Pet Tales: Hello Bully gives pit bulls 2nd chance
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Linus had a rough start in life. He was one of 20 fighting dogs that lived in cramped cages or on short chains attached to posts in Union County, Fla. Last April, the dogs were freed when police, acting on an anonymous tip, broke up the dog-fighting ring, seizing dogs and other property and arresting the dog fighters.
Linus has moved up in the world, and he'll be an honored guest at the fourth annual "Lovers Not Fighters" gala Feb. 18 at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland.
Linus, a red American pit bull terrier, ended up in Pittsburgh with Hello Bully, a nonprofit group that finds new homes for pit bulls and educates the public that these dogs make loving and loyal pets in the hands of responsible dog owners.
Even right after his rescue, Linus "was always a polite dog," said Emma Dauk, a Hello Bully volunteer who fostered him. "He never jumped on anyone or demanded attention. He gently rests his head on any part of you he can and looks up at you with big soft eyes," asking to be petted.
Because the former fighter got along so well with their pit bull, Lucy, Mrs. Dauk and her husband, Tim, adopted Linus. In September, Linus earned his Canine Good Citizen certification.
The gala raises money to help dogs like Linus and to pay for spay and neuter surgeries -- 1,400 since 2009.
Also coming to the party will be adoptable pit bulls from the three Pittsburgh shelters and from Hello Bully.
The gala runs from 7 to 11 p.m. Admission is $50 per person or $120 for a VIP ticket. Festivities include a DJ, hors d'oeuvres, dessert buffets and cash bar. Cocktail attire and two-legged guests only. Go to www.hellobully.com to order tickets.
Although the Steelers aren't playing in the Super Bowl Sunday, there's a very slight Pittsburgh connection. The national anthem will be sung by a new customer of a South Side grooming parlor, A Diamond in the Ruff, at 1555 S. 18th St.
On Jan. 27, "store owner/operator Christine Marburger and her staff were expecting a white Maltese named Security and a black mini-Labradoodle named Joplin. When the dogs walked in with their owner, she looked familiar. Mrs. Marburger said, "Is that Kelly Clarkson?" Sure enough, the entry in her appointment book said "Clarkson."
The dogs were cute and well-behaved, Mrs. Marburger said, and the woman who became a pop star after winning the first "American Idol" competition couldn't have been nicer. Ms. Clarkson had stopped in Pittsburgh because she had a concert in Johnstown the next day, she told the staff, and she mentioned that she would be singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
A picture of Ms. Clarkson, her dogs and the grooming staff is posted on the Facebook page of A Diamond in the Ruff and on the blog of PG music critic Scott Mervis (www.post-gazette.com/popnoise).
"We didn't think she'd agree to a picture because she wasn't wearing makeup and wasn't dressed up," Mrs. Marburger said. But Ms. Clarkson posed, all smiles, long hair pulled back in a pony tail.
On her way out of the shop Ms. Clarkson saw a dog T-shirt that said "Security" so she bought it for her Maltese. When she saw another shirt that said, "My Life Would Suck Without You" -- the title of one of her hit songs -- she bought it for Joplin.
What is in the pet food you're feeding your cats and dogs? Are ingredients imported from China? Are meats "human grade" or do they come from diseased, decaying or euthanized animals?
These questions and more will be answered on at 7 p.m. Wednesday and at 10 a.m. Feb. 18 at a new locally owned specialty store, Healthy Pet Products, 1742 Washington Road, Upper St. Clair.
People who come to the seminar will get 10 percent off one purchase. Shop owner is Toni Shelaske, who for the past three years has operated a Healthy Pet Products store at 9600 Perry Highway, McCandless.
Feb. 28 is the 18th annual Spay Day throughout the world, according to the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International. Here's how two local shelters are "celebrating" the event:
There are too many cats and kittens swamping shelters and rescues, so the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society is offering special spay/neuter rates this month, especially Feb. 28.
There will be discounted spay and neuter surgeries for 80 cats at the North Side facility and 25 cats at Fallen Timber shelter in Elizabeth Township. This is in addition to other low-cost neutering programs at the shelters.
At 1101 Western Ave., North Side, the cost on Feb. 28 will be $60 to spay a female or neuter a male. That price includes a microchip and vaccinations against multiple diseases including rabies. At the Elizabeth shelter, the cost will be $30. Appointments required. Call 412-321-4625, ext. 246, to sign up.
Animal Friends in Ohio Township is offering "beat the heat" spay and neuter specials. The cost for female cats is $30 for spaying and rabies vaccine. Male cats can be neutered and rabies vaccinated for $5. For $30, feral cats will be spayed or neutered and get a rabies shot and flea treatment. Pit bulls will be spayed or neutered for $20. Other female dogs will be spayed for $85 and male dogs neutered for $70. To schedule an appointment go to the Animal Friends website: www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org or call 1-800-772-9744.
First Published February 4, 2012 12:00 am