January 12, 2012

Featured Adopt-a-Bull: Jewel

Her foster mom says, "Jewel is a beautiful dog in looks and personality." Jewel is a little over one year old. She's house and crate trained, walks great on a leash, and she adores the company of other dogs and especially people. You don't have to worry about her sharing her toys with kids or other dogs, as she doesn't have a mean bone in her body. This girl is pure love. When offered a treat, she will take it very slowly and gently from your hand, a plus for training! Jewel is a social animal. She loves to lay near her people when she tired and when she is playing with her doggie friends her favorite games are tug of war and chase. Jewel and her foster sister Malley love to chase each other. Both are very quick, but Jewel has her beat when it comes to turning, so she usually wins that game! All Jewel needs is a furever family (without cats!) to give her all the love and attention she deserves. Please visit Jewels, album on facebook here. You can also visit her petfinder page here.

Featured Happy Ending: Jenny

Ollie and Jenny
     Ollie here...Hi everyone! That's me in the picture, the handsome one. That's my sister Jenny sitting on top of me. What a crazy nut she is...I'm going to tell you all about her and how she came to be a part of our family.

You see, at my house there's always been dogs that will come and stay for awhile and then they go to something the humans call a furever home. My spellchecker says that's not a word, but that's how these humans keep spelling it? It's this whole process called fostering. That's what my mom does. I'm a pretty good foster brother and my sister Maggie is too. Maggie is that beautiful brindle girl in the pictures. We've had nine foster dogs come and stay with us until they went to their furever families. Wait...make that eight. Jenny, #9, didn't leave!

Jessi and Jenny
It must be because Jenny and Maggie are such good friends. That Jenny sure does love my human sister, Jessi, too. That's Jessi and Jenny together in the next picture. Jenny waits outside Jessi's bedroom door every night until Jessi falls asleep and then she comes back to the living room to hang out with us. Jenny and our doggie sister Maggie are best friends. Jenny and Maggie do everything together. If Maggie is outside, so is Jenny. If Maggie is going on a walk, Jenny is too. If Maggie is asleep, Jenny is laying on top of her asleep! Look at the pictures if you don't believe me. But, you know what? If mom has the space heater on or she gets the blow dryer out...it's me and Jenny you'll find. That's Ollie and Jenny time.

Maggie and Jenny
 That Jenny, she really is a funny girl. She might be more sassy than sweet though. Don't let her fool you. Some days she'll be lying on the couch and I'll think she's sleeping. Then that silly Jenny leaps off the couch on top of me because she wants to play. She does that to Maggie too. She may be part dear the way she just leaps in the air? She sure is proud of herself too when she tricks us. Dogs aren't supposed to know what accomplishment means...but I looked it up. That's what Jenny has. When she tricks us she walks around all proud and excited. That's what you humans call accomplishment, right? My humans laugh at her, that's called enabling, I'm pretty sure!
Jenny, Ollie, Maggie, and Meredith

Anyway, we all like that Jenny girl. Even when she's being ornery. She does this thing to my human sister Jessi that's just too funny. She waits till Jessi is in the shower and if she didn't close the bathroom door all the way that silly Jenny will run in there and steal her socks. She steals dirty socks, can you believe it? If I did that I'd go hide it so I didn't get in trouble. I don't steal dirty socks though, remember that. Ollie doesn't steal socks, but that Jenny girl...watch out for her. She'll steal your socks and then she'll prance around the house all proud of herself. That's your warning. If you come to my house...keep your socks on!
Maggie and Jenny
  I'm really glad that CCB saved Jenny's life and I'm happy that my humans decided to keep her forever, or furever if that's what you prefer. She's stubborn, and goofy, and sneaky, and she sure does make our humans take big deep breaths sometimes but life with Jenny is fun. She's a snuggle bug like Maggie and me and she likes to play too. As long as I never have to wear socks and keep them away from Jenny, then she's welcome at Ollie's house every day!
Ollie and Jenny

Wags and Kisses,


Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer Hedrick

Seven years ago I had just bought my own place in Texas and decided I wanted to get a dog. I went to my local shelter and walked up and down the aisles several times before a reddish/brown dog curled up tightly at the back of her kennel caught my eye. I bent down to get on her level; she slowly raised her head and looked at me with big brown eyes. I called to her; she slowly uncurled herself and walked towards me her head down and tail tucked between her legs. As I stroked her head through the wire I glanced at her card. She was a six month old pit bull mix who had been at the shelter for two months. The owners turned her in when they realized she was a pit bull. When I took that scared puppy outside she didn’t romp and play but just sat at my feet and looked up at me with such pleading in her eyes that I knew I would be taking her home. The hardest part of the day had been to see her be put back in that kennel. Her tail tucked back down and her head lowered as she slowly made her way to the back of her kennel. I had tears in my eyes as I filled out that application and drove home. The shelter had a seventy-two hour hold on dogs so they could do a background check on the adopters.  

Jenn with Jake and Sadie
The next three days I spent going to the store buying food and supplies for my new baby. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get her home. First thing Saturday morning I drove to the shelter. I will never forget the pep in her step or the look in her eyes when I slipped that collar around her neck with her freshly engraved tags with her new name Sadie. She knew she had been adopted and was going home. She curled up in the seat next to me with her head on my lap and just stared up at me the whole ride home.

Foster puppies: Dita, Fidget, and Peppe
A little over one year later Sadie and I packed up and moved to North Carolina . It wasn't until my move that I started to realize how hard it was to own a pit bull. I had to lie about Sadie’s breed to get into an apartment, to board her in a kennel, take her on vacation and even finding a vet. Frustrated I tried to find any information on my rights as a dog owner but always got conflicting information. I finally gave up when I couldn't get the answers I wanted.

When Sadie and I first moved into our apartment the complex had the maintenance guy come in when I wasn’t home to fix something.  Sadie was locked inside her kennel and became hysterical. When I got home that night her kennel had been ruined along with some blankets and molding around my bedroom door. That day would start a lifelong struggle for Sadie with separation anxiety.

Less than a year after moving to North Carolina , I would move Sadie and I again this time into a house. I had bought a little home, which I hated, but it had a huge fenced in yard, where she could play off a tie-out for the first time in her life. The first time I let her out into the yard I had tears in my eyes as I watched her race around the yard wide open and a huge smile on her face. After a few months I decided to get Sadie a companion. We adopted Jake and that’s when Sadie’s dog aggression came out. I had owned dogs before in fact most of my adult life, but was ignorant about being a good owner. I didn’t realize how important it is, especially for pit bulls, to be socialized at a young age. Because of my ignorance as an owner Sadie and Jake got into several fights. I learned quickly about dog first aide. Sadie didn’t just fight with Jake, on our walks she would lunge, growl and snarl at other dog owners. I would have to jump on her and hold her to the ground until the other dog passed us by. The first winter after we moved in I was walking Jake and Sadie when a truck slowed down, threw a small puppy out of the window and sped off.  I tried to find him a home but he was so small that no one was able to take him. I ended up keeping Picasso and it was because of him that I finally got the help Sadie and I needed.

When Picasso was about three months old Sadie attacked him and hurt him bad. I knew then I had to get Sadie and I professional help. After tons of searching on the internet and calling and talking to several trainers I found the perfect one for us. I cried on the drive to take Sadie because she would be staying with the trainer in herhome for one month.

It was the longest and shortest month of my life. I hadn’t realized how tense Sadie’s issues made the rest of the house. I was able to give Jake and Picasso the attention they both needed and the break from the constant worry of being attacked. The dog trainer also gave me homework and told me on a weekly basis what she was doing with Sadie. She gave me some articles to read and websites to visit. I learned all of the things I did wrong in raising Sadie. And if it could have been done wrong I did it! The majority of Sadie’s negative behavior was through no fault of her own but through the fault of a bad owner. Me!

When Sadie came back home Jake and Picasso were wary of her and I watched her like a hawk, but it didn’t take the boys long before they accepted this new Sadie back and were playing in the backyard. It took me longer but after several months we learned to trust one another again.

Jenn is our CCB puppy guru!
Sadie still was having separation anxiety issues, destruction being the biggest one. I was still searching for a way to help her and find a “cure” but I knew we would be okay. I cannot tell you how many times I laid in bed at night and wished that someone had been around when I was going through all of this and could have helped me through all the mistakes I made. I knew then that I wanted to help but was at a loss as to help who. Three months later I was working at my part time job when a local rescue group came in to promote their group, Carolina Care Bullies.
Jenn and Sarah

I remember talking to Amanda about pit bulls for about 10 minutes. I took a card and went and looked them up online. I was impressed with their mission and knew I had found a group that I wanted to help. They had so much information on pit bulls,what it means to own one, the negative things that happen to owners and how to respond. The people at CCB knew exactly what I had gone through and wasgoing through and could empathize. There was no more sneering at me or my dog or judging Sadie because of the misdeeds of others. I felt a kinship with the other owners and knew I had a great resource on my hands.

Jenn's current foster: Tasha
One month later CCB asked for foster homes for a litter of puppies. I immediately volunteered; I ended up foster failing Sarah and later Fidget. Sadie has taken a back seat to mothering, her bad leg makes her cranky, but Sarah and Fidget have stepped up to the plate. We have fostered 15 puppies for CCB and ten more for other rescues. We foster exclusively for CCB now because it’s all about the pit bulls for us.

I love fostering puppies. I love watching them grow from little squishy faced cuteness into mature dogs. I love snuggling them; giving kisses and getting them back. I like training them and teaching them good dog manners. I like that I am giving them a chance to be an amazing dog, something so many pit bulls don’t get.

The best thing about fostering though is what they have given me. I have learned to have more patience and understanding with people. That no one is perfect, and to forgive, you see I struggle with forgiveness the biggest one being myself, for the horrible owner I was to Sadie. I know no amount of fostering can give her what she didn’t have until a few years ago, but I know when I see her playing with those puppies and she looks at me with her big pitie grin that she forgives me!

Jenn and Auggie