Archive | May, 2012

True Pittie Story

31 May

Buddy and Pretty

This pic is one of my favorite Wordless Wednesday photos. I thought I had to share this duos story, so let’s call today’s post “True Pittie Story…”

One recent evening while approaching the dog park, my eyes immediately locked on two new dogs – pitties, of course. Buddy, was leaping in the air after balls (for a stocky boy, he surely jumped high). Pretty was indeed gorgeous but super worried and cautious about the new surroundings. They seemed to have a nice owner who was keeping an eye out to make sure they didn’t get into trouble. They were the sweetest things. Other dogs liked them and the people were loving all over Buddy. Pretty, as I mentioned, was shy. But both were responsive to their dad.

Pretty

Buddy

So, it was a total surprise to me, that he recently adopted BOTH of them! That’s when I found out how lucky these pups were. The pooches had belonged to his friend who suddenly died. Friends and family needed to find homes for his four dogs – all rescued pit bulls. Buddy and Pretty’s new dad stepped up to the plate for these two. They were the most bonded and it seemed like they (especially Pretty) would flourish being in a home with less dogs. He knew the dogs, spent lots of time with them and couldn’t turn his back. I am sure his whole life has changed now…evening time now at the dog park, lots of walks and whole new responsibilities. I don’t know the owner well, but I can tell he loves these dogs and the new path they brought him.

Within weeks, Pretty has blossomed into a more social and confident girl who will come by for a nice pet. Buddy has decreased his jumping and is much more polite! These three have found their groove. Check out Pretty making friends:

Finally relaxed

Pretty loves dogs!

This is a such a happy ending, but as most know, this isn’t the norm. Most folks don’t make plans for their pets if situations like this arise. I know it’s something that’s hard to discuss but it’s so important. So, take a moment this week and make a plan. Find a person you think would take on your pets as their own if something happens to you. Then ask them to be your dog or cat’s “godparent.” Here are some great links to help you:

ASPCA Pet Trusts

Providing for your Pets in cases of Death – NYC Bar Association

Providing for your Pet’s future

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Wordless Wednesday

30 May

Location, location, location!

29 May

Picking the location for a pack walk is super hard in New York City! The routes that make sense and that are centrally located are within Central Park and Riverside Park. As organizers, when choosing a new place, such as Battery Park City, we consider things such as: will their be too much traffic (people, bikes, dogs, etc), are their separate paths for bike riders and the width of the paths. We have lots of requirements and and realize our options are limited.

We tried to mix things up this weekend. This past Saturday, some attendees might have called it a Hikeabull! The Pack ventured all the way up to my part of the city, Northern Manhattan, or as residents call it, “Upstate Manhattan.” The destination was Inwood Hill Park, which includes almost 200 acres of land that is a mixture of woods and a modern day park with athletic fields and a dog run. Our path was through the woods to the top of a bluff to check out the Hudson River and a nice walk down towards the landscaped part of the park along the marsh.

Alice taking the time to smell the flowers

It never occurred that this walk begins with a long, steep incline that would be considered a challenge or difficult by some. It was exceptionally noticeable because all of our previous walks have been completely flat. We all know what happens when you ASSUME. So from now on, we will make sure to take all of these conditions into consideration. Although the walk was steeper than a few expected, we had a good time with old and new friends:

1. New folks like pittie/boxer, Kaylee and her peeps John and Ginjer, (I’ve known them for years from the dog park, but this is their first Big Apple Pittie Pack walk).

Kaylee

2. Lots of new dogs (and fun breeds) came along, like Helo, the Duck Tolling Retriever and Logan, the Shiba Inu.

Helo

Logan

3. Lots of familiar faces from our Bully Project classes:

Bruce

Sonja (for adoption!)

Erika and Hailey

And our regulars:

Bird happy its a holiday weekend!

Lucy always has a smile!

Adoptable Pittie of the Week: Marley

28 May

This week’s adoptable is currently in foster care with a friend. Her name is Marley, and she’s currently available for adoption through Zani’s Furry Friends.

Marley

From her profile on Petfinder: “Marley (aka Mamas) is a beautiful blonde 3 year old female American Staffordshire Terrier/Yellow Labrador mix who is 55 lbs of sweetness & light! She was once a much loved member of a family until her owner unexpectedly died. You could tell that Mamas was very well taken care of as her coat is healthy, thick and shiny. She is so gentle and sweet, crying in her kennel to come out. She is a dream on the leash, walking nicely by my side, never pulling. She seems to like other dogs, tail wagging in friendship at all we met on our walk. Sheknows basic commands and is housebroken and is so mild mannered greeting dogs and people in a civil manner. Mamas is an absolute angel of a dogand she will make a wonderful family dog or a loyal companion to curl up by your side.”

Marley

Marley is already spayed, vaccinated, microchipped and ready to go home with her new family. If you or anyone you know may be interested in adopting this girl, please fill out an application on Zani’s Furry Friends’ website.

Marley

The Warm Up

25 May

While going through our many pictures from our Big Apple Pittie Pack Walks, I saw a theme. Something I probably didn’t realize because I was warming up my Big Terrier. Because we meet in typically busy places like Central Park, Riverside Park and even Union Square on Green Market day (!), the dogs can get super excited and even sometimes overaroused. So, while looking through the pics, I realized all of the early ones are of dogs “working.” How smart and effective…. from tricks to focus exercises, and just good ol’ leash manners. Here is a peek:

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What do you do to get your dog focused and ready to work, walk, or play? And, let’s hope tomorrow’s Inwood area Big Apple Pittie Pack Walk isn’t canceled due to this unfortunate weather!

Letters from Lucy

24 May

Hi everyone! Lucy here!

Didja hear?! Dad got me a new sister! Woohoo! And she’s little and she likes to play, which you know makes me very happy. But something…happened…to her.

You see, for the past three days, Paige has been wearing this thing. On her head. And it scares me! It makes her look like a monster, and it doesn’t feel good when it hits me. She pokes me in the butt with it, and smacks it against my face, and just chases me all over the place. And what does Dad do? Do you think he protects me? NOOOOOOOOO.

He laughs at me! I mean, he stops Paige from running around, using some excuse like, “No rough housing, you two.Paige was just spayed.” But he thinks it’s so funny – he tells me that I’m twice her size and that, “Paige is just playing, Lucy.”

She’s a monster! When will she stop being a monster, so we can play for real?!

Wordless Wednesday

23 May

 

Paige’s Day at Operation Pit

22 May

Yesterday, our little girl Paige got spayed! To say she’s less than thrilled is an understatement.

Paige Post-Spay

Here in New York City, the ASPCA has an amazing program called Operation Pit. Basically, the ASPCA provides free (you read that right: FREE!) spay and neuter procedures, vaccinations and microchips for pit bull type dogs. In an effort to promote responsible pet ownership and make an impact in the overpopulation of homeless dogs, they devised this great plan.

To qualify for Operation Pit, you and your dog only need to meet two requirements: you must be a resident of one of the five boroughs and your dog must be a pit bull type dog. That’s it! No financial qualifications, no lifestyle qualifications and no questions asked. You drop your dog off at 8am on the day of the appointment, and pick the up at 5pm. I don’t handle medical treatments very well, for myself or my dogs, so I was stressed out all day. I even called them once to check in on Paige, and they were absolutely wonderful about it.

I had never been to the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Well, the building is currently undergoing a bit of a renovation, but aside from the construction dust, it’s pretty sweet. There’s lots of space, very helpful staff, an adoption center of course and the hospital. The hospital is a regular animal hospital as well (it doesn’t just handle Operation Pit cases), and they handled every patient I saw come in with care and kindness, and the costs I overheard weren’t that bad. If I lived closer to it, we’d probably be regular patients there.

So this is a plea to all pit bull owners in New York City from us: get your dog spayed or neutered. It’s free and easy with Operation Pit! I’m so grateful that this program exists and that they took such wonderful care of Paige. The doctor even sent a little note with her discharge papers: “Paige bled a little more than the average dog during surgery. She was closely monitored after surgery and there were no signs of complications. She is a cute dog and was a great patient. Thank you for bring her to Operation Pit.”

Paige is available for adoption through Bully Project. If you or anyone you know might be interested in adopting Paige, please email us! You can reach us at thattouchofpit@gmail.com or bullyprojectnyc@gmail.com.

Adoptable Pittie of the Week: Paige

21 May

Ok, so FINALLY, we can announce the exciting news we’ve been teasing for a little while now. We have a new foster!! Ok, so maybe you all knew that was going to happen – but this one is a bit more special. Paige is the first dog who was officially rescued and is available for adoption through Bully Project. That’s right folks – That Touch of Pit is branching out! Our partnership with Bully Project has evolved into being a rescue organization!

Paige

We can’t begin to tell you how exciting this is for us. New adventures and new dogs – all great things! And Paige couldn’t be a better first rescue. We’re estimating that this sweet girl is a year and a half old, and she only weighs 25 lbs! The best part is: she’s full grown! She’s the pocketiest of pocket pitties we have ever seen! She’s friendly with all people, kids, and dogs; she happily shares her toys; she’s completely quiet; and she’s small enough to comfortably fit in any size New York City apartment.

Paige

Paige enjoying her first meal as a free lady!

Paige

Paige is going to be spayed and get all her vaccinations and microchip today – and as soon as she’s all healed up, she’ll be ready to go to her new home. We really wish this sweetie never had to leave, but there are many more dogs out there who need our help!

Paige

Paige

Paige

If you or anyone you know might be interested in adopting Paige, please email us! You can reach us at thattouchofpit@gmail.com or bullyprojectnyc@gmail.com. We’ve got one more picture for you, and this one is really something else.

Paige & Lucy

See how TEENY TINY EENTSIE WEENTSIE she is? SO. CUTE. The best thing about this picture: see the deer antler in the center? Those are Lucy’s favorite things, and sometimes she can be a little…possessive…over them. She’s clearly comfortable enough with Paige to let sleeping dogs lie. Literally.

A Great Mother’s Day

18 May

People have asked me why I spend time with Bully Project? We aren’t adopting or “saving” dogs from death row (at least not yet!), so why the commitment? I was very lucky when I adopted my terriers to have a great support system and resources. I was able to take training classes, and even agility classes. Which all helped me with my Big Terrier since she started out as a shy pup and ended up being a snarky terrier.

There are many folks out there that can’t take classes with the pitties they adopted. Classes can be far and expensive. Some group classes might not sign up a reactive dog – especially a big, muscly-kind. I love my Sundays with the pitties because we get to watch magic happen at Bully Project. Relationships between dogs and owners being started, renewed and strengthened. Shy dogs become more confident. Dogs that start out wanting to explode in an outdoor class begin to calm down. And little wiggly pups realize it’s always good to offer a sit for a treat.

Sometimes, teams come and go. And other times, they take back-to-back classes so they can practice for the Canine Good Citizen test. One team that will always hold a special place in my heart is Meg and Dayzee.

What a smile!

Meg rescued Dayzee when she was tied to a pole. What I have learned in my past ten years working in animal welfare is that rescuing takes a village. And, Meg found her village. A local rescue group offered spaying. Another group provided a trainer to help Dayzee aclimate to her new home. Meg and Dayzee were a team, and they were doing okay in their daily routine. But Meg wanted Dayzee to feel comfortable everywhere. She came to our first class in April, and Dayzee got stressed in the car ride and remained stressed all through class.  She barked at dogs, people, anything that moved. So, we gave Meg and Dayzee their space. They practiced from afar and tried to build up Dayzee’s confidence. Meg left feeling like she didn’t accomplish what she set out for – Dayzee taking group classes. We all encouraged her to come back. We understood her frustration but also realized they could work through this. The good things in life aren’t easy, right?

Dayzee working on a bone away from class

With lots of patience and dedication, Meg and Dayzee came to every class in April. We realized that after a few classes, Dayzee’s barking was no longer reactivity but demand barking! After class, we practiced some abandonment training. As soon as Dayzee demanded and barked, Meg would walk away while trainer Ann held her leash. Barking just made Dayzee’s good stuff go away! This was just part of the puzzle but it was so helpful to know what we were dealing with.

Nothing happens overnight – it takes baby steps and patience. The world wasn’t built in a four-week class. But just two weeks ago, Dayzee and Meg practiced walking by dogs. Of course with a peanut butter bone as a reward for not reacting to the dogs she was passing. And, she rocked it. It was their first time in the “circle” of teams, and they did great!

Dayzee working the crowd. Learning to pass dogs in class in a polite manner.

Our most recent class, which happened to be on Mother’s Day, was amazing! It was decided that Dayzee would no longer work on the outskirts of class. We put her in the “class” and once again, she showed us how great she really is. You would have never known that 6 weeks ago, she screamed at the sight of the dogs in class, or people walking by. Not only was Dayzee confident, so was Meg. Check out the pics…

Dayzee finally relaxing in class.

Dayzee practicing in class.

Peanut butter always makes things better!

Treats help, too…

If you don’t believe us, read what Dayzee’s mom, Meg, has to say about it: “I can’t thank you enough for offering this service. I feel so grateful that Dayzee and I made it into this class and that Dayzee made some progress over the weeks. I left the first class in tears and the last with a smile. Yay! You all have been beyond wonderful.”

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