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A man who loves pit bulls

Mike Kitchens is a passionate member of the pit bull rescue community in Kansas City. Over the past four years, he has helped save the lives of more than 100 dogs. He recently founded a brand new pit bull rescue group serving the Kansas City area. Read on to learn what led him to animal rescue and how helping dogs changed his life.

CW: How did you get involved in the pit bull rescue community? How long have you been involved and how many dogs have you helped save over the years?

MK: Actually, it’s a funny story. I was driving up 435 pacing beside a car with a Missouri Pit Bull Rescue sticker on it. We both wound up going to the same neighborhood. I put an ad on craigslist the next day just seeing if by chance the person would see it. I wanted to meet some fellow pit bull lovers in my area. To my surprise the person’s friend contacted me who was a volunteer for the rescue. So began my life in rescue. I have been involved with pit bull rescue now for going on 4 years. I don’t know how many dogs I have helped to be honest. I have fostered about 20 dogs and probably helped over 100. And that number is still growing. I am now the president of an up and coming bully breed rescue in Kansas City called Midwest Adopt-A-Bull.

CW: Do you know a lot of other men involved in the rescue community? What would you say to anyone considering getting involved?

MK: I do not know of very many men involved in rescue. But the ones I do know are very involved and are great people who love the dogs very much. Rescue is very hard for anyone. It takes a special person to be able to handle it. Not that most men couldn’t handle it, but most men don’t want to show their soft side that we all have. And being able to show your compassion and let your heart take its course when it comes to these dogs is key to being in rescue. I urge anyone that has even considered doing rescue to take the plunge and give it a try. There are so many rescues out there that need help. You don’t lose anything by giving it a try. Only the animals win.

CW: How has being involved in animal rescue changed your life?

MK: Rescue has changed my life in many ways. Not only has it made me open up my heart more and expose the person I knew I was inside, but I also have met the love of my life doing rescue. Our love for pitbulls brought us together and we just welcomed our first child into the world in October. I have grown up so much in my time doing rescue. I really feel like I have a purpose in life now. Like this was always my calling: To be a voice for the ones without voices.

CW: Who are a few of the most unforgettable dogs of your life?

MK: I have had a few unforgettable dogs. When I first started in rescue there was a small female pit bull found wandering the streets.Her ears had been completely cut off her head with scissors or something similar, the wounds so fresh they were still bleeding. She was emaciated and scared. She recovered well and was adopted by her foster home. They loved her so much they couldn’t let her go. Her name was Victory, and she was a news sensation in Kansas City. Miss Universe was the first dog I fell in love with in rescue. She was a very tiny pit bull rescued from a dog fighting ring in Oklahoma with a litter of puppies. All the puppies were adopted out and Miss Universe was left waiting and waiting for a home for over a year. She was the sweetest thing and always made me smile. She is now adopted and in a loving home.

CW: What do you think will solve the pit bull problem?

MK: Wow, that is a very hard question. Mandatory spay and neuter in all cities is the most important. Shelters are overrun with pit bulls and mixes. With all the backyard breeding and accidental litters there is just not enough homes. Most shelters are made up of about 75% pitbulls and pitbull mixes. The other would be to have more strict punishments for dogfighting and the mistreatment of these dogs. Pit bulls are on the top of the list as far as being mistreated, starved, chained, kept outdoors and many, many other things. My last thing would be for further education. Many people are just uneducated about pit bulls and think they are just ferocious killing machines when that couldnt be further from the truth. More education to the public about this breed could really help save them.

CW: Do you have any recommended links?

MK: For more info and education about pit bulls, please visit: www.pbrc.net and www.gamedoggaurdian.com.

For information on spay/neueter (in Kansas City) and its importance please visit www.snkc.net

Please follow Midwest Adopt-A-Bull rescue and “Like” us on Facebook. We are a rescue dedicated to all of the “bully breeds.” Website and more to come.

Why heartworms are now harder to treat

Had I cast a vote in the recent Wayward Dogs Magnet Contest, it probably would have been for handsome Berkley. I’m a real sucker for black and white photography, and he’s just gorgeous.

Berkley is a rescue dog. At the time his owner submitted his photo to the contest, he was on the waiting list for heartworm treatment.

Heartworms are always an issue for the rescue community because so many surrendered and stray dogs come into shelters and rescue organizations already infected. Our golden retriever, Luke, is a prime example. He was undergoing treatment for heartworms as Zach applied to adopt him through The Animal Rescue Alliance a couple of years ago.

Luke was “cured” with the help of Immiticide, which kills adult heartworms. According to the American Heartworm Society, Immiticide is the only “approved” drug for this purpose. Without it, Luke probably wouldn’t be alive today.

This August,  Merial, the manufacturer of Immiticide, announced a shortage of the the drug. A link to an ”urgent” message about how to treat infected dogs during the shortage remains on the American Heartworm Society’s homepage.

This means that it is more important than ever to ensure that dogs take a monthly heartworm preventative, such as Heartgard or Interceptor. Because our dogs recently switched from the former to the latter, I was able to donate about two and a half packages of Heartgard to Missouri Pit Bull Rescue last week.

I urge anyone else who can to support their favorite rescue organization or shelter in this way, too. Heartworms suck.

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