Thursday, October 21, 2010

October's Volunteer of the Month


Over the summer, Larry could often be seen with our lovable lug Hercules. I think Larry was drawn to Hercules due to the dog's resemblance to his mythological namesake - powerful and with a good heart, but always managing to get in his own way.

In any case, Hercules is in a good home now and Larry has moved on to new challenges. He is a frequent dog walker, and as you can see in the picture he has been taking Bella to BAD RAP class. He also helps make sure that all of our dogs are posted on the adoption websites, and prints out and posts kennel cards. Larry and his wife have a new puppy at home, who is probably a little easier to handle than Hercules!

Thanks for all of your help Larry!

What do you do when you're not at the shelter?

I retired from full-time community college teaching in 2003; sometime in 2006 I stopped my part-time teaching, and spent my time reconnecting with old friends, hanging out with my dog, reading and running errands. I still do those things, but now I'm trying to help our new puppy master the concepts of housetraining.

Why did you initially decide to volunteer at BACS?

I had planned to volunteer several months before I actually applied, when it was clear that Nora, our wonderful and terrible Giant Schnauzer, would lose her battle with cancer. After we lost Nora, we were not ready for a new dog, but I NEEDED to spend time with dogs.

What are your favorite things about volunteering?

The dogs, of course. Just being around them lifts my mood. When I work with a dog, and begin to understand her (or him) and build some mutual trust, I feel like I'm doing something good and satisfying. Even when there are setbacks.

One of the great things about being a volunteer is I don't have to do anything I don't want to. Some of the things I do as a volunteer, I would probably complain bitterly about if it were my job.

I really enjoy working with the other volunteers, and the staff, because we all share a common desire to care for the animals and help them find a good and permanent home.

Who are your favorite dogs, past and present?

My favorite has to be Hercules. It took us several weeks to develop a routine that worked for us, and to figure each other out, with a lot of bumps along the way. He also changed my attitude towards Pit Bulls. I also really liked working with Azul. My favorites now are Radar, --an Almost Perfect Dog-- whom I've only worked with a few times, and Bella, who's very much like Hercules (except she weighs 30 pounds instead of 75).

Spay/Neuter License Plate

Although the Pierce Brosnan illustration that complements this most important message may be a turn-off, it is worth considering investing the $50 to spread the word about the need to spay and neuter all cats and dogs. If there is one thing that could lower the numbers of dogs coming into our shelters significantly, it would be mandating spaying and neutering. Of course, we all know that many of the dogs who fill our shelters are the result of backyard breeders who would not heed this mandate, even if it were codified into law; however, it is still not a bad idea to get people who don't make the connections between pet overpopulation, high euthanasia rates and spaying and neutering, thinking, as they sit in traffic behind a car bearing the message.

Go to for more information about ordering this special interest plate.

Monday, October 18, 2010

An adoption salute to Miley (now Edie)

For this entry, we have a guest writer. It’s the most beautiful blogger this site has ever had – my wife Holly!

I suppose each volunteer has their own rubric for selecting a dog to walk on any given day. My criteria involves: charm, good looks, and swishing tail. Oh, and I usually look at the walk cards to see who hasn’t been out too. The stars and prong collars aligned and one regular Sunday I found myself with Miss smiley Miley.

An early photo of Miley - grinning from the get-go

Who doesn’t want their first date with a new dog to involve a little cuddle time, a crooked smile, and a lot of sniffing?! Miley and I immediately hit it off. It made me feel good too, to give her a long walk around the lake that first day. And so became our tradition of Sunday walks around the lake. The timing was perfect really – my husband, Joel, was at Bad Rap class with Azul. I would take the hour to do the lake with Miley and then we would meet up afterward. I loved it.

But, I realized I was ready for my next challenge as a volunteer and Miley was ready to learn a few things. So, two months ago, my favorite pittie princess and I showed up to Bad Rap. Well, wouldn’t you know, this girl took to it like a charm! Week one was a little overwhelming – lots of things to see and smell! But, by week two she had mastered sit. By week three she had look. And, by week four down and stay! We were on a roll. This past Sunday she was even reviewed by Bad Rap who told us she was nearly ready to move to the advanced class.

Showing off her 'stay' skills at BAD RAP class

Would you like some mustard to go with this HAM?

Miley’s other pals, two of whom are named Nancy, have been taking her on lots of long walks during the week and on non-Bad Rap days. All the time with her human-friends really paid off. A nice young couple watched Miley’s good work at Bad Rap and were impressed with how she was the perfect combination of attentive and affectionate. I’m so happy that Miley has found her forever home with great new human friends, Jason and Lizzy. I know I’m one of many who’ll miss seeing her down in kennel 21, but I have a feeling we’ll be seeing her around flashing that goofy grin as she wiggles on by. Huzzah for Miley!

On to new adventures

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Join us for a special BADRAP class on Saturday, October 23

In case you haven't noticed, BADRAP's pit ed classes have been gaining a lot of visibility. Thanks to a lot of good publicity and tireless educational/outreach efforts, BADRAP has been attracting lots of fans nationwide. The pit ed classes - conducted just down the street from our shelter - are one of their most popular activities. Read BADRAP's blog or Facebook pages to see how many people in communities all across the country wish they had this type of program.

The added interest has also increased the number of BACS volunteers who are interested in attending class. This means that lots of BACS pitties have been going to class with devoted volunteers. The dogs learn manners and basic obedience, gain socialization, and they get to be seen by potential adopters.

Well hold on to your prong collars, because next week we are having the mother of pit ed classes (to date, at least). BADRAP has been hosting occasional "open house" classes where the public is invited to watch and learn. But to celebrate National Pit Bull Awareness Day on October 23, they are pulling out all the stops. Refreshments, games, books autographed by celebrity dogs, door prizes, you name it. We've got everything but a Justin Bieber appearance. And BACS pitties will be prominent co-stars of the occasion!

Imagine a scene like this. But with lots more stuff.

Donna's post over on the BADRAP blog has all the details, so all I need to say is please do drop by for all the fun. And support your favorite BACS pitties in action.

Most of our pits started out life as strays or neglected backyard dogs, and arrived at the shelter not knowing a leash from a ham sandwich. But thanks to hard work from our volunteers and our partnership with BADRAP, many of them are now out showing off their skills at class, helping change the public's perceptions of pit bulls, and eventually heading on to become happy family pets.

I hope you can make it, and bring a friend. It should be fun for everyone!