My Volunteer Experience with My Pit Bull is Family

This fall we teamed up with Best Friends Animal Society to do research on rental pet policies in Chicago, IL. Each volunteer made calls to “dog friendly” apartments in the Chicagoland area to see if they were truly dog friendly. This is the story of one of those volunteers. 

My Volunteer Experience – By Carol T.

Volunteering to make calls for the Chicago Housing Project for  My Pit Bull is Family has been a very discouraging and an eye-opening experience. The majority of the apartments in Chicago do not accept all dogs.  I decided to volunteer for this project as next year I am hoping to sell my condo and rent it out!  When this volunteer opportunity came up, I thought I would not only help out but I would obtain some insight as to where I might find suitable housing for my fiancee and I and our two litter mate cats and sweet Pit Bull, Lovie.

Lovie was born into a dog fighting operation in Chicago.  The police raided a suspected dog fighting operation in the basement of a home where they found dogs tied up to the walls, blood on the floor, treadmills and a 10 month old mom and her eight puppies.  It was so bad, the Chicago Tribune put an article in the paper about it.  All the dogs were taken to Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC).  The rescue group I support, New  Leash On Life, is a 100% volunteer based Chicago organization who intakes dogs from CACC.  Quite a few of the dogs at CACC are Pit Bulls. (The number one reason Pit Bull Type dogs are surrendered in Chicago – is lack of housing/ rentals that accept them.) NLOL was able to find a foster who could take the mom and her eight puppies.  At one point, the mom had to be taken from her puppies and went for training.  Her 10 month old life had not been a good one in the dog fighting arena; she didn’t fare well with training; continued to be aggressive despite training; and, regrettably had to be put down.   However, the NLOL foster mom found good homes for all eight of the puppies.  My fiancee and I were lucky to receive one of the puppies at 3 months old.  He was the runt of the litter, squishy, wrinkly, scared of his own shadow and very sweet.  We named him Lovie because of his gentle disposition. His middle name is Marshmallow – also a reference to his unassuming, sweet personality.   We are thankful every day that we have Lovie in our lives.  He is spoiled rotten, very well behaved and we love him dearly.

Our neighborhood is very dog friendly and there are a number of people who have Pit Bulls.  Every Pittie we’ve met has been very sweet and well behaved,  living with families that include kids and/or older folks.  I hate how they get such a bad rap and must live under breed discrimination.

We are thankful to Best Friends Animal Society for lending us volunteers for this project and will be compiling the data during the remainder of 2017! Be on the look out for results of our research in Minneapolis and Chicago in 2018!

Anya’s Story: A gripping tale of one dog’s struggle to find a family and a home where she was accepted.

In a city where the rent is high, and houses in the sky look down on short haired dogs with floppy ears and wide faces. One Dog worked its big brown eyes and general cuteness to lead her Family on a quest for a home and the safety of a Harbor : A Soul Harbor. 

Hello, my name is Anya and this is my story.

I was raised by some mean people in a house where all the dogs were sad and angry. There was a lot of barking and fighting. One day two nice ladies found me and got me away from that sad place and took me to an animal rescue.  I really liked it there but I also really wanted a full-time home.  Soon two people came in to see me.  I don’t know, I usually don’t like guys, but there was something about this one. I kind of jumped in his lap and knocked him over.  The lady was really sweet and called me ‘honey’ . The people at the rescue said we were a pretty good match and we should be a family.

So I went to live with the nice people and they had a house and yard and kids on either side that I could bark at  And there was a guy in blue pants that came around every day around 2 o’clock and tried to break into the house and shove some papers inside. So I had a lot to take care of. 


They call me an aggressive breed.  I’m part American Staffordshire and part Vizla.  Anya means lucky in Hungarian and I think it fits.  I’m also into all the usual pit bull stuff like cuddling and laying on you, get it?  The  A. K. C. says that I’m hyper aware of my environment.  I don’t know about all that . I just know for sure that I do not like rabbits or squirrels.  Mostly I just like my mom and dad and like to hang out with them.

Well one day they decided they’d had enough of the yard work and all the commuting. They wanted to live closer to work downtown and maybe get an apartment and enjoy life for a bit.

 So, like I said before some people call me an aggressive breed.  A lot of people don’t want me in their apartment buildings.  We were really in a bind because we had already sold the house.  We needed a place to live and were looking everywhere for a place that would take me. It was getting really hard and they were looking every place they could think of.

 Then when they were packing up and moving some heavy stuff mom pulled a muscle.

She had to go and lie down.  My dad had found a bumper sticker at a place called Further Performance and it said, My Pit Bull Is Family.  Mom had put the bumper sticker on the cover of a book to cover the photo of a lady that she didn’t really care for.  She always tells everyone what to do and she wasn’t very nice to Steadmen. 

Anyway she picked up the book and looked at the bumper sticker.  Then she went to mypitbullisfamily.org.

 Dad was kinda mad because she got hurt and couldn’t help pack.  He was also worried about where they were going to live.

But within 20 minutes of mom getting on that website she was talking to this sweet lady named Jackie at Solhavn and they had a place for us!  It was just perfect with our own front door and they like all kinds of different dogs.  At Solhavn there is every kind of dog; we’ve got little dogs,  big dogs, barking dogs,  like me, and quiet dogs.  We’ve got Rotweiller’s, German Shepherd’s, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Poodles,  Basset Hounds. And of course Pit Bulls.  You name it, we got it.  And we got a lot of dog lovers.  Maybe someday we can have a party and you guys can come over and check it out.

So don’t give up all you mutts.  There are a lot of kind humans that need a buddy and with the help of folks like the ones at mypitbullisfamily.org, you can find a home too.

By the way, my favorite singer is Joan Jett because she didn’t give a damn about her bad reputation either.  And to all you haters out there, don’t hate me cause you ain’t me!

Peace

Anya
Instagram: @ginger_staffie

For more information on the dog friendly businesses in the story visit:
Solhavn Apartments: solhavn.com
Further Performance Auto Repair: www.fptuned.com
My Pit Bull is Family Housing Database : Mypitbullisfamily.org/housing
Have a story about housing and family you wish to share?
Email Angie@mypitbullisfamily.org
To order a bumper sticker visit:
Mypitbullisfamily.org/shop

2017 Summer Update

Thank you for your continued support to keep families together through ending housing and insurance discrimination. We know that our voice is being heard around the country because of your support. We’ve been busy in 2017. Here’s what we have been up to recently – 

 

Twin Cities Pride: 
TC Pride 2017 was our first time walking in the Pride parade. Our team had an absolute blast walking the route with our dogs to break stereotypes and to “Lick Discrimination”. We also attended the festival all weekend where we were able to pass out housing resources along with having critical conversations about the lack of housing in the Twin Cities. We are already looking forward to participating in TC Pride 2018.

 

 

Minneapolis Open Streets Events – All Summer Long:
This Summer you can catch our team at every Minneapolis Open Streets event. Not only will we be present to talk all things dog but we will also have our pop-up shop with us. Stop by and pick up some apparel to spread the word that  your dog is family.

 

 

Dog Encounter Training with Minneapolis Police Department:
Keeping family dogs safe at home is our mission. We have teamed up with the Minneapolis Police Department to assist in creating a Dog Encounter training for officers to use while they are in the field. We are working to bring resources across the country to Minneapolis to help create change in training procedure after the recent shooting of two family dogs in a fenced backyard. We thank the Minneapolis Police Department for allowing us to host a meet up outside of the 4th Precinct where we were able to pass off some of our training materials.

 

 

Second Sunday Pack Walks with My Pit Bull is Family: 
Join us EVERY second Sunday this Summer and Fall for a group outing at the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, MN. This event is free to attend with your well behaved dog of any type and children of any age. We believe that these pack walks are important to the work we are doing around the country to break stereotypes of these amazing dogs. To learn more about when and where our pack walks are visit our Facebook Page.

 

 

Minneapolis Housing Project: 
In May, our volunteers called 243 “Dog Friendly” apartments listed on Rent.com and we found that there is an abundance of discriminatory housing policies. Of the apartments we called only 13 apartments truly accept all dogs and we found that there are over 25 types of dogs that are discriminated against in pet policies across the Twin Cities. We are currently in the process of following up with all of these apartments to see what services we can provide as an organization and which community resources we can connect management with to allow all types of dogs in these properties.  Through changing pet policies to allow all dogs we know that there will be less dogs in our shelters due to owner surrenders and more rescue dogs will be able to find a place to call home.

 

 

Best Friends Animal Society National Conference 2017:
We attended the Best Friends Animal Society National Conference in New Jersey! Not only did we attend the event, we also were selected to be a vendor and a presenter! It was such an honor to be selected to present the work that we’re doing across the county and encourage rescue organizations to get involved in our mission. We also had an opportunity to spend time with Aladdin and his amazing mother Michelle at the conference. Aladdin is in the running for Hero Dog of the Year! To learn more about Aladdin click here.

 Pictured Angie, Dustin & Shannon of My Pit Bull is Family.

Please watch our presentation from the Best Friends Animal Society National Conference to learn more about the work we’re doing along with how to get involved locally!

We know that through building partnerships around the country we will be able to tackle discriminatory housing policies when it comes to our four legged family members. In order to do so we need your help! If you are interested in launching a housing project in your area please let us know! Please email Shannon@mypitbullisfamily.org and we will launch a project in your city!

Strut Your Mutt – September 10 St. Paul, MN 
Speaking of Best Friends Animal Society, did you know that My Pit Bull is Family is a Best Friends Animal Society — No More Homeless Pets Network Partner? Join our team for this year’s Strut Your Mutt event in St. Paul. It is our first year participating and we’re really excited about it!  All team members will receive a My Pit Bull is Family swag bag at the event.
Join our team here!

Upcoming Events: 
August 13 Pack Walk – Mpls, MN
August 20 Pittie Social – Wheaton, IL
August 27 Open Streets Franklin – Mpls, MN 

September 9 Open Streets W. Broadway – Mpls, MN 
September 10 Strut Your Mutt – St. Paul, MN 
September 10 All Breed Obedience Training Open House – Woodbury, MN
September 17 Richfield Open Streets – Richfield, MN
September 24 Open Streets Nicollet – Mpls, MN 
September 24 Edina Open Streets – Edina, MN

October 8 Pack Walk – Mpls, MN 
October 25 Drink for a Cause – NorthGate Brewing – Mpls, MN
October 26 The Champions Screening – AMC Rosedale – Roseville, MN 
October 28 National Pit Bull Awareness Canine Carnival – Mpls, MN
October 29 National Pit Bull Awareness Rescue Workshop Day – Mpls, MN

As always, if you know of housing that accepts ALL DOGS please let us know! We receive countless emails and Facebook posts daily of families searching for housing to keep their families together.

Thank you,
Shannon Glenn
Executive Director
MyPitBullisFamily.org

 

MyPitBullisFamily.org – A new site & same mission of “Licking Discrimination”

Hello and welcome to our brand new website. We have made the leap from our .com website over to a .org site to show our supporters that we are now a national 501c3 organization.

What does that mean for us? The switch means that we can now accept donations and they will be tax deductible along with now having the ability to apply for grants to allow us to continue growing as an organization, which allows us to have a greater reach to assist more families in their housing search.

We are really excited for what 2016 will bring for the organization. Our team of national volunteers continue to put in countless hours updating our housing database in order to provide more Pit Bull friendly rentals to those in need. We are also filling up our events calendar with events all over the country. We are excited to meet supporters of our work, educate new supporters, have critical conversations about myths and stigmas, and most of all help more families than ever before in 2016.

Speaking of families and our new website, you may be asking, “Shannon, why did you decide to launch Charlie Siren’s music video during your website launch?”

It’s simple. Family is what you make of it.  My friends in Charlie Siren, are my family. They have supported the work of the organization in ways that are hands down amazing. We will be attending a few of their tour dates in April to show that the definition of family can also mean community.  (More information to come)

Why do I do this work? Let me tell you about my family.

My family consists of my dog Wilbur and my cat Max (not pictured below). My family is not one that fits the mold but it’s mine. At this point the animals in my life along with friends and my parents and siblings make up what I call family. I think Lilo said it best in Lilo and Stitch, “Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”

My family also includes the countless emails we receive from families searching for housing. Each story is heartbreaking. Each housing success story keeps us motivated to do more. The moment you hit that like button on Facebook, like a photo on instagram, share a post, send us an email, and/or stop and chat at an event, you become part of our family.

That is why I do this work with our amazing team of volunteers across the country. My family may not look like yours and yours may not look like mine, but we all have a love for the animals in our lives and often share the struggle of finding housing and facing discrimination based on the looks of those animals we call family. It’s a passion of mine and the mission of our organization, that one day families who have a Pit Bull or Pit Bull type dog, a dog in general, will be able to live wherever they would like free of discrimination.

Please join us in celebrating our 5th year anniversary through sharing our information with your friends and family, adding Pit Bull friendly housing to our database, and if possible, supporting us monetarily through a donation or through purchasing items in our store.

All of our proceeds allow us to continue to educate others about this misunderstood type of dog and most of all allows us to provide resources to families that are searching for Pit Bull friendly housing.