June 13, 2024

Although this is a long read, it is worth taking the time to read it.

For those who don’t realize this, our rescue exists solely because of backyard breeders (BYBs). Unlike reputable breeders, BYB’s typically do not do any required health testing on their dogs, don’t pay much or any attention to breeding with temperament in mind, rarely vet the people who want to buy their dogs, usually sell their dogs to anyone who will pay for them regardless if they will provide a good home or are equipped to handle a specific breed like a bull terrier, don’t take their dogs back if the new owner can’t keep the dog for any reason or if there is a problem with the dog and sometimes sell littermates. It is often very upsetting for us behind the scenes in dealing with many of these cases. Many of these dogs end up having health and behavioral issues for the rest of their lives. Often we don’t get a call about surrendering one of these dogs until after the dog has been with a new family for several months and the family, who has no experience with the breed, is completely overwhelmed with normal bull terrier behaviors and now has let the bull terrier push boundaries to the point of the dog exhibiting some issues. Luckily for us, when we received a message this past Thursday morning about a 13 week old pup, the new owner was aware enough to know that she didn’t want to wait until that point to re-home one of her 2 bull terriers that she got the month before. This woman always had two dream dogs, mastiffs and bull terriers. A few years ago, she got her mastiffs. Now, for her 50th birthday, her husband wanted to get her other dream dog for her, a bull terrier. Instead of getting the one though, the BYB told him she had another one left over and sold him 2, littermates. This is something that no reputable breeder would ever do as, not always but often enough, littermates who are brought up together end up fighting horribly, amongst other problems, it is known as littermate syndrome. Usually the problems don’t present themselves so early, however, the woman who contacted us on Thursday felt that one of the pups was beginning to push play with the other one too far. We are unsure if the behavior was being misinterpreted and was just typical bull terrier play, regardless though, knowing the potential outcome with littermates, it was clear that the two should be separated. Although there was a lot of work to be done and information to be gathered on the pup, we instantly knew who this puppy needed to go to. Several months prior, a woman named Maggie had reached out. In talking with her, we learned that her grandmother was a well known breeder back in the day. Maggie literally grew up with bull terriers and has never been without one. She has a full understanding of the breed and knows how to properly train and socialize them. At some point, her aunt, got involved in the breeding though and things took a turn, a bad turn. It seemed like it was all about just making a profit and nothing else mattered. This all deeply impacted Maggie and from that point on, it became her mission to put a stop to people whose main purpose was to just make a profit by selling bull terriers. She also made a conscious decision that she would only ever rescue dogs not purchase them. We messaged Maggie and told her that we were still working on things but had a 13 week old puppy who we felt would be best if he went to her. She immediately and excitedly agreed. In the meantime, we reached out to our friend Leslie, a former Blue Ridge adopter and volunteer, to see if she could just go meet the pup to make sure things were as they were being represented to us. Leslie’s husband Pat, a veterinarian, happened to be closer to the area on Friday and went over. While there, he also provided some necessary vet care and generously did so, as a donation to the rescue. After his visit, it was decided that we should get the pup moved as soon as we could. We scrambled around and made plans for the pup to go to Maggie, who lives about 5 1/2 hours away, the next day, which was this past Saturday. The pup, now named Louie, has been with Maggie a few days now and is settling in. Maggie will make sure that Louie is properly socialized and trained to ensure he has a good, happy life with her and her family for the rest of his life. We are thrilled that we were able to make things happen so quickly. However, we are also quite sad. The woman who surrendered Louie told us she didn’t have much information on who the breeder was. We continued to ask questions and ended up getting 1 picture of the mother of the pup, 1 picture of the father of the pup and the first name of the breeder. From the moment we saw the picture of the sire, our hearts hurt. He was in what appeared to be a barn, in the corner, and looked extremely withdrawn and sad. We then spent the next several hours looking at puppy ads trying to see if we could figure out who the breeder was that way in the hopes of trying to get the sire out of the situation. We then ended up getting a phone number, looked it up and then had a full name of who the breeder was. We found the Facebook page for this person and saw so many different breeds of dogs and litters. It has broken our hearts seeing what we saw. We then came across a photo of a dog that was surrendered to us several years ago. The dog had an obstruction and almost died, the family said they couldn’t afford the surgery so they surrendered him to us. It was touch and go but he made it and has gone on to be adopted and have an awesome life. It now seems more likely that it wasn’t whether they could afford that surgery or not, but more likely whether they cared at all about the dog to pay for the surgery. Our feeling is that he was disposable as they had other male bull terriers they could use for breeding so he wasn’t worth paying for the surgery to save his life. This is just our opinion. Our opinion though is based off many experiences we have sadly had with various BYB’s and the conditions of some of the dogs that have come from BYB’s. We ask for you to really think about all of this when the time comes for you to bring a new dog into your home. We cannot get the heartbreaking image of the sire out of our heads. There are fabulous reputable breeders out there. If you want a a full bred bull terrier puppy, please talk to them. On the other hand, there are other people out there who breed dogs to just make money and who don’t care about much of anything else in regard to the dogs they have. Please know exactly where you are getting your dogs from, let’s try to stop enabling BYB’s.

Louie’s outcome could have ended up very different had his owner not contacted us as soon as she did. Let’s all try to educate ourselves more so that we can try to decrease the need for rescue and avoid having to continuously think about things like the heartbreaking image of Louie’s dad.

You can like and follow Louie’s adventures on his page, Louie Louie