Conversations with our Foster Dog

Editor’s note: This post was originally written in April 2019. Bruenor is still celebrating his time in his forever home with author Crystal Dunn, a former LOVE-A-BULL Board member!
Hi Bo. Yes, you’re cute, even in a giant cone. No, we’re not keeping you, so don’t get too comfortable.

Quit following me. I said that you are definitely just a foster dog and I meant it. No amount of cuteness is going to change that, even if you have one of the cutest faces I’ve ever seen. This is simply a place of healing, that is all. Plus, we have more than just ourselves to consider here. The other dog isn’t even sure about you yet.

That was quick. You should probably know that she’s always been a little friendly with big, handsome, burly types, so don’t let it go to your head.

Nice. I see what you did there, but this doesn’t change anything. You still have to woo me, the kid, and the husband, and we’re not an easy sell. We’ve been doing this foster thing for a long time, buddy. This house has a virtual revolving dog-door, I’ll have you know. We said no to a Golden Retriever named Sunshine once.

Sunshine.

We’re unbreakable.

Nicely played, sir, but she’s 8 and has yet to pay the bills, so this one is only going to get you so far.
Foster fail? Who told you that? Was that my mom? Because she gets an idea in her head sometimes and, well, she’s a dog pusher, to be frank. Don’t listen to her, Bo. She shouldn’t be using those words around you. If you want to work on anyone, work on the husband. I think you’ll find he is much less easy to convi–

Wow. The ol’ head-in-the-lap trick. You’re good.

Luckily this family has me to make sense of things. I’m proud of myself for staying strong through this, really. I mean, this is why some people can’t foster, you know what I’m saying?<<pets your belly slowly while you snore in my lap>>

They just fall in love too easily. Those are the people who end up on one of those animal cops shows wearing a spaghetti-stained nightshirt and house slippers soaked in god only knows what.

Not me, Bo. Animal hoarding has never been my thing. I know two is hardly hoarding, but let’s not forget that you’re 90 lbs with elephant-sized poops. You’re like five dogs in one.

Bo. Hmm … that name doesn’t really suit you. You’re more of a Bruenor. Oh, you like that one, eh? Bruenor it is, then. Not that I’m naming you. It’s just a nickname, that’s all.

Crap! You got an application. I mean … yay.

Hmmm …

WELCOME HOME, BRUENOR!

Love-A-Bull Pittie Fun Walks

July 2021 Newsletter – Fun Walks and New Faces

To view the formatted version of our quarterly newsletter and subscribe to our email list, click here.

OK, GOOGLE — WHAT DOES A PIT BULL SOUND LIKE?

Have you ever wondered what a pit bull sounds like? Do us a favor and ask Google — “Hey Google, what does a pit bull sound like?” Take a look and listen to this video.

If you’ve never heard the sound of a pit bull, don’t be alarmed — we promise they aren’t undercover dinosaurs! If you have heard a pit bull, then you’re probably confused as to why they are portrayed on Google Assistant as vicious, rabid creatures while Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Chihuahuas and dogs in general consistently sound happy and sweet.

So, what do we do about it? Well, we want you to #showgoogleyourpitties! Please take a moment to post pictures, videos, and comments on your personal social media pages, and Google / Google Assistant pages. Be sure to tag Google, Google Assistant, Love-A-Bull and all of your other favorite pittie rescues and let them know that you want this corrected. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #showgoogleyourpitties!

Google clearly does not know the nature of pit bull-type dogs, and we want to take this opportunity to teach them. Please be sure to be constructive — we want to resolve the issue so that the harm being done to the image of these dogs can be corrected. Please share our video with friends and family!

MONTHLY PITTIE FUN WALKS RESUME

Yes, you read that right! Our popular monthly Pittie Fun Walks have resumed, with our first pack walk in a year and a half successfully launching in June!

Join us for our next Pittie Fun Walk on Sunday, July 4, at 9 a.m. Meet at the spider sculpture in the Mueller development! This could be a great day to take your dog for a pack walk to tucker them out before the fireworks and celebrations later in the evening.

A few important reminders:

This is a casual, fun, on-leash stroll with our dogs to showcase responsible pit bull guardianship. We kindly request just ONE dog per person on these walks, please (if you have more than one dog, one handler per dog is fine!) Make sure to bring a 6-foot or shorter leash, poop bags, and whatever equipment your dog needs for a safe, enjoyable walk with people and other dogs (harness, head halter, muzzle, etc.). The walk is about 3 miles total, but there are several points to turn around to make it shorter. Don’t forget water, as well, for both you and your pup!

To RSVP, visit our Facebook event page or Meetup. Please note: While we began as an organization on this platform, we will be phasing out our use of Meetup over the coming months!

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS

Sunday, July 11 – K9 WORKINGMIND OPEN HOUSE

Join Love-A-Bull at an open house for K9 Workingmind, Training by Tara in East Austin! The open house runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, July 11, and we’ll be selling merch! Come learn more about our organization and our current needs, plus get some awesome training tips! K9 Workingmind will have stations for experiencing their fun classes and meeting some of their staff. They’ll also be holding cafe classes to practice proper cafe etiquette with your dog. Contact K9 Workingmind with questions at k9workingmind@gmail.com!

Sunday, July 11 – VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION / STILL AUSTIN FUNDRAISER

We are finally ready to resume our Volunteer Orientation, in person! If you’ve filled out our volunteer application, come on out and join us at The Grackle in East Austin from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 11! We will mingle until 12:30 p.m., then start our orientation. We’ll also have merch on site, so you can buy your volunteer T-shirts and other Love-A-Bull gear! Metered parking is free on Sundays! Still Austin and The Grackle also have partnered to offer proceeds from select drink specials back to Love-A-Bull, so feel free to bring some friends for a Sunday Funday, and support us at the same time!

Sunday, July 18 – ADOPTION EVENT

Get your Adopt-A-Bulls fix at Central Machine Works in East Austin during our first Adoption Event at this brewery! Central Machine Works hosts a weekly music series on Sundays, and our emcee will be showcasing our dogs between sets to help them get adopter interest! Join us from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 18, and tell your friends!

*SAVE THE DATES*

Keep an eye on our social media and website calendar for more details on the following events as they become available.

Saturday, July 31 – SWEAT FOR PETS FUNDRAISER

Come sweat with us at F45 at The Domain during a one-hour workout class at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 31 benefiting Love-A-Bull! Tickets will cost $30 each, with proceeds going back to us. Tickets on sale NOW!

Saturday, Aug. 14 – ADOPTION EVENT

Join Love-A-Bull at the grand opening of The Watering Bowl Dog Park & Bar in South Austin/Manchaca from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14!

Saturday, Sept. 11 – OUTREACH EVENT

Learn more about Love-A-Bull, and maybe meet some Adopt-A-Bulls, at the Austin Flea market event that runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11 at Capt. Quackenbush’s Coffeehouse in South Austin!

OCTOBER – PIT BULL AWARENESS MONTH – SILENT AUCTION AND MORE!

We are currently deep in the planning stages for an amazing month full of activities for Pit Bull Awareness Day, celebrated annually on Oct. 26! Stay tuned to our social media pages, but for now, we are bringing back our successful online silent auction! If you have any items you’d like to donate, such as gift baskets (you can make your own!), gift cards or tickets to experiences, please email amber@love-a-bull.org.

LEADERSHIP UPDATE

We are proud to announce a few changes, and welcome new members to our leadership team!

Sara Stein, Board President — Sara is a fierce advocate for pit bull-type dogs, and has years of dog experience with past nonprofit rescues as well as private practice as a Registered Veterinary Technician. She has run our foster program for the past two years. Sara was elected board president in April, taking the reins from outgoing board president Lindsey Ortiz, a 10+ year Love-A-Bull volunteer who continues to serve the organization as our main training consultant.

Amber Krosel, Vice President/Treasurer — Amber is now serving a dual role as VP and treasurer, overseeing our fundraising efforts, events and social media.

Ruth Nobile, Volunteer Coordinator — Ruth has been behind the scenes running our social media for the last 8+ months, and now is the face of our volunteer program! She is mom to Love-A-Bull alumna Daisy, fka Paprika.

Kristin Davis, Events Committee Co-Chair — Kristin is a seasoned events professional, and stepped up into this leadership role to help in our fundraising efforts! She is mom to Love-A-Bull alumnus Boulder, fka Dom.

Christian Coronado, Events Committee Co-Chair — Christian has deep ties to the service industry and is working on bringing back our Pints for Pits fundraisers, and other fun business-partner events! He is dad to Love-A-Bull alumna Meg.

Congratulations to all!

JOIN THE LOVE-A-BULL BOARD

We are currently recruiting for the most active role in our organization, Board Member! Our Board of Directors is a “working board,” meaning we run the rescue, adoption, education and advocacy efforts of Love-A-Bull … and we’re all volunteers! The estimated time commitment is 5-10 hours per week, including monthly virtual board meetings, helping at dog meet and greets, overseeing important committee work, and more! Our board members serve 2-year volunteer terms, and make an impact every day in advocacy and lifesaving work. This role is perfect for those who have previous shelter/rescue experience, especially if any have been in leadership roles! Interested in learning more? Email getinvolved@love-a-bull.org. Any of our current board members would be happy to speak with individuals in greater detail.

OTHER VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Please email getinvolved@love-a-bull.org if you are interested in any of the following opportunities.

***URGENT*** Fosters — we are in desperate 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 or just puppies who have been left on their own. We ask our fosters to hold on to mama and babies until puppies are 10 weeks old. If you are interested in fostering and live in the Austin, TX area, please email foster@love-a-bull.org!

**NEW** Dog Walkers — while we don’t have a physical shelter, some of our pups stay at our vet for a few days as they recover from medical issues or otherwise need to be boarded. We’d love to have a roster of dog walkers willing to visit New Hope Animal Hospital in Cedar Park!

Dog Trainers — work as an apprentice under our training/behavior consultants to conduct safe, in-person training classes, create virtual training opportunities and assist at foster/adoption meet and greets.

Data Entry/Research Assistants — calling all data nerds! We’re always looking for ways to improve the information we have on our website about pit bulls, or assist with data entry on Adopt-A-Bulls’ records.

Community Outreach Coordinator — we are still 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! We are tentatively planning our first spay/neuter and microchip clinic in a few years for September 2021, and could definitely use the help!

2021 ADOPTED DOGS — SO FAR!

Since our last newsletter in April, our adopted-dogs count has gone up, up, up! Our current totals are 56 dogs adopted for the year! We are so proud to announce that among those adoptions, our Star Wars puppy litter that Austin Pets Alive! graciously helped recover from parvovirus ALL have been adopted!

View all available Adopt-A-Bulls here.

SUPPORT OUR MISSION

Can’t volunteer or foster? We have countless ways you can help us!

To donate: https://love-a-bull.org/support/donate-to-our-mission/

To Shop for a Cause, including our Amazon wishlist: https://love-a-bull.org/support/shop-for-a-cause/

Share our social media pleas, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. TikTok coming soon!

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!