Saturday, April 30, 2011

April's Volunteers of the Month

Kirsten and Beth

We here at the BACS Dog Blog apologize profusely for the delay in announcing the Volunteer of the Month. We sheepishly admit that even the dog blog was not immune to Royal Wedding Fever, and we woke up in a panic on the last day of the month realizing that we had not completed our duties.

The occasion does give us chance to salute Her Majesty as a doglover - particularly Corgis.

Unfortunately, we must lessen our enthusiasm by noting that we highly doubt that the queen went to the Royal & Ancient Dog Pound to adopt her Corgis. If Her Majesty is a reader of the blog, perhaps she could shoot us a quick email to let us know that we are happily misled.

And as a final note, unlike many fashionistas the BACS Dog Blog approved of the queen's smart yellow ensemble for the wedding. However, the hat did veer towards resembling a cake.

Although it certainly put Princess Beatrice's "hat" to shame - back to the drawing board for you, Bea.

But we digress - even more than usual this time.

Beth and her daughter Kirsten have been volunteering for several months now. They are a great illustration of how volunteering can be a fantastic family activity. Kids love to be around animals! Having kids doesn't mean you should give up the shelter. Bring your kids along - they'll love it! Just watch Beth and Kirsten in action for a good example.

Beth and Kirsten have a particular affinity for Carla - which is certainly easy to understand. They can often be seen in Carla's kennel on the receiving end of a prime-time lickdown. Beth also takes Carla to BAD RAP class. Not sure why Carla has been at the shelter so long. She is one of our most adoptable dogs!

Thanks for all your hard work, Beth and Kirsten! It will make it even more rewarding when Carla finds her home.

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

School and work take up a lot of our time but we enjoy family time, playing games at home, and coming to the shelter to work with the dogs. Of course we love to play with our own adopted dog, Smiley.

Why did you initially decide to volunteer at BACS?

I had been a devout web stalker of BadRap for a few years, reading about their work and the pit bull plight. When they had an open house in October, we took advantage of being able to meet the crew in person. At the open house we discovered BACS dogs could go to the BAD RAP classes, and kids could volunteer with parents starting at age 8. So it was the perfect setup - have the kids learn about dogs and work with pit bulls in BAD RAP class.

Kirsten and Carla:

What are your favorite things about volunteering?

Helping the animals whom we dearly love. Making them more adoptable by teaching them basic skills, being able to get the dogs out of the kennels and outside for stress relief. We love watching them sniff everything they possibly can, and roll in the grass with pure joy.

Who are your favorite dogs, past and present?

When we started, we met an "unknown" (new) dog coming into the shelter. The volunteer walking him said Kirsten could name him and thus he became Wally. He was a really good dog, smart puppy. We were glad to see he was adopted fairly quickly. Fred was a sweet boy who would "cry" when people weren't around - I was really happy when he got a home. Of course our favorite now is Carla whom I take to class on Sundays and we work with together on Saturdays.




Saturday, April 23, 2011

Petunia: BACS’s best dressed girl is looking for a home

Courtesy of DeAnna, Petunia's biggest fan...

Tucked away in the back corner of kennel B, Petunia tends to get overlooked - which is a shame, because this is one sweet girl. But her time is running out at the shelter, and we need to find her a real home, either foster or adoptive, ASAP. Not only does she come with BACS’s standard bully package of free Bad Rap training classes, Petunia’s many fans are ready to send her off with the complete package: ongoing one-on-one support from her best shelter buddy staff-member, her complete wardrobe, and a sweet leather collar and leash. It doesn’t get much better than this, folks...

Petunia gives great eye contact

When “Tuna” and I started Bad Rap classes last October, she was a bit of a mess. Tense and reactive around other dogs, we spent the first few classes on the sidelines just working on sitting, looking, and not lunging. She’s gotten much, much better since then - beautiful eye contact, a great connection with her handler, and most importantly, much better doggie manners. She still has issues around unfamiliar or reactive dogs and will need to be in a single-dog home with a dog-savvy handler, but she’s shown great improvement and is now able to ignore polite, familiar on-leash dogs. In class, she loves nothing more than leaning into your leg and gazing up at her person, and when we’re in the zone, she aces even the silent wedding march (10 cones, 10 sits, 10 looks, 0 verbal commands). If you’re interested in checking her out whether she might be the dog for you, she’ll be strutting her stuff at Bad Rap this Sunday at 11:30.

Petunia has the softest mouth, and will lick and nibble treats delicately out from between your fingers

Aside from some reactivity towards dogs with whom she is unfamiliar, Petunia is a cheerful, easy dog who greets life with gusto. You want to go three miles around the lake? She’s up for that. You’d rather flop down in the grass and laze around all afternoon? She’s game. Half an hour of being dressed up and photographed? (Not that I, ahem, would ever torment a dog in this way...) She’s your dog.

Petunia the bee-dog

Slightly older - at five years old, she’s well past her adolescence - she shows all the delight of a puppy at seeing her favorite person approach, but with none of that puppy-craziness. When you enter her kennel, her whole butt wags with delight, but she’s very mindful not to jump up, and she’d never dream of being mouthy. Instead, she dances back and forth on her front legs, whole body wagging, nose glued to the crack of the kennel door, staying carefully still as soon as you produce the collar. Good girl!

With her happy, easy-going temperament, she’s miraculously gone eight months in the shelter with nary a sign of kennel stress. She absolutely delighted to get out of the kennel for a walk or just a visit, a belly rub in the grass on a sunny day or a chance to gleefully splash her way through puddles after the rain. Mostly, Petunia loves people! She has a rock-solid temperament with strangers, little kids, and anyone else who might offer scratches, treats, or a kind word.

Petunia is a little too interested in cats and needs a home without such temptations.

If you’re able to provide a home for this wonderful girl, please contact the shelter at 510-981-6600 for adoption information or Home at Last at 510-237-1625 for fostering information. As a health note, Petunia does need to have some dental work and exploratory surgery for a sinus problem. If there is a firm offer from a foster or adopter, shelter volunteers have several options to cover the medical costs.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

BAD RAP action

Lots of volunteers bringing dogs to class, here are a few shots from the past two weeks. Sorry I didn't get a picture of everyone! Arnie keeps me pretty busy. I'll try to take a few more photos next week.

Note for any potential adopters:

All of the dogs in this blog entry are currently available for adoption or fostering. To learn more about these dogs and others at our shelter, check the following links:

Our Facebook page

Our page at Northern California Pet Adoptions

David was out of town, so Bella got to come to class with Caroline. Bella thought she could outsmart her substitute handler, but Caroline was having none of it. In this picture, Bella looks a little depressed that Caroline was able to outfox her. But don't let that fool you, Bella had a good time at class. Bella is a smaller pit mix, and she does great with other dogs. Bella has been at the shelter for a YEAR now, she'd sure like to get out of the kennel!

Andrew tries to get Brando motivated after one of his patented bellyflops. Lisa and Bunny are in the background, word is that Bunny has an adoption pending.

Wow, look at the eye contact that DeAnna is getting from Petunia. And check out Tuney's hipster collar, DeAnna made it herself!

Kelly and Chance take a break.

Mari and Claudia...Claudia wants to play with the other dogs at class, so Mari has to work hard to keep her focused on the drills.

Christina has started working with Gigi, a new volunteer favorite. Gigi is still learning her basic commands, but she's got a gentle, friendly disposition. She'd be super-easy in a home.

Here is one of our last shots of Rita before she was rescued. Rita was fantastic in class - one of the smartest, most attentive dogs we've had in a long time. Lisa needs a new class partner, but she will have a hard time finding a better student than Rita.

My two favorites, Cece and my wife Holly. Cece is a super-mellow dog who has learned all of her basic commands at the shelter. After 8 months in a kennel, she'd love an opportunity to be in a home! Of course she would need to get some exercise, but this dog definitely has the potential to be an all-star couch potato.

Holly was not convinced that Cece needed a break from class at this point, but apparently Cece thought she was perfectly entitled:

Arnie is making rapid improvement. He is really good with his commands and is very responsive.

Radar, Billie Jean, Carla, and Clover are also class regulars. We also have several adopters bringing their former BACS pitties to class. It's a nice perk of adopting a pittie from our shelter - adopters get to bring their dog to class for free and can skip the waiting list. I saw Paris (now Shiva), Elmer (Fish), and Miley (Edie) there today.

Thanks to all the volunteers who are working with these dogs! And of course to BAD RAP for continuing to help our shelter pitties.