Love-A-Bull King After Rescue

Rescuing King and Tiger

By Kailyn LaVoie, Love-A-Bull Board Secretary

In rescue, we are oftentimes approached to step in when dogs are being neglected and/or abused. Some common scenarios that we hear include:

“My neighbor mistreats their dog. They are kept outside all the time without adequate shelter or veterinary care.”

“My roommate does not take care of their dog. They are left in their crate all the time. I do my best to walk them when I can, but I’m moving out next week and I worry they will never get let out.”

“There are dogs being fought in my neighborhood. Please save them!”

Unfortunately, as a rescue, we do not have the authority to step in in any of the scenarios. Our job comes once the dogs have gone through a legal process. This is how we met two of our special Adopt-A-Bulls, King and Tiger.

Love-A-Bull Tiger Before Rescue

Tiger, before being rescued into our Adopt-A-Bulls program

Tiger’s rescue story

Tiger came on our radar in the summer of 2020. A small, rural shelter in Texas reached out regarding a dog that had come through their care on four separate occasions, each time in worse shape than the time before. Because of the stray hold rules for the shelter, the family had a certain amount of time to reclaim Tiger and the shelter had to comply.

On the fourth time, after seeing the weight he had lost and the condition of his skin and teeth, the staff knew they had to find a way to save him. While they had been documenting his condition each time and reporting to the authorities, they also realized that Tiger could not be reclaimed in the required timeframe because the person responsible for him was incarcerated. They took this opportunity to connect with Love-A-Bull, and the rest is history!

This boy was transported to his adoring foster family that taught him about love and security and helped him to become healthy. He then met his forever dad who loved his calm, gentle demeanor. Tiger now enjoys daily walks around the neighborhood, the most beautiful, shiny coat a dog could imagine and a quiet, easy life that every dog deserves to know.

King’s rescue story

We were thrilled, as we are any time a dog is rescued and finds their forever family, but because this is rescue, our work is never done. A couple of months after Tiger learned the meaning of family, we heard from our friends at the rural shelter again. They had just seized a second dog from the same home and he was in terrible condition.

Enter King. Much like his doggie brother Tiger, this fella was grossly underweight, suffering from ear infections, two abscesses and worst of all, was recovering from a fight. The rescue was going to court in a few days with the immediate goal of gaining custody of King and the long-term goal of ensuring this family could not legally be in possession of dogs ever again. They knew that the commitment of a responsible rescue would help in their case to be granted custody.

Love-A-Bull King Before Rescue

King, before rescue and becoming part of the Love-A-Bull family

We agreed to be that rescue, and when the day came, the court awarded the shelter full custody of King, and he was quickly transported to our team. The shelter is still fighting to ensure that no other dog has to face the life that King and Tiger had to face with this family.

King was fortunate to be placed with the same family that fostered Tiger. Everyone immediately fell in love with his loving, goofy personality and love of soft beds and snuggles. Still, King struggled with his confidence and ability to fully trust those charged with loving and protecting him. His foster family worked to prove to him that he was safe through lots of structure (essential for dogs in need of a confidence boost!), leadership and love. Through this, King was able to find his perfect family and has been thriving in knowing what it means to be safe. His forever dad continues to set boundaries that lets King know that he has his back. But it’s not all business — King gets all of the love and affection he could ever ask for!

We are so happy that these two boys were given a second chance at life — this is ultimately why we do what we do. But as much joy as this win brings us, we can’t ignore the fact that for every King and Tiger out there that we have saved, there have been countless pleas for dogs that we could not save.

So, what can be done?

As stated before, rescues have no legal authority in matters of abuse. We have the unfortunate position of hearing a lot of sad stories without the ability to resolve them. Rescue does not actually begin with us — it begins with you, the good samaritans that cannot turn a blind eye to abuse.

But how do you actually make an impact?

Evaluate the situation

Make sure you are watching out for your own safety and only do what you are able to from a safe position.

When you see something that looks like neglect or abuse, talk to your neighbor first. There are a lot of ideas about the right way to treat a dog and sometimes a person just needs education and support. Start with an offer of that.

When that is not enough, document what you are seeing and report to the authorities. They are the ones that can make something happen when a dog is not receiving the care they require.

  1. Follow up.
  2. Follow up again.
  3. Follow up again, until there is a clear resolution.
  4. Repeat.

In addition to reporting when you do see something, be sure to support more protective laws for animals, advocate for the safety of all dogs, and support those that provide the care for the dogs that are rescued (e.g., your local shelters and rescues).

Support can be through donations, sharing posts on social media, suggesting your favorite rescues when someone is looking to add a dog to their family or volunteering your time — email getinvolved@love-a-bull.org if you would like to contribute to Love-A-Bull through volunteerism.

It takes a village to rescue a dog, and when we do, their lives are changed forever.

Love-A-Bull Tiger After Rescue

Tiger, happy in his forever home!

 

Love-A-Bull King After Rescue

A healthy King and his adopter!

Love-A-Bull Love Story Diego

Love-A-Bull Love Story: Diego

Love-A-Bull Love Story Diego

Diego

Guest post by the Kelley family, in honor of Amplify Austin for Love-A-Bull

Our family was first introduced to Diego after being contacted by the Love-A-Bull organization. We quickly fell in love with him and his story!

We had recently lost our chocolate Lab of over 14 years, Mocha, and were looking for a companion dog for our chihuahua, Coco. We felt that the prejudice toward pit bulls was unfair and wanted to open our home to one of these sweet and misunderstood dogs.

Love-A-Bull Love Story Diego

Diego, while recovering from skin issues

We knew that we wanted a medium-size dog that would get along with smaller dogs and children, and Diego fit all of our requirements. When Diego made his initial visit to our family, we could clearly see that he had previously been mistreated. He was suffering from severe hair loss and skin issues due to mange and was obviously still recovering from being underweight due to being on the streets of Corpus Christi for so long.

Our family was surprised to see that, despite all this, Diego was one of the happiest and friendliest dogs we have ever met. We decided to permanently adopt him, and now he is feeling better than ever and is spoiled every day with love, attention, and plenty of treats! Diego has brought a lively and energetic spirit to our home that we have missed since our Lab passed away.

In regards to advice for those looking to adopt a new pet, it is important to be as patient as possible with your furry companion, especially if you are adopting a dog that has been mistreated by their previous owners. From our experience, we learned that it is vital to ensure that the dog feels safe around your family. This means being patient and taking things very slowly in order to build up trust with your pet. Eventually, your dog will learn that you are only there to provide them with love and their true personality will begin to shine!

Today, some of Diego’s biggest hobbies are playing with his stuffed alligator, Allie, getting belly rubs, and going on his daily walks! We have absolutely loved helping him get back to his full health and are so excited to continue to get to know him and give him plenty of belly rubs!

Love-A-Bull Love Story Diego

Diego, now happy and healthy in his forever home!

Love-A-Bull Momo Benny

Love-A-Bull Love Story: Momo

Love-A-Bull Momo Benny

Momo, fka Benny

Guest post by Kathryn Altmann, in honor of Amplify Austin for Love-A-Bull

Momo (fka Benny) is a 55-pound lap dog. This was apparent the moment his little tail wiggled out of his foster’s car and made his way over to greet us for the first time. Within one minute of pets, both our faces were getting licked clean and we knew we were in love.

However, our 7-year-old German Shepherd/Staffordshire Terrier mix, Nori, was a different story. Nori is typically good with all dogs, but doesn’t become good friends with many. Love-A-Bull was very understanding of that fact and also made it their priority to ensure that they placed the right dog with our family. Before meeting Momo, Love-A-Bull walked us through how to have the dogs properly meet each other for the first time, and while the walk went well, it was clear that Nori wasn’t 100% comfortable with a newcomer sharing her backyard space. We all agreed that they would bring Momo back in a few days, and Momo’s foster brought along Lindsey Ortiz from Love-A-Bull, a certified, professional dog trainer.

Lindsey joined and watched the two dogs walk and play, and helped confirm Nori and Momo would be a good fit. She couldn’t have been more correct! During the second visit, it was clear that Nori and Momo were getting along better, and that has continued as each day passes. Daily pack walks have especially helped with their bonding and getting Momo to be comfortable as part of the family. Four months in, and they are inseparable — they move from room to room in the house together, nap together, and patrol the backyard for squirrel intruders. Nori is on watch and Momo is happy to follow her lead and bound around the yard, even as it’s obvious he views them as entertainment to watch rather than mortal enemies.

Love-A-Bull Momo Benny

Momo and Nori, sitting in a tree (or dog bed)

Nori has been a physically active dog since she was a puppy. On the other hand, Momo is a very low-energy dog (we have had to coax him out of his crate in the morning to go to the bathroom, only for him to detour after seeing a cozy rug en route to the door so he can continue his beauty sleep), so we had to adapt to different ways to play. He is smart and enjoys challenging mental stimulation, so it’s been a joy to watch him learn and master different food puzzles.

Momo came from a line of shelters before joining Love-A-Bull’s care and had developed a few good habits and a couple bad habits, so we enrolled Momo and ourselves in a dog Adult Basics training course. He’s been quick to pick up on the different commands and is a great citizen of the house. Momo may have a hard time concentrating on conventional play like fetch, but he’s learned the command “Target,” and enjoys the stimulation of agility training. He has no problem running through a tunnel if food is at the end! We’re looking forward to continuing to build our bond with an Intro to Agility class.

When we started the journey to adopt a second dog, we knew we were looking for a pit bull (because we all know they are some of the sweetest dogs to ever walk the Earth) and we wanted a dog that would get along with Nori. We also figured working from home with the pandemic would grant extra time to invest in training Momo and ensure he was set up for success. What we didn’t expect was that Momo would be such a joy and help make this pandemic just a little easier to handle.

Having a dog that is just thrilled to see you constantly, wants to sit or lay on your lap, and whose gentle snores remind us that we aren’t alone while working has made a big difference. Watching the bond between Nori and Momo grow is heartwarming, and we contribute Momo’s successful adoption to Love-A-Bull and their dog matchmaking skills.

Love-A-Bull Momo Benny

Momo, Nori and their family

Love-A-Bull Lena and Clayton

Love-A-Bull Love Story: Lena & Clayton

Love-A-Bull Clayton Lena

Clayton and Lena as puppies!

Guest post by Kristin Henn, in honor of Amplify Austin for Love-A-Bull

 

In the fall of 2019, as my teenage daughters were becoming increasingly independent, I began to daydream about a puppy. We had adopted adult dogs in the past, but something about my children getting older made me think I was ready for the challenges and rewards of a new baby … so we started talking about puppies. Growing up, my older daughter was fond of a neighbor’s pit bull and had always declared that she wanted one of her own someday. Thus began our research into both the breed and rescue organizations.

Love-A-Bull Lena and Clayton

Lena 4 Prez

There are countless groups who do amazing work in this field, but something about Love-A-Bull’s approach hit home for us. The obvious care and thoughtfulness toward both the dogs and the people interested in adopting, combined with a good-humored approach to outreach made us decide that they were a good match for us. So we began checking for updates VERY regularly and were delighted when a litter known as “The Spice Puppies” became available for adoption. Honestly, our puppy fever was at such a pitch by the time they were available for meetings, we would have been happy to take any of them home. However, when we got to the foster’s house, Lena (formerly known as Clove) stood out from her siblings as a thoughtful, careful little dog who looked you right in the eye and proceeded with good sense. She was a tiny puppy with giant ears who wiggled up into your lap and sat with a calm solidity. In photographs, she looked as though she were running for office.

Lena remains the warm and delightful baby of the family. Out in the world, she turns around and looks you straight in the eye for guidance and at home sleeps as far under the covers as she can. She patiently waits for a friendly moment with the cat or a calm hangout with our elderly poodle and greets her people with enthusiasm and delight. It is beautiful to see how effortlessly she runs and jumps, the very picture of grace and agility. We love her so much, it’s almost as if the months of potty training and teething never even happened …

COVID-19 and Dog Adoption

The pandemic occurred very early in Lena’s life, so she has lived with a human being available to her at almost all times. When summer 2020 came around, she was very much a teenager and wanted to play more than the boring humans around her were willing to. We decided that fostering would be a good way to help the dogs Love-A-Bull works with and give Lena someone to wrestle with.

We took in two goofball puppies delivered directly to us from a shelter. Beyond the normal challenges of puppy care, they were both recovering from their time in the shelter and we were reminded that a puppy is in fact a baby and needs constant care. Lena, to our great amusement, regarded them as a couple of crazy delinquents who clearly did not understand the basic rules of civilized life. We kept telling her, “two months ago, you were just like them!” But they were very sweet, and in the time they were with us we became fond of them and were grateful to have helped them on their journey.

Love-A-Bull Clayton Lena

Clayton — love at first sight

After the puppies were adopted, we decided that we wanted to continue fostering, but that a dog roughly the same age as Lena would be a better fit. And that’s when Clayton the Tripod entered our lives.

I guess you never know when you’re going to fall in love, but from the minute I met Clayton, I knew he was a very special dude. To begin with, he was a joyful mess. Only about 6 weeks out from a rear leg amputation, his coat was dull, dry and patchy. He was skinny and had a smell that could knock you over, and he clearly hadn’t learned to navigate without his missing leg. But he exuded love and would drag himself into my lap to be close.

He and Lena were friends from the first minute, and the two of them remain a perfect pair. His clumsy gait, giant paws and crazy strength juxtaposed against her watchfulness, grace and flexibility makes observing their backyard wrestling matches a compelling distraction and their care and love for one another is just wonderful. He is brilliant in his own right, confident that things will be OK and always charging into the next adventure. He’s the most handsome dog I know and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a creature who relishes every moment of life the way he does.

Obviously, that was why we were foster fails within 8 days.

Beyond my gratitude to Love-A-Bull for their good work in the world and the fact that they brought me these two wonderful creatures, I want to stress that the follow-up and support that this organization provides is above and beyond anything I’ve heard of from any similar organization. Individual support has always been very available, but what really stands out is that they have created a community of adopters, volunteers and (I have to assume) fans.

I cannot stress enough how valuable and rewarding this has been. Thank you for everything, Love-A-Bull! You guys are amazing.

Love-A-Bull Lena and Clayton

Lena and Clayton, happily fur-ever after!