Thursday, August 25, 2011

August's Volunteer of the Month


Caroline just can't get enough of our dogs. She's often at the shelter, and loves to take dogs to BAD RAP class. She also volunteers at the BAD RAP barn. We hope she doesn't find a job too quickly! Volunteering with dogs is much more fun.

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

I actually just finished grad school this month, so I've recently earned my master's degree in Library and Information Science. When I'm not searching for job openings, I spend a lot of time volunteering. In addition to BACS, I volunteer at the Lindsay Museum in Walnut Creek, where I assist in both the natural history department (checking out specimens to docents for their programs) and their wildlife rehabilitation hospital (where I get to feed baby birds). I was also fortunate to join BAD RAP's barn crew recently, which means that I get to interact with their rescue dogs during the transition between shelters and foster homes. Like the BACS dogs, they need mental and physical stimulation, as well as lots of cuddles. I'm also unofficially interning at my local library, which basically means that I help out the teen librarian and make her life a little less hectic. And I'm pretty involved in my church, where I sing in the choir. So, I keep pretty busy, but I love it.

Why did you initially decide to volunteer at BACS?

I came to BACS in kind of a round-about way. Initially, I was thinking about volunteering at Oakland Animal Services, and while I was looking into their program I ran across some information about BAD RAP. I had never heard of them before, and I don't think I'd ever even met a pitbull at that point, so there isn't really a rational explanation for why it hooked me and I felt like I needed to get involved. I read about BACS volunteers taking shelter dogs to Pit Ed, and I hurried to the next BACS volunteer training (which I think was literally the next day - I don't think I even signed up for it). I met with Loraine for my mentoring session and was eventually upgraded to an orange dot, and I was observing Pit Ed the next weekend.

What are your favorite things about volunteering?

Definitely the dogs. It's so gratifying to see how much they improve, both in behavior and basic commands, when you've been working with them for some time. And of course you start to build a relationship with them, and they get this look in their eyes when they recognize you and realize that they get to spend some time with you. Right now I'm taking Roseanne to Pit Ed, and she is particularly sweet and eager to please. I think she gets overlooked at the shelter because she's not that young, but she's really one of the better dogs I've worked with. I also really enjoy meeting people through BACS, although that tends to happen less often. I think everyone who is drawn to help animals has a really generous spirit, and that seems to be true of the wonderful people I've met here.

Caroline and Roseanne at class. Note that Roseanne has an adoption pending as this blog entry goes to press!

Who are your favorite dogs, past and present?

I have a soft spot for Emma, who was the first BACS pitbull I took for a walk (during my mentoring session!) and to Pit Ed. I didn't get to know her very well, because she was rescued by BAD RAP right around the time I started volunteering. She actually just was officially adopted by her foster family this month, so great things have happened for her. Baby was another one of my favorites, because it took a while for her to get adopted and I spent several weeks in Pit Ed getting to know her. And obviously I love my current sweetheart Roseanne. I will be thrilled when she gets a home. (Psst...she's housebroken, folks!). These are just a few - there are so many great dogs that come through BACS.

Caroline and Baby

Emma and her new family

Thanks Caroline!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Time to catch up with Big Mike

It's been a few weeks since Mike went to his home, and it looks like he really scored big. A family in Danville adopted him, and he seems to be living the high life.

Here is an update from Leslie, his adopter. Mike is a nice mellow dog, so it should come as no surprise that he's made the transition from shelter to home with no problem at all.

"It has been so fun having Mike. I was actually reluctant to adopt an older dog (i.e. not a puppy), but I would seriously recommend it to anyone. In Mike's case, we don't know his history, but there are so many more positives. He is very calm although still spunky. He is great on the leash and has picked up basic obedience so quickly. He has no problem with his crate and goes to the bathroom in our Mike designated areas.

He is getting lots of attention and doing great on the leash. He has met a lot of the kids' friends and many of the neighbors. He is a very social boy! The kids are particularly fond of him. Often times they swing by the house just to see Mike! He has put on a little weight so you can't see his ribs anymore. The vet did say he could gain about 5 more pounds. His coat looks great, so shiny and soft."

Here are a few pictures Leslie sent me.

Mike gets revved up to head home with his new, uh, siblings, Carolyn and Anthony (this is about as revved up as Mike gets, by the way).

If Carolyn is going to be dishing out the lovin', Mike will take a double serving.

After all the visitors, we're not surprised that he's worn out at the end of the day.

Bon Voyage Mike!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Patches Is a-Comin' Around

Apart from my ongoing work with Joey - the John Blutarski of the shelter - I've really taken a liking to Patches. She came in as a very skittish, nervous dog who was very uncomfortable around other dogs.

She's still got work ahead of her, but she's doing better on all counts. She's gaining confidence. She's still a little too focused on other dogs, but she didn't make a peep during our walk Sunday.

She's a bit of a nervous Nellie in her kennel, but check out how relaxed she can be when she's out...

Who's your daddy?

Nothing like a nice Sunday afternoon for lazing around.

Earth to Patches...come in, Patches...

Please redirect your attention to the tall, handsome volunteer.

That's a little more like it.

Time to resume our previously scheduled grass chewing.

With more walks and socialization, she will make a perfectly good dog. I'll try to walk her every time I stop at the shelter. If you have chance, it would be great for her to get some additional walking.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Old School

Joey and I were back in action at BAD RAP class yesterday.

Actually, I feel like I was the only one in action. Joey had his own agenda.

We couldn't help noticing all the adopted BACS dogs that were there as well. When you adopt a pit or pit mix from BACS, you and your adopted dog have an indefinite invitation to come to class. But you still have to put your dog in the car, drive to class, put in all the hard work with the drills, and practice during the week. It's a commitment on the part of adopters, and it's great to see how many adopters see the value in bringing their BACS dogs to class.

Check out all of our alumni. How many do you remember?

Shirley Temple (adopted in September 2010), with adopter Matt. Focus on the drill, Shirley!

Ozzy (adopted in March 2010, he was known as Captain Crunch at the shelter) and his adopter Al get some advice from Donna as they go through the weave.

Rolen (adopted in May 2010, he was known as the slightly-harder-to-pronounce Raulon at the shelter), with adopter Esther. I like to spell his name "Rollin'", but it's just a matter of personal preference.

Two of my favorites. Radar (adopted in April 2011) hams it up, with adopter Brian. And Edie (adopted in October 2010, she was known as Miley at the shelter), with adopter Jason. Edie is a notorious collapser at class.

Molly (adopted in July 2011), in her first class with adopter Tina. Tina has a head and arms and everything; this is just a bad picture.

Here's a better picture of Molly and Tina as they prepare to race Rollin' and Esther in the wedding march drill.

Rexx (adopted in February 2011), with adopter Anastasia.

There's Clover in the background (adopted in June 2011), with her adopter Janet.

Of course, we've still got merchandise in house. You can see Reggie in the previous picture, with Karen.

Here are Roseanne (with Caroline), and Sweet Pea (with Joanne). Contrary to their appearance in this picture, neither of these dogs are dead. They're both alive and well, and waiting for their own adoption.

Claudia, Nanee, Melanie, Blue, and Leroy have also been spotted at class. Come check them out! You'll be impressed with how quickly these shelter dogs are improving.

Monday, August 1, 2011

So Happy Together

Miki and Chris reflect on the 1-year adoption anniversary of their girl, Lola.

"Sunday, July 31st was my 1-year anniversary with Lola, (aka Kaya). It is really difficult for me to be brief in describing how much and why I fall in love with Lola everyday, but I will try.

This is Lola on her very first day. Very anxious, nervous and trying to recover not only from being homeless and recently weaning puppies, but from burst mammary glands, and a recent spay. 

Such a sad face.

This is Lola today. Never said she was the classiest gal in the world.

But then she turns around and looks like this. Stunning!

A lot of things have changed for Lola just in the last several months alone. She now wags her tail soo much more than she used to. She has learned to play with toys and plays a mean game of fetch. Though she prefers the trails, she has learned to be more comfortable and even enjoy our city walks with all it's noises. She is learning to run off-leash in the east bay parks minding her manners and having a great time. She has discovered that she LOVES to swim, garnering amused looks from hikers that pass by and adoring looks from me.

We feel so lucky that Lola is ever so polite to our resident evil cat who wants nothing to do with her. She has proven herself to be sweet and gentle to children of all ages. She has charmed her way into our kitchen and onto our beds. My extended family is so in love with her that I never worry about daycare. And can this girl run! We're a family of trail runners and Lola didn't miss a beat. 3 miles? 5 Miles? 14 miles? No problem.

Thank you BACS for helping us find this wonderful wonderful girl. She's strong and healthy and happy and we couldn't be more in love."

Good job, Lola!