February 5, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer Turner

My name is Jennifer Turner and, by day, I am an Interior Designer for a commercial architect firm specializing in healthcare. I live in Burlington with my husband and our three dogs: "Daisy, a Labrador; "Lily", a pit bull lab mix; and "Cooper", a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. We also have a cat, "Sweet Pea"; and eight chickens.

I am sad to say I was leery of pit bulls in the past. I did not know anything about them and had only grown up with labs. I rescued my first pit bull mix about 2 1/2 years ago and now Lily is my best friend. We were considering a friend for Daisy when we heard that a black 8 week lab puppy was found on the side of a busy highway by a coworker. When we went to meet her she was an energetic little puppy with a personality that could fill a room. We noticed she had a white patch on her chest and a bully wobble in her back legs. That night I did some research about pit bulls and discovered she was most likely a pit bull mix. There was no changing my mind; I loved this little ball of fur from the moment I met her.

A year went by, and we trained Lily to have good manners, just as we had taught our Daisy. Daisy and Lily got along great and were inseparable. In March 2010, I was considering the idea of a third dog. I ran across a few sites that eventually led me to Carolina Care Bullies. I read about their organization and became a fan on Facebook. My husband also joined, and fell in love with Buckley Von Piggles. He was going to surprise me and try to adopt Buckley; however Buckley's good looks got him adopted a few days later. After that, we decided to wait to adopt. I continued to keep tabs on all of the adoptables from CCB and finally decided to volunteer.

My first event was the dog wash at Unleashed. Amanda L, Terry, Valerie, Amanda B. and the other volunteers were very warm and welcoming to me, so I decided this was an organization I wanted to continue to volunteer for. One evening, after I returned from volunteering at another event, I mentioned to Amanda L that I had a passion for graphic design. Soon after, she contacted me to create an event poster and I have been helping out in that area ever since. I also continue to volunteer for local CCB adoption events. I really enjoy implementing my creativity into my passion for animals.

Our newest addition is Cooper, that we adopted from a shelter in Georgia. He has brought even more joy into our lives. I could not imagine life without my fur babies. They are wonderful dogs and are a testament that the breed is loyal and loving. Cooper is sleeping peacefully on my lap now as I write, just as happy as he can be, knowing he is safe and loved in his forever home. Carolina Care Bullies is a wonderful organization, and I am so lucky to have found them and all of the fantastic new people I have met along the way.

Featured Happy Ending: Sarah Bear

As Told By "Sister" Sadie:

My name is Sadie; I’m a 6 year old pit mix dog. I was adopted by Momma Jenn six years ago when I was just six months old. When we moved to North Carolina four years ago I developed severe separation anxiety because a strange man came into our apartment without Momma there. I started destroying things and going potty in the house when I became nervous. I have two brothers but even their companionship was not enough to ease my anxieties.

Last January, Momma brought home this tiny little black puppy. She said her name was Sarah and that we were going to keep her for a little bit until she found her new home. Sarah is a pit bull just like me. She is black with just a little bit of white down her muzzle and she has an under bite that I am so jealous of. I loved Sarah immediately and wanted to be her dog momma. I followed her everywhere, taught her that we go potty outside, how to play with toys and dog manners. I would go and lay by her kennel when I got nervous instead of using the floor as my potty.
I asked Momma if we could keep Sarah and she wasn’t too sure at first but when I pointed out that she helped me with my separation anxiety she finally agreed. I still have my ups and downs with my anxiety but when I do, I go back and sit by Sarah’s kennel her calming, sweet spirit helps me to calm down and be okay.
Momma decided that since Sarah has such a great loving personality that maybe we should try fostering again. She brought home two puppies, Eric and Poca. Sarah is such an awesome momma, that she taught them everything they would need to know to be great dogs in their furever homes. Eric went to his home first. Right after he left we got Shyloh. Shyloh was a scared, timid and aggressive little puppy. Momma Jenn would teach her basic commands that humans like, but it was Sarah who taught her that she can’t act like that if she wanted her furever home. It took Sarah working with Shyloh two weeks but Shyloh finally started to come out of her shell and become a great puppy.

Poca went to her furever home a few days later we brought home Charlie and Zorro. They were so tiny that they could barely walk. Momma tried to keep us away but Sarah would have none of it, she jumped right into the bathtub and gave those tiny puppies the love they needed. As soon as they were okay, Sarah started teaching them good dog manners so they could find their home. Shyloh meanwhile found a great furever home with grandma and flew to Utah with her.

Since then, Zorro has been adopted; and we have brought home Dita, Pepper and Fidget. Dita and Charlie are in their furever home already. We still have Pepper and Fidget but we aren’t worried they will find great homes because Sarah has taught them so well.

I am very grateful to CCB for rescuing Sarah and bringing her into my life. She is a great little sister and I am so proud of all her hard work in helping Eric, Poca, Shyloh, Zorro, Charlie, and Dita all find their furever homes.

February 4, 2011

Know Your Bully: Housebreaking

Let’s face it. Having a dog in your house that isn’t housebroken can be extremely frustrating, make your home life miserable, cause bonding/training issues and even lead to a dog being surrendered to a shelter. After all, who wants to be consumed with cleaning up pee and poo, replacing carpets and furniture and having a home that smells like a sewer. For those that work with shelter and rescued dogs, housebreaking is almost second nature. It comes down to a few simple steps and is all about consistency.

Housebreaking is one of those things I can do in my sleep, literally, since I sometimes end up outside walking a dog when I would normally be sleeping. There are several links below for detailed information on housebreaking including schedule differences for puppies vs. adult dogs and training your dog to signal when it needs to go out. For me, these 3 simple rules have worked quickly and flawlessly through countless dogs and puppies over the years:

1) NEVER let a dog out of your sight in your home until it is solidly housebroken. If you cannot supervise, confine – crates are perfect. I actually keep a leash on (adult) dogs during housebreaking and within ‘leash-radius’.

2) Quick verbal correction as soon as they start to have an accident and immediately head outside to the same designated potty area. If you already had the leash on them, this part happens quickly. In my house, the ‘verbal correction’ is usually just me going [GASP!] because that’s my first reaction to my brand new rug getting 'watered' and it is enough to startle them which is all that needs to happen. NEVER correct if you didn’t witness the accident which, by the way, could not happen if they were in your sight at all times.

3) Praise them when they potty in the correct place. You can only do this if you are outside with them so, no, you can’t just throw them outside in the backyard while you clean up the accident. You have to walk them out to the potty area. Even in the rain. Even in the snow. Even when it’s dark. Even when it’s frigid cold. Even when they wake you up in the middle of the night and it’s raining, and cold and you don’t feel like getting dressed. It’ll all be worth it. I promise. The more consistent you are, the quicker you will see results.
Links for more information:
Bell Training