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Watch this Film: Beyond the Myth

Yesterday, as I was filling old pickle jars with the cookie ingredients to make cute DIY holiday gifts, Zach yelled to me from the other room.

“This movie is for you!”

Boy, was he right.

Beyond the Myth is a documentary for all pit bull advocates dog lovers.

Through research, statistical analysis and real life stories, the film takes an honest look at breed specific legislation, and how it can cause more pain than it heals – for families, innocent dogs and even dog bite victims.

For example, did you know that in some communities with BSL if someone is bitten by a “pit bull dog,” that animal may be destroyed. However, if the biter is some other breed of dog, the animal may only be confined to a few days of confinement? That’s not fair to the dogs or anyone unfortunate enough to get bitten.

My eyes misted over several times during this movie, and at the end of it, we hugged all the dogs who live with us, and especially mystery mutt Charlie “Chetty” Machete.

Although Beyond the Myth was preaching to the choir in our living room, I do believe this film is compelling enough to change hearts and minds through its presentation of the truth about pit bulls.

If you haven’t seen Beyond the Myth, I urge you to check it out. It is now available on Netflix, but you can also purchase your own copy or even sign up to host a screening through beyondthemythmovie.com.

The Black Oracle

I spend a lot of time staring into this face:

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“What are you?” I ask it.

I cup my palms on the chiseled cheekbones and gently tug on the excess skin around the thick neck and jaw. I pull the ears into a bat-like erect state. I trace the little wrinkle along the top of the skull, which reminds me of my childhood dog Prowler.

Then, I run my hands through the fur. It’s velvety soft all over, but the length and density vary.

On the face, the hairs are short and thick. From the nape of the neck, the black threads grow longer, maxing out at about two inches around the shoulder blades and coming in slightly shorter and less densely all the way to the tip of the tail.

There is not a single white or brown patch anywhere.

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The body itself is lean, long and athletic. The chest does not protrude. There is webbing between the toes.

Friendly licks are delivered by a pink-and-black speckled tongue.

I can see a lot of things in this dog.

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Charlie Machete reminds me of a Rottweiler, a Chow and sometimes even a Shar Pei. I also think he looks a bit like a panther.

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Could Charlie Machete be part cat? (Photo courtesy: FreeWildlifePictures.com)

Mostly, when I look at my foster dog, I see a black Labrador retriever + something with a square head and a lot of love to give.

One thing is for sure: Identifying dogs based on looks alone is a tricky business, and it can have dire consequences for mislabeled animals in areas that ban certain breeds.

For more on this topic, check out the “Misjudging Mixed Breeds” article at StubbyDog.org. While you’re there, be sure to look at the picture of Rocky, who was listed as a pit bull mix but whose DNA test revealed a mix of 10 breeds, none of them bully.

We might get Charlie Machete DNA tested someday.

But no matter the results, he will always be the same thing: a dog.

If you or someone you know is interested in adopting Charlie Machete, check out his Midwest Adopt-a-Bull profile.

Share a story about your favorite mutt in the comments!

This dog has a really great name

Meet Arria.

Just like Charlie Machete, this beautiful dog is available for adoption through the Midwest Adopt-a-Bull rescue organization.

Arria is currently under the loving care of her foster family Lexi and Derek. Lexi says:

“I really love Arria to death. If I could, I would keep her all to myself. But that also would prevent me from helping any other dogs. We will be sad to see her leave, but we will be so happy to see her go to her forever home.”

To that, I say, “Amen, sister.”

Here’s a little more of what Lexi has to say about her 40-pound, less-than-a-year-old, kid-friendly foster pit Arria:

What is Arria’s story?

Arria was a runaway dog that had been found. Her previous owners had moved to a city with breed specific legislation against pit bulls. They had then found her but obviously couldn’t take her due to where they had moved to. So she was at the Independence Shelter awaiting a rescue to take her before her time was up since the law prevented the shelter from adopting her out to the public.

Where did that name come from?

My boyfriend and I had begun watching the Game of Thrones series on HBO. One of the daughters on that show is named Arya. We stole the name. I think it fits her well to name her after the character because of how strong-willed and determined that character is. Not only does it remind me of a strong person but it’s also a beautiful name in my opinion.

What is Arria like?

Arria is a sweetheart. She loves attention. My boyfriend jokes that we should have named her ‘kisses’ because she loves to give us and our dogs constant kisses. She has been an instant companion. She loves to sit at our side and follow us around the house. She even sits and lays her head on the coffee table and watches TV. She loves our dogs and the neighbors dogs.

How has Arria improved or changed since coming to live with you?

When Arria came to us she did not know commands. We also don’t allow our dogs on the furniture, so we don’t allow Arria up there. She had a hard time learning not to jump up there or to jump up on guests. She has been great with house training, command training, and not jumping up anymore.

What else should potential adopters know about this dog?

She actually has no interest in toys or dog treats, so as you can imagine she just sits around and watches TV with us hahaha aside from running around outside. Arria is so great in her kennel. She doesn’t have accidents, she doesn’t cry out to us, and she sleeps all night with no complaints! It’s amazing. We are currently trying to break our 5 month old puppy of crying in her kennel when she wants out so it’s a relief not to have both of them doing it!

How did you get involved in fostering?

I’ve been helping rescue Pit Bulls with two different rescues now. I’ve volunteered my time with rescues and have occasionally found runaway dogs with tags that I have helped return to their owners. I have been wanting to foster for a while now, but my circumstances never seemed to allow me to do so. Now, my boyfriend, Derek, and I have our own house that we are renting so we took on fostering. I had actually found a dog outside at my work and took him home planning on fostering him unless we found his owners. When I went to get him scanned for a microchip, he was indeed chipped and I was able to return him to his owner. The next day, I went to the Independence animal shelter and pulled Arria before her time was up.

Does Arria sound like a dog for you or someone you know?

Check her out on the Midwest Adopt-a-Bull’s available dogs page.

While you’re there, also check out my foster dog Charlie Machete’s profile and consider helping out the organization with a donation or by volunteering!

Charlie Machete is Lennox

Animal lovers the world over were heartbroken this week when breed specific legislation (aka breed discriminatory legislation) in Northern Ireland led to the death of a pit bull type dog named Lennox.

The same happens to thousands of dogs every day in U.S. shelters. Lack of space and resources, lack of adopters and BSL all contribute to the death of healthy, beautiful animals that would make fine human companions.

Charlie Machete doesn’t know what kind of dog he is for sure, but like Lennox, he’s been to death row and he’s been labeled as a pit bull type dog. And he thinks it’s lame that anyone would discriminate against him or any dog based on supposed breed.

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For more information about why discriminating against specific dog breeds isn’t the answer, check out this BSL guide from Stubby Dog.

To learn about making Charlie Machete, a Midwest Adopt-a-Bull dog, part of your family, head to the Adoptable page.

A kennel to feel good about (Kennel Creek review)

In the interest of keeping the business of pet care in the family, if we lived closer, we’d send our dogs to spend our vacations at my aunt’s Waggin Tails kennel in southeast Nebraska.

Some of her clients drive upwards of two hours to bring their pets to the boarding and grooming business she operates out of her farm.

Since we discovered Kennel Creek Pet Resort in Overland Park, Kansas, I’m beginning to understand the loyalty a pet owner can feel upon finding a quality place for your fur babies to go when they can’t go with you.

I met Kennel Creek owner Christopher Sailors back at the Great KC Pet Expo. We struck up a conversation because he has the world’s most well-behaved labradoodles (says I).

Photo by Fido Fetch Photography

Photo by Fido Fetch Photography

Months later, I took Chris up on his offer to show me around his pet care business that is conveniently located on the route I take to work every day.

My first impression of Kennel Creek, which operates out of a building that used to house the headquarters for the Applebee’s restaurant chain, was that it is huge, clean and uber-professional.

Like me, Chris said he was always hesitant to board his beloved dogs. In fact, to get around the issue of having to send them somewhere else while he traveled, years ago he bought an RV to make it easier for them to go with him.

Guessing there were other particular pet parents like himself in the area, Chris pursued the development of a facility to meet his personal criteria.

The result is a place for pets that serves practical needs and offers an array of little luxuries.

Some of the things that impressed me:

  • All animals receive reverse osmosis or carbon-filtered water to help protect their urinary tract health.
  • Rather than being bagged up and tossed in a smelly dumpster, dog waste is disposed of in power flush toilets, a solution that greatly keeps the odor down at the facility.
  • Although dog owners can be taken to a window to view the actual kennels where the animals stay, no one besides staff is allowed inside the kennel or play area. Chris says this helps the dogs remain calm – no need to sound an alert due to strangers entering their area.
  • Several times a day, pet parents can tune in to Kennel Creek’s play cams to watch their dogs romping outside.

Of course, I couldn’t really appreciate the value of checking your pets into Kennel Creek without trying it for myself.

So, I made a reservation for Luke the weekend Zach and I headed to Ponca, Nebraska, for the dedication of the shooting complex named after my cousin.

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Crazy dog lady disclosure: I originally made the reservation for Luke and Scooby but at the last minute sent Scooby to my mom’s house due to the combination of his suddenly finicky eating habits and need to take medication several times a day WITH food.

I did take Scooby with me to check in Luke, though, and the little guy seemed confused about why he couldn’t go with his big red buddy.

Zach and I enjoyed getting to watch Luke on the play cams, although when we peeked in, he seemed more interested in the Kennel Creek staff than his fellow visitors. (Typical golden retriever.)
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When I retrieved Luke after his three-night stay, he didn’t seem that excited to see me.

Because he is a notoriously needy dog, I took this to mean Luke was comfortable at Kennel Creek. Also, the staff reported that he did not hesitate to eat his food – something he more or less refused to do when he came along for our Katy Trail bike trip.

Luke returned to Kennel Creek a few days later for a groom, which was performed satisfactorally.

And although with two dogs the overnight rates are at the top of our price range, Zach and I decided to leave both Scooby and Luke at Kennel Creek during another recent weekend excursion. Because they are housemates who get along, they stayed together in a single roomy kennel.

This was the first time I ever sent Scooby to a professional boarding facility.

And you know what? He returned to me happy, healthy and a little more interested in napping in the plastic crate he usually ignores at home.

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The report card for Luke and Scooby I received upon their check out revealed that our dogs were “best friends” who stuck close to each other rather than romping with the other dogs at playtime. In fact, Luke preferred to go out with Scooby and the small dogs rather than playing with the dogs his size.

Frankly, based on their general avoidance of each other at our house, this information came as a pleasant surprise, and it gives me hope that Luke and Charlie Machete could also one day become “best friends.”

Overall, my opinion of Kennel Creek Pet Resort is favorable. The most challenging aspect of the process anytime I have taken my dogs there is the check-in.

As I would recommend to anyone boarding their pets anywhere, bring detailed instructions regarding your pet’s food and any medication needs, and be prepared to go over them verbally, too.

The only real downside to Kennel Creek is that due to being located in Overland Park, Kansas, a city with breed specific legislation, pit bull type dogs cannot be boarded at the facility.

However, I would recommend Kennel Creek to any of my Kansas City-area friends with other kinds of dogs. Head to the Kennel Creek website for more information about doggy daycare, boarding and grooming specials.

Special promotion for Wayward Dogs readers:

If you make a reservation at Kennel Creek Pet Resort, be sure to tell them Wayward Dogs sent you. Your dog will receive a free bizzy bone on his or her first stay!

Disclaimer: I received a discount for Luke’s initial stay at Kennel Creek, but we paid full price for all additional services. My review reflects my honest assessment of the services provided by this business.

Catfish the Boston Terrier

They call me Catfish.

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Usually I prefer the driver’s seat.

I’m a middle-aged bully breed dog. I’m a Boston Terrier.

My snub-nosed breed is known for being friendly and gentle. We make great family pets.

In fact, this bug-eyed dog has spent a lot of days in the company of schoolchildren under the supervision of my bus drivin’ human (aka Crystal’s aunt Sandy).

I love kids almost as much as I love gemstone-studded collars.

It’s hard to believe that anyone could have a problem with Boston Terriers. But as relatives of other bulldogs, including our much maligned cousins the pit bulls, we do face occasional discrimination.

A few years ago, the New York City Housing Authority tried to ban Boston Terriers.

And until late last year, the Central Missouri Humane Society had a 20-year-old policy against adopting out bully breed dogs, including my kind.

Ain’t that just crazy?

Do you have a Boston Terrier story? If so, share it in the comments below.

Show “Pittieful Love” by Fighting BSL

As most readers know by now, I’m a huge fan of Magnet Lady Kathleen Henn‘s original doggy art.

After learning about the premature loss of Knox, beloved dog and a dog star of the Baltimore-based blog Pittieful Love, I knew I wanted to help them commemorate his life with a custom magnet.

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Although the Magnet Lady finished the project in short order, it took a while for me to get the gift in the mail. It was received around the same time that the Maryland Court of Appeals dealt a blow to all dogs like Knox — pit bulls and pit bull type dogs — by deeming them ”dangerous.”

This is another in a frustratingly long list of cities and states adopting Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) that hurts pit bulls (and often other dogs like rottweilers) by making it unlawful or legally difficult to adopt or own them.

For more information about why BSL doesn’t work, check out this post by Peace, Love & Fostering.

For more perspectives on the situation in Maryland, check out pit bull lovin’ blog Running with Squirrels and, of course, Pittieful Love.

If you live in Maryland or know people who do, urge them to join the fight against Court of Appeals’ anti-pit bull ruling.

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