Fundraiser: Prize #8 – Dressing for the Occasion

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Georgia wants to tell her devoted fan club “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Be still my heart.

It’s no secret. I am over the moon with pit bulls. Head over heels, batting my eyelashes, can’t get enough, wish they would call me more often, think the sun rises and sets by…pit bulls. I’m not sure if it is their soulful eyes, soothing cuddles, variety of coat colors, or their clownish antics, but it has been a love affair of magnificent proportions from the start. So, as you might imagine, my own pit bulls take my love to the tenth power, multiplied by infinity. Alarming levels of love and dependency are reached.

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“It’s got to be that can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over- the-fence, World Series kind of stuff.”

This Valentine’s Day, I am declaring my obsession with the pitties that we all know and love. I feel so thankful to have the opportunity to share my perspective of the breed with people, and hopefully change a few minds, one at a time. It is refreshing and rewarding to introduce people to Georgia and Gaige, and see their perspectives widen and their hearts open. At the same time, it is encouraging when you meet others that already share your passion for the breed. Starting this fundraiser has given me the opportunity to do just that. I have met so many wonderful individuals that have made an effort to run companies and produce products aimed at supporting the breed and refreshing its image.

Pitbullshirt.com – Fashion Tee Shirts

Pitbullshirt.com is just one such vendor. The brains behind this awesome company are husband and wife team Tommy & Sharon Athanasiou. They combine Tommy’s talent in art and design, with Sharon’s passion for pitbulls, which all began as a fundraising effort for an injured pit bull named Smokey. Smokey had been terribly abused and injured, and was being nursed back to health in California. With Sharon’s guidance, Tommy provided a hand-painted, pop-style rendition of Smokey, which ultimately raised $300 for his vet bills. With the success of Smokey’s fundraiser behind them, requests for custom dog portraits began pouring in, and The Tommy Pop Art Studio was born. Graciously, the couple donated 10% of each commissioned painting to the non-profit animal rescue organization of the customer’s choice.

The dynamic duo’s next venture was to enter the world of fashion design, and they now create clothing that brings attention to the pit bull’s plight and following, while providing their wearers with a fashionable alternative to the typical baggy, screen-printed tee shirts. These are not your typical pittie rescue shirts; they highlight the things we all love about bullies (their smiles, their snuggles) while giving their clothing a vintage vibe and funky feel.

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Tommy and Sharon live in Florida, minutes from the beach, with their four furry family members: Peanut, their very girly pittie, a toy poodle named Fluffernutter,  a maltese named Vanillabean, and a Himalayan cat named Junior.

Pitbullshirt.com is their online store, where you can purchase some shirts of your own. If you are feeling lucky, simply enter our giveaway! Tommy & Sharon have graciously offered a discount to And Foster Makes Five, and so we will be providing one lucky winner with their choice of designs in 1 Regular Tee Shirt and 1 Babydoll Slim Fit Tee. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, simply head here to make a donation. Each $10 increment will earn you one entry into our contest, where you will be eligible to win any of 10 prizes! Remember, 100% of the fundraiser benefits our rescue, LCPO.

The Vow

As we approach February 14th, whether single or otherwise attached, it can be automatic for our minds to wander to the mystery of relationships. When a couple gets married, they are pretty clear on what kind of commitment they are making. (I consider myself an expert, considering it was only about 9 months ago that I said my own vows!) They know that they are agreeing to love, honor, and cherish, in sickness or health, and for richer or poorer. They commit to being faithful, all the days of their lives.

Photo courtesy of Jenni Grace Photography

Photo courtesy of Jenni Grace Photography

Somehow, some people seem a little bit confused about this, and 50% of marriages sadly end in divorce. (Stick with me here, dog-lovers, I’m not attempting to start sharing marriage advice on this page!) However, as much as some individuals in our society have a problem with loyalty in human relationships, there is an equal (or greater? certainly more deadly…) problem with our commitment to animals. I thought that perhaps, if we wrote out the commitment being made, both by the animal and the adopter, that it would be a bit more clear. It will certainly bring me some peace of mind in giving up our girl. In this case, I will define the promises I know Georgia is willing and able to make to her adoptive family, and, in exchange, the commitment that I expect the adopter to uphold.

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I am sharing my sweet baby girl with a family, giving them a big chunk of my heart, because I believe she will bring endless joy to them. It is a truly unselfish act, and because of its worth, it does not come without expectations.

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Georgia:

I promise to gobble up any crumbs you drop, before they even fall to the floor you try to clean up. I promise to protect my family from loud noises and dark shadows, including the scary, noisy, tall, moving box that tries to eat the floor and all of my crumbs.

I promise to try my hardest to remember everything you teach me, especially when it earns me treats or pets. Please try to be patient with me. I will try to be gentle when you are quiet, and playful when you are active. I will try to remember to play with my body, and not with my mouth, like dogs do. Even though off-leash walks are my favorite, I will try to remember that you are busy, and not always able to entertain me. In those times, I will learn to entertain myself.

I will always kiss you, especially if you have salty water spilling out of your eyes, or food on your face. I’m a good friend that way. I will always be able to tell when you are sad, or when you have had a bad day. I will respond appropriately with quiet cuddles and snuggles on the couch or bed… I’ll even let you choose which! When you tell me all of your deepest, darkest, secrets, I will never, ever tell anyone. Not even that nosy poodle down the street. I will love your human puppies just like I loved my doggy babies, and I will teach them how loyal the best dogs really are.

I promise to always look at you like you are the Best Person in the Whole Wide World. Because you are. And I will always love you more than anything. Even more than my elk antler or nylabone. Please remember that you are everything to me, and that when you are not here, my world seems empty. Please don’t leave me for longer than you really have to, or lock me up for long when I misunderstand. Know that I am convinced that my presence is necessary in the bathroom, but I will try to be patient if you disagree.

I will trust you to protect me, and to finally give me my real, honest-to-goodness, forever home. Please trust me, too. I am a good dog. I know because my foster mom told me so, every day. If you lose your temper with me, I will never retaliate, and I may not forget it, but I will always forgive. Please remember that when I make mistakes.

When I get old and gray, please don’t grow tired of me, or frustrated with the conditions age brings. Remind me that you love me, and of all of our fun times together. Carry me outside to enjoy the sunshine and green grass, and maybe even the water now and then… you know it is my favorite. I will join you on all of life’s journeys, as a willing and loyal partner… please be the same for me. Everything in life is better for me if you are there too.

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Adopter:

We promise to bring you into our home as our forever friend. We will never leave you for long, and will always provide for you as a member of our family, even if our lives get hard. We will always remember that your life has been hard before, and we will never again let you know hunger, fear, pain, or loneliness. We will always remember that our commitment to you is as important as any other we have ever made. We will teach our children how valuable your presence is in our lives, and show them how to be kind and caring toward you.

We promise to keep in touch with your foster family and blogging friends, and let them know how wonderful your life is with us. We will send pictures when we can, and maybe even arrange for reunions whenever possible. We will remember that were it not for an army of individuals, we may not have been blessed with your presence in our lives.

We will bring patience to all of our endeavors together, and use training to improve our relationship. We will become careful students of your body language, and work to communicate on your level, not our own. When it is obvious that you are not understanding our requests, we will remember your want to please, and look first to our own actions for miscommunication. We will never use force or isolation in an attempt to convey our requests.

We promise to offer you as many cuddles and tummy rubs as you could ever want. We will let you snuggle up on the bed or couch, at least some of the time, or we will crawl down to the floor to join you for a cuddle session. We will never yell at you for the millions of kisses you might try to offer to us, even if we are on the way out the door and you are covering us in slobber. We will understand that you just wish we wouldn’t leave again, and want other dogs to know we are ‘yours’. Even when we are busy, we will remember that you have needs in terms of social interaction, physical activity, and mental stimulation. If we do not provide for you in these ways, we will be prepared for repercussions of chewed pillows.

We promise to speak to you like a friend, because you are that for us. All we ask in exchange is a wag of your tail or your protection by our bed. We will always remember that for what we offer to you in shelter, food, and water, we are more than repaid in your endless love and loyalty. We will always be indebted to you. When you remind us that we are your whole world… please remember that while we may fill our lives with other things, you are what makes our lives whole.

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“The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take the wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens . . .”