By: Cherese Cobb, for Paradise Pets Magazine
Meet Oliver, the pit bull who is punching his timecard for the greater good. As the CCO (Chief Canine Officer) for Bzees — a women’s shoe company— he attends photo shoots and an annual brainstorm meeting (sans tie, of course). He’s also fetching hope by raising funds for U.S.-based animal rescue and advocacy groups, like I’m Not a Monster and Pets Across America. On top of all that, he’s turning the tide for pittys through Oliver’s Clubhouse: a Facebook page that encourages the fostering and adopting of the pit bull breed.
You may have seen this former shelter pooch, grinning with a tennie tucked between his teeth, on the Home Shopping Network, where he soared as the number one pin of the day. Lori McDermid, Bzees’ Vice President, adopted the white and black pup at six months old from the St. Louis Humane Society.
“I went there to drop off some Christmas stuff,” she remembers. Oliver was pressed against the glass, “looking pathetic, sad, and forlorn”. He’d been abandoned in a warehouse. “He’d been in isolation [because of Parvo] for two months. Then, when he came out, he got pneumonia, so he had to go back into isolation,” she said. “He was starved for attention. I couldn’t leave him there.”
Lori brought him home on December 22, 2010, just one day before her family’s annual Christmas trip. Oliver refused to leave the house. He thought that budging from his bed meant he’d have to go back to the shelter, says McDermid. The family shoved his bed into the car. Once he got to the lake house and met Akita-mix Polly and Coonhound-mix Monte, he bloomed into a “love bomb”.
“I never feel alone. He is just 24/7 affection,” McDermid told Paradise Pets Magazine. “He’ll actually puts his paws on my shoulder, and gives me a hug and a kiss every day.”
Even after enduring chemotherapy and surgery for the mast cell tumor in his arm, he’s a “court jester”. Case-in-point: when Lori was tossing her dogs’ bedcovers into the wash, Oliver was shredding the beds’ foam. It was floating down everywhere just like a Christmas movie, and he plopped himself right in the middle of it.
“He [also] has killed many a sneaker,” Lori laughed. “He takes [my husband’s] shoes by the laces, and swings them around his head like a cowboy with a lasso. It's a full-on show.”
From a work perspective, Lori explains that Oliver gives “a purpose to what we do”. “We love making shoes, and it's important. We innovate products to help people live their lives better,” McDermid said. Fetching Hope and Oliver’s Clubhouse —which McDermid hopes to make into a physical pit bull rescue once she retires— adds another layer to making people's lives better. While Bzees never runs sales online, they run a promotional for a couple of weeks every quarter, donating $5 from each purchase. They raised $550 for WoofTrax and $1,000 for the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center. “[In the next quarter,] we’re looking to support a group that is educating dogs to help others [in] need,” she said.
Oliver, with his tongue-in-cheek personality, is shattering the vicious, mobster-sidekick stereotype — literally one step at a time. Ninety percent of the time when someone meets Oliver, it’s their first encounter with a pit bull, says McDermid. “They’re loving, funny, completely opposite. But, if no one shows you, it's like anything, you don't know. The term ‘pit bull’ is scary. Once you're exposed, though, it's amazing how opposite the breed is from stereotypes.”
I'm Not a Monster
Pet Shelters Across America
The CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center
Cherese Cobb was raised in Maryville, Tennessee. A bibliophile, she considers herself a professional student, as she has an insatiable curiosity. When she's not writing, she splits her time between family, photography, and cat-worship, and uses coffee to survive all three. cheresecobb.wixsite.com/freelancewriter.
This article was originally published in Paradise Pets Magazine April 2017.
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(Family Features) For pet owners, their dogs, cats and other pets play an important role in bringing added happiness to their lives. As not every dog and cat is as fortunate, you may be looking for ways to give back and help pets in need.
As many as 6-8 million pets enter shelters every year across North America, according to The Humane Society of the United States. There are numerous ways you can help homeless pets and give back, starting with these tips.
Volunteer at Your Local Animal Welfare Organization
“To celebrate 30 years of commitment to helping pets in need, and as a trusted partner to pet parents everywhere, we want to celebrate by giving back even more,” said Eran Cohen, chief customer experience officer at PetSmart. “Throughout 2017, every time pet parents purchase any bag of dog or cat food in our stores or online, they can rest assured they are also helping feed pets in need. When their pets eat, pets in need eat, too.”
Foster or Adopt a Pet
Take Care of Pets at Home
Pets give so much to their owners; pay it forward by being a responsible pet parent and giving back to animals in need in your community when possible. Find more ways to get involved at your local shelter or rescue group, and learn more about the Buy a Bag, Give a Meal program at Petsmart.com/giveameal.SOURCE:
Ways to Welcome a Shelter Dog
Animal shelters are full of lovable dogs of all breeds, sizes and ages deserving of a good home and ready to become your next four-legged family member. In fact, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, nearly 2 million dogs are adopted into new families each year.
However, choosing the right dog is just the beginning. The first weeks after bringing home an adopted pet are critical. It’s a time to get to know one another and build a lifelong connection. Here are some steps to help ease the transition:
Create a pet-friendly environment. Keep items that are unsafe, such as chemicals and certain house plants, out of reach. Cords and objects that invite chewing also should be tucked away. If certain areas will be off limits, use baby gates to block them.
Expect accidents. While house training a puppy is to be expected, you may find that an older dog needs help in this area as well. The stress of transitioning into a new household can lead to accidents, so keep this in mind and be sure to provide your new pet with lots of potty breaks, patience and instruction.
Start with smart nutrition. Providing your new dog with a high-quality diet from the beginning can contribute to a lifetime of whole body health. Chose a complete, balanced food with real meat as the No. 1 ingredient, such as Purina ONE SmartBlend, so that you can be confident you’re giving them the best nutrition available.
Introduce a schedule. Providing dogs with a consistent routine right off the bat can help ease their stress during the transition. Set a schedule for walks, feeding time and training so he can settle into a routine that feels a bit more familiar.
Approach training with patience. Without knowing how your pet was trained, it can be difficult to predict how he will respond in his new environment. For example, he may be used to receiving treats for good behavior, while you prefer to reward with praise. Plan to be flexible, and soon you’ll come to a shared understanding.
Emmy-nominated actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson recently began putting these tips into practice after adopting his new dog, Fennel. The television star partnered with Purina ONE to promote its ONE Difference campaign, which celebrates those making a positive difference in the life of shelter dogs, and he ended up finding a forever friend in the process. The 8-month-old Cockapoo mix joins Ferguson’s 3-year-old Maltese-Yorkie mix, Leaf. The pair are currently taking the Purina ONE 28 Day Challenge, and encouraging others to do the same.
Learn more, and find out why more than 90,000 dog owners have decided to switch to Purina ONE, by visiting www.PurinaONE/MakeONEDifference.
Sources: Purina ONE | Family Features
Paradise Pets Magazine