Working at a dog rescue is oftentimes a thankless job. Caring for unwanted dogs and transforming them into healthy and home-ready pets is difficult work that requires sacrificing family time and social lives.
The employees and volunteers at dog rescues are heroes who deserve recognition. That’s what inspired us to create a series of blog posts, bringing attention to these selfless, hard-working people who love and provide for once unwanted dogs in our communities.
For our very first post, we connected with Becky Holly, a prominent member of the Fresno Bully Rescue’s Board of Directors, to see what inspires her and learn how she works to improve the lives of rescue pups.
Becky is a true leader in her community and we’re psyched to have had the opportunity to connect with her! She dedicates a huge chunk of her time to animal welfare, specifically towards saving and enriching the lives of rescue dogs in Central Valley California—an area in animal overpopulation crisis.
Becky has a special place in her heart for “bully” breeds, dogs who are often stereotyped as aggressive and territorial - Not cool at all! Since Stray Threads was inspired by a Pit Bull named Maeve, we’re obviously on board with her work.
“Changing the public’s misconceptions about shelter animals is a priority.” Becky said. “For pit bulls and pit bull mixes we are fighting the unfair stigma put on these dogs.”
If you’ve ever owned a pittie (affectionate term for pit bulls), you may already know that they can be some of the sweetest dogs around. The public’s misconception about pits and other bully breeds is because they are most often used as guard dogs or fighting dogs, especially in TV and movies. But this isn’t necessarily an accurate representation.
Dogs are receptive to our energy and behavior. If we’re calm and in control, they’ll see us as the leader of the pack and will be able to relax. If we act unsure or afraid, however, they’ll think they have to protect us. Because pit bulls are extremely loyal, it’s much easier to train them to be aggressive—but that doesn’t mean they’re aggressive by nature.
By contributing to community education, organizing fundraising, and assisting in the management of Fresno Bully Rescue, Becky plays a pivotal role in deconstructing the stereotypes against bully breeds.
“Adoptions for them are lower than the average.” Becky tells us. “Another barrier is housing. People owning a pit bull or a pit bull mix are severely limited in housing with most apartment complexes or rental homes not willing to rent due to the falsely perceived higher risk of liability.”
This makes their adoption rates drop even further. But thanks to rescue rock stars like Becky, the future looks bright for our favorite bully buds. She says that her team’s efforts are beginning to pay off.
“We are, however, finding more families wanting to adopt due to our presence in the [Central Valley] community but we wish many more would consider this breed when choosing a family member. Both Fresno Bully Rescue and FHAS [Fresno Humane Animal Services] are huge advocates for the breed and show every day what good family members they can be.”
So what makes a bully breed a great family pup? The same unwavering loyalty that can make them aggressive if trained incorrectly.
When confronting dog stereotypes, the most important thing to remember is that dogs can’t always be completely categorized by their breed. Like humans, they are heavily influenced by their surroundings and the way they are treated. Dogs need training, boundaries, and love to feel stable and relaxed. And when they do, you’ll have a happy doggo you can count on for life.
Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll highlight another rescue dog hero. And if YOU know someone who was Born to Rescue, we’d love to meet them. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to support a bully bud AND score a fun new item for your wardrobe? Shop now—we donate a percentage of profits every month to animal rescues and shelters around the country.