BSL

I think it is easy to overlook that we are fortunate here in Indianapolis to not have breed specific legislation (BSL). If you don't know what BSL is or want to learn more about it's impact in your community check these resources made available by our friends at Animal Farm Foundation in NY.

Even though we don't have BSL in our community, when CDT adopters try to move out of the state they are confronted with hard decisions that no one wants to make. In 2017 we had two dogs returned to the rescue because when their families moved out of state they could not afford to keep them.


 Bodhi, white dog in front

Bodhi, white dog in front

Bodhi, Class of 2016, was returned when her owners moved to California for work. Bodhi's owner had to decide between a house where they could keep their dog, but fear for their child's safety when going to Elementary school OR surrender their dog back to CDT and pick a house in a neighborhood where pit bulls are banned, but there is a in a good school district for their child.

No one should have to make this decision not to mention compounding the move across the country with separating a child from their dog.

The good news is that there was a family friend that were looking for a dog and and Bodhi was the perfect fit. So Bodhi wasn't in the rescue long and her current owners are still in contact with her original owner.


 Gidget aka Gidgy-goo-goo

Gidget aka Gidgy-goo-goo

Then on Christmas day Gidget, Class of 2015, came back to the rescue. Gidget's adopter took a job promotion which relocated the family to the company headquarters in Memphis, TN where BSL exists. So they bough a house in a BSL-free county in Mississippi. Throughout the closing process Gidget's adopters were struggling with obtaining home owners insurance that would cover a pit bull. Finally, they found a company that would underwrite their insurance policy at an 80% mark-up! Instead of paying $40/month on top of their mortgage payment they would have to pay $200/month because they own a pit bull. Gidget's adopters could do that, they had the funds and were ready to move forward.

Then 7 days before Gidget's adopters are scheduled to move their family (which includes an 18 mo old baby) 450 miles they get a call telling them the mortgage lender will not underwrite their loan to include the cost of pit bull friendly insurance. For example, if their rent was estimated at $1,500/mo the lender would underwrite a mortgage for $1,540/mo (which includes basic insurance), but refused to underwrite a loan for $1,700/mo (the monthly cost of rent plus the cost of pit bull friendly insurance). So after everything they've tried to do, Gidget's adopters had to choose to keep Gidget and have no place to live in a week or surrender their dog back to CDT.

No one should have to make the decision of giving up their dog just because of it's looks. Bodhi and Gidget are both good dogs. They deserve good homes. Gidget's settling into her foster home and has spent the last week getting completely spoiled! She's currently looking for a forever home where she can be the only diva and soak up all the love.

BSL doesn't work. It's expensive (estimated to cost over $1.1M if launched in Indianapolis, IN) and doesn't improve public safety. Learn more:

Winding down

Fall is definitely here and winter is right around the corner. The rescue usually winds down in November and December. There is a two-fold reason for doing this.

 Alumnus AJ doesn't like the rain.

Alumnus AJ doesn't like the rain.

First, it's just the natural rhythm of life here in the Midwest. Day light savings time 'falls back' and darkness begins to crawl forward earlier in the evening. This throws us off as much as the dogs and usually everyone sleeps more. The weather turns wet and cold, eventually add snow into the mix, and people stay indoors. No one thinks - hey let's get another dog, when they're wiping snow and muck off of the bottom of their current dog's feet every time they come inside from a freezing cold bathroom break. Having two dogs means twice the amount of work, and living in the Midwest, that's a lot of work in the winter. Two doggy coats to put on, eight feet to wipe, extra snow shoveling to do to clear favorite (and necessary) poop spots, two dogs to towel dry and then the obligatory house zoomies (times two) because it's just so much fun to go run around in the snow.

 Current 2017 Adoptabull Libby at the shelter.

Current 2017 Adoptabull Libby at the shelter.

The second reason we dial it back in November and December is because people's lives get busy. Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, people get together and/or travel at the end of the year. This extra change in schedule and foot traffic is not conducive to pulling a dog from the shelter. We prefer a quiet environment for at least the first three days when a new dog comes into the shelter. Why, you may ask? The shelter is a stressful environment and so is the process of us pulling a dog from the shelter. Imaging you had spent the past 1.5 years (in dog time or 90 days in human time) at the shelter. One day someone shows up, bathes you, puts you in a car, drives you away, introduces you to other dogs, and integrates you into their home. That's a lot of change for a dog and will stress them out. The body's natural response to stress is to release cortisol. Cortisol is a naturally occurring steroid hormone in the adrenal gland. Cortisol has positive affects like accellerating the metabolic response rate (opening air paths and blood vessels to allow more oxygen to aid in flight from life threatening situation) or negative affects like increasing the healing times of wounds. Once a body receives a spike of cortisol it takes approximately 72 hours for their body to process the hormone and balance back out.

Not only do our foster families get busy over the holiday's, in the past, we have had adopters decided to return their dogs at this time of year too. I have personally spent a Thanksgiving day driving 3 hours to pick up an adoption return. The following year I spent a Christmas morning picking up a foster return. So I can tell you from personal experience that it is in the benefit of the rescue to slow down in November and December because there is an increased chance of crazy stuff happening.

Usually we pick back up around the end of February and March (when Spring is right around the corner). That is not to say we won't pull dogs for the next four months, it's just that if we do we will be very intentional about which dogs would work the best given the conditions. 

What is leash reactivity?

After publicly announcing our leash reactivity class, we have received a lot of inquiries about the topic.

What is leash reactivity?

This is a umbrella term used in dog training to describe a series of behaviors a dog may exhibit while on lead. This includes but is not limited to: lunging, barking, growling, jumping and vocalizing.

Dogs can be reactive to just about anything that you come across on your walks. Most commonly pet parents struggle with managing dogs that display these behaviors when they see another dog approaching. There are many reasons why a dog may become leash reactive. In our class, we will address the underlying causes for reactivity and give owners a better understanding of how to properly work with their dog to decrease these types of behaviors.

Click the image below for an in-depth article about the causes of leash reactivity written by Tom Mitchell. Tom is a veterinarian, clinical behaviorist and companion and sports dog trainer, providing a unique perspective on all things dog.