May 31, 2012

The Pit Bull Rescue Explosion In North Carolina:

Where Does CCB Fit in?

Let me preface by saying I’m not a blogger. But it’s becoming clear to me that technology is pushing me in this direction. As the leader of a 3 year old non-profit pit bull rescue organization, I suddenly have some street cred …. And people want to hear what I have to say. Go figure. Mostly I just try to stay behind the scenes and avoid the spotlight. Which of course, is one part humble and two parts “drive the haters mad”. But I am who I am and have always been honest to that front, that I’m not perfect; I’m not a superhero; I’m a regular person who wants a regular life and regular friends … but instead decided to dedicate my life back to the dogs that changed my life. It was my dream, and in my journey I found someone that shared that dream – Terry King. Carolina Care Bullies started with two dreamers who had been repressed for too long. People that told us that this was not something we could handle or do. To just quit while we were ahead. Let the experts do what they do best.
Terry helping courtesy listing dog "Blue"
get exposure at a Fugees Rescue
Adoption Event.

I wanted to know… what made them experts? What made them better than what I could offer?
I truly wondered, b/c my local organizations surely were embarrassed of the pit bull-type dogs that came in to their program. If they didn’t mis-label them first, a pit bull was lucky to make it into rescue at all. Where was all this progressive information that had been brought to the public eye after the Michael Vick Case? Why weren’t the practices of groups like Best Friends Animal Society or Bad Rap being implemented in how to treat rescued pit bulls, especially from cruelty situations?

 After working with the one pit bull rescue group that seemed quite reputable, we were still wanting to do much more. The problem is the adoption events were few and far between, and I really had to push to get them scheduled. I brought my own dogs in need of homes as courtesy dogs, and advertising materials not just for my foster dog, but theirs belonging to that rescue, so we could help everyone. Most of the time I felt that I was in the way. It saddened me especially knowing how long their dogs had been in foster care. I probably would have continued to volunteer and improve some of their best practices, had a pit bull named Spiderman not fell into my lap one day.

On June 18, 2009, an adolescent pit bull was surrendered to Hillsborough Veterinary Hospital by his family. Spiderman had been chained when his family was not at home. He was well-known at Orange County Animal Services for the many times he broke free and was picked up by Animal Control. On this particular sunny June afternoon, as Spiderman’s family drove away from collecting their dog from the shelter, he jumped out of the open truck window, and suffered a broken leg. Because of his family’s financial situation they had the option to surrender the dog to another party that could care for him — or have him euthanized.

"Spiderman" with Terry, Summer 2009

I was a veterinary technician at another local vet hospital, and was contacted because I was already known for my advocacy for pit bulls. With my partner Terry King’s blessing, Spiderman began the next step in his journey. Through small grants, and public support through social networking, we were able to completely fund Spiderman’s needed surgery. Soon friends and colleagues began to ask, “What is the name of your rescue?” An unshakeable idea was planted.
In August 2009, Carolina Care Bullies was established. Under CCB’s name, the two of us took in our first foster dog, “Tipsy” a black and white pit bull from a shelter in Brevard.
Today, CCB is 501(c)3 non-profit organization made up of between 25 – 30 foster homes. CCB’s foster families span the entire state of North Carolina, predominantly in the Charlotte, Triad, and Triangle areas.
CCB continues to rescue dogs in need of hope, focusing on pit bulls that sit on death row in North Carolina’s shelters. To date, Carolina Care Bullies has placed over 200 pit bulls into permanent, responsible homes

Every step of the way has been difficult these past three years, and I have suffered a lot of personal pain within the rescue. It is not easy pouring your entire heart and soul out to a fellow colleague, only to find this person later becomes someone you cannot trust and uses your private moments and weaknesses to hurt you. It’s a hard business to secure trust in. You must always protect your emotions and feelings often from the very people you are working alongside.

Often when trust is broken and goals are no longer universal, we have a divide between rescuers. Rescuers will branch off to their own pursuits with ideas that do not match the direction of Carolina Care Bullies. From these branches, we have seen Two Loons Dog Rescue; Southern Belle Pit Bull Rescue; and Merit Pit Bull Foundation. The heads of these organizations have adopted CCB alumni and served as prominent members of the CCB Team at one time. Disagreements were had, and CCB was forced to restructure. Still other NC PBRs exist that had little to do with CCB's beginnings, like the American Pit Bull Foundation, and the Positive Pit Bull. To the North Carolina pit bull advocate, your head must be spinning!

CCB Vollies Chris  Pierce and Melissa Valentine puppysit
while her owners get needed supplies and services from the other
booths at Pit Bulls in the Park 2012
In establishing ourselves as a unique entity, we have really tapped into our strengths. For instance, we do try to treat each other as a family unit to those that put in their volunteer time with us. We are a personable group who accepts each other as individuals – much the same way we hope people see the dogs in our adoption program. We all have something to offer despite our flaws and we accept that we are all just a little bit quirky. Discrimination is at the root of the issue when educating the public about pit bull breeds, and so we try to keep an open mind about each other. 

The second thing we must recognize is that CCB is the first pit bull rescue in the state to boast of a highly successful, multiple foster home program. Within a year’s time, we had grown from one foster dog in Terry and I’s living room, to 15-20 dogs in other approved foster homes. Now the number bounces between 25 and 30. Our adoption rates really do stun the competition when we prove that we adopt anywhere from 5-10 pit bulls a month. (To compare, check out Villalobos adoption rates).

Lastly, the volunteers we have today have class. They are professional, they are respectful, they get things done, and ignore setbacks and negativity that may be brought on by the presence of other rescues. To that we say –bring it. There are so many pit bulls in need in North Carolina, and we cannot stand alone and save them all from euthanasia without more people standing up to get involved. They may have different approaches about how to reach their goal, but we are all in it to make the world a better place for pit bulls.

CCB Vollies Valerie Fernandez of Pits and Posh, and Adopter
Sarah Mathews. Valerie is a former member of the CCB Board
of Directors, and now uses her creative talents to benefit 3
local pit bull rescues including Carolina Care Bullies.
One thing you will hear every CCB volunteer say is “We are so proud to be part of this team.” And that is something that I have felt from the beginning, when I first saw Spidey sprint across our backyard with his leg still encased in the contraption he wore to make him whole again. Thanks to generous people working together, his old life was over and he couldn’t wait for the new one to begin. It is that spirit that reminds me why we must keep going even when faced with animosity and hostility. Every experience is a lesson and a pathway to something better.

Amanda and "Spiderman", April 2012
CCB will continue to grow and be here each year to show honesty, class, and most of all a PASSION to help the dogs that at one time, hardly anyone was working to save here in North Carolina. Carolina Care Bullies is proud to be a pioneer of a growing movement to change the image of pit bull-type dogs here in NC! We thank you for being a part of this amazing time in pit bull advocacy.
~Amanda Liston, CCB President

May 14, 2012

Pit Bulls in the Park 2012

Pit Bulls in the Park 2012

Many people in society, including some of my family members, would not have stepped foot into an event that contained the word pit bull. Let alone an event that invited people to bring their pit bulls to join in the festivities. Those that discriminate against the breed would imagine vicious dogs on chains and dog fights breaking out everywhere they looked.
I, on the other hand, was excited for this event. I could not wait to see all of the pit bulls that would be brought to the event and I could not wait to help their owners get what they needed for them.
We had people show up starting at 10:45 and most were there until the lightning storm hit and we ran out of the supplies we brought to distribute. We were  able to microchip over 100 dogs and we gave out just as many, if not more, free vaccinations. There were spay/neuter vouchers and tips on training. We had a U-HAUL full of food that was empty by the end of the event. We were also able to give new collars, leashes, and harnesses to those that needed them, as well as many other various dog supplies.
While all of the volunteers were helping out at their various stations we also got to “ooh and ahh” at all of the beautiful dogs that showed up to join us at the event; there were all shapes, colors, sizes, and breeds!
One of the most amazing and fulfilling moments of this event came near the end. A man walked up to the event with a red female that was attached to a chain, he had no collar or leash for her. At this point we had no more collars or leashes. All of the volunteers scrambled around to find a spare leash and collar to donate to this man for his pretty girl, if he would take it. One volunteer had the spare leash and in the end another bought one of the collars we sell at our events to give to her. We approached the owner and he was very willing to take her off her chain and accept the collar and leash. Even if you were just observing this moment from afar it was still amazing and heartwarming to watch, just writing about it brings tears to my eyes.
We all strive at CCB to save pit bulls and educate people on how amazing this breed is. At this event we were able to help as many as 200 dogs get some of the supplies and necessities they needed. If we made just one dog’s life better that day, it was worth it. I love volunteering for Carolina Care Bullies, I love what we stand for and I love the good effect we had on the community that day at Pit Bulls in the Park. I can’t wait for next year so that we can help even more dogs than we did this year. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Melissa Valentine-Walls

Volunteer Spotlight: Melissa Valentine-Walls

Hi!  My name is Melissa Valentine-Walls. I currently live with 3 dogs, two pit bulls, Xena and Spike, and a shih-tzu, Angel, We also have a cat, Kitty, and two rabbits, Isabella Bun and Briar Bun, and several hermit crabs.

My love for animals started when I was just a little girl. My mother was a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator and we always had some sort of baby animals in the house. She raised squirrels, rabbits, and even a raccoon that we named Baby. He was my best buddy for the time that we kept him until he was ready to be released into the wild. 

As I grew up, we always had dogs and cats around the house.  When I moved out and started my own family , it seemed only natural to get my own pets. So came our first pit bull, Spike. My daughter was only two years old when we went to get him. He was a tiny puppy and she named him Spike because at the time, Rugrats was her favorite show and the dog  on it was named Spike. We placed him in a laundry basket with a towel and drove him home to love forever.


Our second pit, Princess was given to us by a lady who wanted to get her away from her husband who abused her. She knew that she would not be safe in her home and wanted her to have a better life. We took her in and shortly after, she was diagnosed with cancer. We did not have her very long, but she got to know love and that not all humans are not bad in her time with us.

 After we lost her, we knew that we had to save another and give them a safe home too.  So we searched Petfinder until we came across a beautiful girl named Xena at Cumberland County Animal Control. The morning that I called about her she was due to be euthanized. I begged them to please hold her until I could get there and I hopped in the car to make the 2 hour trip to Fayetteville.  We ended up having to make the trip twice because they would not release her on the first trip because she had to be spayed and we had to pay for that first and then come back the next day to pick her up after her surgery. 

 It was the best decision that we ever made. Xena is a wonderful dog and we love her more than we can even say.  After that, I learned of Carolina Care Bullies and that they were in need of volunteers. I answered an email about transporting a dog named Hooch to an event in my area. I filled out a volunteer form and soon became the courtesy lister for them. I answered emails about dogs that were stays or owner surrenders and listed them on our site to help them find new forever homes. 
 I am now the Volunteer Coordinator and love every minute of the time that I spend helping CCB and the wonderfully deserving dogs that we save and place. It has given me a purpose in life that I did not have before. A feeling that I am doing something good in this world of not so good and helping those that cannot help themselves. I totally recommend volunteering to anyone that is considering doing something good for others. It is definitely life changing in a great way!!!!!

May 13, 2012

Featured Happy Ending: Lacey tells us about her family being adopted and why she's ready for her furever home

Featured Happy Ending: Lacey tells us about her family being adopted and why she's ready for her furever home

CiCi, Lacey, and Sage at Animal Control

Mama Valerie

In February of 2011 I was dumped at the shelter with my brother and sister and our mom.We probably weren't the most attractive family back then. You see, when we were taken to the shelter in Davidson County we were covered in motor oil. We had ticks and mange and it is said that you can treat that by covering the animals in motor oil. When it didn’t 
work, we got to take a car ride…to animal control L

My family was even more special because we were the first pit bulls to be let out of Davidson County Animal Control. When Carolina Care Bullies came to evaluate our mama, Val, they were so happy that the county was willing to let my pit bull family leave and go to a rescue. They first gave our mom the name Val, because it was like Valvoline the oil. She then became Valerie because she was so sweet and nurturing.

Our first foster home kept us all and Mama Val until we were old enough to be split up into separate foster homes. That foster loved Mama Val so much that they adopted her into their family. My sister CiCi went to a nice foster home not too far away and my brother and I went to Wilmington. Sage (formerly Cagney) and I stayed in Wilmington for a little bit while we were recovering from that horrible mange. We were both nearly naked from losing all of our hair. Our sister CiCi had mange too, but she was adopted real soon by a nice man who loved her a lot!

After we stayed in Wilmington for a few months we had new foster homes to go to. I went to a nice foster home in Wilson with lots of other foster doggies. One of my foster sisters there was Princess Tia, who just got adopted as well! Sage got to take a long trip to Charlotte. I guess on the way to Charlotte that nice lady who gave him a ride fell in love with him. She followed his progress and read his foster mom’s blog about how sweet and silly he was. That lady had a nice pit bull named Sophie and they went back to Charlotte to get him and he is now Sophie’s brother!

Sage (formerly Cagney)
Sage and his sister Sophie
They love him so much. He is playful and sweet and loves his doggie sister. They like to play and curl up together. Sometimes they curl up with both their humans and their two cat siblings all together on the couch. And his mommy says that Sage is so funny he sleeps with his gazelle-like legs all over the place and in weird positions. They love his goofy, loving, playful, curious nature. My sister CiCi has a doggie sibling too and they love her just as much. CiCi’s daddy is a nice man who fell in love with her even when she didn’t have all her hair back from the mange!    

I didn’t get adopted yet. I’m still waiting for that special family to see how playful and loving and sweet and cuddly I can be. You see, as the red-head I have a beautiful unique color for a pit bull. No one knows who our daddy was, but I probably look like him some. I am great with kids and I love car rides. I like to walk with my leash. You should see me run too. When I get the chance to run, I am so fast! I am really good at my basic commands and I am completely house broken and crate trained.

My favorite things are popcorn, peanut butter, my Kong, and chewy bones. I love sitting on the porch watching squirrels and stretching out on the couch to relax. I like all dogs, big and small. I like to be fancy sometimes too and I prance when I walk. I am even learning “roll over” and “crawl,” as some of my tricks.

Sounds great, right??? Everyone who has met me thinks so. We just can’t understand why no one wants to adopt me yet. I am almost 1 ½ years old and I just really want a family of my own. I love my foster mom and my foster sister Rosey the pug and even my foster bunny. A girl just needs a family of her own though. I have my own Facebook page to share with your friends and my CCB album is here. You can ask questions about me or get an adoption application by emailing

Featured Adopt-a-Bull: Tyler

Featured Adopt-a-Bull: Tyler

 Tyler is a 2 year old pit bull mix. He is medium sized and weighs around 45 lbs, which his foster family says is all heart! He is extremely affectionate and nurturing. When he isn't playing, he couldn't be anymore happy than being curled up to someone in his neat little ball. Tyler is completely housebroken and crate trained. He also loves to sleep with someone or in a dog bed if that's what he is offered. 

Tyler loves to play with his doggie friends and he's great with dogs big and small. He recently met some toy sized dogs that he adored! He plays with his foster sister nonstop! Tyler is cat curious, but means no harm. He just really doesn't understand why they don't always want to play. Proper introductions will no doubt lead to a successful dog/cat household with Tyler. He doesn't have any issues sharing toys or bones either. He would love to have a fenced back yard or a running partner so he can stretch out those legs of his. You should see him run, it's poetic. He has an absolutely gorgeous physic and to see him sprint across the yard is exhilarating. Tyler has even been around children. He's a little curious at first but as long as he's supervised and given time to calm down he does great. Like any two year old dog he needs to be able to feed his curiosity. 

Tyler knows his basic commands. He is working on settling down on command and he's been getting some training on loose leash walking. His foster family and his trainer have no doubts that he'll master these all very soon! He's also learning a few secret tricks for his forever family when he meets them. Tyler give the sweetest most gently kisses, he's easy to please, and reciprocates this as well. He would be the perfect addition to any family.

You can see Tyler's complete photo album here.