Category Archives: Rescue

Shelter Dog Saturday: Jewel

jewel-august2013-0207Name: Jewel

Breed(s): American Bulldog mix

Age: 2 years old

Gender: Female (Spayed)

Jewel came into the River Rouge Animal Shelter with her good buddy Thor via the officers of River Rouge.  Unfortunately, Jewel and Thor had a habit of escaping their yard and their owner opted to not reclaim them and instead leave them to sit in the shelter.

Jewel is a happy go lucky gal who absolutely LOVES affection.  She enjoys long walks and has energy that could go on for days if you didn’t want her to stop.  She is very willing to please and has beenjewel-august2013-0204 getting some good basic manners training from the volunteers at the shelter when she is out on the twice daily walks.

Jewel would do well in any home but may be a bit too boisterous for families with young children since she forgets how big she is.  Jewel has shown some mild interest in the cats but with proper introductions should be okay with a feline member of the household.  She would also make a good working dog prospect in dog sports venues as she is social, willing to learn and eager to please and has good drive for toys and food.

If you’re interested in adopting Jewel, she is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan.  You can contact the shelter by email at or by phone at 313-205-1732.

Update: Jewel headed to rescue!

Shelter Dog Saturday: Thor

thor-august2013-0194Name: Thor

Breed(s): American Bulldog mix

Age: 3 years old

Gender: Male

Thor came into the River Rouge Animal Shelter with his good buddy Jewel via the officers of River Rouge.  Unfortunately, Jewel and Thor had a habit of escaping their yard and their owner opted to not reclaim them and instead leave them to sit in the shelter.

Thor is an amazing guy.  He absolutely loves ALL people and will attempt to leap into your arms to get more kisses if you aren’t doling out enough for his puppy-ish demands.  He would makethor-august2013-0188 an excellent running buddy or a sport prospect (especially for weight pull!) as he has energy in spades.  He does need some brush up on his manners but with some work, he’d be as good as gold.

Thor seems to get along with other dogs and isn’t too keen on kitties who run from him but with proper introductions could possibly get along with a dog-savvy cat over time.  He is good with all people but would probably do best with kids over the age of ten years old because of his exuberance.

If you’re interested in adopting Thor, he is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan.  You can contact the shelter by email at or by phone at 313-205-1732.

Update: Thor headed to Semper Fidelis Pet Rescue!

Shelter Dog Saturday: Delilah

delilah-july2013-8797Name: Delilah

Breed(s): Pit Bull Mix

Age: 2-3 year old

Gender: Female

Sweet Delilah was brought to the shelter by a kind individual.  She has definitely had a litter or two with her swollen and saggy teats but she’s got the kind and resilient spirit known well in the bully breeds.  She’s incredibly playful and sweet.  She would do well with a submissive male dog and prefers no kitties in her home.delilah-july2013-8801

She could potentially make a very good obedience or really any other sport prospect, however, as she shows very good focus and adoration toward the people who she walks with daily.  She also has enough energy to keep up with a nice, active family who wouldn’t mind a dog who cuddled after a rousing game in the yard or a long walk.

If you’re interested in adopting Delilah, she is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan.  You can contact the shelter by email at or by phone at 313-205-1732.

Shelter Dog Saturday: Diego

diego-august2013-0756Name: Diego

Breed(s): Pit Bull/Viszla

Age: 4-6 months

Gender: Male

Diego is a sweet and plucky puppy.  He, unfortunately, didn’t seem to receive any major socialization prior to arriving at the shelter but that hasn’t seemed to affect him anyway.  He is happy to meet new people, dogs and kitties.  He isdiego-august2013-0776 incredibly gentle and very biddable when asked to do simple tasks and he picks up on cues and commands very easily.  He is very food motivated and would do well in just about any home – especially if he could be a snuggle bug, which seems to be his main goal in life when he shoves his beautiful face into your hands for attention.

If you’re interested in adopting Diego, he is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan.  You can contact the shelter by email at or by phone at 313-205-1732.

Update – September 5th!  Diego, now Rudy, was pulled by Adopt-A-Pup Rescue and is now available through them!

Shelter Dog Saturday: Romeo


romeo-july2013-8978Name: Romeo

Breed(s): Pit Bull Mix

Age: 18-24 months

Gender: Male

Romeo is an incredibly wonderful and sweet boy.  He is very exuberant and would absolutely love an active family or a person looking for a new dog sport prospect that can put some time and effort into training and work.  Romeo isromeo-july2013-8986 absolutely perfect with all people but would probably do best with older children since he tends to get incredibly bouncy and forget his own strength.  He isn’t a good candidate for a home with cats and would need introductions to a nice, polite female dog or an only dog home.

If you’re interested in adopting Romeo, he is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan.  You can contact the shelter by email at or by phone at 313-205-1732.

Update – September 6th!  Romeo was pulled by Solo Rescue & Training and is now available through them!

You’re Not Doing Enough!

I seriously read that phrase not that long ago when referencing my least liked mantra of “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem!” when it comes to the serious issue about the animal overpopulation Sadie - Available for Adoption at River Rouge Animal Shelterproblem going on in our nation today.  I will be honest, it angered me pretty heavily because I know how much time I have wrapped up into my volunteer time in animal rescue in my community and at a handful of shelters and rescue groups that I support heavily – sometimes so much that my husband doesn’t get to see me much and has complete care and exercise regimes on the dogs to take care of.  I know not everyone is going to agree with me because I support both responsible breeding and rescue but to insult and belittle what I do would have pushed many people away and onto the “all rescue people are freaks” bandwagon.

The question though is – what is enough?  Is enough being an Internet and social media sharing junky?  Is fostering as many dogs or cats as a person can handle enough?  What about actually donating well above than the 16 hours a city pays you to manage a shelter completely like one of my very, very dedicated rescue friends does?  I know the blood, sweat and tears that goes into rescue because I am there alongside of those who dedicate their lives to changing the futures of those animals who are less fortunate but what gives a person the right to say “You’re not doing enough?” to someone because their path is not aligned in the same fashion as another group?

Pippa - Pulled by Rescue from River Rouge Animal ShelterI would like to think I am making a difference in the lives and futures of the animals I am lucky enough to help through walking, photographing, transporting and training.  We aren’t, at this time, able to foster another member of the household because we were foster failures with our last dog – Duo.  This won’t be a permanent thing but it is, for the time being, the case in our situation.  I also spend my time on social media sharing and networking available animals and even helped my parents locate their new family member at a local shelter (Yoshi’s story is here) but I also know I’m a bit of an abnormality.  Why?  Well, the whole supporting and owning of breeder-acquired dogs and support of responsible breeding.

Anti-breeding groups call those of us “greeders” and think breeders (they lump backyard breeders and responsible breeders into the same category) make a living off of the reproductive parts on their pets.  This is very true for the less scrupulous breeders out there but those responsible breeders breed infrequently and when they do breed, the puppies have good, well-screened homes, impeccable upbringing and a lifetime of support from that responsible breeder.

I know this fact doesn’t go over well with the rescue community because of the thousands of dogs being euthanized daily but at some point it would be nice if brandi-august2013-0178the acceptance of those who truly care about dogs and not about adding to the shelter population would be accepted into the rescue fold because there are many out there who work both sides of the fence and I’m not the only one.  It would be nice to work hand-in-hand with those same people who dedicate their lives to rescue animals and have them see who truly is the problem and who isn’t.  Placing the blame on an entire group because of one sector of bad apples is about as bad as the breed profiling that everyone joins together to end.

Maybe this is just a dream but hopefully one day responsible breeders and rescuers can join together to end the mass production and abandonment of puppy mill and backyard bred dogs and end the mass euthanization of shelter animals and get them in to responsible forever homes so that those who dedicate their lives to the cause can actually go home and relax for a little instead of worrying when the next dog will hit “the list.”

Bow Wow Luau

dbcluau-july2013-8306If any of our readers ever visit the Metro Detroit area, Ferndale is one of the most dog friendly cities in the area and most of their restaurants have outdoor seating (weather permitting) for the pups to join their people for a meal.  This was definitely the case this past Saturday when Luna, Ryker, my husband and I all took the drive to Rosie O’Grady’s for the Bow Wow Luau fundraiser for Detroit Bully Corps., a local bully breed specific rescue and rehabilitation facility in Ann Arbor.

The party pretty much went to the dogs but the hospitality shown to us by the phenomenal wait staff at the restaurant left us wanting to return another day as well.  We always had our drinks filled, polite service and fresh, cool water for the pups.  The food was amazing as well and the support of Detroit Bully Corps. from the restaurant was an amazing feat with them raising $820 from food, raffle items and other donations.

While we were there enjoying the unlimited pizza and salad for our $20 donation, we were able to mingle with friends and other dog lovers and talk about all things dog-related and all in the name of supporting a dbcluau-july2013-8404phenomenal group that is geared toward helping bully breeds across the Metro Detroit area – many of whom come in severely neglected and abused, injured or emaciated.

We humans were happy to help out a wonderful group that focuses its resources on not only their resident canines but also on community outreach and education in the forms of anti-dogfighting rallies, access to free spay/neuter certificates for pit bulls and their mixes and other programs and the the dogs enjoyed being good breed ambassadors and got spoiled by all of the love and affection while assisting in helping out fellow bully breed brethren and a good cause.

If you’d like to see the rest of the photos and the fun we had, you can click here for the entire Flickr album.

The Face of Animal Rescue

Every time I’m on Facebook, I see hundreds of faces that look scared, alone and in need of some kind soul to open up their heart and their home.  Each of these posts shatters my heart and rips me apart to the very soul – especially when the photos also show the abuse and neglect that these innocent creatures have undergone at the hands of man in his darker form.

Rover, Animal ID# A0894033, is available at the Brooklyn NY
Animal Care and Control and is labeled as URGENT.

The reasons for these animals ending up in the shelter system all vary from animal to animal but the reality of the matter is the problem has become a national concern for all animal lovers young and old.  We, as a nation, are responsible for the problems in our shelter system.  Now, I’m not saying that this is the case for every single shelter or rescue organization across the nation but the vast majority needs some serious overhauling in terms of education, training, advertisement, etc. to reduce the number of animals that are euthanized across the country daily when a plethora of homes are available, waiting and WANTING these animals to be part of their loving homes.

I’ve personally been involved in rescue for many years, even with my involvement in purebred dog ownership, and my home is called home by one very special, goofy pit bull mix boy that would have otherwise been euthanized due to his extreme dog-on-dog aggression.  He is not the only one of his kind that lands in shelters and rescue groups on a daily basis.  Most of these groups, however, are ill-equipped to handle high drive, reactive dogs that may have some personal baggage attached to them from genetics, upbringing or personality and they traditionally end up paying the ultimate price – their lives.

The evolution of the shelter and rescuing system is the first step that needs to be addressed.  The systematic euthanization of animals on the basis of space or treatable ailments with a simple course of antibiotic in many of the city and county run shelters and animal control agencies is a major concern and one of the sole reasons that so many private organizations exist in today’s world.  That being said, private organizations may not be a much better alternative for many homeless animals if their intentions are far from pure.

There are far too many private organizations out there who take in cute, cuddly puppies to turn a quick dollar (making themselves no better than your average puppy peddler), those who go in with a bang to put the spotlight on themselves and what good they’re doing and those who get so overwhelmed that they eventually get deemed under the dreaded term of hoarder because they didn’t know or couldn’t say no to a pleading face.

Now, I am not faulting these organizations for doing what they feel is best for the animal, the overcrowding issue, etc. but there has to be another way.  Over time, I have spoken with many people involved in animal rescue from all perspectives from simple pet owners to diehard rescue people and even responsible breeders.  The consensus is the same when it comes to the surrender or abandonment of pets across the nation – better resources for spay/neuter and education.

Now, you’re probably all going “Didn’t you write that article on spaying and neutering a little bit ago?”  Why yes, I did (if you missed it, click here).  While I wanted to give each and every single dog owner a chance to analyze what worked best for their home and their pet with no judgmental attitude on the pros and cons on both sides of the fence, the majority of people (and their pets!) would benefit from altering their animal simply on the sake of convenience because dealing with an intact dog or bitch can be an absolutely massive pain in the fanny because neither are fun to deal with on an aggravating hormonal tirade.

This problem, however, is what leads to the need for more low cost and free spay/neuter programs that could be available to the general public.  Let’s face the facts that more people are willing to have it done if they don’t have to shell out a ton of cash to get that fuzzy feeling of being a good pet owner.  Most veterinary clinics for your average spay or neuter run anywhere from $100 on up and for many people, that kind of money is a lot to drop on a dog in the economic times many pet owners are facing today.  These same people still want to do ‘the right thing’ and have their pet fixed.  This is where those clinics come in.  If you own a bully breed, like I do, free and low cost clinics abound for our type of dog but John Q. Public who owns a golden, a lab or any other non-bully breed dog is out of luck for not having one of the chosen canine pariahs of the world as their companion animal.

While breed specific clinics are helpful in urban areas they can still do harm to the average pet owner who doesn’t want to own a bully breed and the simple fact of the matter is more NON-breed specific clinics need to happen.  Luckily, we have a few here in the metro-Detroit area like All About Animals that don’t care what type of dog you have, you can have him or her spayed or neutered for a fairly reasonable amount of money.

Education is the key for pet owners out there who are surrendering their animals.  Sadly, many of these individuals don’t care in the end but the resources of low cost training, behavioral analysis and veterinary services offered at a reasonable rate.  Sadly, many dogs are turned in when they hit that snot-nosed teenager stage where they enjoy testing the limits and being utter brats.  It’s not a fun stage to live through but it is livable.  The key point at this stage is for rescues, trainers, breed advocates, etc. is to reach out to pet owners who are considering rehoming their pet because of these behaviors and assisting them and providing a support system to make it through the “terrible twos”.  Thankfully, the Internet has afforded an avenue for much of these problems but the rescues and shelter systems would do well to develop programs to pet owners that enable them to at least attempt to work through the situation before they make the hardcore decision to give up their pet.

In the same token, the rescue and shelter system needs to be aware of the adoptable dogs personality quirks and breed traits and place in a home appropriately.  For example, a high drive and ball crazy border collie would be an inappropriate fit for an elderly couple who lives in an apartment.  The same could be said for a sedate mixed breed dog that would likely to just sleep all day going into the home of someone who likes to jog, hike and generally be very active.  There are many questions that need to be taken into account when it comes to appropriate placement of dogs in the right home and a group doesn’t need to be over zealous or nitpicky in their placement but does need to make sure that the dog will be a right fit and to stand behind the dog if things don’t work out (which many don’t).

Ultimately, the entire animal loving community needs to come together with standards, ethics and practices that will help every walk of life – especially those who are voiceless.  Education, teamwork and ethics must ultimately come into play to bring animal rescue into the next level and provide our homeless companion animals the best possible outcomes and place them in loving forever homes without bias and with the animal’s best interests at heart.  The “perfect” home may be one with imperfect owners who would go to the ends of the earth for their fuzzy buddy.

Two Weeks: Give ‘Em A Break

* The two week shut down is geared to teen to adult dogs . Puppies do need a bonding time with their new humans, a whelping period so to speak, but they have a different requirements than a more aged dog . It is important to fully vaccinate and de-worm your puppy before venturing out into the world. I suggest strongly getting your new puppy to a veterinarian for proper de-worming and vaccinations. But note the shut down period is not recommended for young puppies as they have crucial needs that are special than older dogs in proper development and socialization.

Kosmo Starting Shut Down

The Action:

  • “I have a new dog!”
  • “I introduced her to 15 people”
  • “He was a bit leery but seems to like my other 3 dogs”
  • “She went everywhere with me ” …

All in the first few days of the new home….. (!!!)

The Reaction:
In about two weeks later we get the call back to the rescue;

  • “I think we will have to rehome the new dog.”
  • “The new dog barked and nipped at my kid”
  • “We had a dog fight”
  • “What do we do?”

Ok, folks, here it comes, the big secret to many foster homes success with a new dog that came from unknown or even not so good homes!

Doggy shut down!  A “get to know you “ time! Giving the new dog, post finding, adoption, buying, etc, time to adjust to you  and your family and the dogs in the new environment.

Why The Two Week Shut Down?

The Two Week Shut Down is a time familiar to a dog’s mind, as it mimics the whelping box when first born, as the puppy’s eyes are not open and it relies totally on the mother’s ability to take care of it.  By smelling, sensing, listening the puppy starts his journey into the new scary world.

New adult dogs come into our home the same way, “a journey into a new and scary world”

By giving the dog a “time out” the dog can learn its new world, its new people and begin to relax and blossom under the care of the new care giver.

Why we all want to run out with our new dog, show everyone our new pet, we forget that even an adult dog is now back to a puppy newborn like mind, all is new, the voices speak a new language, cars might be new, leashes and handling under nice people might be new.

Even petting and acceptance of a pet is stressful on a new dog,. “Who are you?  Where did we come from? Where are we going? What is expected of me?” –the dog thinks!

Just like a new born baby we wouldn’t rush out and pass the baby from person to person, we set up a stable and save environment, our new dogs are just like that , our newborn baby.

Step back for a minute, and think how you might feel if you were never going to go back to your “home” and that you were expected to live with new people who didn’t understand your language. What if these new people took you to all sorts of different places expecting you to greet everyone happily and feel comfortable with an overload of attention all at one time? How might you feel after all of that, to have to go to your new “home” and interact with a bunch of strangers? It’s very likely that you’d feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and wanting  to retreat, but really have no place to go to. You might begin to act out  at people for pushing you into these situations and insisting that you do this and do that.

Well, many dogs are put in the very same position and the only way they know how to get their point across is to act out or “misbehave.”  The dog may act out by nipping at children for he didn’t understand them and was corrected harshly before knowing how he was to be around them! Growling, like when being moved off furniture –“ he didn’t know he couldn’t be here. What is expected ? Where am I allowed ?”  Starting fights with the other animals in home – it may feel that the new humans are not leaders or beings to look up to for help in decisions , The dog begins to think “I must defend myself!”  “Who IS this new dog?”

How To Do The TWO WEEKS – “shut down”

For the first two weeks, (sometimes even longer) a dog takes in the new environment, who is the top persons, dogs, who ARE these people!

A great way of thinking of this time is; “this is the dating period NOT the honeymoon”

When you first met your “mate”, you were on your best behavior, you were not relaxed enough to be all of yourself, were you?

Just think of the things you do physically once you get to KNOW a person, you wouldn’t run up to a stranger and hug them and squeeze them!
Imagine, if on the first date, this new person, was all over you touching you and having their friends hug you and pat you on top of the head, and jostle your shoulders, then he whisked you off to another stranger’s home and hey did the same thing.

Would you think this person normal and SAFE?

 Would you feel invaded and defensive and begin to get a bit snarky yourself?

Wouldn’t you think to push these people away for obviously your date is out of their mind and they aren’t going to save you from these wierdos!!

Yet we do this to our dogs, and then get upset or worried that they aren’t relaxed and accepting of EVERYTHING instantly!

*Why do we expect a dog to accept a situation when we ourselves could not?

By shutting down the dog, it gives the dog TIME to see you, meet YOU, hear and take in the new sounds and smells of your home.

  • Crate or keep  the dog in a room by itself if possible.
    (Believe me, dogs are sensory animals, they know more than you think without seeing it
    This allows the dog to take in the new world and not feel assaulted at the world coming AT him visually).
  • Leash (so I don’t have to correct it ..I don’t have that right yet!) This also teaches the new safe zone for the dog is around you and the humans in the home.  Leash the dog right to your belt or under a piece of furniture.
  • No obedience like training at all, just fun exercise and maybe throw some toys for fun, leash the dog if you don’t have a fence outside. But I DO NOT leave my yard, AT ALL in this time.
  • No car rides, no other dogs, (unless crated beside them), no pet stores, no WALKS even, nothing but me, my home, my yard. (Unless of course the dog needs to go to the veterinarian.)
  • Don’t go crazy petting and handling the dog! Even petting and being “out” in the home puts pressure on a dog, as everything is so new.
    Allowing the dog time to absorb and the decision to come to YOU for pets and affection can do a lot in taking pressure off a new dog.
  • Exercise – but in your yard!  All dogs need to burn off energy. Do fun toss the ball games in your yard or on a lunge line if no fence.  Remember to just have fun, let the dog run and explore .   Exercise is a great stress relief so we don’t want to add stress to what is an out of energy.
  • Again- no walks yet!  Walks are stressful for there is so much coming at you.  Being a new person to this dog you have no clue how the dog is reacting to the walking environment. The dog may react to something and we start correcting it with the leash and we just installed a VERY STRESSFUL moment to the dog in what should be a fun and happy walk.

TEACH the dog by doing the shut down, that YOU are the one to look to, that you are now here for the dog! He can trust in you and look to you as its new leader!!

Then on walks you will see the dog look to you when he sees something like a kid or a dog to see what your reaction is, lessening his mind about having to defend or control the environment, he has YOU , the dog now can relax and enjoy the walk more.

*In the house I have the dog out only for about 20-40 minutes post exercise/yard times. And ALWAYS on a leash. Then PUT THE DOG AWAY. Let it absorb and think.  Even if just for a little bit.

A few minutes of “down time” allows the dog to overcome things that we may not of seen triggered anxiety or fear in the dogs mind, and allows the mind to be fresh for more “new” and adventures in your home and life.

If the dog goes to his crate on his own, he is telling you “I need a time out” allow him this time.

By having the dog out for long periods of time we are forcing the dog to keep accepting all new things , by putting the dog away we are asking him to accept a few things, then go think and absorb, when we get him out later we introduce a few more things, so the three new things are three new things, not 3 x 3 x 3 – possible shut down from the dog.

  • No new buddies !  Do not introduce the dogs for these two weeks, they can be side by side in the crates, (not nose to nose for they can feel defensive). Some dogs will bond instantly with the other dogs if we don’t bond FIRST with the dog, and this can lead to some other issues, as the dog will look to the other dog(s) for guidance and not YOU!  A good way to meet dogs POST the two weeks is each dog have a handler and go for short walks ON LEASH. Walking helps relieve stress and worry.  Each having their own human gives control to the moment. Do not allow them to be close enough to touch.  But near each other, side by side if possible. Then later in home and again, use LEASHES!  The easiest way and calmest way to control a dogs movement!
  • Ignore Bad behavior – Ignore crying and/or barking. If you run to the dog each time they bark, whine, or cry, you are teaching the dog that doing those things gets your attention. The dog must learn to be secure when you are not there.  Use the leash to softly correct jumping, exploring counters, etc.   Most dogs I have taken in will “cry” in their crate/room for about 2-3 days. Its just their way of stressing . Its hard, but let them cry it out.  If we go to them each time they cry/whine or bark we might be setting up for separation like behaviors.  We want our new dog to be able to be “alone” and still know its SAFE.
  • Praise Gently Good behavior – ex. Dog is sitting nicely next to you, touch or softly pet the dog “good boy/girl”  let then know you appreciate GOOD behavior.  This makes naughty behavior not so fun if you ignore THAT but praise the good!

Literally in two weeks you will see a change in the dog and begin to see its honest and true personality. Just like a house guest.. They are well behaved and literally shut down themselves these first few weeks, then post this time, they relax and the true personality begins to shine thru!

So, please, if nothing else for your new dog, give it the time to LEARN YOU as you are learning who they are!

This method works on shy dogs, confident dogs, abuse cases, chained dogs that come in, rowdy dogs, all temperaments!  And it works on all breeds from little dogs to big bully dogs.

Kosmo Post Shut Down
Amazing, isn’t it?
Article originally published on Pitbull Forum by Luvnstuff/Stacie Sparks Vredeveld who is a volunteer for Pound Buddies in Muskegon, Michigan.

Happy 8th Birthday, Duo!

I’ve been a horrible, no good dog Mom.   I’ve been so busy with everything that I completely forgot to post a blog wishing my little Short Bus a happy birthday.  He turned eight years old on December 1st – or we think that’s right around the date anyway based on the information we got on him.

Three long years since you joined our family from Paws for Life Rescue, kiddo.  We don’t know what happened to you before you came to us that gave you the demons that caused your ups and downs but we’ll never let you fall again.  It’s true when they say that the third time is the charm.  We wouldn’t have you any other way than with us.  Here’s to many more birthdays, herdie bull.  It will only keep getting better from here.