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
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.
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
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.
|Amanda and "Spiderman", April 2012|
~Amanda Liston, CCB President