Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rest In Peace Sweet Fay

We are very sad to announce that Fay from the Missouri raid this year has died. She had been undergoing surgeries to correct her mouth where much of her lips had been missing. This had presented a myriad of health issues for Fay.

Fay underwent her second surgery and all went very well. Unfortunately after the surgery she went into cardiac arrest. All appropriate percautions had been taken prior to the surgery by the vet and truly nothing could have prevented this tragic event. There is no blame here, well, except toward the people who used her for dog fighting that ravaged her little body.
Thank you to Gale at MuttsNStuff for your love, care and peace you gave to this beautiful angel. Thank you Dr. Marcy for you love and help you gave this wonderful girl. Thank you to HSMO for giving this sweet dog a chance. She touched the hearts and souls of many and will truly be missed.

Animal abuse such as dogfighting, neglect and needless lack of simply caring for the animals that God made US in charge of needs to stop....now. The obvious evidence of abuse that Fay showed along with her courage in spite of it MUST give us a concept of what real courage and humanity is. It's sadly ironic to me that in this case as with many others it's the animal showing the human how they should be.

Rest in peace beautiful Fay,you will forever be in our hearts

Marthina McClay, CPDT
Animal Behavior College Mentor Trainer
Certified Tester/Observer for Therapy Dogs, Inc.
AKC Certified CGC Evaluator

Monday, December 28, 2009

Life's Peachy for Peachy

Peachy came to us from an abuse case in Georgia. She was saved by a fantastic woman that we've blogged about before named Gloria Wheatley from Washington Wilkes County Animal Shelter. Here's the blog that we did on her story. Peachy's Blog

Julie and Tom are great folks with two young kids who came to us wanting a dog. They were interested in Peachy so they came to our Sunday class to see her and let her interact with their children. I explained that Peachy was very young and needed lots of training and structure. Further I told them that having young kids can make this even harder, especially when both people are working full time jobs. Young kids love to goof around and have fun with the dogs which is great and we want that but it can really undo training sometimes if children and dogs are not well managed.

Being that Julie and Tom already had a dog that was 11 years old they knew how to handle dogs very well. Instead of losing interest these wonderful people said, "great, we'll come to class without a dog and learn." Hmmmm, there they were every week in class with their Starbuck's coffee asking all the smart questions and soaking up everything they could about Pit Bulls and dog training.

Eventually they began handling Peachy in class. They were awesome with her. Peachy tuned right into them and was so willing to please them. Julie and Tom learned so much and did so well that we decided to let them take her home for a foster to adopt period.

Peachy now comes to class so well behaved and better than ever. They have done a fantastic job with her. Julie and Tom's kids are excellent with Peachy as well.

Their adoption has been finalized and they get free CGC certification and training for Peachy for the rest of her life. They still come to class, rain or shine every week and offer to help Our Pack in any way they can. They really already have helped Our Pack AND the breed so much by being such great people with their girl and their children. If all owners were like this the world would be a better place for all dogs.

Dogs of all breeds need to be researched before bringing them into one's home. Estimation of the work involved needs to be assessed and finding the right match is so important. Taking time to learn about a breed is great but learning about the individual dog you are about to adopt is essential.

Here's Peachy with her human brother now living the Peachy life. This right here is why we do this work.

Marthina McClay, CPDT
Animal Behavior College Mentor Trainer
Certified Tester/Observer for Therapy Dogs, Inc.
AKC Certified CGC Evaluator

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Michael Vick gets an award???

Interview with Michael Vick here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x7309186


Interview here with Leo - formerly owned by Michael Vick:

Interviewer: Tell us, Leo, what is your life like now after all you've been through?

Leo: Well, I feel loved and I have a job that I feel I was born to do. Before, I didn't have this job or such a feeling of self worth.

Interviewer: Leo, many people feel that you have courage. You won an award called the Animals are Kind to People Award. Do you feel it took courage to achieve this after everything you've been through?

Leo: Yes, I feel that many dogs would have such a tough time living the life I once lived. They wouldn't be able to handle and endure what I have. I did bounce back and I don't hold any grudges against anyone. I'm just simply proud of who and what I am now.

Interviewer: Leo, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today. We are proud of you and hope that life just continues to go better for you now that you've achieved so many goals and have gotten back into the swing of things.

Leo: Thanks so much for taking the time and caring enough to interview me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dog Safety Tips

Our Pack training class

Sunday morning we had our usual training class. Then we had a play date with a couple of dogs that have played together many times. All were having fun.

Then one dog stopped playing, vomited and collapsed. After vomiting she laid down and literally would not get up. It was warmer than normal and in fact I was sweating a bit, so we thought she was overheated. There was a little wading pool so we splashed her with some water which seemed to help. We noticed her gums were extremely pale.

She started to come around a bit after splashing her with water. She was rushed to an emergency vet and was kept for several hours for observation. By the time she got to the vet she had come out of her collapse quite a bit. She's doing fine now and all back to normal. It turned out that it was most likely a bee sting or spider bite. So watch out for those buggers. Dogs don't tolerate bee stings and some bug bites very well.

The reason for this blog is the vet told us all something that we didn't know. If a dog is overheated, his gums are bright red. If he's in shock, as was this case, then the gums are pale.

Either way we were told that splashing the water on her saved the day as the water would get adrenaline going to aid in circulation for shock and if she had had heat stroke this would have cooled her off. However, I found this info empowering so immediate first aid may be more effective.

Marthina McClay, CPDT Animal Behavior College Mentor Trainer
Certified Tester/Observer for Therapy Dogs Inc.
AKC Certified CGC Evaluator

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Denver Post Column on Breed ID Study Misses the Point

Scary. This Denver Post article makes the point of not banning breeds that have been ID'd the 'eye ball' way BUT "needlessly killing....". Gaw, do we need to needlessly kill ANY breed? There is NO aggressive BREED! Not! Are they saying if they WERE Pit Bulls then it wouldn't be needless?

Read the article here:http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_14005785#ixzz0ZqP9mhIm

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pit Bull introductions

Here's a little update on our MO dog, Jakob, from his foster person. This is what we like to see. Lots of intros and very well-managed play before getting to this point. We make sure that play sessions aren't rude free-for-alls. These guys have picked up good habits from each other and have taken cues from their wonderful foster people too.

Pit Bull intros.
Video by Phil Boucher

Monday, December 14, 2009

Beautiful Video of the Missouri Bust Dogs

Here's a wonderful video of the Missouri dogs. One of my favorite photos of all time is of our Stella being cuddled by Gale. Stella.....innocence. Beautiful photography by Lynn Terry.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Educate, Educate, Educate

Rescue, rescue, rescue. All well and good, but without education, we'll be rescuing till the cows come home, and then maybe we'll have to work on them too!

Today I talked to a woman from a major publication about doing an article on Our Pack and our former Michael Vick dog, Leo.

Here is Leo educating.

I can't say which publication, the article is not through editing yet and won't be out until March. But during our conversation she told me that she had always thought Pit Bulls were those "bad" dogs. She said that before she talked to me, this is what she thought but that she has completely changed her opinion about the dogs after our discussions and looking at the articles on our web site.

I have realized that the media has been "educating" our public on the Pit Bull breed. Well, ok, not "educate" - but 'ya know. One reason Our Pack rescues out-of-state dogs is that it's an opportunity to educate the world about how wonderful these dogs can be. I see that the media NEEDs to be educated so they in turn can educate their audiences with the correct information.

I'm hoping with all my heart, after hearing what this woman had to say, that this is happening.......REAL education. She writes for many, many publications and there is an opportunity to change perceptions. Ok, lots of work to do, but I hope things are getting better.

Likewise, I see wonderful pics of people and their Pit Bulls on our Facebook page, and this is education in and of itself. I would like to thank all of you who post your pics, and share your thoughts and stories about your dogs as family members. This IS true education, as it's not preaching, it's just showing the world the truth.

Our bust dogs are showing the world the truth, which is why we do this work. When you guys speak out on our blogs or Facebook page, you show your support for the dogs. Thanks everyone for your support and help in educating the right way about this breed.

I hope we can keep up the good work and keep telling our positive stories of our loyal, faithful companions. I don't see many other channels to help the breed. Also, I think if we are willing to learn from our dogs we can go far.

Marthina McClay, CPDT
Animal Behavior College Mentor Trainer
Certified Tester/Observer for Therapy Dogs, Inc.
AKC Certified CGC Evaluator

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Teddy Kiriakidis, Ronald Creach, Michael Morgan, Robert Hackman plead guilty to dog fighting

By Mike Garrity

KSDK -- Four eastern Missouri men have been sentenced for federal crimes involving dog fighting.

The convictions resulted from the largest coordinated multistate raids on dog fighting in U.S. history.

Teddy Kiriakidis, 50, of Leasburg, and Ronald Creach, 34, of Leslie, were sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in federal prison.

Thirty-eight-year-old Michael Morgan of Hannibal and 56-year-old Robert Hackman of Foley each were sentenced to one year in prison.

Each man pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Professor Dexter on Good Manners

Dexter's Corner

"Will he ever play with other dogs?"

That's a question I get asked many times as a canine behavior counselor. Sometimes dogs just don't like other dogs. This can happen with any dog of any breed.

Some people may want their dogs to love all other dogs, but their dog may not want that. Usually this is something that can be very easily managed, unless it's really inappropriate and over-the-top aggression that is not Pit Bull or other breed-temperament correct.

Good leash manners classes really help, as do daily walks in environments on-leash that help desensitize the dog to other dogs while on leash. The dog can at least learn to have good manners around other dogs while on leash and do very well.

It is normal for dogs to vary greatly in their reactions, good or bad, to other dogs. If a dog doesn't like other dogs, this doesn't make him a bad dog at all. Usually these guys are really, really super with people.

Here at Our Pack, we see dogs as individuals, not lumped into a category. Some dogs really like other dogs. Some of these come from fight busts. Others that don't like other dogs may come from a shelter or be someone's pet. OR, dogs from fight busts can be very sensitive to other dogs. Whether from a bust or a shelter or a home, this varies. So making an assessment first is key.

Many times we see a gray area where the dog is not aggressive but not particularly skilled, either. This is true of many dogs that have come from abuse or neglect cases. They didn't get a chance to go to puppy-to-puppy "social school", and so they never learned to greet, play, interact and interpret communication signals from other dogs. This is where their environment has sort of created a malnourished soul, if you will. Genetics may influence behavior as well.

Many dogs are great at teaching these dogs the right way to communicate, in fact we're often better at it than people. It's in them to do the right thing, and a nice balanced dog is the perfect one to bring it out.

Here's Hailey after working with Jakob for a while...well, I think he did pretty well after some instruction. At first, he didn't know what the heck to do.

Hailey and Jakob were slowly introduced and set up for success. They got to know each other gradually, and we guided their interactions so the dogs were encouraged to play with each other appropriately and reinforced for that. (Click here to learn more about dog-to-dog intros.)

Note: All play sessions should be supervised with all dogs of all breeds. Remember to separate animals when you leave as well. Call a professional if you are having problems.

Professor Dexter
Expert in Dog Behavior Challenges
Shelter Volunteer
Well Loved Family Member

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Order Your Our Pack 2010 Calendar!

The Our Pack calendar is here just in time for the holidays! Order one for yourself and one for a friend, they make great gifts! We'd like to give a big thanks to the photographers who donated their time to take these gorgeous photos. To order just click on the calendar image below:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Another Missouri Raid Dog Comes Home to Our Pack

Remember this photo of the dogs being taken from the yard during the large Missouri dog fighting raid? This girl you see here is being carried out to safety.

Here's Tracey Cutler when she was on site where the Missouri bust dogs have been staying. With her is Stella, beautiful Stella. Celebrate her arrival with us, she's a good girl.

We're so happy to see so many of these wonderful dogs getting out and into rescue.....look for updates on Stella.
Thanks to HSMO and Gale at Mutts-n-Stuff for their assistance in helping us get our wonderful girl!