Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another World...and The Folks Who Change It

There is an animal control and shelter in Georgia out in a small neck of the woods called Washington Wilkes County Animal Control & Shelter. Gloria Wheatley and her family, including her granddaughter Amy, and volunteers Bonnie and Del Branch, and their daughter Grace Ann, are at the shelter nearly every day working. They have numerous dog walkers who devote several hours each week to spending time with their dogs. They all have worked hard for many years to change the world for the animals in their community through this shelter.

This girl here they were calling Beauty:

Beauty was taken from a dogfighting bust a while back along with many other dogs. Gloria et al took nine of the dogs in the case, but the grand jury failed to indict. The dogs, of course, were returned to the owner. There was no other choice. Shortly after that, the owner was arrested on drug charges. He still remains in jail to this day.

This was before the 2008 Georgia dogfighting law was enacted. Gloria says, "Since then, law enforcement and the district attorney have been most helpful and intent on doing an excellent job of protecting these animals. We are just a small shelter, with a few devoted people trying to make a difference."

A small shelter that works tirelessly taking dogs to schools to educate children and adults in their community on the humane treatment of animals. They take abused dogs in week after week, watching as they transform from shut-down dogs to outgoing dogs that learn to love life because of all of the good handling and wonderful attention given by this shelter.

The next girl you see here is Peachy. She is from the "new world" in Georgia. She was also taken from a recent dogfighting bust. Peachy's case is still open at the time of this writing, BUT, since Beauty's case, the world has changed for Pit Bulls, and apologies have been made to Gloria and her staff for what they all went through. Peachy and other Pit Bulls like her have a much better chance at a new life now.

Now, in Peachy's case, all are working to convict. This owner surrendered his dogs, so Gloria was able to give both of these beautiful girls to Our Pack. We are waiting to hear the outcome of the case in August, and in the meantime our girls are getting walks, training, and play with children and other dogs.

Beauty will go to schools here to share her wonderful soul with young people and to show them the love that she's capable of giving, regardless of her past. Even though her previous "owners" weren't capable of the same. Here is Beauty playing with her new doggie friend Bullet

Peachy will train for CGC and therapy work.
We will keep you posted on their progress. Check back for updates on these two girls.

Gloria, her family and those devoted volunteers continue to help their community and the animals in it. The circle back is that they are creating another world from their little neck of the woods, not just for our dogs, but the people who grow up there and learn what humanity is and what heart is. When our girls arrived, I could tell immediately that they had the best handling that humans could offer. I could see that Gloria and all there loved these dogs like they were their own. Thank you all for saving the lives of our beautiful new girls and making another world for our dogs. We are so happy to have these dogs in our program! They will give back to you no doubt. Many thanks, Our Pack crew, Our Pack dogs, Peachy and Beauty.

— Marthina

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vick Reinstated, But Don't Worry, Leo

The news came yesterday that Michael Vick is back in the NFL, with some conditions. Many of you have followed the story of Leo, one of Vick's dogs that we rescued and who has since happily taken to his new life as a therapy dog. When I saw how quickly Leo wanted to be in a pack and be accepted, I was amazed. I was amazed because of where he came from and what he must have endured. Leo has a soul. You can see it in his eyes. He has a heart; you can see it in the way he wants to do the right thing. Not because it's going to "get him somewhere" or because he'll get money, but because it's right and right for all involved. That's what I saw in Leo when he first came to us. I don't see that in people who abuse animals. It's sad how the animals who are abused have more heart and feeling than the people who hurt them.

Leo is safe now. He will never be hurt again. He will never be forced to do something that is so unnatural for his kind. He will never wonder what's going to happen to him next, good or bad. Living in a yard with nothing to do, day in and day out, those days are over. Leo's days are full of play with his brothers and sisters, walks, training, cuddling, smooching and plain ole nap time on a cushy bed after fun play in the yard. I promise this is the way he will live out his days.

I want to share this photo that wonderful two-time Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Carol Guzy took on a regular morning at my house. This is how Leo starts his day, every day, after breakfast. Dream a little dream Leo, life is one.

— Marthina

Monday, July 27, 2009


We are thrilled to announce that our dear sweet Raven has officially been adopted! Here's a picture of her with her mom on her adoption day! Way to go Raven and thank you so much R & C for giving our girl such a wonderful new life!!

Interested in adopting a pit bull of your own? Not sure if a pit bull is really the right fit for you? Contact us for details on how to foster a pit bull, or visit our Foster page here.

New Training Article!

Many of you have asked us for information on how to properly introduce your dog to a new dog. Whether you're bringing a new dog into your family or just meeting a friend for a doggie play date, how you introduce your dogs can make a huge difference in how they interact with each other. Check out our new article on the subject here: Dog to Dog Intros.

Foster Families Needed!

Help Rescue One of the Missouri Fight Bust Dogs! As many of you already know, the Humane Society of Missouri is coordinating the rescue of dogs in connection with what is believed to be the largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history -- over 400 dogs were rescued in the multi-state raid, and are awaiting evaluation. The Our Pack team is talking with the HSMO to help rescue and rehabilitate these dogs. While we work with them, we need foster families to give these pups a place to stay. Opening your home to a foster dog is a very valuable and rewarding way to contribute to Our Pack's goals and to help our Pit Bulls become and stay adoptable. For more details on how to foster or to volunteer, visit our site: Our Pack Foster Homes or email us at

Friday, July 24, 2009

Missouri Bust Dogs Need Help

My name is Zoe. I came from the Stoddard County fight bust in Missouri a couple of years ago. I was lucky enough to find a fantabulous home here in California with a great mom and two lab brothers. Now there has been an even bigger bust and HSMO (Humane Society of Missouri) is housing 400 dogs. It gets really warm there in the summer and they are in desperate need of fans to keep the dogs cool and comfortable while they are being cared for. Before I came to Our Pack to get adopted and become certified as a therapy dog, here is a link to a local rescue MuttsandStuff that helped me when I was in that awful situation and is helping with these dogs too.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another Former Michael Vick Dog Goes Home......Leo's brother???

Thanks to Best Friends for putting me in touch with HD's new family. Here is an update on what we think may be Leo's brother??
Handsome Dan


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Life with a Bust Dog

As we go forward with the biggest fight bust in history what will happen when a very large number of dogs DO pass their evaluation? Many people will have to step up and do more than just talk the talk. They will need to walk the walk and bring these dogs into their homes and rescue programs. I have no doubt that even within this group there will be a wide variation between the dogs, but I will almost guarantee that with many of them their house manners will be less then stellar.

When Leo first came to live with us I really didn’t know what to expect, I just knew we needed to help. Believe me, he didn’t come all trained to be a Therapy Dog. Of course he came with his awesome people loving personality that's a must in therapy work that can't be trained. But I don’t think he had ever been in a house, with carpeting and furniture and clearly not other dogs. His house manners were deplorable. I even had my moments thinking what the heck did I get myself into??? He spent lots of time in the crate at first getting lots of good yummy treats when the other dogs were around. When he was out he didn’t sit still very long and he really thought that jumping on everyone was what he was supposed to do, after all his name was Bouncer when he came to us. The other dogs weren’t sure what he was all about either and greetings were slow and managed at all times. Interactions were limited and I made sure that all of his encounters were positive. It's funny, dogs aren't like some people, they don't profile or group, they see what's actually there. They just saw a dog.

Sooner than any of us expected his true personality and people connectedness became even more apparent. He quickly flourished with kindness and calmness and positive reinforcement. He loved learning and also much to our surprise, he loved playing with the other dogs. He didn’t always know how to at first, and thankfully my dogs are used to rude, undersocialized foster dogs coming in, and I always managed playtime, but he got it and you could see the joy in his eyes.

Once he settled into life in a home it also became even more apparent that he would make a great therapy dog.( I think these guys are born for this work. Bust dogs seem to be the best at it. )I worked on his leash manners and his greetings and when we took him for his first visit to a local hospital he was like an old pro! The strange noises, big odd-looking equipment, and elevators even a door alarm didn’t seem to faze him. He met people in uniform, people in wheel chairs, kids, staff members even a person laying down and he just seemed to say “Hi, my name is Leo – how can I help?”

Leo isn’t the only bust dog we have worked with, and each one had their own unique personality and challenges. Zoe is confident and full of herself but oddly enough she started out flat on the ground worried about her new world. Within days she came around as wonderfully sassy as they come.

Charlotte wants to cuddle and kiss all the time

and Violet

needs to take her own sweet time adjusting to new situations, not as sassy as Zoe. All of them are successfully living in homes with other dogs as a cherished family member. Zoe and Charlotte are also therapy dogs.

Dogs from these cases can very widely in personality. This is one good reason ALL the dogs from these cases need to be evaluated as separate individuals not items from *a* "case." Even in the SAME case temperaments vary greatly. Remember environment influences a dog's response to it. Most dogs change rapidly and greatly after being put in a good spot. We have absolute proof of this.

The work in these cases is so worth it. Hopefully the dogs in the Missouri bust will get the opportunity to find a new life that they so deserve. It can be done, with hard work and dedication let’s all keep our fingers, toes and paws crossed that they will be given a chance.The lack of resources and real homes to start a new life in is really what can hurt the dogs in the end, not so much an evil witch with a needle. Yes, in some cases this happens. But from what I know of one of the people in charge of this situation at HSMO I don't think this is the case.

I really hope that this does not come off preachy. That's not what I wanted to do. I wanted to just share my experiences with this sort of thing in the hopes of helping anyone reading this and to help more dogs. I know that many people just simply can not take in dogs and that's so understandable. There are other ways to help by donating Kongs, hard toys etc. From what I've heard this is very needed right now to help keep the dogs sane. Gale at Mutts N Stuff has an outlet to donate at

I do hope that many, many other wonderful rescues can step up and find space for the deserving dogs in this case when due process is served of course.

It's hard work and with some dogs and it takes time. I certainly don't want to cherry coat anything here either but it's a wonderful feeling to see a bust dog come in to your home and have bad house manners, wonder what things are, maybe even be concerned or shy about what's happening to him with his limited life experience and see him blossom into a wonderful loving friend, a family companion......a great dog that he already had the potential to be in the first place.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Couch Time

Here's our shelter partner Timmy taking some time away from the shelter getting some much needed social party time with Posie.
Posie's teaching him how to be a good player, and he is a really good student!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Surviving Cancer - Gettng Through The Muck

I recently had a conversation with one of the patients that Leo visited at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Treatment Center in Mountain View. Thank you Ruth for being such an inspiration and an advocate for what these dogs can do.

Here is an excerpt from that conversation:
"Having cancer opened so many doors for me. You get through the muck then you realize what you have and what you can do.

I think surviving cancer is in the same realm as what Leo's (former Michael Vick dog) life was like. Going through the muck and coming out the other side. Leo and I are survivors, getting through what you have to get through and having the courage to go on.

As a former patient at the cancer treatment facility I can say that Leo brings so much joy during treatment. You're going through the treatments in order to survive and your just joyful and uplifted to have him visit you. He's so gentle and sweet. Just petting him takes you out of where you are. He makes me feel so good. He makes people smile and it's just a great feeling.

Thank you Our Pack for taking something out of a negative and putting it into positive, just like I did with cancer."

Ruth Adams
Cancer survivor & Leo's patient

There was a very large bust recently. In the wake of that, I don't want to forget the value, love, good energy and hope that could be buried under that "muck" as Ruth put it. Please pass it along to get help for these victims just as Leo got help and is now helping others.

Humane Society of Missouri has the story about this huge fight bust.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A "S.T.A.R." is born

Our Pack's new AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy!

Our Miss Bubbles now Bree who was one of our partner dogs with the Humane Society Silicon Valley has passed her AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy test.

She went from this little pup
to this happy girl in her new home.

This is quite an accomplishment as she was quite the teenager. Her people have done such a wonderful job with her. They plan on continuing training with her which helps to ensure a better future for this girl. Smart!

Bree was already a very lovely and affectionate dog to start with. BUT her manners were deplorable! With dedication and consistency of good training she's come a long way from where she was. Her people are thrilled to have her in their lives as Bree is to be in theirs. Congrats and love to all!

Also, find out more about Animal Farm Foundation's wonderful CGC incentive programs at


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pit Bulls & Swimming Pools - Have a Happy 4th!

Enjoy our Tinkerbell here playing fetch while swimming in the pool.
Hmmm, sounds like fun!

Have a happy 4th of July!!

The OurPack Crew