Niki and I are starting to get excited…

Wow! Have we had a run of bad luck lately! My computer was acting up and we just recovered from a major crash. We are back in business but lost a lot of recent photos and documents that were not yet backed up to disk. I apologize for the absence, but we are back in business now!

Niki will have her weigh in this evening, she did not lose any weight last week but did not gain either so all in all it was a successful week! Here`s hoping we have some weight loss this week. She continues to show improved movement when walking, and is no longer dragging her ass on the return leg of our walks. Last night she kept up a jogging pace during her evening walk and actually attempted to initialize play with pack brother Phoenix. This was new as she had stopped running and playing due to her weight.

Niki and I are starting to get excited for this weekends trip to Toronto for the Biker`s & Bully`s without Borders finale. We can`t wait to meet some of Niki`s FB peeps, so if you are going, make sure to look for Niki and the human attached to her, pose for a picture, and say hello. Here are a few pics so you know what we all look like!

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My husband Todd and I.

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Niki and I

If you are not aware of this event and wish to attend, more information can be found here:

Bikers & Bully`s without Borders Event Info.

We hope to see you there!

 

Peace, Love, & Freedom for Pit Bulls!

Janette & Niki

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Niki would love to pose for a picture with her FB peeps!

Wow! I just realized how long it has been since I have written. Truth be told I haven’t been feeling well, but feel a little better today. We have had a busy week, so Niki did not get weighed in until late last night. Unfortunately there was no weight loss this week, but there was no weight gain either so we are still on track. Every day it gets a little easier for her to move around, and she now looks forward to our daily walks, and walks at a brisk pace for the whole route. She is making friends along the route and has points where she stops to look for the people we have met so she can say hello. Over the next couple of weeks we will be taking a camera along on Niki’s walks and introducing you to some of her new friends.

We still continue to be a part of the fight against BSL here in Ontario, and will be attending the Biker’s & Bully’s without Borders Finale here in Toronto on September 2, 2012. Those of you who are not familiar with this event, can find more information here:

Biker’s & Bully’s without Borders

Niki will be there of course, so anyone wishing to meet her can find us day of and say hello.  Just look for the chubby black and white pibble with the wiggly butt! Niki would love to pose for a picture with her FB peeps!

Today Todd’s Mother is visiting with us. If there is time we plan to take a mini beach walk with her and Niki, stay tuned for pics of Grandma’s visit!

We finally got the french right on this bilingual anti BSL sign for Ontario residents. If you live in an area of Ontario where french is a dominant second language please feel free to print it out and hang it in a window or on your front door!

 

We hope you all have a great weekend! I will try to get back to daily writing next week. Don’t forget to give your pibble a big hug from me and Niki!

Peace, Love, and Freedom for Pit Bulls!

Janette & Niki

Keep on fighting the good fight! EDUCATE don’t DISCRIMINATE!

Did not sit down to write today, but did do some work on a couple of anti BSL graphic covers optimized for the Facebook time line. Here they are, feel free to use them if you so desire. More coming later…

 

 

 

Until tomorrow, everybody have a good night! Keep on fighting the good fight!

Peace, Love, & Freedom for Pit Bulls!

Janette & Niki

 

 

But seriously dudes…LEASH UP!

Good morning everybody! I hope your week has been a good one so far. We are still trying to get things back to some semblance of order after our daughter moved back home last month, but it looks as if things may finally be working themselves out. The dogs found it difficult to get into a routine with new noises in the house, after all they have had three years of it being just me and my husband, and now have to adjust to a third person in the house on a regular basis. Add to that the fact that our daughter’s boyfriend is a regular visitor and well, you can see how that might be confusing for them. We are working through it but there are days when I wish we didn’t have to. To top it all off one of the neighbors got the bright idea to bring home a rooster, and now EVERYONE in the house is awakened at the crack of dawn! Frustrating to say the least.

So anyway, for those of you that do not know, I am a fibromyalgia sufferer, as a result some days are better than others. Yesterday was a bad one so I did not walk Niki, but my husband did so when he got home from work. For the first time he was the one fielding comments from strangers, and for a change those comments were good ones. As he walked Niki through a local park, he came upon a woman who was walking a Jack Russell. She commented to my husband that it was nice to see someone else use a leash.

Now I have explained to you all before that we have a big problem with off leash dogs in Barrie. Well it turns out that this woman has had a far worse time of it than we have. She no longer walks her Rottweiler during the day when other dog owners are out and about because her dog has been attacked three times by off leash dogs! Yes, you heard me right, her ROTTI has been attacked three times. But wait…aren’t Rotti’s one of those dogs everyone thinks are just a dangerous as our pit bulls? But the Rotti is the one being attacked! As far as I am concerned this is a clear sign that ALL dog owners should be held responsible for the actions of their dogs!

This woman has not reported these attacks on her dog, and quite frankly with the way the authorities deal with these things I can’t say I blame her. She is afraid that if she reports the attacks, it is HER dog that will be the one blamed because of his breed. I know just how she feels it is something I myself fear whenever an off leash dog approaches Niki. I know that no matter who the aggressor is, it will be Niki who is blamed, because of her looks, and Ontario’s BSL.

We have all seen it before. Dogs deemed to be “pit bull” who are getting attacked and defending themselves only to be removed from their home and sentenced to die because someone else’s dog attacked them. The offending dog, generally not a pit bull, is allowed to go on to attack other dogs while the “pit bull” who was attacked is held responsible. It’s not fair it’s not right, but our government doesn’t see it that way. They have labelled ALL of these dogs as dangerous sight unseen, and behavior unassessed. It amounts to nothing more than creating a scapegoat to blame for ALL bad dogs out there. You can be rest assured if there is an incident between a dog deemed to be a “pit bull” and a dog of ANY other breed it will be the “pit bull” who pays for the crime whether it was the aggressor or not.

So, how do we combat the problem of off leash dogs? Really the city of Barrie should be addressing this problem by ticketing those that insist on walking their pets sans leash. But that would mean by-law enforcement, and we all know that when it comes to laws concerning dogs, no one really bothers to pay attention. What makes you think for one moment that a city that won’t charge an animal abuser with cruelty to animals, is going to care about curbing the off leash dog problem?

Some of you might remember an incident a few months back in which I took one of my neighbors dogs into the Barrie shelter because my neighbors and I were sick of it running around the neighborhood off leash while the owner was at work. The dog almost got hit by cars several times, and after calling animal control twice in one week and getting no response, I finally trapped the dog myself and took it in, in the hopes of teaching our neighbor a lesson. Well, he has the dog back now and the other day my next door neighbor saw it running around the neighborhood again! This guy just doesn’t get it! No matter how many times we take his dog to the shelter when we find it running around loose, he will still walk it off leash and allow it to roam the neighborhood like a stray.

So having tried to do things the way the city tells us to has gotten no response. Their animal control unit wouldn’t even come out and do their job when called about this off leash dog. Therefore I am left with no choice but to become political and head to the next city council meeting. I have no wish to cause fellow dog owners grief, but the safety of my dogs depends on other animal owners following the laws and leashing their dogs the same way I do. Therefore I have no choice but to bring it up at the next city council meeting and demand that the leash laws be enforced! After all, isn’t that what part of my taxes are supposed to pay for?

Okay, my rant is done for today. But seriously dudes…LEASH UP!

Peace, Love & Freedom for Pit Bulls

Janette & Niki

Oh wow! You guys! She’s already lost two pounds…

Today was to be Niki’s weigh in day, but we were out and about last night and had to drop in to my husbands company to pick up his bike. So since we were already there we decided to weigh Niki. Oh wow! You guys! She’s already lost two pounds and is very proud of herself! I am proud of her!

When we first started Niki’s diet and exercise program she was not very happy with us. We cut back on her food intake, and made her walk! In her eyes we were horrible people! Last night when she saw how excited we were about her weight loss she perked up and seemed to be just a little more energetic on the walk home. Do you think maybe she understands we are trying to help her?

While I am encouraged by Niki’s weight loss, we still have a long way to go.  Niki should weigh somewhere in the range of 80-90 lbs. according to her vet. That means we must coax her through another 18-28 lbs. of weight loss and then maintain her at that weight. The key to making sure that Niki loses the weight but stays healthy is making sure she loses gradually. A pound or two  is excellent progress, but we do not want her to lose any more than that in a week.

I am also encouraged by YOUR response! To date we have only had one troll attack the blog. The rest of you (especially my anti-BSL friends) have been encouraging, but not disparaging, and for that I thank you. Truth be told I feel guilty enough about Niki’s weight gain without being told it is my fault. I already blame myself and I am thankful that you have all been so understanding and helpful! Our ONLY concern is getting Niki back to a healthy weight, and I don’t have time to argue with trolls over whose fault it is that Niki is overweight. At this point, who’s to blame is really far less important than helping Niki achieve her weight loss goal.

We will continue to walk Niki and coax her through her weight loss. If you see us on the beach, stop us and say hello, Niki would love to meet our readers, she loves to make new friends.

On another note, I posted a dog to the FB page this morning. A seven month old Rotti cross in Kirkland Lake who will be PTS if a home is not found for him ASAP. Please check it out and pass it on to anyone in Ontario that you might know who might adopt a Rotti X pup! Here’s the link:

Rotti Pup to be PTS if no home found! If you can find it in your heart to bring him into your home he will be eternally greatful and you will have found a best friend!

Peace, Love & Freedom for Pit Bulls!

Janette & Niki

You just KNOW I almost did a happy dance right there on the beachfront!

Niki (left) and Phoenix right) and I take a rest on the beachfront during Saturday’s walk.

Well, another weekend over! Thank goodness! This past weekend was rainy and dull, migraine making weather really. I dislike rain immensely, so I had no fun at all, and yes I got the migraine too, double whammy! Migraines aside Niki must go walking, so yesterday we set out to head for the beach. It wasn’t raining when we left, nor did it look as if it might any time soon. Boy was that deceptive! Normally when we set out on our beach walks with Niki we head through the downtown core before heading for the beach. Yesterday was no exception.

Niki likes to meet new people and I like to accustom her to the normal goings on in the community, so it is never a problem to walk Barrie’s main street, and we do it on a daily basis. Niki has even made friends with some of the local people on the street and greets them all with a wag of her tail and a kiss. Those that know her love her, those that don’t avoid the big bad “pit bull” as she walks docilely down the street.

Yesterday however, it began to rain before we reached the beach. Looking very much like drowned rats, we headed for home before our full route was walked. Thankfully the weather was much more accommodating this morning! We made the full beach walk route without even the threat of rain, and what an interesting walk it was too! It is funny how in the space of a one hour walk, you can meet dog owners that get it, dogs owners that don’t get it, and dog owners who just don’t care! Let me explain…

As I said, Niki and I took our regular route which takes about an hour to complete. We were on the last stretch of the beachfront part of our walk when we met a family of five and their two dogs going the other way. I can never resist a puppy and they had the most gorgeous little Belgian Malinois, so of course I just HAD to stop and talk. Imagine my surprise when one of the parents took the middle son to task for reaching out and touching Niki without asking my permission! You just KNOW I almost did a happy dance right there on the beachfront! What was this? Parents who ACTUALLY took the time to teach their children the proper way to approach a strange dog? Had I just been transported to the perfect world without my knowledge? Usually it was ME telling kids to stop running at my dog while parents stood back and scowled and muttered about people who don’t teach their dogs properly!This was definitely NOT what I was used to! But it was refreshing! Finally, dog owners that “got it!”

We talked for a while and I commended them on their attitude towards kids and dogs, and told them that I wished more people took the time to work with their children on approaching strange dogs the way that they had. We parted ways and Niki and I headed for home, the family in the back of our minds, and perhaps a little faith restored in the human race. That renewed faith lasted for a whole two blocks, then we ran into Grandma and her elderly Schnauzer.

What is it with old ladies and their small breed dogs? You could see from a distance that this dog was going to be a problem to pass. It was straining at the end of it’s leash already trying to reach Niki when we were still half a block away. The closer we got, the more frantic it became, and the louder it got. Niki, God love her, showed no reaction to the crazed Schnauzer. She simply tried to walk past the dog without acknowledging it’s behavior. That is when the little dog lunged at her, and it’s owner made no attempt to stop it. The little Schnauzer bit at Niki’s ankles, Niki growled to warn it off, and the old lady went bananas! She started yelling about how I had no right to own such an aggressive dog, and how she was going to report my dog to authorities for being aggressive. She even added that she was glad my dog would be taken from me and killed because “people like me” had no business owning “dogs like that.”

As you can well imagine, this angered me to no end! MY dog was aggressive? “People like me.”? Dog’s like that? What on earth was this woman talking about? MY dog was the one her dog had attacked! If there was a problem here, it started with her, not me. Niki is a perfectly socialized dog who ignores everything that normally distracts most people’s dogs. She walks past cats, kids, yapping dogs, and loud people without so much of a turn of the head, but this woman was labeling her as aggressive for growling a warning?

Well folks, I probably shouldn’t have, but I got ANGRY! I told this woman that if she had socialized her pet properly with other animals it would not act in an aggressive manner towards them. I told her that if she did not treat her small breed dog like it could do no wrong it might actually behave properly in public, and I told her that if she took off her rose colored glasses, she would see it was HER dog that was the problem and not everyone else’s. Needless to say, I left her muttering about other people’s dogs, and that big bad old “pit bull” that should be killed. Yep, another dog owner that just doesn’t “get it!” Oh well, for five minutes I got to think the world might actually be changing. I was about to find out that wasn’t the case!

About two blocks from home we came upon another dog owner and his dog. The dog was an elderly Shepherd, and it was leashless! Now I understand that some dogs can be walked off leash successfully. They are well trained and obey their owners every command. That still doesn’t make it okay to dispense with the leash!

In just about every community in Canada there are by-laws that state you MUST leash your pet in public. In some cases specifications are made as to the length of the leash you may use to do so, but nowhere that I am aware of is it legal to walk your dog sans leash. There are many reasons for this by-law, but the main one is the safety of both your dog and the public.

Yes I know Fido is such a good dog that leashing him seems ridiculous, but that does NOT circumvent the fact that leashing is the law. Nowhere in any by-laws I have ever read does it say that leashing your dog is a SUGGESTION, or that it is up to each individual owner to decide whether or not their pet needs a leash, by-laws simply and plainly state ALL dogs MUST be leashed in public unless in a designated off leash area.

So I asked this guy if he realized that there are leash laws in our town. His response shocked me, he actually said “Yes, but they don’t apply to ole Henry here! He doesn’t need a leash, he is properly trained unlike your dog who clearly needs to be leashed, or you would be walking her without one!” WTF? Seriously dude? Umm, NO my dog is not leashed because she NEEDS to be, my dog is leashed because it is the LAW! If it weren’t the law I would have no problem taking her out without one, she IS an amazingly smart dog. I know better however, I am a RESPONSIBLE dog owner! So, I told this guy he just simply did not care about his dog, I mean if he did wouldn’t his dog be leashed? After all it is the law, and like it or not responsible pet owners abide by the law! This guy is way past not getting it, this guy just simply doesn’t care! It’s owners like him who make life with dogs difficult for those of us who take dog ownership seriously!

Our hopes of new enlightenment for the masses dashed, Niki and I headed for home. We decided we would concentrate on thinking about the bright spot in our morning walk, the young family trying to teach their children proper animal care and approach. We would forget about the misguided and the stupid, they would still be there tomorrow. For now we are just stoked that our message is getting through to parents! Hopefully this means good things for the future!

Have a great day everybody!

Peace, Love & Freedom for Pit Bulls,

Janette & Niki

Peace, Love, & Freedom for Pit Bulls

Ugh! I know we need the rain, but every time I wake up and it is raining all I can think is “well Niki won’t walk far today!” What IS it with dogs and walking in the rain? They act like they are going to melt! I really don’t get it. I mean they see nothing wrong with going out and joyously rolling in the big mud puddles the rain leaves behind, but a rain drop will send them flying for cover? I knew I was not getting far with Niki yesterday at all!

We no longer possess a working treadmill.  We had one once, but for some reason it became “the” spot for new dogs to “mark” when they first got here for training. Mechanical things that get peed on a lot eventually refuse to do their job, so out went the treadmill! Now that I have retired from active hands on rescue and only have my “hard to place” rescues and my own dogs left, things tend not to get peed on, so we need to replace the treadmill as a few of our dogs could benefit from using it. It is a great way to exercise your dogs in inclement weather, and it is a great tool to help with exercise regimens for dogs like Niki, that need to lose weight.

Okay, where was I going with this? Oh yeah…rain… rainy days at our house means dealing with keeping a pack of dogs busy so they don’t get themselves into mischief. Niki can be particularly mischievous when she gets bored. She is also a very intelligent dog, and has learned a few tricks on her own we’d rather have had her not learn.

Rainy days send Niki searching for things to do. She can get out of her crate if she really wants to, and what’s more? She’ll then release everyone else while she is at it! If you don’t give Niki a job, especially on rainy days, she will get herself into some sort of mischief. One rainy day I crated the big dogs and made sure the small dogs were secured in their part of the house. I went out and did the weekly grocery shopping. When I came home with the groceries and opened the front door, I was greeted by the entire pack at once! Niki had gotten bored gotten out of her crate and decided she wanted the rest of the pack out too!

I realized early on that Niki was highly intelligent. Okay, I may be a little biased because she’s MY baby, but she is a super smart dog! Knowing this, there was only one way to keep her busy, and out of trouble. Give her a job! Niki became a dog trainer!

What? Yep, I know, now you REALLY think I have lost my mind, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Who better to communicate with a dog, than another dog? Niki really fell into her “job” naturally. New pups would come into our home, and Niki would immediately take them under her wing (so to speak.) She would correct their bad behavior, and protect them from being picked on by the adult dogs in the pack. She’d teach them the ways of the dog pack. I didn’t train her to do what she does, I just learned to guide the skills she already possessed.

Niki used to exhibit the same behavior on walks, correcting bad behavior with a low growl or a shove with her head. All perfectly natural behavior for a dog. Then people said her kind were vicious and had to be muzzled in public to protect others from harm. Now when Niki goes for a walk, she can’t do her job. She must walk alone or with one of her adult pack buddies so that no one perceives her behavior with a pup as aggressive or vicious. Grown men will cross to the other side of the street when they see us coming.  Parents tell their children to “stay away from the bad dog.”

THIS is how BSL has effected Niki, and this is why we are now faced with the task of helping our beloved Niki lose weight. BSL took an active vibrant dog, and turned her into an overweight, slow moving dog whose health is in danger! Really if you want to get technical, BSL amounts to nothing more than government forced animal abuse! By restricting these dogs from being normal active dogs that can interact with society, BSL only causes poor quality of life for these dogs, as well as make them subject to health conditions they would not be subject to if they were free.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know I did a lot to contribute to this mess. I hear you all yelling, but curb your tongues because I know my role in Niki’s weight gain, I have acknowledged my mistake, and my only concern at this point is my dog! Therefore, I would like you all to do me a favor and take an “if you can’t say something helpful to Niki, don’t say anything at all” approach to this issue. Also when you think about this issue, remember that I have other dogs whom are not restricted by BSL, and every one of them is healthy and at optimum weight. The ONLY overweight dog in our household is Niki. She is also the ONLY BSL restricted dog. Draw your own conclusion.

Niki as a nine week old pup…isn’t she gorgeous???

Hope you all have a great day! See you tomorrow!

Peace, Love, & Freedom for Pit Bulls

Janette & Niki