Happy Endings

With hundreds of happy adoptions under our wings, downloading to our new site is taking more time than we expected. Yikes! Here are just a few of the many happy stories that have come through our program. Please check back over the next couple of weeks to look for more and we'll keep plugging away at the keyboard.


A Good Samaritan jumped into action when she saw this pretty dog tossed from a moving vehicle. She plucked her from the road, tattered and scared, and started making phone calls. Loni lucked into a spot in our program not too long after.  She was in very poor condition and understandably traumatized from her ordeal. After she healed in both body and mind, she moved to a foster home where she helped foster parents Nancy and Erich raise a litter of kittens. She was later adopted to this young couple who just welcomed their first baby. Loni seems thrilled to be in the middle of some of their happiest days.


Gabe & Sonya wanted to adopt Esther, but didn't live in a dog friendly rental, so they did what any determined couple would do - they decided to look for a home that would accept her. They searched high and low until they found a place that was fine with dogs, but on the fence about dogs that look like Esther (ie, blocky heads). No problem. They did such a fine job introducing the topic of adopting a pit bull to their maybe-landlord and maybe-neighbors that they got full support from everybody. Esther is now happy at home and enjoying her new life. Gabe & Sonya sing in a folk band called 'Tiny Home,' and their new pup is one of their biggest fans. Good work, everybody!

Many thanks to Dave & Clare for giving Esther a safe place until she could come to live in the Rescue Barn. You saved a life and made this family complete. 


Once so shy she refused to walk without with the help of a dog friend to coach her, Molly slowly but surely found her confidence at the Rescue Barn and later, out in the real world.

She scored with her new home and we're still cheering about it!

Ollie Girl

ADOPTED This smiling brindle came to us following the death of her NorCa rescuer and adopter. She's still getting her bearings but is quick to show everyone how delightfully calm, obedient and connected she is. She lived with a male dog in her former home and might enjoy that same arrangement again. You can meet Ollie in our Pit Ed classes on Saturday. Stay tuned for more info and photos of this little orphan.


Maggie was a very shy mama dog who came into the Sacramento County shelter with three pups -- and ringworm. A tiny group of volunteers who call themselves the Sacramento Shelters Canine Rescue Networkers put out a call for help that we couldn't refuse. She healed up in our Rescue Barn with her pretty babes - Hugo, Oscar and Rooney - until the Ashcraft family took her home.

They wanted a gentle girl with a maternal nature who would be a good friend for their new baby, David. Maggie was a good choice. Her shyness faded over time and she's grown into a very silly, happy girl who celebrates her new life and new family every single day. The Ashcrafts were so proud to share this recent VIDEO of Maggie. Her happy dance says it all.




Alison and Mike's landlord said 'NO' when they first inquired about adopting Gumbino, but instead of giving up, their friendly approach convinced her to peek in on BR's Pit Ed class where she could see his great manners in person along with all the support they'd be getting for their new dog. She was impressed, but not entirely convinced. 
By listening to her main concerns, we all identified important items that could be smoothed out in a pet addendum to their lease. The addendum included clauses such as their promise to maintain a pet insurance policy, their obligation to not disturb other tenants or neighbors, pick up dog mess, obey the leash law and other items that conscientious dog owners are happy to do. It worked! A & M got the green light and Gum is now a permanent part of the family.

Big congrats to Alison and Mike (and Gum!) and major KUDOS to the landlord for helping this couple turn a rental unit into a real live home. More info on RENTING with dogs.



YumYum showed up at a Santa Cruz Animal Shelter with a male pup. They were originally purchased to be the start of someone's new dog kennel, but the pups took matters into their own hands and got themselves lost, found and fixed before their career played out. No longer on track to create progeny, Yum made her way to our program where she was very quickly matched to a waiting home.

Her new life includes two young girls and two adoring adults. This photo captures their very first meeting. Love at first sight, at your service. 


One of our more celebrated rescues of 2012 was 'Olive,' whose painful shelter past and well documented recovery while in our program inspired thoughtful public conversations in social media and in our trainings throughout the year. This blog post on her ordeal caps out as one of our all time most popular postings. OLIVE

Olive went on to join a family with another dog named Zoolander and a cat and was officially signed over during Christmas week. Her new 'mom' told us, "She's the best Christmas present I've ever received!" To see Olive so loved and so happy in her new life - We couldn't be happier!



Super social Bean wanted a super social life and boy did she get one! Her new dad Byrd takes both her and her small-dog brother 'Diamond' everywhere he goes and they enjoy the best of times. If you live in the SF east bay, you're likely to run into this trio jetting about in Byrd's pick-up truck, and if you do, please wave them a hello. They're bound to wave right back at you with big happy smiles.

We're grateful to Shasta County rescuer Cindy Luzietti for calling this sweet dog out to us when their remotely-based shelter filled beyond capacity. Cindy has made the six hour long trek several times to bring special dogs to us. Everytime we look at Bean in her new home, we're grateful all over again for the care that went into keeping her on the planet.

Photographed here with Santa to celebrate their first Christmas together. Enjoy your new life Beautiful Bean! Lucky, lucky you.


Tallulah! (Talu)

Tallulah told us right up front is that she required in an adopter who was big on touch - She thrived on it! So it was with great pleasure when we watched potential adopter Dana wrap her arms right around Talu for a big hug during their first meeting. She was transferred to us from rural Louisiana after being swept up in a small time dog fighting case. The Parish where she lived had always destroyed these cruelty victims, and she was set to lose her life. But times are changing and thanks to the many precedents set, authorities heard our collective pleas and her life was spared.

Such an exceptional dog. Tallulah served as a mentor for pups and undersocialized adult dogs while she was with us. She now has a dog and several horses in her life. It seems she was always meant to be a country girl, but this time, her owner won't stop hugging her. That's heaven on earth for this beautiful survivor.

Many thanks to the shelter-less diehards of the Delta Humane Society in LA for championing Tallulah's cause and working to save every last dog from that case.


Katie and Jason 'met' this pup on our facebook page when we announced her need for an amputation. This high spirited girl hopped right into their hearts from her very first photo, so they waited patiently while she healed from her surgery. Once she was on the mend, Betty flew to Oregon with her new parents to start her new life. While they signed adoption papers at our Open House, they told us that one very excited four year old boy was staying at grandma's house and anxiously waiting for mom & dad to come home with his brand new puppy. Yippee!

Thank you Berkeley Animal Care Services for helping Betty and for alerting us to her situation, and to foster mom Cindy Houser for your healing touch.


Tater earned his public fame by being one of our bigger "project dogs." He'd been terribly spoiled in a series of homes and with zero rules, he was a serial Brat - causing problems and mischief wherever he went. His original rescuer begged for mercy and during a weak moment, we said 'Yes.'  So he came to our program to learn about things like boundaries and working for your dinner and not bouncing off of people's chests as a way to say hello. He's an adorable guy though, and while we scratched our heads over who might want to adopt such a drivey stinker, the barn crew volunteers started teaching him nosework to help his focus. His natural talent for the game helped us start a conversation with his new mom Ellen, who is a K9 handler for a police department in Virginia. She offered to give Tater a try and fell fast in love with him. He's now a member of their family and is much loved. We still laugh at how much havoc he caused in our corners, but we're especially grateful that he's now well loved -- and well mannered. More on Tater's 'Boot Camp' days.


NIta was on the verge of dying when she came into the care of Berkeley Animal Care Services. She'd been found by a good samaritan while attempting to give birth to stillborn pups. An emergency c-section saved her life, and she came to our Rescue Barn to rest up. She started out shy and cautious, but soon turned into a dynamo once she found her bravado, and she took it upon herself to keep all the other dogs entertained with rowdy play sessions.

When Heather and Stacy came out to meet her, it was love at first sight. She now enjoys a happy life in San Francisco with two of the best moms ever. Nita's ambassadog status got bumped up a whole ten notches when she earned her Canine Good Citizen certificate. What a star. When she's not turning heads out in the world, she's enjoying rowdy play sessions with Jonny Justice. Of course she is! 

Possum! - CGC Star

Possum was a very shy, very sick little girl when she arrived at our doorstep. Tests confirmed the worst: She had parvo. Yikes! But with such a pretty face and sweet disposition, we had to dive in and make it all better for her.

After a couple of weeks of supportive care and begging her to eat little spoonfuls, she finally sprang to life and showed us what a survivor she was. What sick dog? Her gentle nature attracted the attention of Meredith and James and their dog Loper. It was love at first sight for all involved and Possum went home to roost. She showed us all how happy she is about her new life by earning her Canine Good Citizen certificate in record time after her adoption. Way to go Awesome Possum and Meredith!

Dyna Girl - Now Scout!

This brindle beauty came into Hayward Animal Services with a zig-zag for a front leg. It looked like she'd suffered a break that wasn't set properly. We puzzled over best ways to fix it, but after getting to know her we recognized that she was doing just fine with that funky limp -- super hero that she was. 

She caught the eye of Jeannie and Amy, who took her home to live with their senior dog and be a part of their happy family. We were thrilled when all three girls joined us by marching in the SF Pride Parade. The ever-optimistic Scout insisted on walking almost the whole way, and only jumped in the wagon for little breaks. What a special little dog. Jeannie and Amy told us after she was adopted, "We are so lucky she chose us." Another sign that Scout has life all figured out ... She knows a great family when she sees one!


Gris-Gris, now Mila!

Mila was caught up in a cruelty case in a rural parish of Louisiana. Because her abuser had been fighting some of his dogs, she was destined to be destroyed under a current state law that allows authorities to destroy "fighting dogs" swept up in cruelty cases - a law that has been used to kill untold numbers over the years. But a rescuer and a local veterinarian said "No" and tucked Mila and several other dogs in safe surroundings to buy them some time (there is no animal shelter in her LA parish).

Thankfully, a District Attorney and a judge heard our collective plea to give her and all the other dogs a chance - and they agreed. A first for this part of the country. Then a kind couple who'd never met a pit bull before offered to drive her and two other dogs cross country to our adoption program. Mila lived at our Rescue Barn until a family fell in love. She's living the good life now with her very own little girl and is the apple of her family's eye. 

Welcome to your Life, Miss Mila!


Rooney came to us with her two brothers and mom when she was a tiny pup. She was spotted with ringworm - a certain death sentence for a shelter dog, but thankfully we had an open spot in the Rescue Barn when she needed it. This little tomboy nearly grew up with us as she healed and we all fell in love with her during her stay.

Enter Lisa and her family. Lisa adopted from us 13 years ago - way back before husband Rob & kids were part of her life. After grieving her beloved Nina, it was time to fall in love again. Her girls spent an afternoon playing with Rooney and it was a done deal. It was an honor to help them find a new dog and know that a new era was just beginning for this sweet family.

Welcome home little Rooney! 


Hugo came to us with his mom and sibs when a mild case of ringworm knocked him out of the shelter's adoption program. He healed quickly, then got busy with being a puppy as only puppies know how.

He soon attracted the eye of the de Jesus family, which means Hugo got his very own little boys (yay!) and an older sister dog who was more than happy to show him the ropes. In the photo, he's meeting his new mom for the very first time. It looked like love to us.

All is well now -- He's doing great and enjoying the first summer of his new life. Welcome home Maka-Hugo!

Danny Boy!

Zack and Anne came to one of our Pit Ed class Open Houses "just to look" and see what we were up to. They had no real intentions of getting a dog, but when they put their hands on then-orphan Danny, we saw the clouds part and heard music. We've never been so bold as to say this, but the whole group blurted out, "You look like you belong together!" -- And they agreed! Long story short, now Danny is home for keepers. Thank you Zack and Anne for staying open to love at first sight. It's the very best kind, isn't it?

Danny was transferred to BADRAP from the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA when he ran out of time. We're grateful to our friends at PHSS for sending this lovely boy our way!

The Life of Riley

Riley came to us from a Shasta County animal shelter as a pup with his brother Ruben. They'd both been passed over again and again, and were looking so sad and rejected that we couldn't help but say 'yes' when a rep from their shelter sent their photos and asked for help. This tender heart of a dog was initially overwhelmed by life in the big city, but his foster mom showed him the ropes and he got the hang of things right away. 

Alison Lufkin and her family were hoping to find a young dog that had enough youngster energy to play with the kids, but without all the fuss of a puppy. We knew just the dog. And so the rest is history. Riley is the life of their party and he's slowly worming his way into the heart of their girl dog, Grace.

We just love this photo of Riley with his new family. They're all heart in more ways than one.

Ivie Lu!

The little girl has an Oakland teenager to thank for saving her life. When Rebecca Yuen was asked to take in this stray that wandered onto a high school campus, she correctly inventoried her fresh wounds and skin condition and knew the news wasn't good. Experience had shown her that her poor health would likely cost her her life at the local shelter. So she wrote an impassioned email that got our attention. Ivie-Lu was a mess of skin problems, but her adopters saw right down to her vivacious spirit and warm personality. After a quick stint in our Rescue Barn, she went home for 'foster care,' but we all knew that it was probably for keepers. Fast forward to now: Ivie-Lu is healthy again and a cherished family member with Robbie and Dennis. Welcome home, little girl!


Ayse is a trail blazer of sorts. She came back to Oakland after we met during BR-related work in Ohio, just as Cleveland was getting ready to make some progressive changes in its animal laws and policies. Such an exciting time! When she hit the internet, she signaled to everyone that something really wonderful was happening back in her birthplace. Her adopters Rudy and Jarvia are holding a sign in honor of the city leaders who stuck their necks out for dogs like her in 2011. By removing their BSL and opening their shelter doors to pit bull adoptions, Cleveland became a safer, more humane community and dogs following Ayse now have a second chance at life.

This girl symbolizes big change to many people, but to Rudy and Jarvia, she simply represents family -- As she should! Now an Oaklander for keeps, Ayse's adopters adore their bouncy vixen and tell us that she's brought love and a whole lot of laughter to their home. 

For a peek into Ayse's foster home adventures, check out her Blog, written by foster mom Ana.

Captain Spanky

Captain Spanky sure got a lot of interest with that handsome noggin, but of all the inquiries, none stood out quite like Mark's. When they met at the barn, it was clear within the first ten minutes that they were meant to be together. Spanks became a bit of an internet celeb thanks to his good looks, and strangers still stop Mark on the street to find out if it's him. None other!

Thanks to Berkeley Animal Care Services for taking him in when he lost his home, and to the barn crew for keeping him happy while we waited for Mark to find him.

Fans can have their very own Captain face. He's now on the cover and inside our 2012 Rescue Barn Calendar.



Rescued from a central valley shelter, Josephine moved into the Rescue Barn with her mother and siblings as a tiny pup. She chased butterflies, ran through tall grasses and practiced the fine art of being a puppy while the world smiled and coo-ed at her photos. Josephine was nearly 'Elliot's dog' until a wee girl named Stella came along and claimed her as her new best friend. You can't argue with that!

We captured this sweet pup's time spent with Uncle Elliot in this photo essay.


We nearly missed this roly-poly senior dog during a routine visit to an east bay shelter while looking for rescue candidates. He was out of sight, and not going to get out of the shelter due to a big nasty tumor on his thigh. His warm eyes melted us, and the fact that his best friend - a cocker spaniel - was in the kennel alongside him sealed the deal. We named him Fazool after our favorite plumber, scheduled emergency surgery for that mass and moved him into our rescue barn. He thanked us by lifting his paw, then flopped over to show his belly. What a good guy he was about it all.

When Christena and Sam told us they were looking for a low-key dog that could hang out at their bike shop, chill with their cats and be a buddy to their toddler, we knew just the one. Fazool is now a daily fixture in an Oakland bike shop called 'Manifesto,' where he gets to go to work with his new family everyday. He greets customers, entertains visiting dogs and brings a smile to many. At 13 years old, this guy is doing fantastic. We hope he has many more bike seasons ahead of him.

Miss Birdy

A good samaritan spotted Miss Birdy on the streets of Oakland when she was nothing but a skeleton and very close to the end. She laid a trail of kibble back to her car, which Miss Birdy gobbled and followed. She happily climbed inside and collapsed on the back seat -- she was finally safe. Birdy came to live in our barn where we hoped to fatten her up and learn who she was. On top of her starvation, Birdy was very sick with cancer. But even with lymphoma, she let us know that she had every intention of living large while she was here. She loves her creature comforts, adores being the center of attention and grins with a broken toothed little grin anytime she thinks someone is looking at her. 

Her photos circulated around the net and caught the eye of Anneke, who felt that they belonged together. She went on to be the pampered princess she was meant to be, and for as long as her little body will hold out. These are the kinds of happy endings that keep us raising our hands whenever senior dogs show up in our local shelters asking for help. 

EDIT: Birdy finally passed on after several months in her new home. RIP little girl!

Katie Bug

This lovely creature was at the Martinez Animal Shelter the day we stopped by to see who needed out. She was way too skinny with crooked legs and worried eyes. Not quite a pit bull, but then again - when you're looking at a dog who needs help, breed type stops mattering.

We named her Katie Bug and gave her a spot in the Rescue Barn, but what she really needed was a quick home so she could soak up some pillow time and put some meat on her bones. Enter Stella. This former adopter had lost her beloved Maddy not too long before Katie's rescue, so it was only natural that we bring them together. Watching Katie melt in her hands brought us to our knees.

Stella re-named her Chuy and the two are now a steady fixture, entertaining Stella's grandkids, snuggling for perfect naps and enjoying long walks together in the mountains of Santa Cruz, CA. 

Molly - Now Keeley

Molly found herself at Berkeley Animal Care Services in her golden years. This senior was understandably shaken by the turn of fate. At her advanced age, a veterinarian surmissed that the large masses all over her abdomen were cancerous, which may have discouraged her former family from keeping her. We were willing to take her, cancer or not. No old dog deserves to be displaced like she had, so she moved right in with foster parents Nancy and Erich while we puzzled over her condition and next steps. 

Bruce and his wife Eva saw our facebook post welcoming the sweet lady to our program and raised their hand to adopt her. After all, they were both vet techs and had access to wonderful specialists who would help solve the mystery of her imposing bumps. Even better, they had a warm home with three other dogs and a young son who would treat her like family. Within days she was home with them, cozying up for this photo. Her name is now Keeley - and, lo and behold, her tumors were benign. This lucky girl has a lot more life left in her, thanks to the many people who stuck their neck out to make sure she got a chance.



Belinda came from a cruelty case in Oakland when she was just a wee pup. Her feet were splayed from literally growing up inside a cramped dog crate and she was a little behind in her social skills. It takes some work to help dogs like her play catch-up, but seeing her over the hump and in a happy home is so worth it. Her foster parents Holly and Magnus gave her the boost she needed and her adopters Dave and Sheila shined her up into a well balanced girl as she came into adulthood. It's such a pleasure to see her now - strikingly beautiful, social and HAPPY. Welcome home, sweet Belinda. You are so loved!


Her nickname was Emma Dilemma back when she was an orphan and we were all trying to figure her out. She'd found herself at Berkeley Animal Care Services and was so depressed about her situation that we had to guess she's been a princess in her former life. Her time in the Rescue Barn was a little better, but her life didn't really start until she finally moved home with adopters Dan and Mary Sue Thomas. Now the queen of their castle, she couldn't be happier. Congrats on your new family Emma! We almost didn't recognize you with that big smile you've been flashing.

Daisy - 'Missouri 500' Cruelty Survivor

A homemade sign - "Welcome to Your Forever Home Daisy Darling" - greeted her at the door when she went to her new home. She walked in that house like she knew exactly where she was.

It's hard to believe that this personable little dog came off of a chain in Oklahoma. She was swept up in the big seven state dog fighting raid in the summer of 2009 and made BR rep Tim Racer's acquaintance when he went to evaluate the dogs as part of the larger rescue efforts. Daisy came to CA and went through a surgery to correct a faulty knee.

Adopters Jeanne and Neil are longtime pit bull lovers, having owned the breed for over 40 years. They showed us a lifetime of photos with their beloved dogs. We just love knowing that Daisy has found her place in their long line of cherished pets. She seems like she was always part of their family and in a very real way, she always has been.


Atomic Betty

She found herself caught in the shelter system, but her super hero powers got a message through to BR headquarters: "Help me. I've got work to do to change how the world see pit bulls." We obeyed.

Once in foster care, Betty caught the eye of Mike and Kim, but an evil villian stood in the way of their adoption: The insurance company that covered their lease discriminated against Betty's breed type. Not to be discouraged, Mike and Kim got busy with helping their landlord find a new and better insurance company.

Success! Their strategy was perfect and super hero-inspired. Now they're all living as a happy family in San Francisco.

Look for Betty on the cover of the Unexpected Pit Bull Calendar. Yee Haw!


The beautiful creature came to us with a litter of puppies in Spring '10. Warm, gentle and impressively calm, she was the first official resident of our rescue barn and was an immediate hit with all our dogs as well as our volunteers.

Lauren and Jonathon applied to adopt one of her adorable puppies, particularly 'Hypatia.' We watched from a distance as they picked up and loved on every pup. Imagine our surprise when they stood up and announced, "Hypatia is a wonderful girl, but we've fallen for her mother Eva." We asked them to go home and sleep on it and they held steady - they wanted the mama!

Eva now lives a charmed life in Santa Rosa and gets to go to work with both of her people on many days. She recently welcomed a second BR dog into her home - a little bust dog named Chunk. Welcome home Miss Eva!



Retha earned a spot in our Ambassadog kennels at Oakland Animal Services when it seemed she needed a little help getting caught up on her social skills with other dogs. She sailed through her lessons and became a favorite playmate to some of the boys. Retha is now in her new home for keeps after being courted by Claudia and her beau, Thomas. Thomas is an Oakland Police Officer and he told us that he's brought so many strays to the shelter during his shifts that he knew he wanted to give a home to a shelter orphan once the time was right. Retha's now the center of their universe and counts a young boy named Angel as one of her very best friends. Congrats to the whole family!

Stella Polari CGC!

We met Stella during a trip to the Detroit area for a conference. It was just too hard to walk away from Michigan Humane Society's hopeful pit bulls, especially this beautiful chocolate girl who'd been swept up in a dramatic drug raid. Stella's eyes called out for help, and we had to ask if we could have her. Naturally, they agreed. Within days she was on a plane to CA. (See her arrival here) She had some healing to do to, but she soon bloomed in the care of her foster mom. During her time with us, she was being secretly admired by BR volunteer Elizabeth. We were thrilled when she announced that she wanted to take Stella home. Together, they've become a real team. They earned their CGC certification in record timing and are now busy raising a brand new (human!) family together. Bless you girls!

Ollie Pop - CGC Star!

Sweet Ollie is such an unassuming, good hearted fellow. He earned a kennel in our Ambassadog program and learned his manners so quickly that he made dog training feel like kids's work. One day a couple showed up with a simple request: They'd never had a pit bull type dog before, so needed a 'beginner's dog,' and, one that would get along with their very old, very feeble little minpin. It took all of 12 seconds before we collectively chimed --- "OLLIE!" Their Roxie turned out to be even more feeble than we expected, but even with missing teeth and tired old bones, she still managed to give Ollie some old fashioned Bitchy Queen attitude and lay down the law. Perfect! Jim and Kathy have become a steady fixture in our Saturday classes and Ollie is still being the perfect pupil and listening to their every word. To celebrate his new home, he recently earned his Canine Good Citizen certification. We just love happy endings like this!

Jelly Roll Jones

Mr. Jones with the Jelly Belly (aka Jelly Roll Jones) came from Oakland Animal Services. He was clearly somebody's spoiled little - ahem - monster before he lost his home. He was lovable and sweet, but used to getting what he wanted. He was also a brat with other dogs. Oy vey! The Ambassadog team knows how to polish up a shine in just about any dog and Jelly soon fell in to line and showed us what a good boy he could be. His manners improved so much that, when Stephen and Lisa inquired about getting a dog that could co-exist with another dog and a parrot, we were almost sure they could be a match. Sure enough, Jelly worked his charms and left the kennels to become a part of their happy family. We love knowing that he has a big beautiful yard to bomb around in and a home of his very own. Have a great life, Mr. Jones!

Josie Kat! - CGC Star

We get so many requests for help from out of county rescuers and it always pains us to have to say 'No' to their special dogs. But one inquiry was impossible to ignore: A woman witnessed her neighbor beating his beautiful tan dog so, while he was away, she secreted her to a safe hiding spot before she could be killed. The dog had a big bump on her skull from her beatings but remained cheerful and optimistic. It was clear she couldn't stay in this town so we moved a few mountains to make room for her in Oakland.

We named her Josie Kat and fell fast in love with beautiful face and resilient spirit. We had so much fun with her while she was with us and almost hated to see her go to her new home - Almost! Josie scored a wonderful new life with Nafia and James. Many thanks to the brave rescuer who first brought her to safety. You did a wonderful thing.

Jonny Justice CGC, TD, ATTS - former Vick Dog

Jonny became a poster child for cruelty victims after surviving Bad Newz Kennels in 2007. No sooner did he get his bearings in CA when he started getting invitations to appear on television shows. He took it all in stride and was quite the media darling - mugging for cameras and generally being a first class ham. One day the nice people called foster parents decided that Jonny should live with them forever, and we celebrated one of the first Vick dog adoptions. Cris and Jennifer have gone the distance with this special pup and handled all the media attention like pros. They knew that he was more than just a pretty face though, so got him busy with earning his CGC title, passing his American Temperament Test and then, working as a Reading Assistant dog. Now Jonny helps kids learn to read while impressing us all with his ability to forgive.

Sweatpea - CGC Star

When we introduced this gentle brindle gem on our available page, an adoption was already pending. Rarely do we search shelters to hand-pick a dog for a potential home, but this home was different. Peter had already fallen hard for another BR dog, but the match up wasn't quite perfect. He stayed patient for months, so we kept our eyes open for just the right dog. We found one in Sweet Pea. She is easy going, cat friendly, dog social, and a therapy dog in the making. She came out of a NorCA shelter where a local Pit bull advocate sponsored her heartworm treatment while a foster home gave her a safe place to heal. Fast forward a few months: Since Sweet Pea’s adoption was finalized, she's earned her Canine Good Citizen certification and has become fast friends with her two feline roomies. Thank you Peter for waiting for her to appear. Sweet Pea is so lucky you did!

Bob the Dog CGC TD!

Ohhhhh Bob! No one can meet this dog without falling into a deep well of heart-thumping love. How he ended up at the Oakland shelter, we'll never know. This boy was such a groovie, likable fellow that we couldn't help but want to see him in the White House as the official first dog. But alas, the Obamas moved just a little too slow and missed out when Alex and Chui raised their hands to be his forever people. A & C had been getting trained to be BAD RAP volunteers when they fell for the pup. They knew he was extra special, so worked fast to find a rental that would allow them to adopt a pit bull of their very own. Once they scored a primo place in the Oakland hills, it was a done deal -- Bob was officially a dog with a home. Bob has since gone on to earn his Canine Good Citizen award and his therapy dog certification. 

Aberfoil! - Ambassadog!

Aberfoil was such a clownish punk when we first met him at Oakland Animal Services, that we even caught our ever-patient trainer Sara counting to ten on some days. He was determined to jump jump jump, so she taught him it was okay to use the springs in his legs as long as he avoided using human body parts as a launch pad. Fine!

Aberfoil became highly skilled at impersonating a kangaroo and would hop hop hop in front, next to, and around people as high as possible with the biggest "Lookit ME!" grin he could muster. Good lord Aberfoil!

We used to wonder who would ever fall for the Dorkish Wonder, but Carol and Hank put that question to rest when they became family. Sir Aberfoil! Our shelter memories of you will always make us slap our foreheads, roll our eyes and break into goofy giggles.


Piglet was so distracted when we first met her at Oakland Animal Services that she looked at everything except us when we first took her outside. We had a strong hunch that she was searching for her former owner and no one else would do. We adored her for her sassy, independent and comical nature, but worried whether she'd be able to last in the difficult shelter setting.

Once in foster care, Piglet got very busy with telling everyone how things should work. When we weren't pulling our hair out over her 'enthusiastic' habit of singing and talking about EVERYthing, we were doubled over laughing. What an unusual, hella funny little dog!

How did we get so lucky to find the perfect adopter? They're both cut from the same cloth and share much of the same outlook on life - always laughing, always chatting. Thank you Janet for finding her!


She was a senior-in-crisis when we met her at Oakland Animal Services. Not eligible for their adoption program due to her age, she was destined to end her 12+ years at the shelter. Her warm personality made this a particularly difficult decision, so we begged up a foster spot as part of our Compassion Hold project to help make her final days as peaceful as possible. Gemma lucked out when Kerry raised her hand to help the damsel in distress. In her own words: "Sweet old Gemma seems to have decided to stick around on the planet for longer than any of us thought. She’s put on a bit of weight, eats enthusiastically, goes on short slow walks, and hasn’t stopped wagging her tail since I brought her home!" It's a happy day when we're able to do a u-turn on a dog that faces such difficult odds. Gemma lived for another year and a half - a very happy girl.

Bug - Now Winston

Bug was an Oakland Shelter dog who bounced back when his original adopter exploded with dander-related asthma. We felt so bad for both of them that we made room in our Pit Bull Hall kennels. Look how cute he was on Christmas Day: Video A couple came to us after grieving the loss of their beloved pooch Lucy. They were hoping for a new companion, this time, a dog-social dog that could accompany them anywhere. Bug filled the bill. They met him just as we were shutting down the shelter but despite our hurries, it was easy to see the 'Oh Wow, Oh Wow' looks in all three sets of eyes when Bug melted into their hands. The rest is history: Bug now wears the dignified name of Winston. He lives a charmed life and we haven't once heard anybody sneeze in his presence - a good sign!

Sleep Well, Sweet Mason

Sweet old Mason showed up in a Los Angeles shelter at the end of his life. He was somebody's pet at one time, already neutered and clearly loved. BR's Bullyhaven Project is able to help a tiny handful of displaced seniors each year, and Mason won the lucky ticket back in July of '07.

He went to stay with Steve and Nicole in San Diego before coming to SF to live at Bullyhaven headquarters. This fine fellow made many dog friends during his golden years and received endless snuggles and pampering. He passed on exactly one year later, a much loved pooch. Mason will be dearly missed. He was a special reminder to all of us how absolutely wonderful senior bullies can be. Thank you Susi and Charlie, for caring so much.

Oh Owen! - CGC Star

We got an email from a high schooler about a very young puppy he'd found tied to a pole. He told us: "the pup is now living here in my apartment with me and my family but here we cant have dogs because the manager won't let us. also we live under low-income so we can't afford his shots, we are just helping the pup with whatever we can but sooner or later.. we will run out. please i REALLY need your help, i don't know what to do with the puppy, he is only 5 weeks old." And so into our program he came. Owen grew up into a wonderful dog and won the heart of Debbie, who was looking for a pet that could blend into a housefull of small animals. That would be Owen! She celebrated his adoption by helping him earn his Canine Good Citizen certification. Welcome home, sweet boy!

Diesel - formerly Bemis

We met this silly boy when he came into Oakland Animal Services as a stray. He was as sweet as he was excitable...A perfect project dog for our Ambassadog Program. Bemis lived at the shelter while we worked on teaching him good manners. He fell into line quick for the training team but he also knew how to take advantage of a soft hearted handler by turning into Mr. Super Spazz, gyrating on the ground when he didn't want to follow directions. What a dork! He attracted the attention of Carly and Bruce, who were looking for a super social dog to add to their family. Luckily, they know how to let a dog have a good time while keeping those basic manners in check. Diesel moved into their home and started a fun friendship with their female dog Scarlet. We love watching him with his new people - they bring out the best in him and in turn, he gives them plenty of reason to laugh!

Lolo! - Ambassadog!

Our bionic blue - is HOME, thanks to all who said 'Yes' to a once very out of luck foreclosure casualty. The work that went into saving this particular dog's life is above and beyond anything we've done as a collective before: To the Badrappers who worked to keep her sane in the shelter while we sorted out her knee issues, to the donors who helped pay her huge bills, to the foster home that raised their hand to help her heal, to the surgeon who did the marvelous work of making her whole again, to the BR trainers who helped her get her manners back in order once she was feelin' fat and sassy, and finally, to Thomas and Meg, who committed to making her part of their family. Whew! Can we collapse yet? Lolo, you nearly wore us out but you were sure worth it. 


Natasha had no intention of getting a pit bull when she came to visit a dog at Oakland Animal Services, but this goofy dork of a dog caught her eye. Harley was in our Ambassadog program at the time and was rolling around and acting like a first class clown when she spied him. She was sucked right in to his charms. It took some convincing, but she made a plea to her husband to give him a look. They made several visits to see him - each time warmed them up ever so slowly to the thought of having a - gasp - pit bull in their life. Soon Harley was in their home, playing the part of perfect pet. They tell us that he's done an excellent job helping their once-worried friends and family recognize how wonderful his breed can be. It didn't take much! We're so proud of Natasha and Ash for giving this boy a chance.  See Harley's Movie

Howie! - Ambassadog!

Howie was covered in tar and very worried about the world when we first met him at Oakland Animal Services. He needed the security of a team of friends and a quiet ward, so was the perfect candidate for our Ambassadog Program. During his stay with us at the shelter, he gained the kind of self confidence that comes from having a routine, a 'pack' of steady dog handlers, and the foundation training of obedience. We watched him bloom from a Worry Wart, to a happy , bouncy boy. This American Bulldog mix attracted the attention of a Scott and Jodi, who were struggling to help their boxer Bailey get over some separation anxiety that started when their boy-dog passed on. It was clear that Howie and Bailey were meant to be together; they both perked each other up and became very devoted to one another. He moved to Texas with his family where he's enjoying a brand new life. Love ya Howie!

Texas - Therapy Dog

Texas came to us as a sweet lil' pup from Oakland Animal Services. She was a wee bit shy at first, but she bloomed quickly with a little help from new friends.
While Tex was learning about the world and getting her bearings within our program, Judy was starting to look for a companion that would be a friend to her brother's dog and maybe even find a job as a therapy dog. They seemed perfectly suited when they finally met; Tex's tender style was a natural for therapy work and Judy got busy getting her certified immediately. We are so proud of both these ladies and love knowing that they're a team. Welcome home Sweet Texas!


Kinzie came from a large cruelty case in AZ. She was swept up with over 100 other pit bulls. Her feet were scalded from standing in filth and she'd never seen a leash or visited the world outside of a small pen. We were drawn to her gentle nature and her quiet optimism and earmarked her for life in CA once the courts cleared her for rescue. A volunteer drove her and three other survivors to Oakland and they started new lives.

Kinzie was with us for several months before she finally found her perfect person. Monica was a pit bull devotee and was looking for a smaller pit bull that would get along with Zapata - her brave little chihuahua. Who else but Kinzie? We were thrilled to see this work out for all. Keep your eye out for this adorable family in SF. We understand that they turn heads wherever they go!

See Kinzie's Movie


Daddy-O came into Oakland Animal Services when kennels were full. This spelled trouble for the senior boy. We didn't sleep well the night before he was set to be put to sleep, but all we could do was hope for a last minute miracle. Little did we know that the miracle would show up for an appointment to work on our mobile office. Holly is a contracter and had volunteered to help us with trailer repairs on that fated day. Daddy-O came out to the yard for a final romp...and the rest is history. Our big headed boy drove home with Holly to be a foster dog and he never looked back. He now shares his home for keeps with his big hearted contracter friend, her partner Magnus and their two other dogs. Thanks for reminding us to never give up Daddy-O. And forever thanks to his new people for jumping in to help him when he needed you most.


Young Tulip showed up at Oakland Animal Services with a mysterious injury, which spelled a certain death sentence. She was swifted into exploratory surgery but nothing turned up to explain a swollen, oozing wound. We all suspected trouble - as in, infection lurking there. BR volunteers Catherine and Brett offered to take Tulip in to to let her rest and recover quietly at their home for a few days but almost immediately, they realized they were smitten with this little sprite. They made it known that they wanted to adopt her, swollen thigh and all. Another more invasive surgery discovered a foxtail! buried deep in Tulip’s upper thigh. It was removed and within days, she was on the mend. This pretty girl recovered nicely, and went on to become a first class CGC and therapy star.  Photo: Lori Fusaro

Ernie CGC - Former Vick Dog - CGC Star

See that proud face? That belongs to Sasha Gibbs, and she has every reason to be peacock happy with her boy. Ernie had great dog manners in VA, but when he moved to CA, he became a bit of a tweaker on leash. We can't really blame him; the poor boy had a lot of changes not to mention pressure - a Vick dog under the media microscope, and all. Most dogs have wiggle room in their street manners and a naughty labradoodle will barely earn a glance from the public, but Ernie had to be better than that. So we switched him into a quieter setting where he could re-start his training. Sasha and Andy worked their butts off under the guidance of trainer Linda Chwistek to help Ernie improve, and week by week, he did. When the day came that Ernie received a good adoption application, we saw Sasha's face drain of color. She ran off to make a phone call (calling Andy, we presume) and returned about two minutes later to tell us that they wanted to adopt him as theirs for keeps. Of course we were thrilled! To sweeten the story, Ernie went on to earn his CGC. Sasha, Andy, trainer Linda and Ernie showed everyone what's possible with training and determination. Huzzah!

Dobby - Oakland Cruelty Case

Dobby is one of a small handful of dogs that survived an Oakland cruelty case that netted 23 dogs. He was locked in a crate for the first few weeks of his life and rarely made it outside of the dark shed where he and the other dogs were kept. He was a little shy when he came to us, but bloomed in the care of his foster parents and then, his adopters Che and Carolina. Dobby grew from a worried puppy to beautiful young adult this past summer and we all marveled at his progress. Many thanks to Becky and Rob for giving Dobby a safe place to land after his misadventures in Oakland, and to Che and Carolina for working so hard to make him yours. Here's a sweet video of Dobby learning how to play with dogs. As you can see, he was a quick study!


Pepper, now Elektra - Barn Baby

The husky in this photo was adopted by badrappers Tim and Donna from an Idaho rescue in the spring of '10. Elliot went right to work helping them socialize the many BR pit bulls that come through the program. One of his first projects was a group of tiny puppies - he countless hours playing with them. Here's a little video of their love affair. Imagine our delight when Elliot's rescuers (shown here) went ahead and adopted one of Elliot's pups! Elektra is now right at home with their huskies in Idaho. And - you guessed it - one of her very important jobs is to mentor the husky foster dogs that move through the rescue. We're so thrilled that this connection has come full circle. The Family's Rescue.

Jimmy Legs - Barn Baby - CGC Star

Jimmy Legs was the runt of Eva's litter, and one of the coolest little dogs we met in 2010. His wise guy personality attracted longtime friend Shavon, who had adopted a fight bust victim named Doe-Koo way back before most people understood what that meant. We cheered when she announced her intention to make Legs a part of her family. She flew down from Seattle to meet the kid, and sent excited messages and photos back home to her partner Brett. Jimmy Legs is now being mentored by the couple's female pit bull Pocket, and the family is complete. Both dogs recently earned their CGC, too! Bravo Jimmy Legs! Long may you charm the world with your happy personality.



Bubbles (on the left) showed up tied to the fence of an empty warehouse in Oakland. Lucky for him, he was spied by James and Inga - two pit bull affectionados and members of BR's family. They reluctantly brought him to Oakland Anmal Services to wait out his fate, but Inga couldn't stop thinking about her beautiful foundling.

After a couple of weeks of hand-wringing, he came home to live with blue bombshell Gabby as a BR foster dog. Well, you can just imagine how this played out! The two dogs became fast friends and their caretakers couldn't bare to break up the team. Bubbles was officially adopted to his Good samaritans. We just love when things works out this way. Thank you for sticking your necks out for a homeless dog, James and Inga ... and Gabby!


Securing the future of America's 'blocky dogs' as a cherished family companions.