BAD RAP Newsletter
Autumn 2008
Autumn Updates
A Newsletter
from BAD
The late-summer/fall has been a blur of busy for BAD RAP. We presented at several events and conferences, are three months into our partnership with  Oakland Animal Services (OAS), have hosted two Pit Ed Camps, one very busy Shots Fair, and non-stop handling classes. Our newer responsibilites have brought some difficult lessons as well as happy triumphs, and, as always, we're keeping our eye on the prize of a better day for pit bulls in the SF bay area and beyond.

Thank you for all your support. We love knowing that you care about these dogs as much as we do.

Donna Reynolds
Executive Director BAD RAP
Harley, from our Ambassadog Project in thumbnail, and tugging with Jelly Roll Jones and Piglet, above.
Trailer Time!

A Place to be Normal Dogs.

Our first big challenge at OAS was creating a space where untrained and/or undersocialized shelter dogs could relax and train in relative peace - away from the noise and chaos of the day.

Making this happen was essential; without a place to decompress, shelter dogs can stay in a constant state of arousal in the kennels, which only adds to their stress level and reinforces bad habits. I'm sorry to say that we had to let go of the most beautiful Dirk in our early weeks due to dog/dog issues triggered by kennel stress. Losing him was a painful marker and a reminder of how much work we have to do to improve the lives of the dogs who could wait up to 6 months or more for their new homes to find them.
Finally. We found it! Our answer was in the form of a used office trailer listed on Craigslist. This former skydiving school - now tucked behind the shelter - has become a welcome sanctuary. It's been a huge help already: It's used for Sara Scott's morning training sessions, for dog intros, play dates, cuddle time and quiet time for stressed dogs who can nap in the laps of Ambassadog crew members. The dogs LOVE it and it feels great to have this place of calm available for them. More to come as we plan a launch party to bless this productive little corner of the universe.

Right: Ambassadogs Bob, Squeeks and Piglet enjoy a tickle outside the trailer, their new favorite play house.

Gossip: Newman - made famous by this video - has moved into his pending new home. Harley and Jelly have both been attracting  promising applications. Adorable Squeeks (white dog above) is our newest addition to the program.

Wish List for OAS Ambassadog Project:

Stuffed toys, old soccer balls or basketballs, healthy training treats, bully sticks, attractive collars, blankets/towels, finanical gifts for spay neuter surgeries and other vet care needs. Thank you for helping us make this project a success!
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links
Our OAS Ambassadog Project

Your donations are our lifeblood. Thank you for helping us stand up for pit bulls and their responsible owners through our outreach work and resecue projects.

Bust Dog Survivor Calendar

We're so very proud to launch BAD RAP's 2009 Bust Dog Survivor Calendar. It celebrates the media darlings (Hector, above) as well as dogs who aren't as well known. Buy one for your favorite naysayer.
Bust Dog Survivor Calendar
Grace Moves North
Grace is one of our last three Vick dogs waiting for a new home. She recently relocated from San Diego to the SF bay area so more of us can enjoy her. Grace's Video

A Pit Bull in the White House?
Hey - we can dream. If ever there was a dog for the job, it would be Bob the Dog, our celebrated Ambassadog. Now waiting for fame in our kennels at OAS.
Shots Fairs and Training Classes
Celebrating Pit Bulls in Vallejo
Shots Fair Turns into Big Fat Community Event

BR's Linda Chwistek lives in the pit bull crowded Vallejo and suggested that we bring some love to the under-resourced city in the form of a Shots Fair and training classes. It was a good call: Pit bull owners there were very happy to receive support, and the local agencies who assisted in the event were able to meet over 75 of their dogs in an upbeat, supportive environment. All good stuff!

The Shots Fair was billed as a positive 'Celebrate Your Pit Bull' event and received plugs from local media, city bulletins and city council members. Supporting pit bull owners at this time is important. Traditionally, Animal Control are viewed with mistrust as law enforcement big brother style agencies, which tends to alienate dog owners and limits AC's ability to influence humane care and responsible ownership. Our hope is that bringing dog owners and agencies together in a positive way will build the bridges needed to help the community meet the needs of our animals.

Vallejo Shots Fair clients received free shots, microchips, spay/neuter vouchers, leashes/collars, free training demos and a chance to sign up for BR's new Vallejo-based Pit Ed Classes. The strong turn-out was all the thanks we needed, but Vallejo's City Council was kind enough to honor BAD RAP, in a recognition ceremony at a recent City Council meeting. It was a happy surprise to us ...and maybe to some of the citizens at the meeting who didn't quite understand why pit bulls were getting so much love from the city (!)

Vallejo pit bull owners can learn about Pit Ed training by contacting: Linda

Kudos to BR Shots Fair junkies Christine Allen and Kim Rameriz for organizing, to the Benecia/Vallejp Humane for offering supplies and volunteer help, to the local vets who sold us affordable spay /neuter surguries, to Greater Vallejo Rec Dept.for smoothing the way to a great location, to dog park advocate Diana Lang for all kinds of assistance, to Dianne Sequoia DMV, to the amazing BR volunteers and City Council member Stephanie Gomes. - Right: BR volunteer Yvette Stahr and a four legged client.

HANDLER TIP: Having problems with people who want to rush nose-to-nose greets?
One of pit bull owners' bigger complaints is dealing with people who want to rush their unknown dog up to our dogs for a scary-fast face-to-face greet. Not only is this kind of greeting rude, it sets both dogs up for failure if either dog becomes offended. Instead of gritting your teeth through inappropriate greets, you can nip them in the bud by cheerfully fibbing: "Sorry but my dog has kennel cough." The other handlers will thank you and so will your dog.

Foreclosure 'Sale' at Oakland Animal Services
$ Dollar-A-Dog Days at the Shelter $

Yes - you read that right. We're trying something new to help Oakland Animal Services bring in good homes for their abundance of adoptable but homeless pit bulls and pit mixes. We're practically giving them away... Well, with a few hoops in places of higher adoption fees.

Unfortunately, the housing crisis means it's become fairly commonplace to see families crying in the lobby while surrendering their beloved pets. 'Have to move to apartment' has become one of the key reasons displaced families are surrendering. Heartbreak!

The double tragedy is that many of the pets will not make it out of the shelter due to overcrowding and - in some cases - behavior issues that were acceptable to the family, but not so acceptable to new adopters. Our team is working diligently to play catch-up: giving untrained dogs new manners and socializing so dogs can live successfully with other well-matched pets.
But even with the added support, dogs coming in the door out-number the adopters, which makes for some painful space decisions on the part of staff.

So starting this week, adopters that are interested in a pit bull can attend a weekly orientation offered by BR volunteer. They'll learn what it's like to own a pit bull and will receive counseling to help them decide if they're ready for the plunge. After being matched with an altered, micro-chipped, dog, they'll get a home visit and training support ... All for one dollar. We're crossing our fingers. With a little luck, qualified homes will learn how many truly wonderful dogs are waiting to be discovered. Foreclosure Sale Flyer

Left: Piglet was clearly a well-loved - and spoiled! - princess before she lost her home. She prefers to be indoors, loves car rides, can snooze through household noises like vacuuming and enjoys the company of other dogs. While BR dogs are not part of the one dollar deal, we're always happy to lower our $150 adoption fee for the right homes.

Pit Ed Campers
Make Their Mark

A tip of the hat goes to the great group of shelter workers who traveled to Oakland to spend a week with BAD RAP for hands-on lessons in pit bull sheltering and adoptions.

San Diego Humane Society, Longmont Humane Society, Chicago Animal Care and Control, Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society and Hillsborough Animal Care Services ... all shelters were represented by fantasic people who brought their can-do attitudes. It was a wonderful week and we were honored to be their hosts!

Accomplished Pit Ed Campers Recognized

BR's sister group - Partners in Shelter Services - is pleased to recognize three individuals who've made significant contributions to the lives of shelter animals since attending Pit Ed Camp in 2007. These folks restore our faith in the power of positive change and creative problem solving and we're so glad to know them! Each award recipient received a financial gift from Partners in Shelter Services that will be applied to their shelter program. Congratulations and thank you for showing the rest of us how it's done. ...And the winners are...!
Thanks for taking a peek into the goings-on at BAD RAP. We look forward to sending news updates as our projects move forward. Til then, see you on the Blog!
Donna Reynolds
and the Pit Bull Junkies of BAD RAP

Securing the future of the American Pit Bull Terrier as a cherished family companion.