Introducing Blue!

We are very excited and proud to present our new foster darling, Baby Blue! Blue is a sweet, shy girl who — like many dogs — was overwhelmed at the shelter. Even though she is gentle, loving, and sweet-as-can-be, she had been at the shelter since early April, being overlooked time and again. Maybe it’s because there are so many beautiful, adoptable pit bulls at MCHS right now, including at least three other young gray ones like Blue!

We picked Blue up the other night, and it has been smooth sailing ever since. She is quiet, housetrained, mellow, and very people-centered. Everywhere I go in the house, she follows me. She is a bit tentative and shy and doesn’t trust as readily as some dogs, so we will be working on her confidence and trust over the coming weeks. Who knows what life dealt her before she was picked up, but we hope she knows that it’s all blue skies ahead.

We can’t wait to get to know Blue better and share her inner and outer beauty with you!

45 responses

  1. Welcome, Blue!

    Aleksandra, do you find that most pit bulls are hyper/super energetic? There is a 6 year old boy that I was considering fostering, but our place is sort of small (1k sq ft) and we would need a calm, relaxed dog who doesn’t need to run around a lot (inside). Our last foster had the “zoomies” constantly and despite long walks, and while I didn’t mind, my husband definitely did! When I went to check out the 6 year old boy, he was SUPER excited to be out of his kennel and couldn’t decide what toy he wanted, wouldn’t sit still, had no interest in me. How do you guys decide what dogs to foster? What qualities do you look for in them before you make the decision?

    • Hi Lindsay,

      What a great question. I have been thinking about writing a post about selecting a dog at the shelter for fostering, and you have just inspired me to commit. I will try to do it next week! Now, let’s see if I can answer briefly here. I know this isn’t the answer you want, but it really depends on the dog– I have not found that they are all hyper or super energetic. Our pit/frenchie mix, Gonzo, was super energetic, but our others have all been relatively mellow. And I have generally found that the older they are, the calmer they become. It seems like there is one threshold at around two years old where they stop acting like completely wacko puppies, and then another around 4 or 5, where they are able to be cool enough to be truly well-behaved. It could be that this guy is more energetic than normal, but it could also be that he is bored and stressed in the kennel, or hasn’t ever had much training. He’s at a good age to be manageable and calmer but still trainable and able to absorb lots of info.

      When you’re evaluating a dog in the shelter environment, it’s hard to get a real sense of what they’re like. Any dog who is cooped up all day long and only let out for some interaction for a few minutes a couple of times a day is going to act crazy– that is, unless s/he is very frightened or has succumbed to depression. Does your local shelter have fenced-in areas where you can let the dog off leash and just let him do his thing for a while? I would try to spend at least 10-15 minutes with the dog, not requiring anything, just watching. Does he calm down eventually? Does he seem to pay you any attention? After some time, does he respond to your voice or your attempts to get his attention? Does he take treats from you?

      For people who are new at this, I think it’s good to take several dogs out in a row, just to give yourself a sense of relative energy and personality. Does the 6-year-old chill out sooner than some of the younger ones? Does he seem more or less confident? More or less interactive? It’s hard to decide even based on this. For example, a dog who hasn’t had much positive interaction may not be super eager to come over and climb into your lap, but if he doesn’t seem aggressive, he could probably learn.

      I look for a dog who shows no aggression toward people and is able to eventually settle down. I also look for “steadiness” which means that the dog doesn’t freak out too much if you touch it or make loud noises. Many shelters do a behavioral evaluation of dogs that they will share with rescue/foster people– this makes your job much easier. Otherwise, you can do some basic testing on your own (which I will write about next week). Our shelter does great evals, so after I have identified some potential fosters, I would go meet them. I look for the ones that are less likely to be adopted straight from the shelter — either they are older (older than 3), or they are timid (don’t make eye contact), or are clearly suffering from kennel stress (obsessive/hyper/jumping/barking). The ones that are young, cute, sit calmly and happily right by the door, and wag their whole butts when you bend over are much more likely to catch the interest of an adopter, so I tend to skip these. In the end, you have to trust your gut.

      Does that help at all? Send me an email offline if you want to chat by phone about this. I would be honored.

      And finally: thank you for fostering bullies. They are at such a disadvantage in the shelter system, and they are amazing dogs. If you were to foster this 6-year-old, you would be doing a great service. He isn’t going to have an easy time on his own. The adult dogs (4-8 range) make such amazing pets, but have a hard time competing with the 1-2 year old youngsters.


    • I look forward to reading your post on this also. I followed your link to the shelter and I don’t know how you passed up a couple of them. I live in GA and if I was up there I’d be heading over to see ID# A349640 – what a face! Look forward to reading your post and other posts about Blue.

      • I love that guy! He is a little more energetic, so we couldn’t consider him– our dog does best with calmer dogs, since he is a senior citizen himself šŸ™‚ There are SO many great dogs in shelters in Georgia . . . if you drive outside a city in any direction and go to a county shelter, it will be full of beautiful pit bulls with zero hope of getting out of there alive šŸ˜¦

      • Awwww. That makes me sad. If you could add a part II and post about what it takes to be an owner/foster of a bully breed. I own basset hounds now and I’m sure it’s very different. I don’t necessarily need to be the dominant in my relationship with them. Thank you, again.

      • I don’t really think it has to be different, you just have to choose well. Every dog’s personality is different, and I think that the bully breeds in particular tend to have a very broad range of behavior– possibly because most of them are very mixed mutts, not a true single strain of dog. For example, our first foster Lollie was probably part English Bulldog. Gonzo was part French bulldog. TANK may have been part french mastiff or shar pei. Our own Chick is actually not a pit bull at all, but rather a cross between an American Bulldog and a pointer, we found out after a DNA test. In looking at him, you would guess that he’s straight up pit!

        Some bullies are mushy, easy-going, calm, submissive babies, and others are more assertive or pushy. Many make great family pets, and many get along great with other dogs. It’s just a matter of finding one that you can work with! If you really think you would consider it, I can try to point you to a reputable bully breed rescue org in your area. It’s nice to foster through a rescue when you’re first starting out because more info is available about the animals from the start, and you benefit from a lot of support and education via the group. Plus, it’s still saving a life — for every dog that gets put in a foster home, the rescue is able to pull another dog from a shelter who would almost certainly have been put down.

        Follow up w me by email if you want me to point you to a few resources in your area (Atlanta?)

  2. I can’t wait to learn more. I am very interested in adopting another one and we are very interested. We currently have a 1 1/2 year old Pit and would love to have a playmate for her. Any thoughts on having 2 females? We love what we have now with our little girl.

    • Hey Michael,

      Thanks for your note! I know that same-gender pairings are generally not recommended, and the shelter isn’t crazy about them. A study a few years back found that fighting-related give-ups among same-gender pairings outnumbered those for opposite-gender pairings more than 4:1. Not to say that it’s impossible; many dogs live beautifully in a same-gender household.

      I will contact you offline to discuss further! Aleksandra

      • Hey, Aleksandra and Michael.

        We have two female pits – one seven, one four, both rescues who came to us at different times, from different organizations and with different issues. If you’d like, I’m happy to send an email offline about our experiences.

        That said – Blue’s a doll!

      • Julie! I was actually thinking of you specifically when I wrote to Michael and said that I know that same-sex pairings work fine many times. Personally, I would love to hear your thoughts.

  3. We are confident that if anyone can get Blue ready for her forever family, it will be you guys! Your success rate is wonderful (and we’re still recovering from the ‘swoosh’ that was Tank flying in and out of your home!)! Good luck Blue!

    -Fiona and Family

  4. We are so excited to see her, and she is so beautiful. I know blue started as a fad a bit ago, and now they are just overwhelming the shelters as well. Even calm, loyal Mr. B spent a good amount of time in his shelter. We’re excited to learn more about her!

  5. Baby Blue is beeaaauutiful!

    I have a major soft spot for gray and white, as my precious childhood kitty had those exact same markings. We still have a photo of him on our fridge, and for whatever reason, I had named him Tigers when I was about 5 years old. There were certainly no stripes on him, but if we ever get another gray/white/socked pup or kitty, they will affectionately be named TJ (Tigers Jr.). I talk about that little dude about once a week, for real.

  6. Oh my gosh – Baby Blue is beautiful. I love the shade of her coat. Does she realize how lucky she is? I bet she does. It’ll be interesting to see how she and her new foster sibling, Chick, get along. Looking forward to seeing more pics! You and your hubby are doing such a great thing!

  7. I used to live with a male AmStaff that looked just like Blue, and seeing Blue’s picture here has made me really miss that pup. Before living with an AmStaff, I was very leery of bully breeds, but I quickly learned how sweet and well-behaved these dogs can be, as long as they are loved and treated with respect. Now I have a soft spot in my heart for AmStaffs and Pits, and one day hope to be able to adopt one when I have the time and space. Keep up the great work šŸ™‚

  8. I love your blog, not only do you provide us with a lot of great entertainment through your pics and stories but you also do such a great job of addressing so many important topics like how to choose the right one and preparing people for what they are getting themselves into! You are the best! And Baby Blue is going to be so nice to look at every day for the immediate future!

  9. You are angels for helping these babies out. I’m super excited to hear about Blue’s development with you and how she begins to unfurl like a new flower blossom. I hope she finds her new forever home soon, though – every dog deserves one!

  10. She’s gorgeous! And looks soooo much like our Grand-dog Mako. I started out by adopting a homeless 4 year old pit bull, like, 14 years ago. We had zero experience w/ this breed & had heard all the horror stories, so we were of course “worried” about our new family member. His owner & family had moved to our area & were living in their rented Ryder van w/ the dog & all their belongings because the apt that came w/ his new job would not allow the dog. They would not take him to a shelter & would not leave him until they found him a home. So, we agreed to give him a try. He was so gorgeous & well behaved! Well, it only took one day for us to totally melt at this dogs feet. He was awesome! Not at all like the “monsters” we had heard about. His former owner checked back a few times, then said, “I won’t bother you any more…I see that you truly love him & he’s your dog now”. I often think about that & shed a tear for this man. I now know how hard it was for him to let his beloved Smokey go. Smokey nursed me through my bout w/ cancer & even vocally called me “Mwam” when he came in to rouse me awake to take him out during my treatments. He always stayed right by my side to help me walk steady back into the house. Sadly, we lost him to cancer a few years later. Then, just as Smokey had come into our lives, another needy boy appeared 11 months later. A marshmallow of a boy that is my Phil. Only 7 months old & near death then, but our awesome vet nursed him back from deaths door. I have since fostered several times for our shelter (always pit bulls) but, when a beautiful brindle & white boy came into the vet hospital I worked at, damaged from being hit by a truck, I was instantly drawn to him. I wasn’t even supposed to be working the day he came in…sometimes things work out that way. Well, my current foster was spayed & after a couple months she was tearfully sent off to her new home. Brindle boy Chief was still sitting in our surgical kennels. Sadly, his owners had adopted him from the shelter & only had him about 2 months before he was hit by the truck. They never came back for him. Something told me to hold off on my next foster. Chief was going to be sent back to the shelter…homeless again. I was working an extra day when the decision was made. Up went my hand! I’ll take him! Well, he was only to be a foster, but it turned out only 2 weeks after taking him & him getting more mobile, it appeared he had problems w/ his back leg. Luxating Patella said the vets. Yikes! Who would adopt a pit bull, with a nerve damged front leg, in need of expensive knee surgery, who also has the “gift of gab” as we call it? Chiefie likes to “talk”…a LOT! LOL! Welp, right then, my fostering days were put on hold. I got his knee surgery from our wonderful vets…for free. He is doing awesome & he & my pit bull Phil are just bestest buddies. We also have a rescued Rottweiler & a 3 times took back to the pound Beagle who is pretty old now. All of our dogs ended up being male (neutered of course!) but it works for us. So, in the right situation & w/ the right dogs…it can work! Sorry for the novel, but anyone thinking of fostering, check w/ your shelters or rescues. They can help you find just the right pup! It’s soooo rewarding, both for the foster dogs & the foster family! Thanks for all that you do, Aleksandra! You are truly a pit bull angel!

  11. Hi, Aleksandra! I’ve just found your blog through Kristine’s (Rescued Insanity) and I’m glad I did. I admire your involvement in fostering unlucky dogs and helping them find a good family and a better life.
    Blue is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve got a soft spot for blue dogs in general (mine is a blue fawn who was born completely blue), but there’s something special about this girl, apart from her colour. I love the look on her face and the warmth in her eyes, and it’s hard to believe that she’s still looking for her forever home. It just comes to show that a shelter environment is not always best for meeting and choosing a dog.
    Good luck with fostering Blue…I hope it’ll be a successful process, with a happy ending.


  12. Beautiful Blue, I’m blue over you. Well ok I’m not really since you’ve found just about the best foster home EVER! I’m actually doing a happy dance.
    Aleksandra, I understand that blue dogs can have more skin problems than other colours, so you might want to keep an eye on any excess scratching/licking etc.
    P.S. In Australia we call people with red hair “Bluey” šŸ˜‰

  13. I foster pups too, and understand how sad it is, no matter how you loose them, but you are right, this world is just too much for some. We adopted one of our fosters. She came from a very bad place, and lived under the bed for a week. She has been ours for almost 8 months, she still hides when someone new comes, but does come out to check them out. She is such a sweet heart, it breaks my heart to see her be so timid, but she has good days, more than bad now. And we love her very much, so we just rearrange things so she isn’t stressed or upset. Keep up the good work. We need great fosters so very much.

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