Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Celebrating the life of Dizzy, a perfect ambassador

Many people live their entire lives without touching as many hearts as one humble dog did in just a couple of years. HugABull mourns the passing of Dizzy, an organizational mascot and extraordinary ambassador.

Brindled Dizzy came to us with a grey face and a spotty history. Ultimately landing at the Vancouver SPCA, he won the hearts of volunteers and staff with his doe eyes and cuddly nature. Dizzy would nestle into legs, laps, faces…whatever human contact was available.

Word circulated quickly in the rescue community about this cool little dog, and HugABull director Shelagh came to check him out. She saw a true pittie that couldn’t be gentler and more people-loving, and decided to foster him herself.

That’s how Dizzy added a couple more hearts to the collection: his canine sister Bailey, normally indifferent to other dogs but devoted to Dizzy, and Shelagh. Although as a professional trainer and rescuer Shelagh was used to seeing dogs come and go, Dizzy was special. The minute the first application came in for his adoption, Shelagh realized she couldn’t let him go.

Always the first out the door for a visitor, and the last to leave someone’s company, Dizzy greeted everyone with a smile and a helicopter tail. He quickly became HugABull’s “go to” dog whenever we needed a friendly, well-behaved pit bull to show off. He accompanied Shelagh on countless interviews, home visits, and rallies – and could always be counted on to nuzzle the camera and schmooze even the most hard-hearted breed foes. When we learned of his passing, people throughout the community shared how he had changed their perception. He made an impression on everyone he met, and convinced many to let a pit bull into their lives.

Last summer Dizzy and Shelagh participated in an SPCA program teaching children about appropriate interactions with dogs. Dizzy passed his temperament assessment with flying colours (of course) and thrived on the attention while doling out kisses and wags to little ones. He was such a star that Shelagh planned to certify him as a therapy dog for children’s hospitals.

Dizzy was the inspiration and the “Diz” behind Dizine Canine, Shelagh’s training business and daycare. He was a wonderful little daycare dog, playing happily with new doggie friends but always preferring to snuggle in against a visiting human.

Although not a young dog, we estimated his age to be between 8 and 10 and thought he had many years of ambassadorship left. We were shocked to hear he was diagnosed with canine lymphoma. Shelagh knew it was a fast-acting disease but had no idea that only three weeks later, he would be laid to rest.

Dizzy’s passing drew many tears and beautiful memories. For many of us, he was the little brindled face of HugABull and the dog that is everything we love about pit bulls.

Dizzy was laid to rest in the arms of his family on Wednesday, April 14. He will always be remembered, and his name will always be synonymous with the sweet, cuddly, and over-the-top loving temperament that exemplifies our love for this breed.

Dizzy with his "sister" Bailey

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Victoria EVENT (and CGN Test): Everybody and Their Dog Walk

Sunday, May 2, 2010
Beaver Lake Park (near the Elk Lake Drive entrance)
Registration at 10am, with walk starting at 11am

This event will include a Canine Good Neighbour (CGN) Test. The CGN program assesses dogs on their ability to perform basic exercises as well as their ability to demonstrate good manners in everyday situations. The certificate may benefit you and your pet when applying for rental/ condo accommodation, pets in the workplace or other access.

Cost for the registration and CKC certificate is $20.00. Pre-registration is strongly recommended as the event will be busy.

Citizen Canine is collecting donations to sponsor rescue dog waiting for adoption - demonstrating that great pets are available through rescue, and to increase their adoptability. At least four HugABull dogs will be attempting the test, and for $20 you can sponsor one. Please contact info@hugabull.com if you'd like to help!

New this year is the Citizen Canine Dog Friendly Landlord of the Year Award. Finding pet-friendly rentals is tough, and landlords who keep an open mind deserve kudos. If you live on Vancouver Island and feel that your landlord fits the bill, email helen@citizencanine.org with your nomination or questions.

For more information on any of the above, please visit http://www.citizencanine.org/. We hope to see our Island friends on May 2!

HugABull is proud to participate in Citizen Canine's Everybody and Their Dog Walk in Victoria:

Vancouver EVENT: HugABull Flea Market Fundraiser

HugABull Flea Market Fundraiser
Sunday May 16th
10am to 4pm
Dizine Canine Training Centre
1730 Vernon Drive

Vendor tables are available for $10. Email info@hugabull.com to reserve a table before April 30. A minimum 15% of vendor sales will be donated to HugABull Rescue & Advocacy Society (you recycle so we can rescue!).

Sell clothing, knick-knacks, appliances, books, jewellery – anything that is legal to sell and can fit on a table.

Bring your appetite! There will be a hot dog and bake sale on-site.

Poster design by Marlis Steininger

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kudos to Breakfast Television

We love to give shout-outs to positive media coverage of pit bulls...and even more so when this coverage recognizes our partners and volunteers!

Click here to watch a dog-focused spot on CityTV's Breakfast Television. It starts with an interview of Jacqueline from Aqua Paws Hydrotherapy - a generous lady who loves strong breeds and donates therapy time to shelter dogs. She's a long-time volunteer with the SPCA and has also worked with HugABull foster dogs who needed hydrotherapy after injury. Jacqueline took the ultimate pittie plunge last fall when she adopted a HugABull dog of her own, after falling in love with red-nosed Stevie (pictured above) during a foster stay.

The second part of the Breakfast TV spot shows Kim, the manager of the Vancouver SPCA, giving a short demo on clicker training, using a beautiful and well-mannered pit bull as a demo dog.

HugABull supporters, rotties, pit bulls, and training advice all in one five-minute spot? This media coverage gets a thumbs-up!

Here is the full Breakfast Television link:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thrown away - Andy needs help

Every dog in the shelter is a tragedy, but we recognize that sometimes owner surrender is unavoidable. When this is the case, the ethical thing to do is bring in the dog and provide any background that will allow shelter staff to make the best decision about adoptability.

Andy's owner didn't do that. He or she didn't even try the typical, cowardly types of surrender that we see: claiming the dog isn't theirs but a stray who wandered into their yard, leaving the dog tied outside an SPCA, leaving their dog with a "FREE" sign, or simply opening the door and letting the dog run until it is picked up by animal control.

Instead, someone put Andy and another dog in a truck, drove into Surrey, and pushed both dogs out of the moving vehicle. Luckily for them, another kind-hearted motorist saw what happened and picked up both bruised and confused dogs, delivering them to the SPCA. That's how we met Andy, a sweet, neglected, senior citizen who need some serious TLC.

Andy's personality couldn't be nicer: he's extra-loving with people, great with other dogs, and he LOVES to play despite his advanced age (approximately 8 or 9 years old).

Andy would do great in just about any home, although at first he'll need some medical attention. This poor battered dog has irritated skin and bald patches that will need to be investigated and treated topically, and through a hypo-allergenic diet. His feet are tender and he needs to lose some weight.

Right now Andy needs a foster so he can get out of the shelter - even if someone can only commit to a week or two. HugABull will cover all expenses related to his medical care, and can provide assistance with transport to and from vet visits, and anything else he may need.

Andy should be enjoying his golden years with his head in someone's lap. Not itchy and sore, in a kennel, literally thrown away by the only person he ever knew. If you know someone who can commit to a short- or longer-term foster for this wonderful dog, please contact hugabull@gmail.com