You see, the Buehrle family owns a pit bull named Slater and Toronto has a breed ban. Buehrle and his wife Jamie made the decision that rather than leave Slater in the care of others, Jamie would stay at home in Missouri with their two children and four dogs - Slater and three Vizslas, Duke, Drake and Diesel - and Mark would live in Canada.for the baseball season.
Mark and Jamie Buehrle are passionate animal advocates and Jamie actively volunteers with Hope Animal Rescues.
Today it is an honor and a privilege to bring you Jamie Buehrle as she speaks about her dogs, her rescue work and how Breed Specific Legislation has affected her family. (All photos courtesy of Jamie Buehrle)
Q. Jamie, you have three other dogs, all Vizslas, so that is obviously a breed that you like. So, how did you happen to become a pit bull owner?
A. I always said my next dog would be a "pit bull type dog" after working with so many doing rescue work. I did not plan on adding a fourth dog. Then one day I went to a local animal control with Hope Rescues and pulled thirteen dogs over two days that were on their last day of life. Slater was in the back area where hardly anyone went. He sat so quietly just hoping to be noticed. There was something about him I just loved instantly but I knew the timing for me to add another dog was not ideal. He was adopted not long after getting to Hope Rescues so I told myself that was the sign I needed that he wasn't meant to be mine. I left for Spring Training that year as usual. About three days before I was scheduled to come home to St. Louis, and then pack up for the season and head to Chicago, Slater was returned to the rescue. The home he was in had another dog that did not like to share the attention and Slater became increasingly fearful of her. The adoptive mom made the difficult to decision to return him. Mark said he never heard me talk about a dog that I have rescued this much and that I should just get him. So Slater came to my house on a trial basis and he never left. He has been a great addition to our family ever since.
A. I always knew I loved "pit bull type dogs" but I will admit I felt like I needed to be prepared to bring him into my house with multiple dogs and small children. So, I went online and read blogs and tips from some well known "advocates for the breed." After reading a lot of them I was afraid I was making a terrible decision. Several suggested always having a break stick on hand in case a fight broke out. I kept thinking, how would that work with small children? Then I took a step back and decided to base my decision on my experience with every pit bull dog I had interacted with instead. It turns out my experience was pretty accurate.
A. I knew there were breed bans but had no idea it would ever affect my family. I remember reading a Facebook page on the Toronto ban and thinking how horrible that was. When Mark was considering signing with the Miami Marlins I knew that Miami Dade County had a ban and we made sure we could find a place to live before he committed. We also had to deal with insurance issues as well. Our homeowners insurance did not cover pit bulls. We were advised that when they did an inspection to just put him somewhere where he would not be seen. I declined as he had never done anything to warrant having to be hidden. Our insurance company decided to make an exception but I chose to change insurance companies. I do not want to support companies that discriminate.
A. Mark and I continually speak out about adopting from a shelter versus going to a breeder most of all. I always try to help people find dogs in shelters that fit their needs. Secondly, we speak out against Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) as often as we can. I am so glad that our story has helped create awareness. Not only do we have a platform with the rescue community but we also have the sports world platform. I spoke last year at the One Million Pibble March on Washington D.C. and I will say I am still continually surprised at how many people relate to my story and how many minds I have helped change on BSL. Most of all I am glad that our story has helped to start the conversation between people that otherwise had no idea such discrimination existed.
A. I love helping with rescues and interacting with the animals. I go to Hope Rescues to clean kennels and help whenever I have the chance. I hope to do it a lot more once Mark is around more. I transport dogs and sponsor as many as I can. It saddens me on a daily basis the amount of animals that are surrendered, abandoned, and abused. I hope one day the penalties become a lot stiffer and abusers are truly made to pay. I also hope that people will stop making blanket statements about any breed and start judging the dogs as individuals. Responsible owners need to be the norm not the exception. I can dream right?
Yes, we can all dream of a better world but people like Mark and Jamie Buehrle are doing so much more than that. They are amazing role models and living examples of how we should all stand up for the things that are important to us. Each and every day they demonstrate how we can all make a difference and be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves..
Thank you Jamie and Mark for all you do!
I would also like to direct your attention to another blog called Homeo Animal. Hope Rescues, the group mentioned by Jamie in this interview, was one of the contributors to this series called "The Ultimate Guide To Pet Adoption." This twelve part series contains a wealth of information that will be benefit any pet owner or anyone considering adopting a pet. Be sure to check it out here: http://www.homeoanimal.com/blog-animal-health/ultimate-guide-pet-adoption-sneak-preview/