Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy Endings

Once upon a time there was a sweet little dog who found herself at the local shelter. She was one of those wiggle butts who says hey, pet me, come and see me with her entire body. Unfortunately she also had some spots on her skin so the shelter had to run tests to make sure she wasn't contagious. In the mean time most of her interactions were through the kennel but that butt never stopped wiggling.

Finally she was deemed to not be contagious but by then she was also full of unspent energy from waiting in the kennels. Let's just say that Heidi (which is what I had started calling her) did not have the best leash manners in the world. Can we say leash reactive??? In spite of this I convinced (ok, maybe begged just a little) Marthina to go and check her out. Gino the budda dog came along to see help with the evaluation. After a rough start she actually did quite well and into OurPack she came! She came into our foster program and we could all see her potential. She had great focus, when she wasn't doing the zoomies, and she won many hearts but she would take a special home who wanted to work with her and continue her forward progress.

Fast forward....a goofy choclatey brown pit bull named Choco and his mom and dad had been trying to find a new addition to their household. Look at this pooooor lonely guy. Well as luck would have it, they saw Miss Heidi's picture and thought they may make a good match.

Choco seemed to be head over heals for her

Thankfully his mom and dad were too!! It was such a good match for two goofy young dogs and fabulous pet parents.

We are thrilled to announce that Heidi is in her forever home...could it end any better!!

Thank you Alan and Celeste for giving our special girl such a perfect home!

pictures courtesy of Stephanie Lamm and Celeste Uy

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How did a schnauzer lover end up working with all these pit bulls?

Four years ago my beloved schnauzer had passed away. I really missed being with bigger dogs but my living situation didn't allow them so I decided to volunteer at the shelter. I signed up, went through the orientation and then the training began. In my naivete I assumed that I would be hanging around with poor perfectly behaved Labs and Golden Retrievers who through no fault of their own had ended up homeless. Hmm...well not so much. What I did find at that time were the not so perfectly well behaved labs and a fairly large population of pit bulls and mixes. Like so many others I had heard the horror stories on the news about maulings and admitted to the staff that I wasn't too sure about these dogs who looked so friendly on the surface. They advised me to read up about their true temperament and just take my time getting to know some of them before making any decisions. Well, as luck would have it I was asked to help with a doggie play group one quiet Sunday. My job as the only volunteer in the group was to go and get the dogs to bring them to the doggie gym. I may have been uneasy, but I was also stubborn and I wasn't about to admit to this much younger staff that I couldn't do that. As luck would have it they asked me to go and get Hailey. A young energetic but very sweet brindle pit bull. I went in her kennel and put the leash on her, she immediately felt that it was her job to let me know that her most vicious trait was her unabashed desire to lick my face which she proceeded to do. Back to the gym we went and she made a bee line to my lap, covering me with slobbery kisses.

Right then I made up my mind to just get over it and give these dogs a chance, and I can honestly say that they have not disappointed me. There is no other dog that can wiggle their entire body in such pure joy at the sight of a person who is going to share a few moments of love with them. It didn't matter that I wasn't going to be the one to take them home, I was there at that moment and that made them happy, which always made me happy too.

Fast forward a couple of years and lo and behold walking down the streets of Campbell was Hailey and her mom. After all of that time, Miss Hailey, much to the chagrin of her mom, jumped up on me and once again slobbery kisses were in order! Her mom is Marthina, and the two of us became fast friends. She brought me up to date on Hailey, who was now a Certified Therapy Dog, and living with a less than sweet but still very cute chihuahua/pug named Daisy. Soon we were partners at the shelter and saw that there were many other pit bulls who needed our help. After much discussion, and a ton of work especially on Marthina's part, OurPack, Inc was born.

I guess the point of this rambling is that if I hadn't decided to give this one dog a chance and get to know her as an individual animal who was and is so full of love, I would have missed out on all of the dogs to follow. I wouldn't have seen Dexter become Hailey's brother, or Carter and Rachel blossom in their new homes. I would have missed the smiles that follow Leo and Zoey and now Charlotte who began their lives living in the world of dog fighters and now bring joy to patients nursing homes and Cancer treatment centers. To me....that is a lot to miss.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pit Bulls & Picasso

We are so proud to have our webmaster as the "Picasso of Pets!" Without the very talented Stephanie Lam we'd be nowhere, no-how!

Check out this fabulous article in the Mercury News about this fantastic artist that we are so proud to have as a member of Our Pack.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Yet ANOTHER Fight Bust Dog Turned Therapist Extraordinaire!

Not just our former Michael Vick dog, Leo, but now Zoe too!

Break out the streamers and balloons!! Zoe, our Missouri fight bust dog, has also just passed all of her tests for therapy certification. She now regularly visits a rest home in San Jose, California, and puts smiles on every face she greets.

Zoe came to us from the Missouri Humane Society ( This wonderful shelter took in dogs from a Stoddard County dog fighting bust late last year.

When we first got Zoe she was very shut down and wanted to approach everyone on her belly.…poor thing. But no more of that for this girl! Now, she’s very outgoing, loves everyone she meets, and has regained the inherent confidence that we see in these fantastic creatures.

If that’s not enough good news, Zoe was adopted recently by her foster mom, Cindy. Yay! We think these two are perfect for each other - as you can see in the photo. :)

Congrats to Zoe and her new mom Cindy!

Cindy on Zoe:
"I knew the moment Zoe was in my heart. About an hour after I brought her home for the first time, she crawled into my lap and let me hold her for over an hour. She leaned against me and I remember thinking, 'How could I ever let her go?' Shortly after that I was discussing adoption with Marthina, founder of Our Pack. Zoe gets along great with my 2 Labradors and has been a wonderful playmate to the new Pit Bull I am now fostering. "

How terrific is that!

Stay tuned: we have MORE fight bust dogs that will be certified and working as therapy dogs shortly. (Ya know, these dogs are simply cut out for this work). Their stories will amaze you!