|For Shelters &
|FAQs Myth Busting|
|Labels & Language|
|For Dog Owners|
Would you like to see the day when your adopters and staff and board look at a “pit bull” and just see a dog? And then consider whether that dog is a match based simply on his personality and pet qualities?
All these issues come from mistaken preconceptions on the part of the public, board members, and even shelter personnel themselves. Ambassador Dogs are the answer. People understand best what they see with their own eyes. Meeting "pit bull" dogs in real life helps people overcome biases. Current research shows that dogs are so tuned in to human body language and so inclined to bond with us that it doesn’t make much sense to look at them apart from their relationships with people. A dog’s behavior is shaped by their relationships with humans. Ambassador Dogs can help people meet “pit bull” dogs who are out making positive connections with people in their own community.
Ted’s story shows how Ambassador Dogs and their adopters can influence their communities. Ted is an Ambassador Dog who has continued his role with his new family in Arizona. Here’s what his adopter says: Since arriving in our home, Ted ("Abuelo") has become a beloved member of our family. As a testament to his amazing character, Ted often spends time with the children I care for. I am a preschool teacher, nanny and tutor. Most of the children I work with are under 10 years old. Ted loves them all. One young girl I tutor twice a week asked to start reading to Ted during her tutoring time. Not only has her confidence in reading blossomed, but her relationship with Ted is precious. They lay on his dog bed, side by side, while she reads aloud to him. The following is a poem she wrote and gave to me today:
This poem touched my heart. I hope it does the same for each of you. thank you, again, for all of the loving care you provide to animals in need. You saved Ted's life, and he is now changing the lives of others. Ted and his owner are a wonderful example of an ambassador partnership.
Lill is a career Ambassador Dog. Lill arrived at the Espanola Valley Humane Society as a stray, and immediately stood out as a social butterfly. Sitting at the front of her kennel, she wagged her tail at every passerby, but was not adopted. The Community Outreach Coordinator of Espanola Valley Humane Society recognized the need for a shelter mascot. She wanted a dog who, as a humane education assistant, would do well in classrooms and be comfortable at public events. She also needed a dog who could reach out to community members and teach children the importance of being kind to animals. everything she needed for a good Ambassador was found in Lill, who just happened to be a “pit bull” dog.
Her laid back personality and love of people made Lill perfect for the role of shelter mascot. She earned her AKC Canine Good Citizen® certification. Lill regularly visits elementary schools in her community and serves as a “Classroom Dog,” educating children about the importance of humane treatment and care. Travelling across the state, Lill teaches the fundamentals of pet care, raises awareness about the tragedy of animal abuse, and showcases the potential of shelter dogs. As an invited guest, Lill even took her educational message to the New Mexico State legislature. Lill, who has a real family now with the Coordinator of the Espanola Valley Humane Society, continues her work as Ambassador. A dog that was once overlooked by potential adopters, Lill is now changing minds and opening doors for all shelter dogs to go home.
Duchess had just the sort of story that can help adopters take a second look. Duchess survived Hurricane Katrina! A veterinarian from Missouri rescued the young “pit bull” dog from New Orleans and housed her in a kennel at a veterinary clinic where Duchess lived for five years as a blood donor for the animal patients. Tolerant and gentle during the many times that people drew her blood, she became a favorite with the clinic staff, but the veterinarian was hesitant to introduce the young dog to other animals and children. Duchess had no opportunities to make any animal friends for five years until the veterinarian, unable to find a home for Duchess during a family visit to Colorado, brought her to the Longmont Humane Society.
Just as she had been during her life at the vet clinic, Duchess was wonderful with all the people she met and calm and tolerant with the various handling tests asked of her. In her first playgroup session, Duchess met half a dozen dogs and she acted like she had been waiting to play all her life! She bounced around with the other dogs, happy as a clam! After that, Duchess participated in daily playgroups and learned how to be a dog from the other dogs in group. In the kennel area, she was housed in one of the front row kennels with a large poster showcasing her story. She waited for two full months, but one day her forever home walked in the door. Her adopters had never owned a pit bull before. They were simply charmed by Duchess’ gentle, sweet nature. Follow up post-adoption reported a family still charmed. Duchess, for her part, is now living the life of a loved family dog that she's waited so long for.