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Our Oakland
Ambassadogs thank you for all your support!

Handsome Salvador
(above) won hearts with this video, shot during his stay at Oakland
Animal Services.

After donors helped us repair an old fracture in his front arm, Salvador was adopted and went on to earn a prestigious title as a therapy dog with the Delta Society. You go Big Sal!

Not to be outdone,
Bob the Dog learned excellent manners while in our program before going on to find his new home. He later earned his own therapy dog title with the Delta Society.

We're so proud of
them both!

 Little Miss Vessa!

Vessa was our youngest
fight bust survivor in 2009. She was actually born in a fighting pit, then later traveled back to CA in a chihuahua sized dog purse in coach class.
She's all grown up now, and just became a certified therapy dog under the guidance of her new home.

From victim to victor.
We love it!

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Bionic Blue

Kind hearted donors raised $3500 for Lolo's two new bionic knees. She's since been adopted and is awaiting the arrival of a tiny little human.

CGC Stars

Former Vick dogs Ernie and Teddles both rocked their Canine Good Citizen Awards in 2009.

That means six of our ten 'Vick dogs' now have CGCs. And two - Jonny Justice and Hector - are working as therapy dogs.

Kudos to the foster homes, the adopters and to CGC coach Linda Chwistek for shining them up into the super stars they were always meant to be.


Sassy but ever sweet ...
Frida's adoption is a celebrated success story from BR's Ambassadog Project at Oakland Animal Services. She learned new manners while in the program and then went on to breeze through her Canine Good Citizen exam - as if she was born to be a good girl.
Well of course she was!

Her adopters' helpful lessons in dog/dog intros were published in this popular blog post.

Social Media!
It makes the pit bull world go round.
The Internet has been instrumental in bringing important info about pit bulls and issues that affect them to audiences around the globe. BR's BLOG and facebook page each attract tens of thousands of readers.
The Vick Dog Blogis still a favorite place to watch the dogs doing what they do best ... acting like dogs!
Compassion Cases in '09

We did an unprecedented number of health and behavior related compassion holds in 2009, in part, because of the large number of cruelty cases that came our way. While these can be hard to do, they allow us to bring joy to dogs that have never known kindness before they finally pass on in peace.

In some cases, dogs that were destined for death due to severe health issues rallied from their TLC and were able to live on much longer than anyone expected.
Above, Toes (now named Elfaba) is still going strong despite the tumor that was supposed to cut her life short.
We expect that our barn will allow us to do many more compassion holds in 2010.
Thank you for giving us
the means to help the neediest of dogs.

Compassion holds explained.

And the beat goes on...
Vick dogs making waves.
Vick's former dogs continue to impress and fascinate their fans. Linda Chwistek's boy Audie made the news with the story of his recovery and special talent with agility work.

Handsome Hector made several headlines for humane education and therapy workin 2009.
He recently moved to New York to help Animal Farm Foundationeducate the east coast about all-things-pit-bull.
Put that in your book!

Author Jim Gorant's book on the Vick dogs, based on his celebrated magazine article and entitled 'The Lost Dogs,' is due to be launched in September 2010.

And Linda's boy Audie is going to be getting his very own book. Geared towards children, the book will outline Audie's story from misunderstood abuse victim to beloved family member.

A Bully Haven
angel passes on

We first met this aging American Bulldog in the old Martinez Shelter way back in 2004. What a charmer.
In May of 2005, the vocal and world-class kisser - named Henry - was adopted by Will, Della and Cheddar. This senior boy's arthritis went into overdrive in December 2008 and he was on a variety of supplements and medications. In early 2009 he began to lose feeling in his hind legs and his quality of life waned by mid-November.
After several years of love and first class family-time, they said good-bye to their beloved boy on Thanksgiving 2009.

Sleep well dear, gentle Henry. You were loved by so many.

What goes around
comes around. Adopted dogs help new recruits.

Some of our best adoptions turn into long time helpers.
This handsome fat head above came from our Ambassadog program from Oakland Animal Services in 2009. Now in his new home, 'Daddy-O' is helping to socialize brand new BR doggies, including Loretta - below - who came from an Oakland cruelty case and will be going up for adoption very soon. We're incredibly grateful to the volunteer crew that is working so hard to save so many lives.


2009 Year End Report

It's April 15 - already! - and most of us are wrapping up our books today and giving one last heave-ho to 2009. But before oh-nine is a distant memory, I wanted to outline the ways we spent your generous gifts last year, as well as the events and activities that helped us map out next-steps.

As many know, we celebrated BADRAP's tenth birthday last year. Daisy, pictured here on the right, embodies the spirit of our past year, and even our past decade. This hopeful girl was rescued from a 500+ dog fighting operation in July and is in San Francisco as I type, happy as a clam in her foster home and waiting for an adopter to make her part of the family. Last year was the first time in our group's history that we didn't have to ask "IF" we could help dogs like Daisy. Instead, with a new era of agency cooperation, the question changed and we asked, "How do we partner with other organizations to get the job done?"

Animal welfare agencies that had never worked together for pit bulls finally worked side by side to improve the lives of untold numbers of dogs last year. It was an historic shift, and such a pleasure to see the results of what we could accomplish as a collective ... Power in numbers, and all. This encouraging bit of progress was an outstanding reminder of what's possible. It really is a new dawn for pit bulls that we hope will snowball into better days for the breed on so many important levels.

Thank you for supporting this project over the years as we stretched towards the goal of helping pit bulls get a seat at the table here in the SF bay area and in other parts of the country. The dogs have been waiting so long for us humans to figure ourselves out. Let's hope we can be the people they need us to be in the rest of 2010 and beyond.

With so much gratitude,
Donna Reynolds
Executive Director BAD RAP
Vet Care in 2009 - $20,323

Donors helped us make so many compromised dogs comfortable and healthy in 2009. Part of of our vet care budget went to buying treatment for issues related to neglect and mistreatment suffered by cruelty survivors.

One of our favorite patients - Nelly, right - had a series of vet visits and procedures to get her back ontrack after a lifetime spent on a chain. This pretty girl stayed optimistic despite her many ailments (she was born without a nose and suffered from a blood parasite), but finally passed on in peace after enjoying the happiest year of her life. She made such a mark on people's hearts while she was here. She even got to soak up the cheers of thousands of onlookers as she walked in the SF Pride Parade - wagging like a maniac in her pink tutu no less. We're never more grateful for donor support than when we can bring comfort to dogs like Nelly.

Our work at Oakland Animal Services allowed us to receive free spay/neuter surgeries for our sheltered dogs through a partnership with UC Davis, so we were blessed with a year of very reasonable spay/neuter bills. We did invest in several larger surgeries including two new knees for Lolo, and a front leg repair for Salvador, who suffered a fractured elbow. See Sal and Lolo's story in the sidebar.

The power of family.
Sweet senior Bubba - a lucky recipient of Susi Ming's ongoing Bullyhaven Project- came to us with a seizure disorder that is now under control thanks to an eastern/western treatment approach in addition to his family's excellent TLC. Now adopted, he's the beloved companion of a special needs girl in his new new home. Under the wing of his nurturing family, Bubba has been seizure-free for five happy months. We're so grateful to Jeri & Gary for dealing with all of his neurological issues and refusing to give up on this world-class drooler!
Travel in 2009 - $9715
Out of state travel for agency education and dog rescue work

You helped us represent the breed at four important animal welfare conferences in '09. First, to Las Vegas, Nevada for the HSUS Expo in the spring, where we attended meetings related to bust dog business, and then manned a busy booth alongside the good people from Animal Farm Foundation. Then to St. Louis, MO for the National Animal Care Association Conference for more networking and meetings. Next, to the New England Federation of Humane Societies to present information on pit bull adoption programs to east coasters. And finally, up to Seattle to the Pacific Northwest Animal Care Conference where we were honored to present at a two day workshop that focused on pit bulls.

Our favorite part of the Pacific Northwest event was the workshop on strengthening community partnerships to help pit bulls. Attending were representatives from animal control, private shelters, rescues, humane investigations and the spay/neuter community. I don't think we've ever seen such a motivated group of people ready to work together to make some positive changes. It was truly inspiring and we look forward to doing more coalition building work in 2010.

In between conferences, we traded our business clothes for work duds and headed to the midwest to assist with the large task of sorting out dogs swept up in a history making dog fighting bust. The first destination was Claremore Oklahoma, and then the following month, we made our way to Des Moines Iowa. More details of this mission to follow in this report.

Coming up in 2010: After a brief break to catch our breath and finish our barn project, we're gearing up to present our information at conferences in Columbus, OH and later, in Nashville, TN. Thank you for helping us say 'yes' to these opportunities and, especially, for providing the means to help us get out of town to assist authorities with cruelty cases. You've helped us demonstrate that pit bull advocates are always paying attention and ready to respond when "our" dogs are in need.
Training the Two-legged beasties - $34,249
Pit Ed Classes, Pit Ed Camp and Canine Good Citizen Prep Classes

Training others to be the best dog owners and advocates they can be continues to be a cornerstone of our work.

Pit Ed Camps: We hosted three camps and were privileged to be able to spend an entire week getting to know dedicated shelter staff from all corners including, Baltimore, New York City, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Kanab, Maine, and Michigan. These connections are invaluable and improve our collective ability to influence positive change for pit bulls everywhere. The campers participated in our Shots Fairs and public training classes, so it was extremely gratifying to see them go home and kick-start programs that benefit pit bulls in their own corners.
Check it: February Camp

Serving Shelters
Working alongside Animal Farm Foundation, we were able to assist shelters in reaching their goals through our Partners In Shelter Services project.  Campers and other shelters that went above and beyond the call of duty to help pit bulls in their corners were recognized with awards in 2009. Look at the ripple effect in action!

Community Partnership in 3D
Campers attend our public 'Pit Ed' training classes as part of their curriculum. These Berkeley based classes demonstrate one way that a community is working together to help pit bulls and their owners. This collective mission between BAD RAP and Berkeley partners was recognized by Maddies Fund in this encouraging article.

Our public training classes allowed us to help over 100 beginning handlers with new skills in 2009, and provided more advanced training to another 100 intermediate handlers, including foster homes, graduated beginners, new adopters, and those dedicated volunteers who work to give sheltered dogs good manners so they can become more adoptable. Saturday's classes are such an important part of our week. This is where we vet new volunteers, share stories, troubleshoot, shoot the breeze, watch families fall in love with their new dogs, and see diamond in the rough dogs evolve into ambassador rock stars.

CGC Fame
Nearly 30 dogs earned their Canine Good Citizen awards in 2009 thanks to Linda Chwistek's coaching. A fantastic year for new ambassadogs!

In 2010, Linda has been introducing us all to a new activity: K9 Nose Work. Stay tuned for reports as this exciting dog work sharpens our dogs' skills and infects us all!

Ambassadog Program - Shelter Support     $18,717
What a project! A dedicated team of BR staff and volunteers donated over 4000 hours to the Oakland Animal Services to help develop a program that benefits pit bulls in this overwhelmed city shelter. We provided a little bit of everything to support shelter staff: We cleaned kennels, evaluated dogs, created training videos, educated shelter visitors, trained dogs at risk, arranged foster homes for stressing dogs, compassion holds for sick or troubled dogs and surgeries for injured dogs. We maintained a "working classroom" in one of the shelter's dog wards and mentored OAS senior volunteers in dog handling, kennel enrichment, and advanced training techniques. This classroom served as an important safety net for at-risk dogs who presented workable behavior issues on intake, but who needed a little BADRAP-style TLC to get them on the right track.

Over thirty OAS shelter dogs came into our permanent care during this period. In some cases, the dogs were very shy and needed a calm, orderly ward in order to get their bearings. In other cases, the dogs had intolerance issues with other dogs and needed to be socialized and guided towards better social skills. Eight dogs had medical problems that required either surgery or focused vetcare before they could be adopted out. Twelve had challenging but workable behavior issues that stemmed (typically) from lack of socialization or a good old fashioned proper upbringing. Six dogs presented unworkable behavior issues and were given compassion holds. And another six were 'easy keepers' who helped us train new volunteer handlers before they found their way to some very lucky, usually novice homes.

Donors helped us maintain the mobile classroom, and you kept it filled with toys and an endless supply of treats and chews that were shared around the shelter with every dog in sight. You helped us pay the part time salary for Sara Scott, who was on-site four days a week and set the tone for shelter volunteers by providing training and enrichment to Ambassadogs, as well as the general population of dogs. Whew - Thank you!

Our goal with bringing BADRAP to the shelter was to provide OAS with a working model that could, eventually, function without us. It was an exciting time of change, but after a year and a half, we recognized that our work was done so we cut our apron strings and turned the Bully Crew program over to a readied crew of committed shelter volunteers. These folks continue where we left off and we salute them for their dedication to the dogs. They now oversee kennel enrichment and brings the spicier dogs to our weekly Pit Ed classes for focused training. We all learned so much from this experience and are indebted to the volunteers, to individual donors and to grants from Animal Farm Foundation for making it possible to do this important work. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Public Outreach - $2000

Owner Support
We met with hundreds of pit bull owners in their neighborhoods during three "Celebrate Your Pit bull" Shots Fair events in 2009. Our volunteers brought free behavior counseling, resources and general support to under-resourced communities in East Oakland, Watsonville and Vallejo.

The sagging economy meant people were more eager than ever for help for their dogs. Unfortunately, it also meant that more people are falling back on breeding their pets as a way to earn extra income. Our events are non-judgmental and are designed to help the dogs as best we can while building the trust we need to influence dog owners to make healthy decisions for their pets, especially during these trying times.

Owner support is still some of the most important work we do. Your donations allowed us to buy spay/neuter surgeries, microchips, and vaccinations for low income pit bull owners. Many thanks to our many helpers, including Tina Vickrey and Summer Vincent of Merial for donating shots, Dr. Sequoia for expertise and Pet Food Express for providing the leash/collar sets that we distributed to needy dog owners.

Coming Up in 2010
We have three more fairs planned for 2010 and will be bringing how-to information to animal care professionals at the ASPCA's Spay/Neuter Summit in New York in late summer. Watch our blog for event photos and highlights.

Special Advocacy Projects
Partnering with agencies everywhere to bring help to pit bulls in need.

The Missouri-based cruelty bust that is being called "the largest dog fighting bust in U.S. history" captured the nation's attention last summer and kept the animal welfare community working overtime to meet the needs of 500+ animals. We worked with three different groups of dogs from this case (from several abusers in Missouri, Oklahoma and Iowa) and several agencies, including the federal government, throughout the year. Our job was to provide evaluations, disposition recommendations, rescue support, foster homes and in some cases, compassion holds for dogs without options.

Our missions in Iowa were especially gratifying because that state had never before seen a federal dog fighting case with survivors. We were thrilled when a judge approved our recommendations and the more adoptable dogs were saved. A Rotta Love Plus in Minnesota kindly assisted us with the evals that took place at the Animal Welfare League of Iowaand later absorbed three dogs. One of our favorite survivors was Ernie, a spunky little working style dog who went on to find a great home with a dog trainer. It was an honor to represent our breed's interests by working with compassionate members of the federal governmenton this case, not to mention the ties that were deepened by working with the supporting rescue groups and shelters.

Once again, we were able to say 'Yes' when the phone rang about these cases because your donations got us right on the plane. We can't thank you enough.
The BARN! - $100,000 raised

It seemed crazy to ask donors for so much money during an economic downturn, but our friends and supporters reassured us that we were on track with building a halfway house for dogs in crisis. Sure enough, pit bull owners from around the country responded to our plea by helping us raise 100K in six months time. We are floored, humbled, honored and thrilled by this support (more info on the project here).

We're happy to report that the barn is in it's final stages of construction. While a modest structure, it gives us much needed flexibility to help more dogs in need. It sits on a fenced half acre of open land in the Oakland hills and will allow us to house six to eight dogs in a comfortable, temporary setting while we assess their needs and match them to foster homes. We look forward to updating you as we get ready to move in. There are so many people to thank. We want to do that in a separate newsletter with updates and photos of the project you brought to life.

Thank you for being our partners as we help move pit bulls into this new era of understanding and compassion. We love that the dogs are teaching us just how wonderful humans can be.

Most sincerely,
Your friends at BADRAP.org