Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June's Volunteer of the Month


Cindy has become one of our most dedicated volunteers. Read on to find out why she has such a devotion to our shelter. Thanks for all your hard work Cindy!

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

I work around the corner on 4th Street at The Gardener. I have always loved animals and grew up with dogs. I am an aunt to many dogs but I do not have one of my own. I like to ride my bike, garden, and listen to music (my partner is a musician.)

I got a degree in Landscape Architecture and one of our projects was a redesign of Aquatic Park. I would come and do field work and I thought that it should be re-named pit bull paradise. I saw all the volunteers walking the dogs and the Bad Rap classes. I got interested in the shelter and the plans for its new location. I think the proximity of the shelter to the park is an asset to both Berkeley institutions.

Why did you initially decide to volunteer at BACS?

I live in Emeryville and ride my bike through Aquatic Park on a regular basis. Last year, my husband, Bryan and I found two chihuahuas that seemed to be dumped under a building in Aquatic Park. I could have grabbed one of the dogs but the other was really afraid. She looked like she might be too scared for me to handle her. So we called animal control and left a message (it was a holiday weekend.) The next day they were open we went to check on the little girls. They were back in quarantine together. They stayed together for about a week and then the friendly one found a forever home pretty quick. I was not surprised she was outgoing and loved dogs an people. The other one (Gertrude) need more time before she found her way into the public. She LOVED other dogs but was scared of people. Every time I came to visit her the staff had her behind the counter. Gertrude loved snuggling with the other dogs and began to tolerate my little visits. She even crawled into my lap once. They finally found her a foster home with another dog. I was so impressed at the lengths that BACS went through to find this timid little dog a place that she could learn how to thrive.

Later that same year I found kitten and brought her to BACS. I was so happy to take this sweet animal to such a caring shelter. I knew that no matter what, they would do what was best for whatever animal came to them. The owner found her there.

I knew I had to give back.

What are your favorite things about volunteering?

This might seem funny, but I love how loose the volunteer program is. If the shelter is open, I am welcome to show up and help out. The rules are clear, the staff is helpful, and I LOVE THE ANIMALS. I have spent more time with the dogs but I love to check in with the cat house. It really is amazing how the volunteers in the cat hose are so dedicated. I love how there are really experienced volunteers around who are always willing to answer questions and give tips.

Another thing I LOVE is helping to find homes for these animals. I told all my friends that I am volunteering at the shelter and to let me know if they are interested. My neighbors Tony and Patrick told me they wanted a black puppy. So I let them know when some animals came available. They adopted Georgia, now Minerva, and they are one big happy family. Minerva lives with a chihuahua, Martini, and two cats, Memnock and Zsa Zsa .

Minerva and Patrick

Who are your favorite dogs, past and present?

Wow, there are so many. I really enjoyed walking Rusty and Fred. I liked the puppy McFee. Right now I am enjoying Aurthur. He and I are training at the BAD RAP classes. In one week we both improved quite a bit.

If I had to pick one all star, it woud be Carla. She was a blast to walk and play with. She is a love and I know she is happy with her new family and her BFF Pete.

Cindy and McFee


Rusty (who is in a foster home but is still up for adoption)

Monday, June 20, 2011

What a difference a home makes

Rexx arrived at the shelter in February. He was a perfectly good dog once he was out of his kennel on a walk. But he was not fit for kennel life at all, showing all the typical signs of stress - lots of barking and jumping, anxiety, and unease around other dogs.

His condition was severe enough that Pam wrote up a special blog entry to give Rexx some extra publicity. And luckily, we were able to find an adopter for Rexx. He wouldn't have lasted too much longer at the shelter!

That was four months ago, and we hadn't seen Rexx since. His adopter, Anastasia, did send us a note to say that Rexx was doing very well in his new home with his new dog housemate, who had also been adopted from BACS.

Anastasia brought Rexx to BAD RAP class last weekend. Free, indefinite access to BAD RAP classes is a great benefit to adopting a pit or pit mix from our shelter - and the offer is still valid even if it's been awhile since the dog was adopted.

Rexx was not in our shelter long enough to start attending class with a volunteer. And because he was so jumpy and anxiety-filled during his stay, we were interested to see how he would handle the demanding class environment. There are so many dogs and handlers all in one place that it can initially be overwhelming for a dog.

We are happy to report that Rexx is a totally different dog these days. He handled class like a pro right from the get-go. He is calm, composed, and totally in tune with Anastasia. He has also filled out - he's gotten bigger and more muscular. He's quite a specimen. He looks like he could win the Kentucky Derby!

Apologies for the bad pictures, but Rexx is very focused on Anastasia. It's hard to draw his attention away!

Lots of dogs are right in front of him, but Rexx only has eyes for Anastasia:

I've had girlfriends who never looked at me like this. Such devotion!

Thanks to everyone who helped get Rexx to his new home, and to Anastasia and her boyfriend for welcoming him. Sometimes all a dog needs is a change in environment to really thrive. And here is Rexx's roommate, Stella...

Friday, June 17, 2011

A few pictures of our boy Chance

Based on these pictures, has Chance...

a) Enrolled in a survivalist training program?
b) Been adopted by Robin Hood?
c) Moved to Marin County?
d) Become a park ranger?

Answer below...

Answer: C

Chance's adopters Bill and Wendy live in Marin County so now he gets to run around in redwood forests. Don't be a stranger, Chance! Chance came to BAD RAP class last week, so he's still giving access to his local fans. What a considerate dog!

D was a throwaway answer by the way. If Chance had become a park ranger, he would have to wear one of those tan hats.

Chance hasn't gone totally crunchy though. He's also taken an interest in home renovation. Here he helps Bill and Wendy look for specials at The Home Depot.

It's enough to wear a dog out!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Look who got their Canine Good Citizen certification

Shiva! We knew her as Paris when she was at BACS last fall.

In addition to being super-friendly, smart, and now holding CGC certification, Shiva also has the distinction of looking exactly like a sports car.

Congratulations Shiva and adopter Hilarie!

The BACS Blog Interview: Joey

Joey is one of our best-kept secrets. He is an enthusiastic friend to everyone who stops by to visit, and he’s shown that he can be a serious student despite his playful nature.

Joey has a lot of interesting stories for such a young dog. Woodles, Paul Newman, and the positives of having a case of mange - you name it, and Joey covers it in this wide-ranging interview.

BACS BLOG: Joey, let’s get the obvious question out of the way first. Where did you get those fabulous blue eyes?

Joey: I have no idea. But I have to admit, they are my best feature. Real moneymakers. Did you know that all humans with blue eyes come from one single ancestor? Look it up. What that says about me I can’t tell you. And I’m not sure I want to know.

BB: Maybe you’ve got some Husky or Australian Shepherd in you?

J: Yeah, I really look like a Husky (rolls eyes). But I guess anything’s possible. One of my cousins has a wolf's head and a poodle's body. A woodle! No joke.

BB: Do you have any blue-eyed role models?

J: Well it’s such a cliché to mention Frank Sinatra, but I do enjoy his music. He was a smooth one. And Paul Newman of course. He makes pretty good dog chow too. I like “Cool Hand Luke”, right up until the part where the police dogs chase Luke. When the policeman carries the dog back to the jail, I have to go to the next room and howl. I’m a rebel myself, but I stick up for my species first – even if they’re with Johnny Law.

BB: Come on now, rebel? You? You’re a happy-go-lucky kind of dog.

J: You obviously haven’t tried to put a gentle leader on me. Attica! Attica!

BB: “DOG Day Afternoon”. We get it. We didn’t know you were such a movie buff.

J: Lots of down time in the kennel. I’ve got a Blu-ray player under my kuranda bed. Don’t tell. “Turner and Hooch” is on tap tonight. Tom Hanks’ best role, if you ask me.

BB: Any other favorite shelter activities?

J: Oh I’ve found lots of ways to have fun. I enjoy spending time with my favorite walkers. I’ve learned how to fetch in the play area. And I really love being the Director's Assistant. I overheard Tim and Thomas saying that Kate was looking for a dog who could nap in her office and give her an occasional lick on the face. I don’t think I have to tell you that I was born for that job. I made sure to submit my application pronto.

I really have been pleasantly surprised during my stay. When you hear other dogs bark about shelters, the tails tend to go limp. But the Berkeley shelter is not too bad at all. The food is good and I get walked every day.

BB: Sounds like you’ve really made yourself at home.

J: Well let’s not take it that far. I’m still anxious to wake up in my own home and run around in my own yard. I’m even willing to help pay for the Netflix subscription.

BB: You were kind of mangy when you arrived. The skin is healing?

J: It's much better, thanks for asking. The nice thing about being a dog is that I can take an extremely close look at almost any body part. I’ve noticed that the hair is still a little thin in a few spots, but now that summer is here I don’t mind. Sparse hair means less panting. I’m aiming for full coverage by the time fall rolls around.

BB: How are you doing in BAD RAP class?

J: Barking of panting, that class is some seriously hard work. With all of those other dogs hanging around, at first I thought I was at the dog park. I was certainly in for a rude awakening when I realized that I was expected to do stuff. But now I get what’s going on, and I love earning the praise and treats. My handler is incredibly good-looking, but he’s also very demanding. I’ve been up to the challenge though. I’ve about got him figured out.

BB: We heard that on breezy days, your ears sometimes get blown upwards and resemble giant pig ears. True?

J: No.

BB: Uh, OK. Well Joey, thanks for spending some time with us. Hope you're able to find a home soon!

J: My pleasure. And keep up the good work, I enjoy reading the blog!