Tuesday, March 27, 2012

ebony and ivory

Ebony And Ivory live together in doggie harmony
side by side at the Bad Rap barn, Oh Lord, why can't we?

Ebony aka Gris Gris: Hey puppy, wanna play?

Rooney aka Ivory: OK!

Rooney: Ha Ha Ha....that tickles!!

Gris Gris: Here, you take that end.

Rooney: Like this??

Gris Gris: Not like that!......
Good grief, there's a puppy on my head!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

visions of sugar plums danced in her head

Maggie, the ever patient mama of the three pups, has been matched to a new family. To celebrate today's big good-bye, we let her sleep in the house instead of in the kennel with her daughter. She fell into the deepest slumber on my chest during late night television, and when I snuck off to bed, she stayed just like this until morning. I'm guessing it's the best sleep she's had in a very long time.

Good-bye little Maggie. I'll miss your warm, worried eyes and hopeful kisses. It was an honor to help you find your way.

"Good Day Sunshine"

The forecast says cold and rainy for the coming week, but yesterday the Barn was blessed with a warm sunny day, and the resident pups soaked it up.


  "She feels good. She knows she's looking fine."

With the personality to match.

"I need to laugh, and when the sun is out, I've got something I can laugh about."

Stealing Maggie's pacifier that is.

"We take a walk, the sun is shining down, burns my feet as they touch the ground."

He is looking for a home you know ...

We'll try to hold onto this feeling as the mud takes over.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Now Taking Volunteer Apps for the Barn Crew!

More dogs, more work, more opportunities ... It's time to grow our team some more!

... Chunk, Bouncer, Atomic Betty, Nita, Ayse, Danny, Clive, Captain Spanky ...

... They're some of the dogs who've spent time in BR's Rescue Barn since we first opened our doors in summer 2010. This modest facility in the Oakland hills serves as a halfway house for dogs in crisis - specifically, victims of shelter overcrowding, cruelty, foreclosures and emergency medical cases. .The quiet environment and natural setting have been ideal for helping stressed dogs get their bearings and allows them to be healthy, happy dogs again. As they relax, we can learn who they are and design next steps in their transition towards life with permanent families.

The handful of dogs that live here at any given time stay for a week or so until we match them up with foster homes, while others stay on for several weeks until they find their forever families. During that wait they're vetted, trained and socialized to several dogs in regular play sessions. It's like summer school meets summer camp.

Our dog handlers become an important anchor for the dogs during this time at the barn. They serve as the dogs' family and provide everything from clicker training to nose work fun to toenail trims to play parties to plain old fashioned cuddling on the sofa -- all of it is crucial to the dogs' well being and recovery. (Left: Donyale bonds with Winnie, shortly after her arrival from a cruelty case in Gadsden County FL)

In addition to meeting the dogs' daily needs, the BR crew works with potential adopters and visitors who want to learn more about the breed, both at the barn and during our weekends at Berkeley Animal Care Services. They're a wealth of information to a world that is waking up to the joy of the American Pit Bull Terrier and its mixes. Does it sound like I'm bragging? I am. This is a very special group of people who give their heart and soul to the dogs.

It's not all hugs and happies though. Cleaning up dog poo is less than glamorous, and the compassion cases that occasionally come to spend their final days with us tug at all our heartstrings. You have to learn to accept the good with the sad with this work, but the rewards are life changing, to say the least.

We're ready to expand our team and hope to add up to six new volunteer dog handlers who value this mission. We'll provide the training and you provide a long term commitment to the dogs who land here on their way to new lives. Interested?

Barn Crew Job Description

We know that your free time is precious so look forward to talking with you to see if this kind of volunteer work is a good fit. Please check out our job description linked above and then contact nancy@badrap.org for an application. We'll be conducting informal interviews at our next Open House Sunday, April 1st. INFO

Thank you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

kid meets puppy

There's almost nothing more exciting for a kid than a chance to play with a puppy. And for a puppy, meeting a kid can be a wonderful adventure.

This Sunday, my 7 year old grandie came with me to the barn to pick up LA puppy, Gris Gris, for a play-date so she could continue experiencing life as a family pet for one night. And as an added bonus, the kid got to meet Sac puppy, Rooney, as well.

Both puppy and kid were a bit apprehensive at first......

but they soon became buddies.

Gris Gris left with us for her play-date and got to hang out with the kid.

Here she is checking out the Kikster playing a video game.....

Ho-hum, is it over yet?

Monday, March 19, 2012

tired mama

Every mama deserves a little break from the kids. Even though Maggie's boys are off to their foster homes, her daughter Rooney is full of non-stop energy. So it was time to give her a little break in Tim's work studio so she could recharge with a well deserved catnap.

Zzzzzz. Nothing feels better than seeing a sweet soul like this drink in the quiet.

Sleep well, little darlin.'

Thursday, March 15, 2012

our visit to UC Berkeley

We paid a little visit to Sproul Plaza in UC Berkeley yesterday, the famous birth place of the Free Speech movement. Tallulah was with us to share the story of her recent arrival to CA from a Louisiana dog fighting case to a group of students who were focusing on animal welfare topics.

It was a thrill to see this dog trotting along on campus - in this special place that holds so much history. Back in 1964, students here were inspired by the struggle for civil rights, and when UC authorities tried to ban on-campus political activities, the students rebelled and history was made. Their protests and impassioned speeches sparked an unprecedented wave of student activism and involvement, not to mention some awesome music.

We had to pay a quick pilgrimage to the Cal Bear on our way to class. Tallulah wasn't so sure about that big, stiff-bodied dog thing - but after a few sniffs, she was satisfied that he wasn't a threat and we were on our way.

The students in the class were kind and gracious. As it turns out, most were only vaguely familiar with the Vick case and its relevance in opening doors for dogs just like Tallulah. When asked what they thought a dog from a fighting case might be like, many explained that they would've expected Tallulah to be "aggressive" or "dangerous" to both people and dogs. It was a reminder to us how much work still needs to be done to help young minds learn the history including the milestones of the animal welfare movement, as well as the nature of the dogs that the movement has been defending. Hopefully Tallulah had some impact there.

All in all, it was a great day of lessons for everyone. The class learned about 'pit bulls' and trends in the animal welfare world regarding canine victims of cruelty, and Tallulah learned about the fun of Universities. She couldn't have been more comfortable in her role. During our presentation, she sat calmly at our feet, begging treats and when she tired of that, she circled the room and greeted every single student within reach with warm and appreciative eyes. This is one special dog and one very special cause.

With many thanks to everyone who welcomed us on the UC Berkeley campus. May the spirit of student activism in support of fair and humane treatment of citizens expand to include the Tallulahs of the world!

Monday, March 12, 2012

party in the living room

The barn is a happy place for dogs who've been in crisis, but just never as good as a real home. Knowing that, we try our best to give the dogs field trips to the Real Deal as often as we can fit it in our schedules. This weekend, Olive, Gris-Gris, Mama and her daughter all got to practice their new manners and pretend they have a family for a couple hours or more at the various homes of BR volunteers. Such fun. If only it could last!

Here's a little video of 'the girls' learning about the joy of living rooms, pillows, sofas - and resident dogs!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Oscar Update

Tiny little Oscar is settling into his foster home just fine - with the help of Auntie Possum and Uncle Rube.

Label me Not

Some photos of Olive's first ever day in class. To say that she was comfortable and relaxed would be an understatement.

To the casual observer, I guess she was just another cute dog studying her lessons on a sunny Saturday afternoon. But to us, she's that adorable SoCA dog that had once been (mis)labeled by her shelter as --
label alert! -- too 'dog aggressive' to qualify for adoption.

Don't get me wrong - You aren't seeing a 'rehabilitated' dog here. This is just a dog that was set up to succeed - Accliminated to social dogs in small doses, then finally exposed to a dozen or more relaxed and people-focused dogs who aren't signaling with stress and mayhem. Sunshine, lots of good leader talk, some treats, some chatter and laughing - lots of scritches behind the ears.

Labels are only good for inanimate objects. Like, for storing shoes under the bed or stashing Christmas ornaments to the back of the linen closet. Not good for dogs.

The Olives of the world would thank us all very much if we would please keep labels where they belong: In the drawer next to the scissors and Scotch tape. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

first nap away from mama

Oscar is the scaredy-cat of the litter, so he's been getting some important time away from mama & sibs to concentrate on being brave.

Whoa! This is kinda hard!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Now that a certain boy dog has left the building, a certain Louisiana dog is getting special attention from a certain cow dog.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Morning with Olive

Olive knows how to enjoy a beautiful morning.

Start by running around at top speed.
Next, get a belly rub.
Finally, meet a new friend and show her around the yard.
Of course, no barn blog post is complete without a gratuitous puppy shot.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

dog/dog intros

Sometimes a girl really appreciates a long courtship before getting friendly with other dogs.

And sometimes ... Well, sometimes a girl's just a hussy.

(This is the newest barn resident: the mama of the three pups.)