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The Terriers Had A One Night Stand

9 May

I went to the dog park with the two terriers and a cup of coffee and returned with the terriers and a fluffy! Meet Nameless:



This boy was going to be abandoned by his dad AT the dog run. A family member told him he couldn’t just do that,  at least give him to a person.



The poor boy! I asked the guy if he would give the dog to me, and he handed him over. Never asked my name, or for my phone number. Just: “You’ll give him a good home?”



Well, the little boy came home with me. All I knew about this guy was that he only liked human food, marked a bit and had previously lived with kids. I saw he was fine with other dogs while at the dog run and hoped he would make friends with my cat.



While at home, he was still in “owner search mode,” understandably. It was so, so sad. Not overtly anxious, but definitely confused and seriously looking for the man who had been caring for him. But he wasn’t too interested in “human food” and couldn’t really settle.

Nameless at the vet

Nameless at the vet

More adventures through fostering equals more information about my own happy family! So what I learned:

Goose the little terrier, will protest the dog no matter what the size!

Nameless in the car

Nameless in the car

Bird, the larger terrier,  likes having boy dogs in the house (and on the bed)! They decided to be friends and play at 1:00am on my bed.

Bird & Nameless

Bird & Nameless

Sal, the hairless, one-eyed kitty doesn’t care too much about new dogs. As long a he has covers to sleep under and lots of yummy human food, he is happy camper! Nameless determined that Sal was his playmate and initiated play with no response.



Nameless, as I called him, was so tempting to keep all to my own! Great dog skills, awesome with handling and a good boy all around! Too bad I don’t want another small/medium dog! Thanks to Tristan‘s finder and caretaker, Rachel, I quickly found a foster-to-adopt couple! In less than 24 hours, he has a place to call home where he will be showered with lots of attention. Nameless is currently getting a needed grooming and I can’t wait to see what he will look like!

What Fred Taught Me…Part 2

17 Jan


Fred was trying to fit in with everyone – the terriers, the skinny old minpin, the hairless one-eyed kitty and all the folks at the park! He was really a saint!

photo 1 photo 2

But after 10 wonderful (and tiring) days of trying to integrate Fred into my family, it was my little terrier, Goose, who made the decision for us. See, although Fred was polite and was a great walking and dog run buddy,  Goose camped out in the foyer for 10 days straight unless Fred was behind a closed door. And, since Fred wasn’t thrilled with being crated, integration was challenging. Bird, on the other hand, was sleeping ON him within days. Yes, Bird had a boyfriend.
photo 3
Fred was my perfect pittie! I had such plans for us…he was going to be a therapy dog. Fred was going to change minds being part of my family. But, I had to think of my entire four-legged family. The day I realized Fred was not going to be mine was devastating but I did learn some lessons:

1. Bird can live with a large big male and LIKE it!

2.  Goose really needs to be part of the decision making process.

3. Crate-able will be an important factor in the next dog I foster-to-adopt.

4. I will most likely foster -to-adopt a “helper” dog. Fred had the best dog greeting skills.

5. I will try this again.

Of course Fred had a great ending, but that’s for the next post!


Sister Wives? Bacherlotte?

6 Dec

I found my McDreamy! He is a beautiful lug of a mush named Fred. Green eyes, rich brown coat and sweet as can be! If it were up to me he would be my mine and we would be signing the papers today! But, I have a canine that thinks differently. They don’t make decisions quickly, so I feel like I am on a reality show.

Fred, the name of my temporary charge, goes on dates with all the ladies separately. Sometimes just a potty break, sometimes a fun trip to the run or local pet store. Each one is warming up. Bird, the bigger terrier, will sleep on the bed with him. And, even lets him get real close on occasion.

With the little one, Goose, the jury isn’t out. She was fine with him until she ran to her chair. He thought that was an invitation to play and tried to engage, but she thought much differently. So while I do duo walks and expeditions, I feel like I am some show in between Sister Wives and the Bachelorette. Here are some pics to see what we have been up to the last few days….





Get Out And Vote!

6 Nov

Stop reading this blog and go vote!

If you don’t vote, Lucy, Rosie, Goose, Bird and Sal will be very upset with you. Have you ever angered a sphynx cat? If you haven’t, don’t let this be your first time. Go vote!

Gentle Leaders ‘R Us! (and Easy Walks, too!)

10 Apr

Goose and Bird
Proud to wear their Gentle Leaders

As someone who adopted the use of gentle leaders early in my dog parenthood, I was always so shocked when dog owners shut down the idea immediately. Throughout the years, I have used Gentle Leaders* for many reasons – for pulling, working with reactive dogs, etc. From my miniature pinschers to larger shelter dogs, I have always used them…and LOVED them! And, yes, when I see  a dog wearing one, I immediately like the owner (yikes! profiling!)

I am often sharing this great little video from Jean Donaldson’s of her desensitizing her dog, Buffy, to one.

I share the moleskin tip. I talk about the “deluxe” versions. I can talk for hours about the  Gentle Leader!

This year, a few people have told me that they are hesitant to have their pitties wear them. They don’t want people thinking their dog is not friendly.  They said people scream, “MUZZLE!” in their head when they see them. In my more than 10 years of using the Gentle Leader, a few people did think they were muzzles and I quickly said, “Nope, they can bite if they want to! It  just helps with pulling.”  And the stranger would say, “Oh!”  And, to me, that was it. No biggie. Because no one had thought my miniature pinschers or terriers were “dangerous dogs.”

A few months ago, I was walking two shelter dogs at separate times and both times people indicated that the big short-haired, muscle-y dogs were dangerous because of a head halter. I was not only shocked, but hurt. The poor pittie mix I was walking was doing no harm, just going about his business in SoHo, trying to get adopted. I knew how it felt.

So, at Bully Project classes this past weekend, when a fabulous, dedicated couple said they were not willing to try the Gentle Leader because of the stigma, I knew where they were coming from. We decided to try out an Easy Walk harness first for their tank of a dog who was a huge puller. And now, his momma is so happy…her shoulder is definitely hurting less this week!

Bully Project was lucky enough to have some nice people make donations right before our first Spring class! This allowed us to splurge on some incentives and goodies for the teams – and this included the Gentle Leaders and Easy Walk harnesses. I think we all are pushing these harnesses a lot…and it is working. Gone are the prongs and chokes! Here are some of our pretty pitties and their Gentle Leaders and Easy Walk harnesses:

Gertie is an old-timer when it comes to the Gentle Leader!

Bleu just got fitted with one! Her mom also used a Thundershirt to help reduce her stress while being in class. Bleu is doing great now!

Cofi loves her new Genlte Leader

Deebo is now wearing a brand new reflective Easy Walk harness.

Midnight sporting her Easy Walk!

Kiara waits patiently.

*although I am referring to the  Gentle Leader brand of head halter here in the blog, you can replace it with any other  dog head halter.

Kids! It’s Time for School!

27 Mar

I’ve been a bad doggy mom! As I was spreading the word locally about the upcoming Bully Project classes, I realized that I have not attended a class with Bird in over three years. Some might say, “Well, we took puppy class, lots of workshops and even a stint in agility. Isn’t that enough?” Well, not for my Bird. She loves to learn and participate in classes. I have always felt guilty that I never continued agility training and trialing. Bird started out as a terrified young dog when approaching the agility equipment. It took lots of patience, guidance and lots of yummy treats but she quickly learned that the pieces of equipment were not scary at all – they were actually fun. Agility was a pure confidence builder! Now, years later, she gets amped up when she sees an A Frame.

Feeling guilty, I rallied a few of my “dog friends” and we signed up for an all-day workshop, “Fit To Be Tricked,” being offered by Frankie Joiris and Chris Ott at Westchester’s Port Chester Obedience Club. Both instructors are super impressive – Frankie and her dogs are superstars in the dog acting world (her dog Stamp was a star in Angelina Jolie’s Salt) and Chris is an agility legend! Although I was excited, I was concerned I was being too ambitious.

The class, designed by Frankie, Chris and Physical Therapist, Ria Acciani, MPT, focuses on trick training that will improve a dog’s abilities in performance (agility, obedience, freestyle, etc). Although none of our dogs “perform,” it was open to dogs of all training experience.  After watching a video of their class, I was excited!

And what an experience! Not only because of the cool tricks and behaviors we were beginning to learn, but because Bird and I were a team again! I hope to continue working with Bird on these tricks (jumping through smaller and smaller hoops, Bird walking on my feet, Bird catching hoops around her head and much more). Check out our dogs two thirds of the way through the class:

What I learned is that all dog/owner teams need some class time – whether it’s a brand new sport like agility, a refresher manners class or fun tricks seminar. This surely helps building our relationships with our wigglybutts! And, if you live in a multi-dog household, it is important to have some one-on-one time. And classes are the perfect opportunity for that.

I think our next class will be a Noseworks class! My question is: do I take Bird or Goose?

Classes can be especially great for pitties and their owners to help strengthen the bonds between them and the dog’s confidence. Pit bulls, just like my Bird, can do agility and other sports, too. Just check out these videos:

So take your pittie to class!

A Trip Across the River…

20 Oct

Over the weekend, That Touch of Pit (along with our pups Lucy & Goose) took a trip across the river to a wonderful fundraiser for Liberty Humane Society in Hoboken, NJ called Bark in the Park. While there, we met up with our good friend (and foster dad!) Dan and his pittie Revis.

Revis, Goose & Lucy

We were amazed at all the wonderful pit bulls in attendance. This was a great surprise because at similar events in New York City, most of the four-legged attendees are small dogs. The afternoon included lots of vendors with great goodies- from boiled wool dog toys to the fabulous pit bull-themed jewelry and calendars from Pitbull and Itty Pitties, and many supportive local pet-centric businesses and local animal welfare organizations.

Unfortunately, we missed the “official” Pit Bull Parade but we did get to meet many of them strolling in the park. There were pit bull type dogs in every shape, color and age! One of the special guests at Bark in the Park was Oogy, the subject of a New York Times bestseller. Oogy, the poor victim of abuse, has overcome many challenges and is now loved unconditionally by the Levin family. It was a pleasure to spend time with this special inspiring creature. We bought a signed copy which was the perfect birthday gift for a friend – and all the proceeds went directly to Liberty Humane – the best type of shopping!
Also in attendance were the Pinups for Pitbulls who were scouting for pinup pits for 2013! And, how can we forget all the adoptable dogs from Liberty Humane? Not only were the dogs walking around showing off their manners, many of them revealed that shelter dogs LOVE agility! We hope that some of the dogs found their forever homes on Sunday.

Photo by Chris Langston for Liberty Humane Society

Congratulations to all of the staff, volunteers and adopters at Liberty Humane! Check out more photos on Liberty’s FB Page!

Meet Jennifer, Bird, Goose & Rosie

19 Oct

My first memory of a “pit bull” is of not being able to meet him because my godfather said he was not friendly and was kept in the basement when guests visited. Now I wonder if he was aggressive, aroused, or maybe missing some manners. Nonetheless, I never met him. Maybe he was under socialized, maybe under-exercised, or maybe he was hardwired to be aggressive. I will never know, but I do know that my godfather kept and loved that dog till the day he died.

Since that experience, almost 20 years ago, all of my memories of bully like dogs have been wonderful – from the throw-away momma bleeding out from a bad delivery who only wanted to give me kisses as she was dying, to goofy pups playing at the dog run. I am an admirer of pit bull like dogs and a strong believer that these dogs need to be treated like individuals.

My love affair with these bully dogs started almost 10 years ago, when I landed a dream job working at a New York City private animal shelter. Part of the job is matching families and dogs. It is amazing to me that parents, busy as they are, want to bring a pup into their home. I am sometimes more excited for them than their children. Including kids in the adoption process is a challenge especially when parents were afraid that pit bulls would attack their children in the middle of night. I often found myself defending the “pit bull” like dogs, which created a great opportunity to open up people’s minds.

I love to talk and I can talk about dogs, dog training, rescue and pits forever – ask my friends at the dog park! My menagerie includes a 6-year-old smart as a whip cattledog/terrier named Bird, 4 year old clown of a terrier mix named Goose, a mature yet loud miniature pinscher named Rosie, and one orange sphynx who thinks he is a dog!  I think my lady dogs will like to share their home with a mature, mellow boy pibble that they can boss around…one day.

I hope this blog will be an extension of my conversations about the breed that many don’t understand. Although I don’t share my home with with a pibble, I am the pittie stalker in the park.  I am first to go meet the new pittie dog and owner.  I often work hard showing skeptical dog owners how great that blue nose is with dogs, or what a soft personality the newly adopted brindle boy has.  Yes, I am that person.  I believe conversations can start change, and hope this blog helps.

I am lucky to have that touch of pit in my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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