100 Pitbulls for Lennox in the San Francisco Bay Area

I was shocked, sickened and disgusted by the news this week of the destruction of Lennox in Northern Ireland by the Belfast City Council and I’m sure many of you were as well.  While reading Leslie Smith’s, the editor of DogTime.com, article entitled “What We Must Do For Lennox” I began to wonder what can I do to make a difference.  As some of you who read my blog probably know by now my partner and I adopted a Pit mix in 2010.   I’ll be honest, I didn’t intend to rescue a Pit, didn’t really want a Pit and struggled with the decision.  Perhaps not for the reasons you might be thinking.






I wasn’t overly concerned about dog aggression or that I might be mauled in the night by my “vicious and uncontrollable” dog.  I was aware of the possible concerns about the breed and took what I feel are the responsible steps every dog owner should take.  I made sure to socialize her with many people and other animals as much as possible, hired reputable dog trainers to work with, took her to various different locations to desensitize her to loud, crowed and other varied environments.  Even going so far as to send her to a privately run doggie day care to ensure her good socialization skills with other dogs and her comfort in other people’s homes.  All these efforts were particularly needed in Lily’s case as she was an abused and traumatized puppy who was afraid of everything (us included) except our other dog.  Lily still has issues with sudden environmental change and is shy with new people, but she is completely not the terrified puppy we brought home two years.  The one so scared of us we had to hand feed her to get her out of the crate or who shook like a leaf at the sight of any type of power cord.   The only maulings that occur in our house are the kind that include copious amounts of slobbery dog kisses.






So why didn’t I want a pit bull type dog?  Precisely because what of happened to Lennox due to ignorance and fear.  I have seen people with their dogs walk out of their way to avoid Lily, had them ask me if my Pit would eat their dog (seriously?) and faced other prejudices as well.  I have had dogs all my life and consider them family, I can not possibly imagine the heartbreak of having animal control come into my home and remove my dog simply because of how she looks, keep her for two years in a concrete cell and then euthanize because they can.  While that may seem like an extreme case, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility here in the USofA and truly why it is past time to end this discrimination.  It is pointless, does little to nothing to address the issue they are trying to solve and harms innocent families in the bargain.







Alright, so back to what I think I can do for Lennox.  This is the part where you come in and is really about how we can help Lennox and all the other perfectly sweet dogs who just want to love and by loved.  I propose to photograph 100 pit bulls, bully breeds or pit mixes between August 1st and December 1st of this year here in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.  That is only 25 dogs per month and should be a totally doable number, but I need your help to spread the word.  I will photograph 1 dog on-location, a 20 minute session for $60.  The dog’s human will get 2 digital files for that price and then I shall donate a minimum of $20 from each session to a local or national organization fighting to end BSL.  That is at least $2,000 towards a very good cause.

So what do you say?  Will you help Lily and I spread the word?!



How dogs help us manage pain

For the past two years I’ve been struggling with knee issues.  Not great for someone who regularly is on their knees photographing pets. Today while I was waiting to see my orthopedist (might need another arthroscopic surgery) I spotted a sign on the wall about how dogs are used for pain management.  This intrigued me as I have two dogs and it is time to make them earn their kibble (just kidding, they earn it everyday with sloppy kisses).

I’m aware that having dogs (and pets in general) has many beneficial effects in the lives of humans from getting them out of the house and active, to lowering blood pressure and, of course, there are many, many working dogs that provide needed services. But pain management?  OK, how does that work?

pug on drift wood

Pug on the beach

After doing some research I learned a few interesting facts.  Did you know that a study from the National Institutes of Health found dog owners had a better one-year survival rate following a heart attack than non-dog owners?  Sounds good to me especially when you consider that dog owners require 20 percent less medical care than non-dog owners, according to a UCLA study among the elderly.  Next thing you know there will be a new health care initiative from the insurance industry about getting a dog to lower the cost of health care and I could get behind that!

bloodhound playing golden gate bridge

As for pain management patients recovering from joint replacement (something I sincerely hope is not in my future) who use animal-assisted therapy need 50 percent less pain medication, according to Loyola University researchers.  Perhaps this is from the distraction of the dogs or the joy in interacting with them.  Whatever the reason – is there a downside to having a dog in your life.  Yes, it is a huge responsibility and time commitment, but also comes with untold and uncountable benefits.

Thinking about getting a dog?  Lily, Harry and I strongly encourage it.  How about adopting one from a local shelter.  Save their life and perhaps your’s at the same time.

dogs playing at beach in berkeley

black lab at balboa park