Photo credit - www.yorkprofessionalpetsitting.wordpress.com
Please stay safe this winter and please remember that your pets are depending on you to keep them safe too!
A monthly digest of pit bull tender loving care. We also support fun facts and links locally and globally, sharing the most up-to-date information available.
In addition to being National Pit Bull Awareness Month, October is also National Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. What better way to celebrate than to visit your local shelter and adopt your new best friend. Here is a great article that will encourage you to "adopt don't shop."
Since, like many others, I am snowed in this morning, it only seems appropriate that today’s topic should be keeping your pets safe in winter weather. Here are some important tips:
1. Keep your dog on a leash when out for walks during a snowstorm. Your dog could become disoriented or lost very easily. Beware of bodies of water where there may be thin ice. Photo credit - www.rainydaymagazine.com
2. Watch for signs of frostbite, especially on the paws, ears and tails. Frostbite can occur in as little as 20 minutes in frigid temperatures. Signs include blisters and red, pale or black skin.
Photo credit - www.yorkprofessionalpetsitting.wordpress.com
3. If you groom your pet, leave fur longer during winter months. Photo Credit - www.yourpals.net
4. Watch out for puddles outdoors and make sure pets do not drink from them. These may be antifreeze which is toxic to pets. Photo credit - www.catster.com
5. Salt on roads and sidewalks may harm paw pads. Wipe paws after walks or consider using booties if your dog will tolerate them. Also wipe the underside of your pet to prevent ingestion of salt. Photo credit - www.unleashedhikes.com
6. Monitor pets around fireplaces, wood burning stoves, etc. when indoors. Photo credit - www.dogloverstoday.com
7. Outdoor cats may hide under car hoods or in wheel wells when it is cold out. Tap on the hood before starting your car. Photo credit - www.catster.com
8. Never leave pets in cars for extended periods of time. A cold car is like a refrigerator. Photo credit - www.petalive.co.za
9. You may need to adjust food quantities in the winter. Indoor pets may require less food while pets that get more outdoor exercise may need more food. Photo credit - www.the-dog-dish.com
10. Ideally, pets should be kept inside in frigid temperatures. If you are cold, they are cold. Know and obey your state laws. Photo credit - www.apartmenttherapy.com
11. If your dog must be kept outdoors provide shelter that is insulated, draft-free, off the ground and filled with bedding such as hay or straw. Make sure food and water supplies do not freeze. Photo credit - www.dakotasden.net
Please stay safe this winter and please remember that your pets are depending on you to keep them safe too!
Dr. Martin Luther King would have turned 86 years old last week. He was passionate, he was peaceful and he devoted his life to making this world a better place. His life ended prematurely with his assassination on April 4, 1968. It was a cowardly and violent act that stemmed from hatred and fear of change – all of the things Dr. King wanted so badly to transform in all of us.
As a very young child, growing up in an insulated, suburban community where everyone looked the same, it seems like it was a much simpler time. I had little idea what was going on outside my own little world. As a pre-teen in April, 1968 I did not realize the full meaning of what was happening, but I knew the world was changing.
I remember a time where our country was mired in a war no one wanted, where TV shows were being censored for being critical of our government. I remember peace signs and protest songs and Haight-Ashbury and Flower Power. I remember but I did not fully understand. Now I think I do.
In today’s world where everything is so transparent and rapidly changing, I wonder where Dr. King would have fit in or if his methods of peaceful protest and message of non-violence would have made such an impact.
While we will never know, I do know that Dr. King had courage and conviction and he died for what he believed was right. I do know that Dr. King made a difference – that he changed our world. In today’s culture, where we want and expect everything now, we must remember that change takes time. The things we seek to change did not develop overnight and will not be fixed overnight. Sometimes change occurs one person at a time.
If we take nothing else form the life of Dr. King, I hope it is that we can all make a difference. We can all persevere in the face of challenge. We can all do our part to make this world a better place. Together, “we shall overcome.”
Peace and love to all,
Sue and Mickey
It is funny how one thing always leads to another and how, when you build a relationship with one person, it always seems to lead to many more. Truly we are all, in some way, connected. This becomes especially significant in animal rescue because it often takes a village to save one precious life.
First there was Bruno who led me to Wallace and now to Opie. Opie is another dog who needs his rescue community “village” to come together once again and help him find a home.
Like Bruno, Opie was found on the streets of New York City and taken to the shelter, and like Bruno, Opie has a condition called Retinal Atrophy, which means he losing his sight. There is no treatment and no cure, While Bruno is an older boy who may have developed the condition later in life, Opie is only about four months old and likely was born with it. Because his condition is thought to be congenital, it is probable that his eyesight will deteriorate much more rapidly.
Opie was found at only a few weeks old - alone, injured and scared. He was rescued from the shelter by Forgotten Friends of Long Island Rescue and placed in a foster home where he is thriving. Not about to allow a little thing like blindness stop him, Opie is very much a puppy. He loves to play, he loves adults, children, his canine brothers and sister and even enjoyed the company of a cat that his foster family was caring for temporarily. He is very submissive, super smart and knows all of his basic commands. He is also house trained and crate trained.
It is hoped that Opie will find his forever home with a family that will understand his current and future needs and will love him anyway. He would also love his new family to include another dog who will be his friend and guide.
Opie is currently being fostered in Deer Park, Long Island and, as a precaution - at least until he is a bit older - will need a home in Suffolk County.
While this may seem restrictive, there are currently 1.5 million residents in Suffolk County and Opie only needs one. Being the optimist that I am, I believe we can do this!
If you reside in the area, please consider opening your home and heart to this special needs puppy. Your reward will be immeasurable.
If you are unable to adopt or do not live in Suffolk County, please share Opie to help him find his happily ever after.
Thanks to all who comprise the "village" that will come together as always and work together until Opie is finally home.
One of the outstanding things about dogs is their gift for bringing people together. I know animal lovers everywhere will understand this because they are among the kindest, most compassionate, caring people anywhere. They share a common bond. They look out for one another and they stick together.
In last week’s post it was Bruno, a blind pit bull abandoned on the streets of New York. We saw how his plight struck a chord with animal people from all over the world. We saw how the new year also signified a new beginning for Bruno, thanks to the kindness and generosity of so many. Overwhelmed with gratitude, now Bruno’s family is paying it forward. That is what animal lovers do.
When his foster mom learned of a dog in need who looks strikingly similar to Bruno, despite having a home, a job, a family, and 3 dogs – including Bruno who has needed a great deal of special care – she did not think twice. She took the time to reach out and help this other dog and his family almost 900 miles away.
The woman who found him could not keep him but posted him on Facebook. If not for her benevolence and desire to help this abandoned and defenseless stray dog, there is no telling where he might have landed.
The Facebook post was seen by another woman. Even though her family already had several cats and three dogs, including one dog that she had rescued and was found to be heartworm positive, as well as caring for her elderly mother, this second woman could not bear the thought of this poor dog ending up in a shelter. She knew it was likely he would not make it out alive so she and her husband agreed to take him in. Her daughter named him Wallace because he reminded her of a walrus.
Thanks to the power of social media and the compassion of two women who otherwise would never have met, Wally would have a second chance.
In spite of all he had been through, Wally was gentle and trusting. He jumped right in the car as if he knew there was a better life waiting for him at the end of the ride. He quickly captured the hearts of his new family members. He was taken straight to the vet and given a complete check-up.
Due to his many health issues, the family could not pay for his treatment but the vet agreed to a payment plan so Wally could receive the care he needed. His new mom also attempted to raise part of the money with an online fundraiser which allows people to donate to either the family or directly to Wally’s vet.
Things were moving very slowly, and seemed to be at a standstill. That is when Bruno and his family came into the picture. When Bruno’s foster mom became aware of Wally’s situation she immediately reached out to help. She posted a plea on Bruno’s page to help raise funds for Wally’s care. She also helped his new mom set up a Facebook page for Wally and has continued to advocate for him on a regular basis.
With the help of Bruno, his family and many kind, caring animal lovers from around the country, a good portion of the funds needed for Wally’s initial treatment has been raised. Wally is well on his way to a better life – one where he will be honored and treated with kindness, respect and love.
Once again a tired, abandoned senior pit bull is getting a new beginning thanks to the love of a very special family and the kindness and generosity of strangers. An extra special thank you goes out to Bruno’s mom who has gone above and beyond to help another dog in need.
Here’s wishing Wally and his family all the best that life has to offer. And just to add a very happy update, Bruno’s fosters just announced that they are officially adopting him. So it looks like 2015 is the start of wonderful new lives for both Wally and Bruno – well deserved and long overdue. Bravo to both of these families for loving these dogs enough to put them first.
Wally, Bruno and other dogs like them can certainly teach us a thing or two about life and love and tolerance and acceptance. No matter how much they have been beaten down, they are still willing to give us the benefit of the doubt. They already know what so many humans have not yet figured out – that we should not be judged as a group because of the actions of a few and that we can still find good in the world if we are willing to open our hearts and let people be our friends.
As Wally’s new mom so beautifully puts it, “It is in this world of rescue and redemption where one sees extremes in such a contrasting way. It has been my experience that sometimes it is we who are rescued and redeemed.”
I am truly humbled by my fellow incredible animal lovers and feel honored to be part of something that collectively is bigger than any of us individually. Although it does not seem like enough, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for helping time and again whenever and wherever help is needed. Together we absolutely do make this world a better place – not only for the animals, but also for each other.
Each new year symbolizes a new beginning, new hope – a time when all things are possible.
In the world of animal rescue it is easy to become jaded and cynical when we see the abuse, neglect and the horrific conditions in which some animals must live. How easy it can be to completely lose faith in humanity and wonder what we as a society have become.
Then, in the blink of an eye, everything changes – like a new year, or the dawning of a new day, we find a new beginning and new hope.
Such was the case a few weeks back when the photo of a blind, elderly pit bull, tied to a pole in Brooklyn, New York, without food or water, waiting patiently for his people to come back for him went viral on the internet. This dog sat for two whole days in freezing temperatures, not knowing where he was or why, before finally being picked up by Animal Control and taken to the city shelter where he was given the name Bruno.
For dogs like Bruno – the seniors, the special needs dogs, the unwanted, the discarded – shelters are all too often synonymous with death camps. There are too few homes for even the most adoptable dogs that enter the shelter system and only a small percentage ever make it out. The odds were overwhelmingly stacked against Bruno and it appeared likely that he would die much like he lived; alone, unwanted and unloved.
This time though, something magical happened. Whether it was the power of social media, a holiday miracle or a combination of both, the stars aligned for this old boy and it seemed like the whole world came together for him, to show him love and finally give him a chance at the life he so richly deserved.
Bruno was saved by Pibbles and More Animal Rescue (PMAR) and a foster home was found for him. His foster mom set up a Facebook page for him and overnight, before he even arrived at his new home his page had over 1,200 likes. Now, already over 3,000 people are checking in to follow the daily antics and escapades of sweet, loveable Bruno.
Following his rescue, I noticed that Pibbles and More had made a wish list for him and, like so many others I felt like I not only wanted, but needed to do something to help. I had done a number of pretty successful “Loyalty Unleashed” book sales, both online and in person, donating a portion of proceeds from each event to various rescues. I offered to do the same for Bruno, hoping to be able to either contribute a little something toward his medical expenses or purchase items from his wish list. PMAR readily agreed and asked that the donation be made to help offset his veterinary bills.
What happened next was astonishing, beyond my wildest dreams. Within minutes after the online event was posted, the orders started coming in and by the time we were through the total donation was nearly triple my previously most successful fundraising event.
Each day pictures were posted on Bruno’s page of treats, toys and supplies that people were sending to him. For a dog, who had been thrown away like trash, suddenly the world was his oyster. It truly felt like one sweet old dog, who started with nothing, had touched a million hearts and brought out the best in all of them.
When I look at the world today as opposed to a few weeks ago, not much has really changed. Animals are still being abused, neglected and dumped in shelters when it is no longer convenient for their owners to keep them, and we as a society need to do better, but Bruno’s case proves that there is hope.
When so many people can come together and make such a monumental difference in the life of one dog – a dog most of them will never meet – I feel like there is hope for all of us. There are still so many people who care and who want to help, and as long as that is the case I feel like we will be alright.
While the real heroes are the people who rescued him and the family that has taken him in, given him stability and love, and has seen to it that his every need is met, I think we can all feel pretty good to be a small part of Bruno’s journey and just tag along for the ride.
To me, Bruno is symbolic of all the good things we associate with a new year and all the good that still exists in people’s hearts. My wish for Bruno, his rescuers, his foster family and shelter pets everywhere is a year filled with love, hope and new beginnings. And that is my wish for all of you.
About the Author
Sue Torres is an animal advocate, rescue volunteer and proud owner of a previously abused pit bull who was slated to be destroyed for being tense and fearful in the shelter environment.
Inspired by their resilience, devotion and ability to forgive, she now devotes herself to restoring the image of these once-esteemed and cherished family pets. She works tirelessly to promote the adoption of pit bulls in our nation's shelters and change perceptions about this extremely misunderstood and unjustly maligned breed.
She lives in Connecticut with her rescued pit bull, Mickey. Her first book, Loyalty Unleashed was published in May, 2014 and is avsailable in paperback and e-book formats. Loyalty Unleashed II (her second book) is now available, also in paperback and e-book formats.