Animal rescue is a cause that is very important to me. I am mostly drawn to helping dogs, although I love all animals. And in the dog world, I am most drawn to helping the kind of dogs that are most often abused, misunderstood and feared: Pitbulls.
My love of rescuing pits happened by accident really. I grew up in a home with show dogs. My mother brought a St. Bernard home from Switzerland (my birthplace) and this St. Bernard, Heidi, became the first Arizona St. Bernard Champion. I think my mother has shown every breed since and has now settled on mostly showing Chihuahuas. Although I love all dogs, I always felt weird that show dogs were revered and all other dogs were treated like they weren’t as important. Isn’t that what we’re trying to move away from in our human society? Why are we recreating that situation in the dog world?
I remember the first time I heard about people who trained dogs to fight, I was around 9 or 10 years old. I was horrified. I couldn’t believe somebody would train a dog to fight to the death. I mean, here’s this animal that wants to love and be loved and you are going to put them into a situation which could end their lives? How could someone do that? Fast forward to me living in San Francisco and missing living with dogs… me and my boyfriend at the time head over to the local ASPCA and we find Buddy (pictured above) and he was the most friendly and loving dog I’ve ever met! The only training he required was teaching him not to jump up. Everything else was a breeze with him. I know not all rescues are that easy and boy did I learn that with my next few dogs.
Whenever I meet a dog, my goal is to make a connection to where he/she is coming from (ie: if they have been abused, neglected, trained, abandoned, etc.) It’s just like meeting a person except this “person” can’t speak your language. They are speaking a language, just not one that you may readily understand. But they are desperately trying to communicate with us. We just have to learn to LISTEN. I find no greater joy than when I make a connection with an animal that has given up on believing that anyone will hear his/her pleas! Once that connection is made, all training is possible. Conversely, training is impossible without that connection.
After Buddy, Leia came into my life. Leia is MY SKYDOG. She was perfect. It was like somebody created her out of a sketch of a dog in my mind! She looked exactly like a little plastic dog (“little people”) that I used to play with when I was little and her personality was perfect! She was playful yet smart and attentive. She went everywhere with me and I truely believe that she was a guardian angel for me. She protected me and loved me and made me laugh like no other in this world could! I miss her every day. She died a couple of years ago. I have LOTS of pictures of her and as soon as I pull them out of the boxes I will upload them here. SKYDOG…RIP.
My next resuces were Zimba in Phoenix, then Rosie in Chicago (above) and then back to Phoenix for Santo (right) and then finally, Zabu in Hollywood!
Each dog has been a challenge and each dog has brought me enormous joy and a sense of purpose. When I’m low, they remind me to get outside and have fun and laugh. I am a supporter of the ASPCA and of Best Friends. Click on the links below to learn more about what they do and to offer your support.
I just met April! I love love love this girl. She was rescued by a man who is amazing with dogs. Isn’t she beautiful?
UPDATE: WE adopted April!!! I’ve been Tweeting about her constantly and uploading tons of pics! You can follow me AND you can follow April on Twitter! (Yes, April is on Twitter!) www.Twitter.com/PinknBrownNose
UPDATE: We lost Zimba on December 9, 2009. He was 16 years old and he had an awesome life. He was like a son to me and I am so sad he’s not here anymore. I miss talking to him and petting him (he had the coolest fur!) I’ll post a video when I’m ready. Thank you for all of your kind comments. It seems everyone who met Zimba loved him!! He was known world-wide from my BlogTV.com live show! He will be missed…