Everyday Dogs, Everyday Owners

I had another recipe for a perfect day when I headed down to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for my second B-More Dog walk on Sunday. Many of you probably remember the last time I went on a B-More Dog Pit Bulls on Parade (see here and here) where I soaked up all the adorable pitties with their owners. B-More Dog’s mission is to promote responsible pet ownership through education and outreach, and they hold Pit Bulls on Parade once a month to show the community that we are the everyday “pit bull” dog owner.

These walks help dispel the myth that if you own a “pit bull” dog, everyone will be afraid of you. Unfortunately, when those of us with “pit bull” dogs talk about how people cross the street or pull their kids away when they see us – even though we are usually saying it in a light hearted way since we know our dogs are nothing to be afraid of – we send the message that the public as a whole is scared of “pit bull” dogs.  Generalizations like this can cause people to shy away from considering a “pit bull” dog for adoption because they don’t want their friends to stop hanging out with them or to be looked at as an outsider – even though those of us with these dogs know that likely won’t happen (if you’ve got decent friends at least).

The more we demonstrate that these dogs are just everyday pets, the less we perpetuate myths that they should be treated differently. If I had a dollar for every person that stopped to ooh, aah, and coo at all the dogs on Sunday, I’d be able to buy front row seats to the Ravens game. Sure, there are some Negative Nancys in the crowd, but the overwhelming majority are positive and excited to see the dogs – just like in every day life.

It was a beautiful Autumn morning in the harbor and despite another big event going on, the dogs were well behaved and it seemed that everyone enjoyed themselves. It was great meeting a few blog followers too – of course I always love that! Thanks to everyone who came out. There were all sorts of shapes and sizes in attendance!

For more information about getting involved with B-More Dog, visit their website.

An Accidental Encounter With Pittieful Love!

I’ve heard that Baltimore, MD is nicknamed “Smalltimore” – and I found out on Wednesday just how small it really is when I ran into Pittieful Love’s Jess (who I wrote about in this post) and got to meet Chocko, their new pup! It’s pretty funny/confusing how it happened, so I’m going to break it down:

1. Catching up with my friend Mike over dinner in Baltimore.

2. Walking home from dinner, spot a woman walking her pit bull. Make a joke about how it’s this specific neighborhood in Baltimore and it’s a pit bull, so there’s a chance I know the person and dog.

3. Note to Mike that I have a blog friend named Jess who has a pit bull that looks similar to the one that woman is walking, but the woman is too far ahead to tell if it’s her.

4. Mike obnosiously yells out, “Jess!”

5. It wasn’t Jess. Awkward.

6. Catch up to the woman and her dog anyway and of course say hi. The dog is adorable and sweet, and I begin to recognize it as this pup that I photographed at B-More Dog’s Pit Bulls on Parade:

7. Confirm that it IS in fact Laura and Hurley from the B-More Dog event. Like I said: Smalltimore. Immediately start chatting with Laura about fostering and pitties, etc.

8. Remember that Jess commented on the B-More Dog post that Hurley was her neighbor, so I ask Laura if Jess lives close by.

9. Turns out we were standing right outside of her house. Not kidding. Smalltimore.

10. I don’t have Jess’ number, so while Mike and Laura are talking, pull up Facebook on my iPhone and write on Jess’ FB wall: “I am literally standing outside your house right now.”

11. Creepily peek inside her windows to see if we can catch a glimpse of her new foster failure, Chocko. We can’t.

12. Jess immediately bursts out of the door, ending the phone conversation she’s having with, “I gotta go – I just got a Facebook post!” Squeals and excitement ensue.

13. Jess invites us in to meet Chocko (!!). So exciting as I have been reading about him for months now and have never met him. He is one handsome dude.

14. Mike gets his dose of pittie loving and we all hang out chatting about Smalltimore (everyone in the room lived there except me).

15.Continually exclaim how adorable Chocko is. I promise – he is even more handsome/silly/sweet in person than in photos.

See? Told ya it was complicated. Totally awesome story though, right? This is why I love this blogging doggy world – you meet so many cool friends! I think my favorite part was when Mike said, “What do you mean you guys know each other from the internet. . ?”

:-) Happy Friday!

B-More Dog’s Pit Bulls on Parade: Part 2

A few more photos highlighting B-More Dog’s Pit Bulls on Parade (view the first batch on yesterday’s post). By the way, this is a monthly event! For more information, visit their website or Facebook page.

The rest of the photos will be up on Peace, Love, and Fostering’s Facebook page by the end of today (Wednesday). Hope to see some of you at the next parade!

B-More Dog’s Pit Bulls on Parade: Part 1

Getting more involved with rescue and “pit bull” dogs over the last year or so, I’ve seen many great examples of advocacy through different platforms (see: Project Mickey). Most recently, in the light of this recent MD court ruling, I’ve become familiar with an amazing group called B-More Dog. They are an organization whose “mission is to promote responsible dog ownership in the Baltimore area through education and outreach programs,” (love it, right?) including things like Community Pit Bull Days where they provide opportunities for free and low cost vaccines, spay/neuters, and more. Among other things, they also host Pit Bulls on Parade at the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, and I got to finally attend one last weekend! (P.S. – Those last two links are media coverage, check them out!)

The event was so fun. We were all there to have a good time and spread a positive message about “pit bull” dogs. I took so many pictures – too many to fit in one, two, or even three posts. So I’m going to put some up today and tomorrow, and you can find the rest on Peace, Love, and Fostering’s Facebook page in the next few days. These photos capture the event way better than I could ever describe with words (which is good, because I’m so brain dead from editing them all).  Enjoy!

To be continued tomorrow. . .  stay tuned!

Project Mickey

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of sitting in on the final class of an after school program aimed towards educating kids about humane relationships with animals. Project Mickey, named after a darling puppy that Jasmine’s House took in who passed away, officially kicked off its Pilot Program in April, and the results have been nothing but astounding.

Fifteen 5th grade students from an inner city Baltimore public school participated in the program where twice a week they learned about a wide variety of dog related issues. These kids not only gained knowledge about things like how to safely greet a dog, clicker training, and proper pet care – they also became very familiar with “pit bull” dogs, and the issues surrounding them. Most of these students began the four weeks with a negative image of a pit bull, and left just like the rest of us: with their hearts wrapped around the big square head of pit bull type dogs everywhere.

Project Mickey is one of the most inspiring things I have ever gotten the honor of participating in. While I was only around for the end result, I could still see how much passion, creativity, and intelligence was pouring out of these kids on this topic. They learned to appreciate that dogs have feelings and that it is up to us to keep animals safe and healthy.

Today was the day they worked on their final projects for next week’s presentation. While I don’t want to spoil much for any Jasmine’s House followers who are going to see the presentation next week, I will say that the ideas these children came up with to share what they’ve learned with their classmates absolutely blew me away. Kids are presenting on why dog fighting is bad, how to be safe around dogs, about pit bulls in general and why breed bans are no good, and more.  It’s amazing what they’ve learned and what they’ve really seemed to soak up from their experiences.

I’ll hopefully post more about Project Mickey as it evolves, but I can confidently say that Jasmine’s House has set up something magical here. These kids, many for their first time, experienced compassion for animals and will hopefully now be their voice among peers – something that likely never would have happened without the four weeks they spent with the school’s representative, the Jasmine’s House folks, a few ambassadogs, and a lot of great lessons.

In order to grow and help more students each session, Project Mickey needs financial support. If you would like to help this program continue so more children can be reached, please consider donating to the cause today.