Found a pit-mix stray, am out of my depth. Philadelphia, PA

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Found a pit-mix stray, am out of my depth. Philadelphia, PA

Postby MsPinky » Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:07 pm

Hello everyone,

First, I want to say how happy I am to find this forum! I have been browsing through and the passion you guys show for these wonderful animals is completely incredible!

I have had dogs all my life (all strays) but I have never owned a pit and I have no experience with the breed. I need some help please. I found a stray in West Philadelphia about 3 weeks ago. She is a pit mix. I have an old dog that does not like other dogs so I need to find a home (foster or forever) very quickly for this little girl. I am trying very hard to not add another burden to the shelter system. I have no experience in this area and I am overwhelmed and struggling with where to turn, where to start trying to find her a good home.

Here is what I know about this dog so far:

She was a stray, we found her behind Presbyterian Hospital in West Philadelphia. She let me catch her, put a leash on her and bring her home. From the first moment we grabbed her, she exhibited no aggression at all. I have taken food away from her while she's eating, stuck my fingers in her mouth, ears, pet her every which way, she just wags her tail. People have come in and out of my house, friends, my contractor, etc. and she has not shown any aggression towards anyone at all.

My vet checked her out and gave her a clean bill of health and her first year of vaccinations. She is a pitbull mix, 50lbs, 4-5 years old, housebroken. Also, she is NOT spayed. I will gladly help a potential adoptee with the cost of spaying if she is guaranteed to go to a good home. She came into heat not soon after I brought her home and I hesitated to give her to anyone while she was in heat - it was a difficult time with her so I just held on to her while she was going through it. But now, the heat is over. My vet recommends waiting 2 months before spaying but I cannot keep her that long and I am terrified that I won't be able to guarantee that whoever takes her will indeed spay her. In an ideal case, she would be safest in a foster or rescue.

She is a very sweet, affectionate dog. She is housebroken but doesn't seem to have been trained and we are blown away by how quickly she is picking up things - we've taught her sit and are working on stay and lie down. Is this a characteristic of the breed? She seems to be one of those dogs that is very eager to please and quick to pick things up. She is energetic but not hyper or neurotic and long walks are good for her. She is hard on the leash but I purchased a Gentle Leader collar and now she is a dream to walk! Whoever takes her will get the collar too ... free. :-) Every day we go for long walks together, she likes to walk through a fountain in my neighbourhood and "eat" the water. Always makes me smile. She also does this funny thing when she pees - she sticks both her back legs wayyyy up a tree and balances on her front legs. Sometimes she falls over. LOL. And she likes to eat ice cubes! :-)

She is good in the house, no barking or destroying things when you're away. She has a very confident personality - I have walked her all over the city, during rush hour around people, buses, bicycles, cars you name it. She's steady, mellow and not easily startled or skittish or jumpy. She's a really fun dog to be around.

I already have an old dog who doesn't care for other dogs. Right now, I keep them separated and as a consequence the stray spends most of her time alone - to her credit, she handles it without fuss. But I feel bad for that. She is so loving, she really deserves someone who can give her the attention.

I am trying very hard to find a good home for her. I know the shelters are full and I feel that if I take her to the SPCA she won't stand a chance. I don't want to add another burden to the shelter system but I am running out of time. Construction is starting in our building early next month and once construction workers begin to swarm the place it'll become very difficult to keep the dogs separated - right now, we do this little juggling act with opening and closing doors but I'm worried that the construction guys are not going to bother or remember to do that and there's going to be a problem - my dog is old, becoming frail but still with enough spunk to try to start something with this young dog and I can't risk either of the two dogs getting hurt. Someone also suggested a crate which I hadn't thought of before!

I really really want her to go to a GOOD home, some place that understands the breed and its needs. She is definitely different from my other dog - I have been doing some reading and I see that the pits are referred to as bully breeds. I have no experience and I am trying to do the best I can but if they require special handling, I hope someone who knows how to do that can take her.

Also, could I ask a few behaviour related questions please? I have no experience here and I don't know if I am handling these behaviours properly.

I notice she is a little pushy for attention - she does this thing where she pushes her nose into my hand all the time, wants to climb on me and crowds me. Is that behaviour I should be stopping? I was reading and some place was saying that is dominant behaviour. What is the best way to deal with it with her? Usually, I will just take my hand away and tell her to go lie down. She does it! Is that correct on my part?

She is HARD on the leash so I purchased a Gentle Leader! It's awesome! I love it! She doesn't ... but she tolerates it quite well. Even with the collar, she tries to pull. She goes left, right, all over the place, out ahead most of the time. I should correct that right? She should walk always by my side, no pulling? Sorry if I sound like an ignoramus but I haven't had to deal with this with my dogs before! Also, are all pits completely completely completely obsessed with going outside? She's obsessed with it! And she's obsessed with peeing on EVERYTHING when we're outside. My other dogs (all females) never marked that much.

She also wants to chase cats and squirrels (is that a strong prey drive?).

Other dogs: really need help understanding her behaviour here. My dog doesn't get along with other dogs but it's really obvious she doesn't right from the beginning! With this one, I can't tell and I need some help understanding her behaviour.

When she was in heat, I didn't let her get near any other dogs. But now, we see other dogs at my local dog park and in my neighbourhood and I let her get near them (always on the leash of course). Here are some observations:

- saw a big husky (off-leash) - she jumped up on him, he moved away, she jumped off and kept going, no noise, nothing
- small dog followed us while we walked through the park and got very close to her, ignored him
- saw a friend's female pit and they were ready to scrap (but this one was in heat at the time and I didn't know it coz she wasn't bleeding yet)
- saw a huge male pit in the dog park - she jumped on him and sat on his head, no noise nothing. He just rolled over.
- small, un-neutered terrier in the neighbourhood, she jumped on him and flipped him over, he growled, she backed off, then he tried to hump her
- mid-sized mutt around the corner, she jumped on him (always around the shoulders) and they were just kind of standing there and he squirmed and then he squealed so I pulled her off but it seemed like she had her teeth on him a little. She jumped off but he wasn't hurt at all. What's up with that?
- other dogs we see while walking - sometimes, she completely ignores them, sometimes she will start straining at the leash towards them, she doesn't bark or anything, just strain. If a dog barks at her she starts barking back furiously.

So, I cannot tell if all this is aggression or just jumping or some kind of behaviour that's normal for the breed. Bottom line, I'm out of my depth but I don't want to just dump her - she seems like a sweet dog and deserves a fair chance.

All advice and help is greatly, greatly appreciated! I have never done this before and I feel very overwhelmed and deeply responsible for her future. I am willing to help in any way I can, drive her to a potential foster or forever, definitely help with the spay cost ... as long as she gets a GOOD home. Unfortunately, I have no experience in evaluating that and if a rescue organization can help me, that would be great. I would hate for her to end up with the wrong sort of person and spend the rest of her life being unloved and misunderstood.

Thank you!
Last edited by MsPinky on Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Found a pit-mix stray, am out of my depth. Philadelphia, PA

Postby Nickdawg » Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:38 pm

thank you for helping her - you may find this link helpful http://www.pbrc.net/foundpit.html

also see http://www.badrap.org/rescue/stray.html

dog/dog "stuff" - I would not be letting her meet dogs she doesn't know at this time....

http://www.badrap.org/rescue/dogdog.html
http://www.badrap.org/rescue/socializing.html
http://www.badrap.org/rescue/multidogs.html
http://www.badrap.org/rescue/keepingthepeace.html

you should also contact/pm haircrazie016 on this board as she is in your area and does pit bull rescue work/fostering and will likely have good advice for you
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Re: Found a pit-mix stray, am out of my depth. Philadelphia, PA

Postby MsPinky » Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:58 pm

Thank you so much! I will certainly check out that information and follow your advice about not letting her meet other dogs. And I will also contact the member you suggested. Thank you again!
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Re: Found a pit-mix stray, am out of my depth. Philadelphia, PA

Postby MsPinky » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:02 pm

Wow! There was tons of awesome information on those sites! I read it all - so informative. Thank you!

Also, I made a web page for the stray:

http://pinkypullerton.com

If you know anyone to share it with, please do.

Thank you!
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Re: Found a pit-mix stray, am out of my depth. Philadelphia, PA

Postby PITtsburgher » Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:53 pm

Hey, I got your PM but I'll reply to you on here so that if anyone else needs info they can get it.

Your first step is to fill out a found report - someone may be looking for this dog. Do this at the animal control shelter (ACCT): their number is 267 385 3800. You also should do one at PSPCA: their number is 215 426 6300. I'd also put up flyers in the area where she was found, and a found-pet ad on craigslist. I'm assuming your vet scanned the dog for a microchip; if not you can take it to the vet or any shelter to get it scanned. If you get a number, call the microchip company and see who it's registered to.

I'm glad you are aware of the shelter situation in Philadelphia. One option here is to get the dog adopted out yourself - get it fixed, and then find a home for it. You can get cheap spay through PSPCA (pspca.org) which is on Erie Avenue in north Philadelphia. It would be about $110 for the spay at PSPCA. There is also PAWS (phillypaws.org) on Greys Ferry Ave in southwest Philadelphia - they also do discount surgery. Morris Animal Refuge on Lombard St does a spay voucher program which may be even cheaper (morrisanimalrefuge.org).

As far as finding a home, as a foster I have had the best luck with craigslist. You can also list the dog on PBRC. If you live in an apartment building, put up flyers in the elevator.

Another option is to talk to the animal control shelter (ACCT) at 111 Hunting Park in north Philadelphia. They may be willing to let you turn the dog in as a stray and then foster it after the 48 hour stray hold is up. They will cover medical care as long as the dog is in foster care, including getting her spayed. You would have to ask them if this arrangement is OK but give them a call and find out. They also screen their adopters and would be able to do that for you.

Another way to go is to contact all-breed rescues in Philadelphia. The ones that come to mind are For the Love of the Underdog and Second Time Around Rescue. I know they both take pit bulls and are good rescues; there are probably many more that I'm not as familiar with. I'm not very familiar with Main Line Animal Rescue - I think they do mostly small dogs - but you could contact them too. If they are unable to take her, ask them for other rescues that may be able to.

If it comes down to having to surrender the dog, you can take it to ACCT or you can take it to Morris Animal Refuge. Unfortunately euthanasia does become a possibility at both places - my guess is that Morris would be a better chance but I don't know their statistics.

I'm in West Philadelphia also so if you want my opinion on her body language around other dogs I could probably help you with that.

GOOD LUCK!
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Re: Found a pit-mix stray, am out of my depth. Philadelphia, PA

Postby MsPinky » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:19 am

Hi!

Thank you for all the good info! Yes, my vet checked her for a microchip - she is not chipped. I don't know if this is the wrong thing to say but I don't want her to go back to where she came from - she looks like she'd had puppies, was skinny and doesn't appear to have been properly fed, was dirty and cowered if you lifted your hand to pet her or throw a ball. She's come a long way with all that in just a few short weeks and I don't want her to go back to whoever she came from. That is why I have not put up fliers for her yet or advertised a found dog. Is that wrong to do?

I will gladly bear the cost of spay if necessary and it sounds like her best shot at this point is if I try to find her a home with the help of rescues and all you kind people. :-)

Thank you for the recommendations of the rescues. I will definitely contact the For the Love of the Underdog rescue. I contacted Second Time Around but have not heard back. I also went to the PetFinder site and looked for a list of general and pit rescues and contacted them. I got a lot of good responses back. As expected, they are all full but have offered to help by posting on their own web sites etc.

I also contacted haircrazie (sp?) on this forum as recommended by some posters and she too has offered kindly to help by spreading the word and offering volunteer help with training. If you'd like to meet us on a walk one day, your knowledge and insight would be greatly appreciated as well. I can PM you my contact info.

I am familiar with Morris (I got my dog from there ... 14 years ago!). I know her chances are slim if I surrender her and I know the shelters are all struggling and overburdened. I will try my very hardest to find her a good home. She's a good dog and deserves a fair chance.

Thank you so much for your advice and help! I really really appreciate it. Hope you are staying cool. The stray is sleeping on my bed in front of the air-conditioner! What a life! :-)
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Re: Found a pit-mix stray, am out of my depth. Philadelphia, PA

Postby tarnation » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:45 am

Sounds like you are getting some excellent advice. You are doing a great thing in responsibly rescuing and rehoming a dog--it takes a lot of work! As others have said, definitely get her spayed before adopting her out.

I think it's wonderful that you made a personal website for her--it will be really helpful to have her listings at various rescues direct people to your website. One suggestion: photos are incredibly important. You want the very best photos you can get, which means a lot of photo-taking. It's often good to have photos where the dog is very affectionate or snuggly with a person, and/or with kids if the dog is good with kids. Beautiful photos with good lighting 'sell' the dog. You want to maximize your applicants so that you can be choosy in picking the right situation for the dog--there needs to be something about your photos that causes the person flipping through Petfinder to send you an email.

Best of luck with her!
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Re: Found a pit-mix stray, am out of my depth. Philadelphia, PA

Postby MsPinky » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:51 am

Thank you for the advice about the photos! I have a crappy cell phone camera but what you said makes a lot of sense. I may be able to borrow a better camera from a friend. I don't know yet if she is good with kids but many people I have reached out to have offered to help me with temperament tests.

You're right, it does take a lot of work and honestly, without the people on this forum and without all the great dedication and effort the rescues put into this enormous task of saving these creatures, I would truly be lost and floundering. I will try my very best to find her the best home I can.
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Re: Found a pit-mix stray, am out of my depth. Philadelphia, PA

Postby Nickdawg » Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:08 am

what a doll! she does look very mixey to me... glad you are getting good support/info....
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Re: Found a pit-mix stray, am out of my depth. Philadelphia, PA

Postby Nickdawg » Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:45 pm

how is Ms. Pinky?
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