Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In Memory of Fay - One of the MO 500

Although today is Wednesday, and we normally try to do a Wordless Wednesday post, there are words that need to be said about one pivotal girl in the pit bull world. Fay, the beautiful girl with Mutts N Stuff passed away Monday afternoon, December 28, 2009 after her second surgery to give her the lips that the dog fighters took from her. Ultimately, the dog fighters still killed her as her body suffered more damage than could be seen. It was the dog fighters that made her body unable to recover from the surgery, even when everything was perfect before hand.

Fay, although gone today, will always live on in the hearts of the people she met and the minds she changed. She epitomized the love a pit bull has for their people and had the courage and spirit to take in all the new things life was handing her in stride.

It is our personal hope that everyone will take this opportunity to revel in her spirit. She still lives strong in our hearts and each of those who met her and were loved by her, and by those who watched her story from afar. That courage to persevere should stand out in each and every one of us as we all strive harder to eliminate dog fighting, to increase the levels of punishment for those convicted, and to help all the dogs that sadly will follow behind Fay, learn that there are better things in life and that they never have to go back to the hell they came from again. Fay is breathing life into all of us to continue the battle against dog fighting.

Mutts N Stuff has set up a memorial fund in honor of Fay in which the proceeds will go towards "Fay's Phoenix House" a "halfway house" for bust dogs coming from situations like Fay's. Please consider contributing to Mutts N Stuff in Fay's memory. It won't bring her back, but it certainly will help to continue making the lives of bust dogs better. And we all think Fay would enjoy knowing that dogs coming out of situations like hers had the same chance she got.

Rest in Peace Fay. You are loved ALL over the world and we'll never forget you!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

As a special treat to show to all of our supporters, here's a simple photo collage of all the dogs we've been able to help this year! You guys are incredible and make it all possible!

Pssssssst! Click the image if you'd like to see it larger :)Thank you everyone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Decorate Our Tree!

Its that time of year again and we kicked off our December fundraiser. Since we don't have a shelter facility, we have to put up a tree in the virtual world we do have. And guess what? You can help to decorate!

Right now, our tree is fashioned with blinking lights, but there are only a few ornaments and gifts under the tree. You can help with this though, and make the season merrier for the dogs in our program :)

We have several different ornaments available to choose from, and when you donate, you have the option to leave a message and tell the world about your donation :) If you have a special pet or person in your life that you would like to recognize, purchase an ornament "In Honor Of" or "In Memory Of" your loved one.

Click Here to view our Holiday Memory Tree and donation options :)

This season, we have our two heartworm positive Charmed Girls to treat, Piper and Prue. They are advancing well in their new home environments and treating their heartworms is the last thing we have to do to send them on their way to new forever homes! We also need many training supplies to help our foster homes with the training needs of our dogs to get them into new homes quicker. Other basic vetting for our dogs adds up too!

We mention these things because we want YOU, as our supporter, to know where your money is going. Our dogs are our priority and vet bills come first! Your help in succeeding with our goals is much needed and greatly appreciated!

Do you need a little extra push on seeing our tree as a finished product? Here is our rendition of what our Holiday Tree will look like upon full decoration:

Thank you all and get to Decorating!

Another Bust Dog Will Be Coming Home!

Remember our Wordless Wednesday post from yesterday? Well, we'd like to introduce you to Ms. Eva! This dignified lady is our last confirmed dog (although there are several others we'd like to bring in *hint hint*) from this summer's big Missouri-based dog fighting raid and rescue. Eva was a highly sought after girl up at the bunker and we are HONORED that she will be making her trip down to South Carolina soon.

Eva is what many recognize as an American Bully, a dog that looks very much like a pit bull and has similar roots but was bred to be larger and presumably, less "terrier". She's about 4-5 years old and her body is visibly worn from MANY litters of puppies. It's a bit grotesque and startling to see the ragged appearance of her vulva alone, much less the sagging teats that bear evidence to her primary purpose in life.

When we met Eva, there was no doubt in our minds why everyone thought her to be so special. She's a big girl with a big heart and a wonderful desire to be close to you, giving you kisses and getting her back scratched.

We liken her personality to that of Mrs. Howell from Gilligan's Island. She's not "snooty" but seems to give off that air of prestige one often may see from those who've experienced the finer things in life. Lucky for Eva, she'll get that for sure now, for the remainder of her life :)

Eva's new foster dad has been patiently waiting on her arrival and has been making plans for wonderful things for her like a custom cedar bed to fit her crate and a custom harness! We've been trying to talk him into dressing her up in pink to symbolize the princess that she is. We're still working on him there ;)

Like our other bust dogs (Eddie Munster and Ms. Suey Dolittle), Eva's foster dad plans to take her to her highest potential by becoming a CGC certified therapy dog. And Eva has it even MORE lucky - her foster dad has a very strong interest in adopting her. Her move to her new home in the Charleston area may very well be her forever home. We could only hope all dogs be so fortunate!

Again, we want to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful people at the Humane Society of Missouri and the volunteers that came from all over the country to help in caring for such a massive number of dogs for many months. Another thanks goes out to Mutts N Stuff, our favorite pit bull rescue in the Mid West, for helping us out and being a great mentor through the whole process. This has been an amazing rescue effort and means so many unbelievable things for pit bulls confiscated in future busts. Great work everyone!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Now That's Love!

If you're ever in New York City, you need to keep your eyes peeled for a very special man with a very lucky pit bull.

We received an email forward Wednesday evening from a rescue partner of ours who's friends with friends of the person who took a very touching photo.

What would you do if your 15 year old pit bull couldn't enjoy their walks anymore because walking long distances drained them of their energy? Would you succumb to life sitting at home while your dog stared longingly out the window? Or would you get your dog a wheelchair?

This wonderful gentleman without a name was stopped by a stranger for a picture of him with his dog. And we're glad the picture made it's way down to South Carolina for us to share with you! This man's dog no longer has the energy to walk to the park and still enjoy the visit to the park. This man showed his love for his dog by getting her a wheelchair. He takes her multiple times a day out to the park via the wheelchair - just so she has the energy to enjoy the park when she does go out.

This man is an inspiration with his devotion to his dog. We hope that should he ever come across this blog with his picture and his dog being showcased, that he will realize what a beautiful example he is setting for dedicated pet owners. We wish we could meet this man to hug him and smooch his dog!

Sir, on this day, Thanksgiving Day, we would like to give YOU a special thanks to being devoted to your dog and continuing to offer her a quality of life that so FEW of these dogs are fortunate enough to experience. Bless you!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Hope Welcomes Eddie Munster and Ms. Dolittle

Eddie Munster (formerly known as Eli by the HSMO shelter staff) was the first dog released to New Hope Pit Bull Rescue via Mutts n Stuff. We got the chance to meet him for the first time last Wednesday while we were in Missouri and this boy has got it going on! He's a bit unsure in new situations and places but he recovers quickly and is happy for guidance. He's about 8 months old and shows a LOT of potential to become a remarkable breed ambassador and therapy dog. We're going to be sure he makes it there!

We were fortunate enough to be able to take Eddie back to the hotel room with us that night and in doing so, we got a REAL glimpse of his personality and goofy nature. Check out his debut video.

Now that Eddie has been home for a few days and has really begun to settle in, we're learning SO much more about him. It's taken him a bit to get used to the side yard and thankfully, he's beginning to poop outside without me having to haul his butt out there mid-poop! Yes, we consider these things victories! :) Eddie is a busy boy who is definitely going to need a job. He LOVES to play tug and really enjoys playing with those cat toys with the "feather boa" attached to the end. He thinks the biggest game in the world it throwing himself at you with this big ol' cheesy grin and when he gets excited, he flattens his body to the floor and bounces around! It's mildly amusing now, but may not be when he finishes growing so we'll certainly be working on his personal boundaries and respecting others. We'll be teaching him new things in the future using Bridge and Target training and will prepare him to pass the Canine Good Citizen test in the next few months. He's very responsive to his people and he wants nothing more than to be that good dog everyone wants.

Of course we aren't going to forget to introduce Ms. Dolittle (formerly Mimi) aka Suey (because she reminds us of a little pot belly pig)! When we got to Missouri we knew 2 of the dogs we would be bringing into our program, but Ms. Dolittle here was a surprise. We had anticipated a 3rd dog, but weren't sure who that dog would be until we arrived at the bunker and began our evaluations. We had asked Gale Frey (of Mutts n Stuff) to share with us, dogs that she felt would fit the dynamic of our 3rd available foster home and "Mimi" was at the top of her list. We met her and instantly fell head over heels in love! Thank you Gale and Tracy (of Our Pack, Inc.), for recommending such a wonderfully sweet and full of life girl.

This little girl has such a spunky personality and gentle demeanor. Ms. Dolittle is all about a good game of fetch and will spend as much time as you will give her playing with cat toys, playing fetch, going for walks or just snuggling beside you for some love. And she thinks that kids are the best thing in the world next to Borden sliced cheese! (Yes, she really is a princess... she only likes Borden brand so far. Ha!) She can't seem to get (or give) enough kisses to every little one she meets.

Ms. Dolittle will also be working to attain her CGC certification and become a therapy dog. She came to us with a confidence that said "I will NOT let this beat me" and we have every intention of helping her become a true ambassador for the breed and hopefully make it easier for bust dogs in our own area to receive the chance that these very lucky dogs have been given.

We are still anxiously awaiting the arrival of our 3rd dog, and you can bet we will update again as soon as she arrives safely in our arms. She is equally as wonderful as Eddie and Suey, and we promise you all are going to love her!

We Got To Meet Fay!

You've read about our trip to Missouri and the feeling of overwhelming camaraderie at the bunker, now we want to share with you some pictures of our meeting with this VERY special girl.

We appreciate getting to meet Fay and have our pictures taken with her more than anyone can imagine, because she just radiates love and is one more dog (like our own Mickey Mouth) who is a shining example of how wonderful this breed really is. We want to share our part of Fay's story with everyone who will listen, and hopefully some will walk away with a new sense of understanding about the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Gale Frey, with Mutts n Stuff, brought Fay out to the bunker while we were there and gave us a special opportunity to meet this AMAZING girl! Fay is something else and it's obvious why she's such a much loved character throughout all this. She is a huge testament to the people loving nature of these dogs and why pit bull fanciers favor this breed like they do.

It's painfully obvious that Fay's life has been anything but stellar. Nobody knows exactly what happened to this dog with a heart so full of love. Our guess would be that Fay was as loyal to her former master as she is to everyone she meets, and wanted to make him happy. You see, sometimes when dogs fight, lips get torn and rather than providing proper medical care for the dogs, dog men will simply cut away the hanging skin (in this case Fay's mouth) and use super glue to piece together what little they can.

Although Fay may look scary, she is anything but! She is so gentle and ever so careful not to be to pushy or rough when showing her love. Incredibly, and as we have experienced before with our own Mickey Mouth, Golda and so many other dogs, Fay has such a soft mouth and when she gives kisses, she seems to have an awareness that bumping a delicate human face could actually hurt.

It's always a humbling experience to meet another dog that's obviously been through a less than wonderful life. We are reminded over and over so many times, why we love the American Pit Bull Terrier so much, and just how people loving and good natured these dogs truly are. Why these dogs are so worth saving.

Fay was of course curious about the environment around her, and as most dogs will do... she would sniff the ground, the plants and the objects around us; but she would only step away for a few short seconds before she came right back to our sides wiggling her butt and wagging her tail. She would snuggle in as close as she could get and her whole body was relaxed. This is what we experience with most of the dogs we meet.

We feel so blessed to have been able to meet Fay, the face of dog fighting and spokes dog for so many, and we wish her nothing but the best that life has to offer for the rest of her many years to come.

Fay is scheduled to have multiple re-constructive surgeries to repair as much of this torturous damage to her mouth as possible. Right now, with Fay having no lips, she is suffering from serious dental disease which is causing her teeth to rot and fall out. If you are able to and would like to help pay for Fay's much needed surgery and help give her a better life, please contact Mutts n Stuff in St. Louis, Missouri to learn where to send donations. We know they will appreciate your generosity and kindness.

Welcome Back! Our Trip To St. Louis, MO.

First we'd like to apologize for keeping everyone in suspense. Our trip out to Missouri and back was a whirlwind and we're just now settling back down and able to think straight enough to share our excitement and experience with you all. Whenever anyone has asked how our trip was, there is only one thing we can say that describes our adventure.


You think you know what to expect, but then all preconceived images that you pictured in your minds eye go right out the window when you walk in the door. We were greeted by such caring and energetic staff, and they were glad to have us there; and we were glad to be there. The donations that have come in and are still coming, the support from fellow pit bull owners, breed advocates and animal lovers is just amazing and far more appreciated than anyone will ever know. The sound of dogs waking up and saying, good morning and thank you for taking care of me is deafening, but really... we knew it would be and what can you expect with literally hundreds of dogs in one space.

We sincerely wish we would have had more than a day, because we throughly enjoyed helping clean kennels and spending time with the dogs. Unfortunately we only had one day to help AND evaluate dogs that we would be bringing home, so we had to divide our time and work in the morning and evaluate in the afternoon. But the team work among volunteers and the morale is inspiring! And the system in place to make sure everything runs smoothly is incredible! Everything works like a truly well oiled machine.

We want to thank the Humane Society of Missouri and every employee and volunteer for doing such a wonderful job of taking care of all their charges and making sure that every dog gets as much enrichment and attention as possible each and every single day. We met so many great people in Missouri and we want them to all know how truly grateful we are for being welcomed and being allowed the opportunity to help, even if for a few short hours. The dogs seemed happy, a few even greeted us with literal smiles on their faces, and most every one wore those great big "bully grins" that we all know so well and adore. They were most definitely comfortable and there wasn't one dog that we interacted with that day who missed an opportunity to share some love and enjoy what we gave in return.

A big thank you to Gale Frey with Mutts n Stuff, for getting Eli (now Eddie Munster) out of the shelter and helping him begin his adjustment to life inside a home while he waited for us to come. And we also want to thank Gale and Pam (of HSMO) for all of their help in working with us on our first bust case. We feel like we have learned so much from you all and we hope to take this knowledge and turn it into something positive for the future of bust dogs in South Carolina.

We also want to thank, again, those of you who helped make our trip to Missouri happen. Without your support, we would have never experienced such an awesome event and brought home so much knowledge or our first 2 wonderful dogs. Thank you thank you thank you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rescued - Not Damaged!

It's amazing at times how many people comment that adult dogs are "damaged", or that shelter or rescue dogs are "damaged". A lot of people who contact us only want puppies because of the thought that the adults are "damaged".

We've had many dogs come through our program who appeared damaged on the outside - parts of lips missing, scars on their faces and legs, skin and bones, etc. These dogs, these ADULT dogs have been some of the BEST dogs we've ever had the pleasure of meeting.

We know little of their past and at times, can only speculate on how they came to wear some of the scars they possess. These dogs are a testament to the fact that the scars on the outside only tell a story and have no bearing on the soul of the dog on the inside.

We have SO many wonderful stories of dogs that have come through, there is no picking a favorite, so we'll share a couple of them. Golda was probably our "worst" case as we were able to hear more of the story on how she was found than some of our other dogs.

Golda's first picture alarmed us and broke our hearts. The lip, the overgrown nails, the skinny little body...Golda was found, half dead, on the side of the road by a good Samaritan in late April of 2008. The shelter treated her for her heartworms and spent a couple of months putting the weight back on her and cleaning her up. We were contacted in August of 2008 to bring her into our program and it took us a month to find a foster home for this beautiful girl. When we got to meet Golda, she melted our hearts. And that doesn't even begin to describe how this girl touched us. She was soft, inside and out and greeted us with her belly to the ground, head low, offering signals left and right that she meant no harm. She'd make a lap around the play yard and sidle right back up to one of us for some affection. What a peach! And we can't forget getting her in the car! This girl was so unknowing about much of anything that she had to be picked up and put into the car when we left with her. She slept the whole way back to Charleston with her head on our Assistant Director's leg, drool and all :)

Golda blossomed into such a wonderful dog! It took some time to figure out that it was okay to go in the house. She'd never experienced it before. It also took some time to learn not to potty in the house, but with proper direction, she picked right up on it. She wanted nothing more than to climb in your lap and lay there for hours! How could a dog like that be damaged? She was just never taught about the finer things in life!

Fortunately, a wonderful family came along and Golda was a perfect match for their home. She's now living it up blocks away from the beach :) She's one of our greatest "rags to riches" stories :)

Bones is another wonderful dog that graced many people with his loving and affectionate nature, despite an unknown past. Back in May of this year, Bones was brought into one of the areas highest kill shelters as a stray. This boy was skinny and had old scars around his face and legs. There was also a chunk gone from his tongue! Was he in a fight? At some point in time, probably. Was he a fighter? Well, frankly no one knows. Does it really matter? Bones did SUPERB in his evaluation and regardless of his past, he was a dog we wanted to see make it. And he did :)

Amazingly enough, we were able to find a foster home for Bones and got him out of the shelter within two weeks. He spent some time in foster care where we did learn that he liked to chew on things but, can you really blame him? He was never taught not to chew! The best thing of all though that we learned about him, he made a wonderful cuddle buddy :) He'd lay on his back for hours for you to pet him. Let him on the couch with you and it was time to stretch out on his back next to you and snuggle! Bones came to us, scars and all, a naturally good boy with a desire to please and a drive to get you to love him. His goofy, adoring nature epitomized what we look for in these dogs and naturally, he won over a great couple who wanted to take the next step.

Bones and Golda, although they had visible scars on the outside indicating their lives may not have always been so great, are far from "damaged" dogs. That is the greatest and most amazing thing about these dogs is that they can wear their scars from the past and not dwell on them like we humans tend to do. It's dogs like Golda and Bones that make great therapy dogs. Its dogs like Golda and Bones that can send home the message to the public that rescued does NOT mean damaged.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Courts Release Dogs From Raid into Custody of Humane Society of Missouri

Did you hear the great news? The Humane Society of Missouri made a press release announcing that two districts involved in the huge Missouri-based dog fight raid and rescue released the dogs into their custody! Isn't this fabulous! So many people were worried these dogs wouldn't have a chance. Well, here ya go folks; they're getting it!

Now, are you ready for him? Eddie Munster, formerly Eli, was released to Mutts-n-Stuff on behalf of New Hope Pit Bull Rescue Wednesday, October 14, 2009! Mutts-n-Stuff will be caring for Eddie until we're able to make it out there at the end of October.

Doesn't he just make you weak at the knees? Our hopes for Eddie are high, as he will be one of 2 dogs from the MO bust that we will be training to become therapy dogs. A third dog coming to New Hope Pit Bull Rescue already has an adoptive home lined up and will attain her CGC certification prior to her adoption being complete.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a good-natured, amusing, extremely loyal and affectionate breed that is good with children and adults alike. It should come as no surprise that Pit Bulls make great therapy dogs. Just look at Leo, one of the dogs seized from the property of Michael Vick back in 2007. A former bust dog turned therapy dog and a major contributor to the health and well being of so many people!

Therapy dogs play such a vital role in the lives of many people. They visit hospitals and nursing homes; helping to fulfill the emotional needs of patients, doctors, nurses and every life they touch. My own son and family even enjoyed an entertaining visit from a therapy dog when he spent his first birthday in the hospital at MUSC. Therapy dogs are also used in literacy programs and visit libraries and schools, spending time with children or adults who may have difficulty learning to read. These are only a few of the jobs that therapy dogs do, for there are many many more!

We feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to help with the Missouri dogs, and we are grateful for the relationships we've built over the last few months with groups like HSMO, Mutts n Stuff and Our Pack, as well as people from organizations like the Real Pit Bull. We truly hope that by teaming up with such a wonderful group of organizations and people, and working to bring some of the Missouri dogs home to South Carolina, we'll be given the chance to help save dogs seized in fight busts and abuse cases right here in our own state.

There are still many more dogs at the secret location in Missouri who need our help, as well as dogs right here in our own area shelters. If you are interested in fostering a dog for New Hope Pit Bull Rescue, please visit our web site and fill out a foster application today. These dogs need you to help us help them!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fay Heads to Mutts N Stuff!

Remember this face? You may recognize her from the big Missouri based fight bust from back in July. Many of you have been pining away for her in hopes she'd be saved. Well, she has been!

Mutts N Stuff sprung her from her secret location today and she's on her way to a new life! They're searching for a plastic surgeon to help restructure her lips as her teeth are beginning to rot and its difficult for her to eat, much less keep saliva in her mouth *wink*

Fay will also be the first dog lined up for the Phoenix House, a building to house dogs from "fight busts", like Fay, with no where to go or who may not adjust as well to life inside a home immediately. Please consider donating to Mutts N Stuff today!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Stars Aligned for Penny Lane!

Robert and family, we aren't sure how you found Ms. Penny Lane, but we're simply elated that you did, that you fell in love, and that you made the long trek from Connecticut to add such a wonderful girl to your home :)

Congratulations guys and we look forward to updates in the future!

Charmed Means "Filled With Wonder And Delight"

We're here to share some new pics of our Charmed girls! These were taken last week but we think it'll get you by until we see them again soon :)

Check out Piper and Phoebe working it for the camera at the vet!

While at the vet, we actually learned that the heartworm test results got swapped for Phoebe and Piper. Phoebe will be ready to go to her new home soon as she is heartworm negative. Piper and Prue (shown at the end of the slideshow below) should be ready for their new homes around January after they go through their heartworm treatments. If either of them steal your heart though, don't hesitate to ask about a Foster to Adopt situation :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shout Out To Our Friends at Mutts n Stuff!

A big congratulations is in order for our friends over at Mutts n Stuff in St. Louis, Missouri, who announced yesterday that they are building a new facility to serve as a "halfway house" for pit bulls rescued from fight bust cases who have no where else to go after being released by courts.

The dogs in the cases are held as evidence until they are no longer needed by the courts, then they're released, often with no where to go. Suitable foster homes aren't always immediately available, and the dogs often require time to learn basic manners.

"Phoenix house will provide these dogs with a place to be cared for as they make the transition from victims to evidence to beloved family pets and breed ambassadors," said Gale Frey, founder of Mutts-n-Stuff.

The facility, named for Phoenix - a dog previously rescued my Mutts-n-Stuff, is being built on land donated by a previous adopter.

While construction for the building is already in progress, your donation is greatly appreciated. Please send your love and contribution to:

Mutts n Stuff
P.O. Box 187
Foristell, MO 63348

We are so happy for and proud of our friends at Mutts n Stuff! Maybe one day we can make something like this happen for bust dogs in our own area.

5 Plead Guilty In Missouri Fight Bust Case!

St. Louis, MO, September 14, 2009 -- The Humane Society of Missouri today confirms guilty pleas have been entered in connection to the July 8, 2009 multi-state federal dog fighting raid that resulted in the rescue of more than 500 fighting dogs. Federal agents made 26 arrests and dogs were rescued in 8 states.

According to a press release issued by the Humane Society of Missouri, four eastern Missouri men, Robert Hackman of Foley, Teddy Kiriakidis of Leasburg, Ronald Creech of Leslie and Michael Morgan of Hannibal plead guilty today in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to charges connected to the dog fighting raid. Another man arrested in connection with the dog fighting raid, Jack Ruppel of Eldon plead guilty to charges on September 4 in federal court in Jefferson City.

“We can confirm that five of the individuals charged with this gruesome form of animal abuse are being brought to justice,” said Kathy Warnick, president of the Humane Society of Missouri. “Today’s guilty pleas raise awareness that dog fighting is unacceptable, inhumane and illegal and will not be tolerated. The unprecedented scale of this investigation and rescue operation should alert the entire nation to what a horrible crime dog fighting is and what a dangerous and serious affect it can have on animals and communities.”

Warnick continued, “We sincerely hope these guilty pleas will result in sentencing that sends the message that this form of animal abuse will no longer be tolerated. Humane Society of Missouri staff and our many partners have selflessly sacrificed much of their personal lives in the pursuit of this investigation and the care of these dogs. We fervently desire that this historic effort marks the beginning of the end to dog fighting in the United States.”

“This was the largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history, but it will not be the last,” warned Michael Kaste, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in St. Louis. “This case sets precedence for the FBI along with our local, state and federal partners to aggressively root out underground dog fighting rings where people have absolutely no qualms about torturing man’s best friend for money and entertainment.”

More pictures of some of the dogs seized in this large scale effort can be seen on HSMO's online album.

We are hoping since the evil men have pleaded guilty they will forfeit the dogs very soon. We hope the dogs will be coming to us in the next few weeks...we cannot wait and lets hope the courts system acts quickly. NHPBR has been working with HSMO and Missouri based rescue group Mutts n Stuff to receive dogs and follow the progress of the cases, so please check back often for updates! We will let you know more as we are permitted.

Among the groups helping to care for the dogs are:

American Humane Association
Animal Humane Society
Atlanta Humane Society
Best Friends Animal Society
Brazos Animal Shelter
Brew City Bullies
Broken Hearts, Mended Souls Rescue
Denver Dumb Friends League
Hawaiian Humane Society
Hickey College
Humane Society of the United States
Humane Society of Central Illinois
Humane Society of Greater Kansas City
Kauai Humane Society
Michigan Humane Society
Mutts n Stuff
Oregon Humane Society
Pierce County Animal Response Team
Pit Bull Rescue Central
Seattle Humane Society
Sioux Empire Pit Bull Rescue

Other groups are expected to arrive in Missouri to begin helping with dogs this week. Included in these organizations is Our Pack, Inc's Tracey Cutler.

Should I Alpha Roll My Dog

It’s all over the internet, we read it everywhere - “You need to Alpha Roll your dog to show it who’s boss”. Most often we see and hear reference to the famous National Geographic TV star Cesar Millan, better known as “The Dog Whisperer”, but Cesar is not the only trainer who follows “old school” methods of dominance theory. What I believe these misguided folks are lacking in the understanding of the social structure (hierarchy) of the pack is the awareness that any species (including humans), if forced into a family structure, will struggle to form a social order. However, we don’t all run around beating each other up to show that we should be the “top dog”, and the only time we see this sort of violent dominance exerted among animals is when there is an intent to do serious harm or kill.

We came across another one of these such “advice” posts in in the comments section of our local newspaper’s online source, which prompted us to write this blog. (Here is a little snippet from the post that caused us alarm.)

“I strongly believe in "alpha-rolling" a dog. This can be done frequently and lovingly in the home to get the dog used to it. Put the dog on his back. Straddle the dog. Allow ZERO kicking. Hold them there until they completely relax. You'll hear an audible sigh when they "give it up." Gently push his head, so his forehead is against the floor. I straddle my dog this way, give her lots of coo's and affection once she's completely relaxed, which she does immediately now. Then when you are out, your dogs aren't acting optimally, put them in down. You can lay them on their sides and have them leave their heads against the ground. This becomes easier with time and shows the dogs who to listen to when you need them to.

This sounds silly, but if I rush up to my dog to correct her, she goes upside down IMMEDIATELY before I even touch her!"

(It’s interesting to see how this poster dressed up their description of how they use the alpha roll on their own dog… repeatedly. I’d like to know if the dog also wets herself when she immediately goes upside down. My money is on the answer to this being a resounding yes, however the poster does not offer this information.)

What is an Alpha Roll?

An Alpha Roll is the act of flipping your dog onto his back, and holding his throat. This was once thought to be the most effective and “natural” way to teach a dog that YOU are its boss and to respect you. Wrong!

The theory of dominance based training and the alpha roll came about from a series of short-term studies on wolves done back in the 1940’s. Being short-term studies, researchers focused on the most obvious parts of wolf life, mainly hunting, and drew conclusions about “wolf behavior“ based on a small percentage of wolf life/living. Further study of wolves in their natural habitat has revealed a much less physical system in establishing pack leadership. In these studies, it has been observed that wolves are more of a family unit (very similar to our relationships with our own families and domestic dogs) and that the “Alpha” or leader, becomes so by way of physiological intimidation and controlling resources rather than physical force. Much like we humans do with our own children when we instruct them to do something; ie Parent tells child to clean his room before going outside and then reinforces this direction by checking the child's room before allowing him to go play with his friends. This same method is applied in the way positive reinforcement trainers utilize a program called “Nothing In Life Is Free” or NILIF, where the confident leader controls all of the resources.

It has also been noted in more recent studies that early research and conclusion about the alpha roll was misinterpreted and misunderstood. If you watch closely, with either wolves or domestic dogs, the “alpha roll” is actually an appeasement ritual instigated by the subordinate or submissive canine. The higher ranking member then sometimes (though not always necessary) “pins” the muzzle (in its mouth) and the subordinate voluntarily rolls onto his or her back and offers its belly. In other words, what appears to be one animal forcing another is actually a behavior that is offered by the submissive canine and the animal is already on its way down before the dominant wolf or dog has made any physical contact at all.

"In watching the wolves,” says Pat Goodman, MS, a resident ethologist at Wolf Park, “I find it rare for them to forcibly push down and hold down a subordinate, a rival, a youngster. In the overwhelming majority of cases, rather than being pushed down, the wolf who ends up on the ground is already going down in response to psychological pressure."

“ In fact", says Ken McCort, a dog training and behavior consultant,“with wolves the inguinal presentation behavior is usually volunteered by a lower ranking wolf as sort of an appeasement to a dominant animal in the face of some threat or altercation”… and leaders in packs “control assets (possessions, territory) more often than physically controlling individuals.”

But you’re talking about wolves, not dogs…

Dr. Frank Beach preformed a 30-year study on dogs at Yale and UC Berkeley.

Nineteen years of the study was devoted to the social behavior of a dog pack. In his study he found that:

  • Male dogs have a rigid hierarchy.

  • Female dogs have a hierarchy, but it's more variable.

  • When you mix the sexes, the rules get mixed up. Males try to follow their constitution, but the females have "amendments."

  • Young puppies have what's called "puppy license (puppy breath is well recognized by older dogs)." They have a license to do most anything. Females are more tolerant of puppy license than males are The puppy license is revoked at approximately four months of age (teething). At that time, the older middle-ranked dogs teach the pup what is acceptable and not-- psychologically torturing it until it offers all of the appropriate appeasement behaviors and takes its place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. The top-ranked dogs ignore the whole thing.

  • There is NO physical domination. Everything is accomplished through psychological harassment.

  • It's all ritualistic.

  • A small minority of "alpha" dogs assumed their position by bullying and force. Those that did were quickly deposed. No one likes a dictator.

  • The vast majority of alpha dogs rule benevolently. They are confident in their position. They do not stoop to squabbling to prove their point. To do so would lower their status because...

  • Blustery-middle-ranked animals squabble. They are insecure in their positions and want to advance over other middle-ranked animals.

  • Low-ranked animals do not squabble. They know they would lose. They know their position, and they accept it.

  • Alpha" does not mean physically dominant. It means "in control of resources. Many alpha dogs are too small or too physically frail to physically dominate, but they have earned the right to control the valued resources. An individual dog determines which resources he considers important. An alpha dog may give up a prime sleeping place (or toy) because he simply couldn't care less.

Did you know?

When you Alpha Roll your dog, you are essentially performing an attack on your dog, which leaves you very vulnerable to being bitten in the face by the dog. Not only that, but you are also sending a message to your dog that you are not a confident leader and that you are not to be trusted, but rather you should be feared and not respected.

Alpha Rolling can also have disastrous consequences for dominant or fear aggressive canines. An alpha roll can increase aggression in an already dominant dog. In a submissive dog, the alpha roll will add more fear to the dog's psyche and can lead to submissive urination, loss of trust and possible fear biting.

In a study titled If You’re Aggressive, Your Dog Will Be, Too

Says Veterinary Study at the University of Pennsylvania
February 17, 2009

PHILADELPHIA –- In a new, year-long University of Pennsylvania survey of dog owners who use confrontational or aversive methods to train aggressive pets, veterinary researchers have found that most of these animals will continue to be aggressive unless training techniques are modified.

The study, published in the current issue of Applied Animal Behavior Science, also showed that using non-aversive or neutral training methods such as additional exercise or rewards elicited very few aggressive responses.

Another article can be found in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research.

Using “dominance” to explain dog behaviour is old hat
21 May 2009

A new study shows how the behaviour of dogs has been misunderstood for generations: in fact using misplaced ideas about dog behaviour and training is likely to cause rather than cure unwanted behaviour. The findings challenge many of the dominance related interpretations of behaviour and training techniques suggested by some TV dog trainers. Contrary to popular belief, aggressive dogs are NOT trying to assert their dominance over their canine or human “pack”, according to research published by academics at the University of Bristol’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research.

Dr Rachel Casey, Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Bristol University, said: “The blanket assumption that every dog is motivated by some innate desire to control people and other dogs is frankly ridiculous. It hugely underestimates the complex communicative and learning abilities of dogs. It also leads to the use of coercive training techniques, which compromise welfare, and actually cause problem behaviours."

And paraphrasing our friend Mary Harwelik CPDT-KA & Professional Behaviorist: “To sum up my opinion: the techniques Millan uses are outdated, overly harsh, borderline cruel (if not outright cruel), dangerous and can cause side-effects sometimes worse than the original behavior problem they were supposed to solve.”

Read more information about the History and Misconceptions of the Dominance Theory.

Fair, Firm, Consistent, Confident Leader

If you are proactive enough to control the things your dogs wants and needs, by definition you are in a sense the “alpha”.

To be your dogs leader and to have his respect; control the resources (high value life resources) by making good use of the natural, high ranking, and survival items, a dog needs like food, toys and attention. Make resources contingent on behavior—in the relationship between you and your dog. Does the dog want to be fed? Good-- ask him to sit first. Does she want to go outside? Sit first. Does the dog love to greet people? Sit first. Want to play? Sit first. Train your dog. This is the dog-human equivalent of the "revoking the puppy license". Use positive training and the mantra: you do something for me, and I’ll do something for you.

New Hope Pit Bull Rescue's training philosophy is one that uses both operant conditioning and classical conditioning while teaching fosters and dog owners how to improve the relationship between them and their dog through bonding and trust. We teach cooperation and obediance through the use of pain free consequences, positive reward based reinforcement and the implementation of the Nothing In Life Is Free program which teaches the dog that good things happen when he acts appropriately.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Help Them Live a "Charmed" Life!

Last week, we were contacted by a good Samaritan who didn't find just one, but THREE emaciated pittie girls in our local area. She contacted us via email and shared some startling pictures with us.

To the right here is Phoebe and Piper. Phoebe is laying on the ground looking exhausted. Piper just seems to have no clue what is going on.

These photos prompted us to try. Finding foster homes is SO tough and can be even tougher with a shaky economy but, we're also here to rescue and rehab the dogs that we can in our local area. So, our plea for help began last Saturday. We affectionately named the girls Piper, Phoebe, and Prue from the characters in the TV series Charmed :)

We've spent the last few days getting the evaluations done for the girls and were VERY lucky to find a foster home for one of the girls, Ms. Piper. During our eval, Piper made it very well known that she is going to be a clown who adores people and is going to have this zest for life, regardless of her past. She is buoyant and prancy and she just simply makes us giggle! And she's obviously a great lap dog :)

Take a look at Piper just being her silly self with complete strangers. She is part of the reason why we love this breed SO much!

Piper is the lucky one thus far. Even though it's been a week, we're still pining away where ever we can to find two more locals to help get Phoebe and Prue out of the shelter. These girls also did very well on their evaluations but are going to need a little more care. They are a low heartworm positive so they'll need a committed foster home ready to spend the next 6 months at least making sure these girls are healthy and ready to move into their forever home.

Prue is the other brindle female with an endearing white blaze on her face :) Unfortunately, she was in heat for our evaluation and was a little more interested in the boy dogs nearby than playing with toys with us, but she was very responsive to people and came back frequently asking for attention. She's a spry little girl who seems to have the same prance as Piper, but isn't as comfy yet to really let her little personality shine.

Check out Prue in her video below and please Apply to Foster her today!

Phoebe is probably in the worst shape of all three girls. She's having trouble gaining the weight that Piper and Prue have but she's definitely in much better spirits from a week ago.

This girl LOVES to melt into your lap and soaks up every bit of attention she can get. She also had a great, appeasing response to another female dog that came out to the play yard during her evaluation. She willingly offered her belly and was super polite. She, like Piper and Prue, came back willingly for more attention when called :)

And if you don't believe us when we say she wants to melt into your lap, we have just the video to share with you to prove it!

Isn't it amazing how these dogs can go from near skeletons, with no knowledge of their past and turn out to be such awesome and FORGIVING creatures? They ability of these dogs to overcome so much is one that we cherish deeply and one that keeps us persevering.

If you can open you home to Phoebe or Prue, please please please Apply to Foster one of them today! We provide basic supplies, pay for routine veterinary care, and assist with training and any necessary behavior modifications. Its a win win situation for all involved!

Phoenix Rising High Above His Past!

Remember our burned boy from a couple of weeks ago? He's in a new, more long term foster home now and this boy is healing up like the wind! Just to remind you, this is what Phoenix looked like when he was brought to the Charleston Animal Society. One of their most dedicated volunteers, Carol, wanted to help save his life so she offered to foster him until we could find a more permanent foster home.

Well, on Friday, September 4, 2009, Phoenix went home with Chelsea, a great girl with a drive to make a difference in Phoenix's life. He'll be getting tons of socialization in Downtown Charleston and other areas and we couldn't be happier :) With some antibiotics and some anti-scarring cream, Phoenix should be good to go in another month! Keep him in your thoughts and go visit downtown! You may just get your chance to meet him :) We'll keep you all updated on when he'll be coming to an event - unless he gets adopted first! Here's a video of this pretty boy showcasing the improvement of his injury. It doesn't seem to phase him at all!

We'd also like to go ahead and give a special thanks to DeDe, Timothy, Miriam, Maureen, Emily, William, and Oleg for their donations towards Phoenix's care. You guys made it possible!

Mickey's Even Finer Livin' in South Carolina!

Here's a long awaited update on Mickey Mouth! Mickey had his surgery back in June and after trying to get a handle on some pesky skin issues, he's ready to begin his heartworm treatments. Wish this boy all the luck in the world!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wish They All Could Be California Girls!

No, not really. We TRULY enjoy rescuing and rehabilitating these wonderful dogs! They enrich our lives as much as we do theirs and more!

We wanted to let you know tho, that Daisy will be joining the pack in Cali with Bad Rap after all! Yep! One of their dogs was adopted and a foster home with experience opened up, so someone will be driving Mrs. Daisy out to Donna and Tim where she'll be off to her new life and new family soon.

Good luck Daisy! We wish you the best that life has to offer from here on out girly!

The folks at the shelter where the dogs were held deserve a great big kudos too for stepping up to help these dogs and for all the hard work they put into caring for them. Now that the last dog is on her way to rescue, we can share the name and location of the shelter, and it would be FABULOUS if you would send them at least a small contribution to show your appreciation for taking such wonderful care of the Oklahoma bust dogs. The shelter is very small and rural, and they don't get a whole lot of support. As with most rural shelters, they are desperately in need of donations such as toys, kongs, balls, pet vitamins, leashes/collars, etc.

If you can, please send them a little something and be sure to include a Thank You note for their support in the Oklahoma bust case and care for the dogs.

Claremore Animal Shelter
815 W. Ramm Rd.
Claremore, Oklahoma 74017

Now, on to other news... there are still dogs out there in other states who need your/our help. There are dogs in Iowa that we hope to learn more about soon and when they'll be released, and there are dogs in Indiana ready to be released immediately. We are in desperate need of foster homes, crates and other supplies for these dogs, the Missouri dogs and for dogs in our local shelters right now who need our help.

If you want to be a part of something huge, please consider opening your home to foster one of these precious and deserving dogs. New Hope Pit Bull Rescue pays for all routine medical expenses and provides the basic supplies necessary as well as help with behavioral modification and training. To learn more about our program and to apply to become a foster home for a New Hope dog, please visit our foster policy page.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Help For Oklahoma Bust Dogs

As by now you've heard, back in July authorities confiscated over 400 dogs in more than 5 states across the country, making this the largest dogfighting bust in US history. New Hope Pit Bull Rescue has been fervently working with shelters to rescue dogs from the Missouri based bust. The dogs involved in the bust from Oklahoma have already been released by the courts and there are 2 dogs currently needing to come into rescue. We have partnered with Noble Ones Bully Breed Rescue to find foster homes for the dogs.

Molly Gibb, who has been working with the shelter and dogs in Oklahoma (and who is also foster mom to Alf, one of the dogs rescued from the property of NFL Quarterback Michael Vick), has set up a bank account to accept donations for the dogs. Donations to the account will cover the cost of medical care, food and transport for the dogs from Oklahoma to South Carolina, as well as other dogs that were confiscated in the Oklahoma bust. Please send donations to:

The Dasiy Fund & Molly Gibb
c/o Gibb Co.
P.O.Box 76504
Oklahoma City, OK 73147-2504

Please don't forget about the dogs in Missouri! Because of the high profile nature of the case, no information about these dogs can be released until the dogs are released from the courts. When the dogs are released to the Humane Society of Missouri, rescue groups are going to need to be at the ready to accept these dogs into their programs. New Hope Pit Bull Rescue was recently named in a press release from the Humane Society of Missouri. We currently have ONE spot ready for one of these dogs. Out of 400+ dogs seized in this case, it's but a drop of salt in the ocean. We can't take many, but we'd certainly like to bring in more than one. If you can help, apply to become a foster home today! Are you wondering why we're considering these dogs coming from so far out of our area? Read our blog post about how we feel helping these dogs will ultimately help our local dogs!

View our waiting list to see a few of the dogs that are on our urgent list right now. If you are interested in helping us save any of the dogs on our list (or even another in the future!) please fill out our Foster Application.

Topanga's Ready To Go Home!!

Maybe you haven't met Topanga yet, or possibly you've been following her story and are wondering what's new with this amazing bella. Check out her new video bio! She's been with us a while now folks, and she is finally ready to be adopted and go to her new forever home!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Penny Lane

Here's another video to pass around to your friends :) Can you believe that Penny has been in our program since September of last year?! She's such a cool, beautiful girl that we just don't get it! It's time to change that and get her home and settled in with a new family before the holidays :)

Phoenix - A Local Cruelty Subject

The evilness of some of the members of our society shines brightly this week off of the back of our newest intake, Phoenix. This beautiful chocolate boy with little left in the ear department was given his name as a symbol that he will "rise from the ashes" of his abuse.

We've made a video story to share with you all and please, share this with others. Phoenix's story sadly isn't a new one, but it is one that we can share far and wide in our areas to give credence to just how badly this breed can suffer and how wonderfully these dogs can bounce back and still love their people.

Please be warned that some of the images in the video may be disturbing. Phoenix is suffering from chemical burns from head to tail down his back. He's currently in temporary foster care in an effort to save him from euthanasia but we still need a more permanent home. Please consider fostering Phoenix today!

If you are interested in donating towards Phoenix's vet care, please use the widget below. Any amount donated in excess of his veterinary needs will be used to help other dogs in our program. Thank you!

Friday, August 14, 2009

What About Our Local Dogs?

With all the bust dog stuff in the air recently and the heavy push to find foster homes for the dogs currently being housed in Missouri, we've been asked a time or two "Why? Why are you going to go all the way to Missouri for dogs when there are so many in your home state that need you?"

Honestly, we fight ourselves with this very thought. But, there IS a reason we are still pushing to help with these dogs. It has nothing to do with money (yeah people think that these dogs will come with some cash HAH!). It has nothing to do with
glory. It does have EVERYTHING to do with making a change in our local area.

Did you know that back in June, 20+ dogs were seized from a property in Union, SC? Did you know that we tried to help? Did you know that not one of those dogs made it out alive? Once a pit bull enters the shelter there, they don't have a chance.

On August 9, 2009, seven people were arrested and 6 dogs were seized in a Sumter County, SC dog fighting bust. Of those 6, one died because of his injuries. Sumter has been trying to place restrictions on pit bulls and pit bull type dogs for several years now. Do these dogs have a chance either? A quote from the article linked above:

"...because of the brutal way the dogs were raised the only thing that can be done to make sure they are not a danger is to put them to sleep.

"These won't have a chance to be adopted out," said Dailey."

The southern states are full of these types of busts, but many of them don't make the news. Hundreds of dogs without a chance because they are pit bulls and victims of cruelty. These busts are more than just "dog fight busts." They are cruelty cases. But sadly for many, the "dog fight bust" term holds people back from helping. It introduces negative connotations about these dogs and their temperament. We need to change that.

By stepping out of our immediate area to help with a larger case such as the Missouri-based dog fighting raid, we are introducing new resources to our own area. Dogs from these "fight busts" are not much different than dogs pulled from area shelters. In speaking with other organizations who have helped these dogs, they actually suggest that they are no harder to work with because of their exceptional desire to please their people.

We want to change the negative perception surrounding these dogs. We want to help the public understand just how amazing they are. We want the public to see even MORE dogs come out of these situations earning and wearing their badges of merit by receiving their Canine Good Citizen certification, becoming a therapy dogs, and even simply becoming cherished family pets that can present themselves as breed ambassadors.

We hope by taking a few dogs from MO or another "fight bust" and showing the individuals in our area, in the southern states that these dogs CAN and DO make great companions, regardless of their past will be enough to save SO many more here, that may not have had the opportunity before. It's about changing perception and moving away from the common stereotypes.

The Missouri dogs, if released from the courts, will need to have rescue ready for them. If you can open your home to a dog in need, please fill out our Foster Application. We need people to commit NOW because we will only have one opportunity to save these dogs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Hope Pit Bull Rescue To Help With HSMO Bust Dogs

A press release was issued this morning that New Hope Pit Bull Rescue, along with several other rescues, is working with Humane Society of Missouri to care for and eventually receive some of the more than 400 dogs that were seized in the biggest dogfight bust in US history.

We are very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to help with the Missouri bust case. We look forward to putting our arms around these dogs, training them and placing them into loving forever homes where they will live out their days in the happiness they deserve.

Right now we have ONE confirmed foster home and hundreds of dogs needing a place to go. How do we decide which dog will be lucky enough to get that one spot? We NEED foster homes to help us take these dogs so we can work with them. If you can help and are interested in fostering a dog, please visit our web site to learn more about our foster program and to apply to become a foster home today or email us at!

Rescue groups involved in the effort include:
Mutts-n-Stuff (Missouri)
Our Pack, Inc. (California)
Pit Bull Rescue Central (an online rescue resource)
New Hope Pit Bull Rescue (South Carolina)

Dogs involved in this case still need other rescue groups to step forward for them. Groups or individuals interested in receiving some of these animals should immediately contact the Humane Society of Missouri at 314-802-5712.