Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 dogs in review - CHICA


This brindled girl is one of the most colourful dogs in our program, with full-colour, human grade tattoos adorning the insides of her ears and her belly. The SPCA staff had never seen anything like it when she first came into the Maple Ridge shelter in late 2008 with a litter of puppies. She was assessed by HugABull but before a foster home could be arranged, she was reclaimed by her owner (who showed a veterinarian's letter claiming she'd been sedated for the tattoos).

Chica popped up again in March 2009 at the Vancouver SPCA, this time with a dislocated hip from a car accident. Following invasive surgery, she needed a foster home where she could heal in peace. HugABull found her one, and she never left.

Foster mom April is now a HugABull director, and Chica is a true ambassadog. She earned her CGN in the summer of 2009, an impressive feat considering that she only knew one command (sit!) when she came into foster care. She participates in all HugABull events, and has graduated from Pit Ed, Intermediate Obedience and Rally-O! She was even featured in this Vancouver Courier article about foster care and adoption.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Some positive change in Delta?

Three HugABull directors along with a representative from No Muzzle attended a public hearing in Delta last night around their Animal Control Bylaws.

Delta City Council is reviewing a proposed bylaw that among other things will increase animal licensing and fines, and expand the rights of Animal Control Officers to intervene in cases of dog aggression, animal mistreatment and abuse.

Unfortunately, what hasn't changed in the proposed bylaw is the definition of a pit bull as an "Aggressive Dog" by virtue of its breed. Pit bulls in Delta are required to be muzzled and are subject to licensing fees that are five times higher than those for other dogs.

Last night we spoke to council, requesting that the pit bull clause be removed from the bylaw, while retaining penalties for irresponsible ownership and aggressive dog behaviours. Three Delta citizens were in attendance and also spoke out against categorizing all pit bulls as aggressive.

Interestingly, it was revealed that due to the many restrictions around pit bulls, and because there is no conclusive way to identify one at the time of licensing, many pit bull owners are registering their dogs as other breeds. There are only 39 registered pit bulls in Delta, while any degree of observation would make it clear that the actual number is many, many times that.

We salute the Mayor and Council of Delta for inviting public input into this issue and revisiting a clause that does so much more harm than good. We look forward to hearing about the new bylaw in early 2010!

In the meantime, if you want to weigh in on this issue - especially if you are a Delta resident - contact information for City Council is here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2009 dogs in review - JJ (now SUGAR)

JJ (now Sugar)
Some of you may remember a passionate plea on behalf of JJ in September. This vivacious girl passed her temperament evaluation with flying colours but at the time we had no foster homes available. Unfortunately the shelter was running out of space and JJ was facing the awful fate of many "less adoptable" animals in a crowded shelter system. Despite her stunning looks and friendly personality, she was being overlooked by potential adopters and faced euthanasia.

HugABull director Lauren couldn't let that happen, even if it meant boarding JJ at a kennel until a foster home could be found. Fortunately a great couple heard our plea for foster care and came forward with an offer to help.

When the couple met this sweet little thing, everyone felt the instant connection. There was talk of adoption even before JJ was in the car. Sure enough, the papers were signed the minute JJ's foster period was up. This girl now goes by the name Sugar as a tribute to her sweet nature.

"Sugar has wiggled her little bum right into our hearts," said the new mom. "She is such a gem - we feel really lucky to have her."

A friendly boxer boy to play with!

Resting peacefully knowing she's finally home.

2009 dogs in review - GABE

As the year comes to a close, we thought it was good time to reflect on the dozens of dogs we've rescued and re-homed this year. Check out this year's calendar for 12 wonderful stories, and we'll be posting new ones here over the next few weeks.


Handsome and dignified Gabriel was a fixture on our Adoptables page for close to a year. He came to HugABull in late 2008 in a sorry state: for the first 5-6 years of his life, Gabe had been kenneled with younger, unneutered males who beat up on him constantly.

Gabe limped into the Victoria Pound covered with scars, wounds, and suffering from numerous other health problems, including a botched ear-crop job that left him with little more than two holes in the side of his head. But those big soulful eyes caught the heart of Danielle, a HugABull director at the time, and she was determined to give him the caring, stress-free forever home he deserved. She found him a space with one of our most experienced foster homes where he settled right in with his gentle, elderly foster sisters Sunny and Nutmeg.

Many people fell in love with Gabe, and applications came pouring in, but there was never quite the right fit. He is a loving and sensitive boy who wouldn't have done well in busy, noisy or unstructured environments, with cats, or with a pushy dog sibling.

As time went on, it became clear that he was extremely happy and comfortable where he was. So in Fall 2009, Danielle asked Gabe' s foster family if they would consider adopting him. They hesitated only because adopting a third dog meant that they could no longer foster. But in the end they decided Gabe was worth it, and the papers were signed a few months ago.

Gabe's parents send us frequent updates and bring him on walks with other HugABull dogs. He continues to do wonderfully and his parents couldn't imagine life without him. Neighbours have become accustomed to the sight of that giant head at the front window, waiting patiently during the day for his parents to come home. He trails his parents around the house, accompanies them on trips to Home Depot, and adores his sisters.

You can imagine how sad last week was when big sister Sunny passed away. Although the entire family is grieving, Gabe's parents say that having him in their home has been a blessing and all of them - especially Nutmeg - take so much comfort in having this special boy in their lives.

Gabe did not have an easy path to his forever home, but thanks to Danielle, his foster family, and all the others that believed in him, he finally has the life he deserves. While we send our condolences for Sunny's loss, we are comforted to know that Gabe's sweet and sensitive heart will help with the healing process.

Our favourite photo showing the pack on the move!

He may be middle aged, but Gabe can still play ball with the best of them.

A little sniff between siblings.

HugABull Open House

A big thank you to everyone who joined us on Sunday for our first Open House at Dizine Canine Training Centre. The weather was a little dicey, but many of you braved the snow and cold to celebrate with us, and indulge in holiday photos with your four-legged family members.

It was wonderful to see past adopters, volunteers, and other community members mingling with new fosters and potential adopters. Playing a special role as breed ambassador was Hero (now Reese), a pit/mastiff mix currently in foster care with HugABull director Arlene. While we distributed hot chocolate and cookies, he distributed snuggles and kisses for an entire four-hour shift. He won over many hearts, and we'll be surprised if we don't see an adoption application or two following his appearance!

Special acknowledgements to Off Leash Pet Photography who donated their services for the day, with proceeds from photo sales benefitting HugABull. In addition to all the fun we had, we also raised nearly $500 for more dog rescue and fabulous events in 2010!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Motley's been flooded out! - UPDATE

One of our supporters on Vancouver Island agreed to foster Motley over the holidays. She moved to her new home last week and settled in without a hitch. Her new foster mom has already been seduced by her charms, calling her "adorable but cheeky!" Motley is still available for adoption and her full profile can be viewed on our Adoptables page.


Motley was pulled from the Surrey shelter over a month ago and has been doing wonderfully in her foster home. But after last week's rainstorms, foster mom Jen came home to find Motley standing petrified in a six-inch pool of water that had filled her crate!

The apartment was flooded, and Jen needs to vacate for about a month while the landlord repairs her home. Jen's temporary home is in an apartment building that doesn't allow dogs, so we need a new foster for Motley, fast!

Motley is a fabulous dog with a permanent smile, a huge desire to please, and a mischevious side that keeps her foster family in stitches. She's one of the smartest dogs we've ever worked with, and has been known to learn tricks in a day.

Because she's so smart, she will test the limits (especially when it comes to sneaking on the couch or nabbing food!), so she needs an experienced foster home who will provide structure and ensure she follows the rules.

Motley is dog-social, but gets SO excited around other dogs that she can forget her manners. She has made huge strides in Pit Ed, but again needs a strong handler to keep her focused and behaved.

This little minx would be suitable for a home with another dog - especially if the other dog was a mellower type that would put up with her puppyish antics. No cats though! She is much too interested in them.

Motley's a fabulous dog who loves people, loves playing ball, and soaks up attention. She's crate-trained, house-trained, and well-mannered in the house.

If you have handling experience and no cats, Motley would be an enormously fun addition to your home! She's up for adoption and has applications coming in, so her foster period may be anywhere from 1-4 weeks.