Tag Archives: Best Friends Animal Society

The Found Dogs – book review

For anyone interested in animal welfare, the story of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels is both sobering and encouraging.  Their rescue and the legal cases that followed were thoroughly documented in the New York Times bestseller, The Lost Dogs, by Jim Gorant.

The Found Dogs by Jim Gorant

In 2017, to mark the 10th anniversary of the bust which rescued the dogs, Gorant came back with this slim volume to update us on the stories of the dogs and people involved in the case.

Told simply and straightforwardly, the book opens on the property at 1915 Moonlight Road which is now the Good News Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.  In 2016, a ceremony at the property reunited many of the people involved in the case and the adopters with the dogs who had been saved.  51 dogwood trees were planted along with 51 plaques depicting the names of each of the dogs found at the property.  In some cases, the adopters were planting the trees for their dogs in memory, because by then many had already passed away.

Part II of the book is the longest part of the book; it’s an alphabetical list of each of the dogs by name and their story since being rescued.  Some are heartbreakingly short.   Other parts of the book update us on the key people involved in the bust and the legal case, and a discussion about what has changed in the last 10 years.

Much like the documentary film The Champions, the book couldn’t have been published too soon.  Many of the Vick dogs have passed, including cover girl Little Red whose story opened and closed The Champions.

Definitely worth reading and, if you are like me, adding to your ‘real’ dog book collection.  (I’m talking physical books, not Kindle files!)

And the last words go to Jim Gorant:  “As the dogs showed us – and continue to prove – accepting the state of things as they actually are and forging on in the face of those realities is the only way to make progress and create a new, better reality.”

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Willa – Our Sweet Girl

Willa is a special dog.

An American Pit Bull x Boxer, Willa has breast cancer which has likely spread. She’s on medication, but with time being precious, it’s important to focus on quality of life.   Willa is a popular sleepover dog at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary – every precious sleepover adds to Willa’s quality of life and enrichment.  She really enjoys getting out of kennels, getting cuddles and having a good, deep sleep.

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Willa loves rides in the car

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A special tag for a special girl

I really enjoyed staying with Willa and seeing her sweet nature in person.  Let’s hope she gets a home soon.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Season’s greetings

In 2012, I went to Best Friends in Kanab, Utah for the first time.  I was there to take a workshop and to volunteer my skills.  What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with a dog, Dumpling, in the Old Friends section of the Sanctuary.

Unfortunately, Best Friends has a policy about adopting dogs to overseas locations where quarantine is required (rightfully so, they feel their dogs have been through enough and the USA and Canada offer plenty of re-homing opportunities).  The situation was further complicated because Dumpling had heartworm and would require treatment.

She was my sleepover dog for several nights including my last night and then I returned her with a heavy heart.  I watched her status on the Best Friends website and had mixed feelings when the site confirmed that she had been adopted in December 2012 (and successfully treated for heartworm) – because I was heading back there again in 2013 and she would not be there.

But I did manage to check in with the Adoptions Coordinator when I arrived and asked if they would be willing to pass on my contact details to the adoptive family. And now each year around Christmas (Dumpling’s anniversary), I get an email from Dumpling’s Dad, Stuart, about her.  dumpling-sleeping

This year was my fourth update:

Kathleen, Good morning and Happy Holidays.  It’s time for our annual update on Dumpling.

Hard to believe it has been four years now since this sweet girl joined our family.   Given all her issues, we had no idea how long we would have her, but I am very happy to say she is showing little signs of slowing down.  She does have some minor medical issues but nothing that cause her any problems.

She still dances about when it’s time for her walk or when I get home from work.  Her energy level is still great.

Over the past year she has stopped getting up on most of the furniture.  The exception is the love seat in the bedroom which she claims early in the morning (3:00-4:00 AM) and will stay there until mom calls her for breakfast.  I don’t think it’s that she can’t get on the furniture, I just think she likes to be able to choose the bed she wants to sleep in depending on if she wants to be alone or with us.  There are 8 dog beds in the house & garage for two dogs.  Not like they’re spoiled or anything.

The Lab in her comes out anytime she is near water.  Get her close to any body of water and she walks right in.  Even the rain doesn’t bother her.  Her sister Callie will avoid the rain at all costs but Dumpling will go out and run around like any other day.  One new thing is she does like to be dried off now.  I think she likes the physical contact more than the drying.

I just wanted to check in and let you know she is doing great.  We consider ourselves very lucky to have her.

Please have a very Happy Holiday.

Warmest Regards,

Stuart

I hope Dumpling has another good year and there will be a 5th update in 2017.  Most of all, I am forever grateful that she found such a safe and happy home after many rough years.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

‘No-kill’ what’s in a name?

I personally have no issues with the term ‘no-kill’ as in ‘no-kill animal shelter’.   Traditionally, this term has been used to mean an animal shelter that does not kill healthy or treatable animals even when the shelter is full.

No kill image

Euthanasia would only be an option for terminally ill animals or those that were considered too dangerous for public safety ever to be re-homed. 

In the case of the latter circumstance, it probably was easy for some shelters to bend the rules and still claim no-kill status.  If you believe that all pit bulls, for example, are inherently dangerous – or your local laws deem them to be and you are running a municipal shelter – then yes – you could claim no-kill status under the definition while killing those breeds of dog as a matter of course.

Others would claim that shelters would shift adoptable animals into their shelter and ship out animals that were less adoptable to achieve their no-kill status.

Ideologically, some people state that they would rather be ‘for’ something than against it.  So names are popping up such as “Humane City” or “Humane Rescue.” Some quote Mother Theresa who said “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”.

In other words, promote what you want and not what you don’t want.

Approximately two years ago, for example, Best Friends Animal Society changed its mission statement from “No More Homeless Pets” to “Save Them All.”

Do these changes make a difference?  I don’t know; I don’t have the data on this.  Presumably marketers and public relations experts have data to show increasing levels of support.

All I know is that New Zealand is definitely NOT a no-kill nation or a save-them-all nation.  We have a way to go to require responsible husbandry, pet ownership and the acceptability of adopting animals of all ages who end up homeless.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

The Champions

In my local community of Christchurch, New Zealand, I am sponsoring a community viewing of The Champions, a documentary by Darcy Dennett.  Proceeds will go to four local dog charities:  K9 Rescue and Rehoming, SPCA Canterbury, Dogwatch and Christchurch Bull Breed Rescue.

This film, which follows the story of some of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, is a good news story.  It makes you think about recovery and a dog’s capacity to endure and survive.  Since I am very familiar with the work of the Best Friends Animal Society, it is also great to see the work done by them and BADRAP in San Francisco in finding these dogs homes.

I commend this film to you and encourage you to see it for yourselves.

Champions_Movie_Poster_Download

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Previous posts relevant to the Vick case and dog fighting include:

 

 

Joey and the Pit Bull


People who have autism are often misunderstood.  So are Pit Bulls.  These two make a great pair.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

Jingle and Bell for the holidays

Jingle and Bell are plush/soft toys sold by Hallmark.  This year, Hallmark is donating the sum of $100,000 to Best Friends Animal Society to support animal adoption.

Jingle and Bell

When these toys are purchased from a Hallmark Gold Crown store, Hallmark will include information about Best Friends to help spread the word about the no-kill movement and the benefits of adoption.

Corporate sponsorship in the right direction, I say.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand