that you are over-the-moon about, and just can’t get enough of? There just might be a giveaway in exchange for your answer! (But I’ll choose to believe that you would answer even without the bribe ūüėČ )

Pinups for Pitbulls

Things are getting a little bit spicy on the blog today! We love to share people and groups that are doing big things for pit bulls, and these girls (and guys, technically) are no exception.

Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc.

All images in this post courtesy of Pinups for Pitbulls and Celeste Giuliano Photography

All images in this post courtesy of Pinups for Pitbulls and Celeste Giuliano Photography

Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin founded PFPB in 2005, in an effort to combine her modeling and fine arts backgrounds, while creating a calendar that would feature eye-catching pinups and their precious pittie pups! Her goal was to stay true to era-appropriate styling, and raise money to help pit bulls in need. By showcasing the presence of pit bulls in our lives during eras past, they are (not so?) subtly reminding the public that these dogs began as America’s original companion animal, war hero, and family member.

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Since their beginnings, PFPB has grown to be a world-renowned organization, while still staying true to Deirdre’s initial vision. They are a 501c3 non-profit, whose first mission is education. They want to share with the world the truth about the temperament, history, and plight of pit bull-type dogs. While education is where their mission begins, it leads to their most important goal, which is to rally against breed-specific legislation and discrimination.¬†But just wait, it gets better… their ultimate dream is that one day, there will no longer be a need for PFPB, because pit bulls will no longer be abused and discriminated against. How selfless are they?!¬†Beyond all of that, they work to spread the theory that ALL dogs should be regarded as individuals, regardless of breed or background.

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One thing that PFPB does not directly discuss on their website, is one of my favorite parts. By combining their leading ladies’ obvious good-looks, with brain and street smarts, they are bringing attention to pit bulls in a way that is fresh and fun. Who says girls can’t be beautiful and intelligent? Fashionable and effective? Not PFPB, that’s for sure! Their leadership team is made up of accountants, lawyers, business owners, and graduate students. That’s what I call girl power!

The PFPB team is ever-growing, and currently spreads across the country, with volunteer groups in 20 states. They educate their volunteers to remain positive, even when facing adverse criticism. It is so important to encourage doubters to take another look at our dogs, rather than responding defensively with aggression or bullying tactics.

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Are you hooked yet?! I know I am. I bet you are wondering how YOU can be a part of the Pinups for Pitbulls team. Aside from joining their dedicated volunteer group, there is a unique way to get involved… you can apply to become one of their pinup calendar models… or apply on behalf of your pup!

The contest is currently open to all women over the age of 18, and/or their pit bull-type dogs. By filling out their application, complete with questions that will help them understand a little bit about the applicant, you and/or your pit bull could be selected as a part of their 2014 calendar! They require a $50 donation and 2 head shots along with the online application. Modeling experience is appreciated, but not required. Included in the shoot is all styling and professional hair and makeup. The shoot will take place in Philadelphia, PA, and participants are required to provide their own transportation and necessary accommodations. (Stop by to see us on your way through!) The photographer is renowned vintage artist Celeste Giuliano.

To learn more about Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc. or to apply to be a part of their volunteer team and calendar shoot, visit their website!

So tell us, what do you think of the Pinups for Pitbulls group? Had you heard of them before? And when are you submitting your applications, ladies?!

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‚ÄúBeautiful¬†and quirky in their high heels, red lipstick, and in many cases, elaborate tattoos, these¬†women are more than eye candy.‚ÄĚ

-Linda Lombardi, Associated Press

 

An Extra Special Pup-date!

By now, all of you lovely readers probably know that Georgia came to LCPO because she and her 6 newborn pups were slated to be euthanized in a shelter in Georgia. This all happened just days before Christmas, so it was an incredibly stressful and chaotic process. However, like all of their many rescue stories, the happy endings are so worth the effort put forth by the rescue and its volunteers. The adoptive family of one of Georgia’s pups reached out to me a few weeks ago, and I am so thrilled to share their story with all of you.

Everyone who knew Georgia when she first came to LCPO, marveled at her strength and courage. She was a super-skinny YOUNG mama, who had been through hell with her babes. In spite of all of the chaos that surrounded her, she was kind and sweet with everyone she met, from shelter volunteers, to transport drivers, and of course, the volunteers and foster from LCPO. She was a devoted mom, but she seemed to understand instinctively that these people were here to help. Her life was about to change in some BIG ways!

Baby Enzo

Baby Enzo, formerly known as Everitt.

It eventually came time to find forever homes for each of the pups. The story below is told to me by Kristen, a lucky lady who came to adopt Enzo, who¬†was one of Georgia’s lucky pups. How adorable is that face?!

Although Kristen possessed extensive experience with fostering, volunteering and rescuing animals from the age of 20, she had a very negative connotation in her mind when it came to pit bulls. To put it bluntly, she wanted nothing to do with them, and believed all of those silly stereotypes we all work so hard to erase.

Kristen had a Saint Bernard who she says was her ‘life, and protector in the house’. She and her children lived alone, and having gone through some really hard times, Yogi was all that they had. He was always nearby for cuddles and kisses, but was also fiercely protective of his family.

Unfortunately, in July of 2010, Yogi passed away suddenly from an unnoticed massive brain tumor. Yogi had been a perfectly healthy pup all of his life, and so his sudden passing left his family especially heartbroken. Kristen was crushed. She was never going to get another dog, because she knew that none could compare to her beloved Yogi.

The next summer, Kristen saw a rash of burglary in her neighborhood, and even had the horror of being robbed herself, when someone entered her garage at 2 AM. This was enough of a wake up call for her to realize that she needed to protect herself and her children, and she felt that a big dog would be the best way to do it.

She searched relentlessly for a dog that would meet her family’s needs, and soon realized what a plethora of pitties were waiting in shelters and rescues. She was still hesitant to have one around her children, but she then came across Everitt! She loved that his markings reminded her of Yogi’s, and she soon became obsessed with reading as much as possible about the little heart breaker. In her own words, Kristen says that Everitt’s face slowly began to change her mind, and her heart.¬†“I decided maybe I had been a chicken, and a jerk, and maybe they were really ok…maybe.”

Soon, she submitted her application to LCPO, and eventually went to meet two of Georgia’s pups, one of whom was Everitt. She noticed that Everitt was the less dominant of the two. It wasn’t love at first sight, to be sure. “While he was cute, he still wasn’t Yogi, but he would work,” Kristen said, with resignation.

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Kristen was the first adopter to take a puppy from Miss Georgia, and she felt so badly that she couldn’t help but cry. However, the foster at the time assured Kristen that Georgia had a home after the pups were gone.

Can you believe this shot?! That is Mr. Enzo himself! What a good mama she is <3

Can you believe this shot?! That is Mr. Enzo himself! What a good mama she is ‚̧

Kristen took her word for it, and took home little Everitt- soon to be dubbed “Enzo Yellow Valentine”. (Can you guess who else had a hand in that name?!)

She says that Enzo was a smart pup from the very beginning, but always very serious. It took him a long time to show off his clownish antics (boy, does that remind me of someone I know!) His quick witted nature also lent him to be a bit of a hand-full, as he could be pushy and also wary of strangers. Kristen had plenty of moments where she doubted her decision, but as they continued to work, with Enzo testing her every step of the way, they started to form an unbreakable bond.

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This BIG boy eventually turned one year old, and all of a sudden he became almost angelic. Kristen proudly shares his talents,¬†“He knows all his commands, comes when he’s called, and goes to “time out” when he’s been bad. He rings a bell to go outside, talks to me like Pee-Wee Herman, snuggles, wiggles, and would die to protect our family. This dog rocks. He is so funny, and such a giant oaf (my 6lb baby now weighs 68lbs). He is always on alert, and I know I always have to be on point when he is around new people. (Nobody’s allowed in this guy’s grill, he likes to be wined and dined a little first:). I made the right choice, probably will again, and am proud to say that Enzo’s running a very close 2nd to my Yogi, and he’s just getting started. Thanks Georgia!!!”

Enzo practices his 'leave it'... to perfection!

Enzo practices his ‘leave it’… to perfection!

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While I can’t say that their story surprises me at all, I do love hearing about how Georgia’s life has touched others so deeply. Enzo reminds me so much of his mama! Every day I learn more about her, and fall more in love with her spirit. I hope you do, too! Thanks for sharing your story, Kristen. We wish you all the best with Enzo!

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The Kind of Post I Never Thought I’d Write

My friend Morgan, over at Temporary Home, Permanent Love, wrote a really difficult piece last week (here). While she struggled with sharing the contents with her readers, it gave me the courage to share with all of you something I have definitely been procrastinating.¬†Usually when I begin to write a post, I am anxious to get my thoughts out on paper the screen, because it is clear to me what the ‘mood’ will be… sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes serious, sometimes silly. Rarely, is a post such a mix of emotions. And I don’t really know where to start. So I guess I will just say it, and hope that you, my readers, will be gentle and understanding… at the very least, I hope that you will read through to the end before you judge. Here goes nothing.

Georgia's first night in our home

Giving kisses

We. Are keeping. Georgia (. or ! or ? or ?!)

Where We are Now

We are thrilled! Georgia has become an integral part of our family, and of our pack. She came to us a worried little bundle of rolls and wrinkles, who didn’t know how to play, was scared of raised hands, and would rather be alone than in the company of others. She was so intimidated by other dogs, that she would snarl and snap if they came too close… but we learned pretty quickly that she really was all bark, and no bite. These days, it is rare to find her anywhere but cuddled up on top of you, and when she is not cuddling, she is wrestling and bitey-mouthing and tug-of-waring with our pups over toys. She is truly like an entirely different dog. While I always held out hope for her improvement, Georgia now possesses a confidence that I truly never could have imagined that she would acquire. She wags her tail when passing even strange dogs on walks, is friendly with other pups at obedience school, and is happy to do anything we ask.

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Once upon a time, many people urged me to consider placing Georgia as an ‘only-dog’. While I appreciated their guidance, in my heart, I couldn’t resign her to that fate. I felt strongly that if we took things slowly, she would be able to face her demons and overcome them. Most importantly, in the back of my mind, I even believed that she would one day learn to find solace and comfort in the company of other dogs. Not a day goes by, that I don’t feel pride and satisfaction in the outcome we have all achieved together. Still now, months later, I make Jonathan come running into the room each evening, when I see the dogs curled up in a puppy pile, or sharing their toys. We ooh and ahh, and bask in the glow of our little pack’s happiness and contentment.

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How We Came to this Conclusion

When we had our first meet-and-greet (back in November, I think?!) Jonathan brought up the idea of making Georgia a permanent member of our family. I know I sound like a crazy person, but each time we took her to meet an adoptive family, she was petrified. Although I tried to deny it, for the sake of our sanity, neither of us could ignore the signs. She would cling to us, looking worriedly back and forth between our two sets of eyes, and sometimes even refuse to leave the car… it was like she knew we were considering sending her someplace else. We would try to make it a happy and pleasant experience, and I certainly don’t think we were exhibiting any negative body language that would deter her from feeling comfortable. Finally when we got home, she would velcro herself to our sides, following us even to the bathroom, and keeping her eyes on us at all times… ever our lazy couch potato, her anxiety even prevented her from sleeping soundly. Worse still, her digestive system would take a cruel hit, and it would take a few days for it to recover.

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Nevertheless, I was convinced that once we found a family that was an ideal fit, it would feel right. We had a number of meet-and-greets, and they were all unsuccessful for varying reasons. One did not work out because Georgia was not friendly with their dog. In a few instances, the adopters backed out just before the meet and greets, for personal reasons. One adopter, whom I had my heart set on, felt that it was just not the right time for her to bring home a new dog. Jonathan would always give me a million reasons why each family wouldn’t fit, but I would quiet his fears, and I remained optimistic that we would find a family that could give her everything she deserved.

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Finally, we found a family that was perfect on paper, and ended up being even more ideal in person. Jonathan and I woke up early one sunny, Sunday morning, and drove 4 hours (one way!) to meet them. To say we were invested and hopeful, would be an understatement. We met them, and it was a great match. Georgia was, of course, sweet and gentle with their children. She still clung to us, but the mother had experience with force-free training and the two week de-stress. It was all so perfect, and yet something just did not feel right. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach, and literally experienced a moment of sheer panic. My head started to spin, my vision tunneled… I needed to get out of there. We politely said our goodbyes to the family and the people from the rescue, and got in our car to hurry away. We both sat in momentary silence. It felt like someone was trying to take OUR dog away. It was in this moment, that I knew we just couldn’t let her go. On paper, everything was perfect, and there were no excuses that either Jonathan or I could come up with. But somehow, we were panicked at the thought of saying goodbye.

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Why We Ultimately Made this Decision

Over the next week, the topic of saying goodbye to Georgia was never far from my mind. A Christian at heart, I prayed daily for clarity in this decision. It was almost uncanny (or, as my mother-in-law would kindly remind me, perhaps providencial) but throughout that week, we took Georgia more places than usual; the vet’s office, local parks, the pet store, etc. Each time we went out, more often than ever before, people came up to us and asked to hear her story. By the end of every conversation, each person kindly and gently left us with words that were eerily similar… “But she looks like she’s meant to be with you,” “it seems like she’s already made the decision for you,” and “I think she is right where she belongs“. Before he left for work in the morning, when he called me around lunch time, and when he arrived home at night, Jonathan and I would always discuss her future and our decision. While he was adamant that her place in life was with us, I couldn’t shake the worry of disappointing everyone. A people-pleaser by nature, I didn’t want to think about delivering the news to the prospective family, my friends at the rescue, and of course, to all of you here on the blog. I had made a commitment to fostering, and I was going to stick with it. I was NOT going to be one of those ‘foster-failures’. I am not self-centered enough to believe that you all follow this blog with such loyalty that you would take our decision personally. However, with my dedication to fostering, and my previous “rants” against becoming a foster-failure, my pride had prevented me from considering this option all along.

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I reached out to a few people about my struggle. One of them was my friend Morgan, and the others were friends from the rescue, Alanna and Casey. Everyone reminded me that I needed to put Georgia first. But what does that mean? To me, that was my greatest struggle… It had always been about Georgia for me, and in my mind, it would be incredibly traumatic for her to go to another family. At this point, she was finally integrated with both of our dogs in the house, and I was so proud of the strides she was making. She was completely settled into our family, and the thought of putting her into a whole new environment sounded cruel. When I thought about dogs like Gaige, I thought about dogs that were hardy and resilient. Put Gaige in any situation and environment, and she was likely to come out unscathed and happy. Georgia just isn’t that type of dog. She is sensitive and gentle, and always worried about having approval. You could even go so far as to call her emotionally needy… at least when compared to our little spitfire, Gaige. Maybe I was anthropomorphizing, but I thought that Georgia would be sitting in her new house, missing Jonathan, Tonka, Gaige, and me, and wondering what she did wrong. I couldn’t get her sad little face out of my head.

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Where did we go wrong?

I’ve asked myself this question many times. I know some of you, particularly those hardened foster families, have been reading this post and are rolling your eyes. You think I’m making excuses for keeping our foster, when in reality, I just couldn’t let her go. Guess what? Maybe you’re right. I’m not going to sit here and try to convince you that my decision was 100% selfless. What I can tell you is that I did not want a third dog. I especially did not want a third dog that wasn’t always fond of other dogs. But when I thought about Georgia, and Georgia alone, I kept coming back to this decision. It was the only one that felt right.

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After having Georgia as a part of our household since October, perhaps the problem is that we kept her too long. Especially being our first foster, having her with us for 5 months makes her feel like one of the family. At the same time, it only took a few minutes for us to fall head over heels in love with her, so maybe the length of stay had little to do with it.

Georgia says thanks!!

Another possibility is the investment of time and effort we made in overcoming her struggles. I know from my years spent competing with horses, that achieving a lofty goal with an animal is the surest way to form an unbreakable bond. We spent so much time breaking down Georgia’s walls and building up her confidence, that I felt we had become a team.

With his girls

 

Worse still, maybe I am just not cut out for this lifestyle. I hate to admit that to myself, but perhaps I am not capable of loving and letting go. Finally, ome of you may have guessed that Jonathan and I experienced some unsettling loss this year, shortly after Georgia came to our home. I certainly would be naive if I did not believe that this had an effect on our attachment.

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Yes, there are still times I feel immense guilt over our decision. Typically, that is when I am glancing into pleading puppy-dog eyes, staring out from behind bars, on my computer screen. But when Georgia was brought into my care, my commitment was to make decisions that were in HER best interest… not anyone else’s. I will always stand by the fact that I have done just that. This decision was not the ‘easy’ one. I didn’t make this decision because I needed Georgia in my life, or because I didn’t trust anyone to care for her the way we would. I made it because I believed in my heart, that this was meant to be, that she would be happiest with us. When Georgia faces a situation that is new or challenging, she always looks to me for guidance. Each day, she looks at me with grateful eyes, tail wagging gently against her sides, and I could swear she was thanking me from her heart. So while there are days that I wonder where we went ‘wrong,’ I can’t help by think that just maybe, this was part of someone’s plan all along… though whether that someone is Georgia or the Lord, I’m not sure we will ever know. Maybe there is a reason that God is dog spelled backward…

 

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Disclaimer: I wrote this all as it came to me… no editing or deleting or re-reading. I needed to be as honest as possible with all of you, and I felt that was the only way to do so.

It’s a Numbers Game!

It is estimated that only ONE in every SIX-HUNDRED pit bulls finds a home. Animal control facilities in cities all across the US have pit bulls numbering 40 to 60% of the shelter population at any given time. It is estimated that 1 million dogs classified as a pit bull are euthanized each year (yes, this includes puppies!). The best (and sometimes only) chance a pit bull has at survival once admitted to an animal control facility, is by being pulled by a rescue. Rescues only exist with commitment from dedicated foster homes!

Our rescue partner is LCPO, or Luzerne County Pit Bull Owners.

In 2013, LCPO celebrated their SECOND birthday. In that short time, they have helped more than 150 dogs find their forever homes!

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In 2013 alone, SIX of the lucky LCPO dogs have already found their forever homes.

They have also pulled SEVEN precious pups from shelters in the new year. This brings the total current list of adoptable LCPO dogs to EIGHTEEN.

TWO¬†of LCPO’s alumni have gone on to officially achieve their Canine Good Citizen Certification. Many more are in the works!

In 2012, LCPO took on some dogs with medical issues and/or special needs. Puppy Jora (who is still with the rescue!) required extensive mange treatment and other necessities, which totaled approximately $1,855. Next we have Miss Khloe, who is also still with the rescue. Her total is driven up by her high cost of boarding, spay surgery, and a few health issues, and has reached in excess of $1,215. Georgia was another needy lady (mainly due to the fact that her puppies also required care!) at $1,200. LCPO has also taken on SIX pit bulls who happened to hear only with their hearts! TWO of these deaf pitties are still available for adoption.

In 2012, at least 66 of the LCPO adopta-bulls found their forever homes! These are all dogs that would have been put to sleep in shelters without the help of a rescue.

The average cost for each incoming dog in 2012 was $450. The adoption fee remains at a mere $200.

Borrowed from

Borrowed from ARF.org

While they focus first on finding forever homes for their adoptable dogs, LCPO reaches out to help dogs in many ways. LCPO offers the ‘NEPA Pit Fix Program’. This allows owners to have their pit bulls and pit mixes spayed or neutered for just¬†$50. This cost covers the expense of the surgery, pain meds, and a rabies vaccination. There is no limit to the amount of dogs that can be altered under this program!

LCPO currently operates with a dedicated team of 3 Directors, 7 Leadership Members, and many volunteers. Volunteers have logged well over 250 hours of service in the new year.

Last year’s 5k Race to Rescue raised much-needed funds for LCPO. Rachael L. was the top fundraiser, contributing $650 with her individual fundraising efforts. The 2013 5k Race to Rescue will take place on June 8th. My goal is to raise $500, and my total currently stands at¬†$395, with only 17 contributors. With every entry given the opportunity to win one of 11 prizes, those are some pretty good odds!

My favorite number? ONE. Sometimes looking at the millions of dogs that are hurting and homeless, can make our work as animal lovers seem overwhelming. However, if we take it one animal at a time, before you know it, you will have helped so many. Our fundraiser is one way that you can help!

If you are still interested in making a contribution, thereby becoming eligible to win any of the prizes listed below, please head here! You have until Monday, February 25th to make your donations, as we will be selecting the winners on Tuesday and making the announcements later that week!

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#1- Sugar Skulls bow tie from Little Bow Pup
#2- 3 Paintings from Yellow Brick Home
#3- Custom Collar from Sirius Republic
#4- Flirt Pole & Super Tug toy pack from Squishy Face Studio
#5- 3 Custom ID Tags from Sew Olive
#6- Custom Sweater from Tiennot Knits Sweaters
#7- Collar, Leash, & Harness package from 2 Hounds Design
#8- Two Shirts from Pitbull Shirt
#9- Small Smiling Pit Necklace from Lulu Bug Jewelry
#10- 8×10 Prints from¬†DawgArt
#11- Interactive Puzzle Toy from Poochie Heaven

Leave a comment on this post if you have donated, and let us know which product you are most hoping to win! We will be sure to put in a good word for you ūüėČ

*Please note that all of the LCPO financial totals are approximations/estimations.

(Not Really Ever) Wordless Wednesday: What You’ve Missed!

Have you been missing our pups’ sweet faces?! I hope so, because today I will catch up with you through a photo montage, showing some of what we’ve been up to over the past week or so. You’re welcome ūüôā

She loves him, but only a little bit ;)

She loves him, but only a little bit ūüėČ

With his baby girls

With his baby girls

 

 

 

It is impossible to have a bad day, when you get to wake up to this!

It is impossible to have a bad day, when you get to wake up to this!

Our dogs know how to party... they make custom confetti!

Our dogs know how to party… they make custom confetti!

She fell asleep in the sunshine

She fell asleep in the sunshine

 

Sharing a stick

Sharing a stick

And just a few days later…

My favorite way to spend a day :)

My favorite way to spend a day ūüôā

Those ears! Get me every time

Those ears! Get me every time

Thanks for stopping by everyone! Have a great day ūüôā Tune in tomorrow for info about the giveaway, including the closing date. If you haven’t donated yet (what, are you crazy?!) head here. Remember, every $10 increment of your donation, earns you another entry for one of 11 amazing prizes! Many thanks to all who have donated thus far. Your chances are looking REALLY good, which is great for you, but not quite as great for all of the needy pit bulls LCPO wants to help out this year.