April 2021 Newsletter — A Return to In-Person Events!

It’s spring in Austin, TX, which means it’s officially bluebonnet season, y’all! To celebrate, Love-A-Bull is hosting a Bluebonnet Family Photoshoot Fundraiser on Sunday, April 18! Professional photographer Lauren Darling (of Miles of Smiles Photography) is donating her time and talents for this gorgeous family photoshoot fundraiser amidst local bluebonnet fields. Location to be announced!

Tickets for a 15-minute photoshoot with five (5) forever keepsake digital photographs cost $125 per family — with all proceeds going back to Love-A-Bull! Hurry, because they’re going fast. Thank you so much, Lauren and Miles of Smiles!

Purchase your tickets TODAY here; for more information, check out our event on Facebook or our website’s event calendar.

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS (yes, in person, yay!)

Saturday, April 17 – P&F Pet Provisions off Burnet Road in Austin is turning 5! Love-A-Bull will be in attendance during this special anniversary event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 17. Come meet some of our Adopt-A-Bulls, check out our merch and learn more about us! More info: https://fb.me/e/13c6Uo4lM

Sunday, April 18 – Plow Bao is hosting a Sunday Market Fundraiser and select vendors will be donating a portion of proceeds during its April Sunday Market back to Love-A-Bull! The market takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be music from noon to 2 p.m.; vendors will be selling pet portraits, vegan baked goods and more! Adopt-A-Bulls may be on site with a Love-A-Bull representative to talk about our organization — stay tuned to our social media pages for more info!

SAVE THE DATE: May 1-2 – Due to the success of last year’s special Kendra Scott in-store and online fundraiser, we’re teaming up and coming back bigger than ever on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2! Stay tuned to our social media pages for more information (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

SPRING 2021 MERCH CAMPAIGN

The winner of our 2021 Spring Merchandise Design Contest is … Becky Montiel!! The design she created is inspired by her precious Love-A-Bull alumni pit bull, Fuu. Read Becky and Fuu’s story below:

“My husband and I were finally ready to adopt a dog, but we were having trouble finding one that would fit in with our three cats. The day before our vacation to the beach my friend directed me to a courtesy posting on Love-A-Bull’s Facebook page about a pit bull who needed a home and was great with cats. We went to meet her and took her home that day! We named her Fuu. The very next day we traveled from Austin to South Padre island and spent the whole vacation having fun and falling in love with our new dog. After that she never left our sides! Everywhere we went she came too – from restaurants to coffee shops, from the beaches to the mountains.

Last year, after 7 years of life together, she crossed over the rainbow from a brain tumor. Our lives haven’t been the same since but we are eternally grateful to all the people that helped lead us to the love of our life. We could not have done it without Love-A-Bull. I didn’t know there was a contest until 24 hours before it was over but I wanted to help the organization. I’m so glad I entered and that Fuu will help raise awareness and find homes for pit bulls like her.” 

This spring merchandise is available for a limited time, NOW THROUGH MAY 2.

We are offering T-shirts, sweatshirts, women’s tanks, kids items and more, in many colors!

Proceeds benefit Love-A-Bull and help us save more pit bull-type dogs. Hurry and get your order started here: https://www.bonfire.com/spring-design-contest/

2021 ADOPTED DOGS — SO FAR!

While we tackled the challenges of 2020 head-on by rescuing more dogs in a calendar year than ever before (200!), we are starting off 2021 strong with 29 adoptions for January through March!

CURRENT NEEDS

  • Fosters — we are always in need of fosters, particularly ones who do not currently have pets at home! It’s also puppy season, which means we are getting several requests from rural kill shelters to help us save pregnant mama dogs. We ask our fosters to hold on to mama and babies until puppies are 10 weeks old. If you think you might be interested in fostering for us and live in the Austin, TX area, please email foster@love-a-bull.org!
  • Speaking of puppies … we need more puppy supplies! Our Amazon wishlist is updated regularly with our most-needed items, which include canned Nulo puppy food as well as dry puppy kibble! We also are in need of belly bands for male adult dogs and adult wet food, for our picky eaters and ones on medication. Ordering directly from Amazon is easy and comes straight to our mailbox, or, you may have local donations on-hand. Please email info@love-a-bull.org to coordinate drop-off!

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Please email getinvolved@love-a-bull.org if you are interested in either of these volunteer leadership roles! Both are an expected time commitment of 5-10 hours per week. We can’t support our mission without you!

  • Volunteer Coordinator — our most outward-facing role in the community, other than Board Member! This job is such an important one, and leads communication with all our volunteers. Must be a great “people person,” and good with using spreadsheets and staying organized! We hope to resume our in-person Volunteer Orientation once this volunteer role is filled.
  • Community Outreach Coordinator — we are seeking a volunteer Community Outreach Coordinator to help with our goal of reducing the homeless animal population by hosting more spay/neuter clinics, shot clinics, and other outreach and education efforts in our most vulnerable areas of rural TX!

SUPPORT OUR MISSION

If you’ve read this far, thank you! We cannot advocate for or save as many pit bull-type dogs, or support our communities of pit bull-loving guardians, without your help.

To help us with our lifesaving mission today, please visit our website to learn what every generous dollar goes toward and find out ways you can donate. We also have several one-time Shop for a Cause partners supporting us throughout the next couple of months, which are best followed on our Instagram!

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