See Beautiful: Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue Creates Beautiful From Unexpected Places

Written by Jordan Sutherlin for FTTF
Edited by Rachel McLeroy for See Beautiful

Forlorn: pitifully sad and abandoned or lonely.

The word forlorn isn’t one that you would to describe beauty. However, beauty from despair is exactly what Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue strives to create. FTTF was founded in 2009 after founder Jason Flatt learned the plight of the pit bull. Pit bulls are the breed that even dog lovers love to hate. These dogs are discriminated against, abused, discarded, and forgotten, but we seek to step in and change fate for these pups. Read more…


Seven Tips to End Your 4th of July Holiday with Ease and Calm

By Iris Grimm, Volunteer & Foster Mom, Professional Trainer – It’s Not the Dog

Imagine I take you to Six Flags Over Georgia and force you on one of the extreme roller coaster rides. You know, the ones where you see Facebook videos of people passing out. 😉 Now, some of you may be completely excited about this, some of you could care less and take it in stride. And some of you may get scared to death, cry, throw up, faint, or even run away before I could grab you, force you and strap you in the rollercoaster seat.

That may sound a bit extreme for you, but that is how some dogs feel when they hear the first fireworks in the early evening hours of July 4th or New Year’s Eve. Some dogs could care less and sleep right through it. But, there are a lot of dogs who get so scared that they either freeze, shake, hide, or run. Whether a dog feels completely calm or freaked out depends on many factors – genes, socialization, environment, and also lifestyle.

So before you get too excited about celebrating the independence of your country, let me share with you seven tips that allow you and your dog to have a good holiday experience.

1. A tired dog is a calmer dog
If you know that your dog freaks out during fireworks, I recommend you to take your dog on a good long walk in the early evening hours. The more tired your dog is, the less he will pay attention to his fears. You want to wait until the sun goes down or walk your dog in a shaded area or on the grassy area so you don’t have to go to your emergency vet due to overheating your dog. Physical exercise and mental stimulation are the best cures for many behavioral issues, including fear of fireworks.

2. Take your dog on potty breaks before the fireworks start
Of course, you don’t know when your neighbors start this (for me, senseless) activity, but you may want to time the moments when you take your dog for her last potty break for the night. If your dog can easily jump your fence or if you have a fenceless yard, I recommend you to keep your dog leashed. It just takes one loud bang near your house, and your dog can be so scared that he will run for his life and won’t listen to any of your commands.

3. Ensure your dog has his collar on with current tags
If your dog escapes your home and one of your neighbors find him, having a collar on will help them to reunite you quicker with your dog. If that is not the case, many people will call animal control. Once they pick up your dog, she will be taken to the shelter, an environment that is even more fearful and stressful. Losing a dog that doesn’t wear a collar is always more difficult to get back than a dog with a collar.

4. Let your dog settle on her own
If your dog starts pacing through the house or wants to hide under the bed, let her be. A lot of people communicate with their dogs with human psychology, and that makes the situation worse. They hug their dogs, they pet their dogs, they reaffirm the dog “it’s okay.” What they fail to realize is that they reinforce the fearful behavior and keep the dog trapped in anxiety. Instead, allow the dog to do what he wants to do. If he wants to hide in a corner of your home, let him be. If your dog paces, let him until he finds the spot where he feels safe. Animals in the wild will look for cozy and tight spots where they can hide and feel safe; that is exactly what your dog is looking for as well.

5. Keep your dogs separate
This tip only applies if you have dogs in the home that may not always get along or who have different energy levels. So for example, if you have one dog that is scared to death and the other could care less and just thinks about playing and having fun, I would recommend you to keep them in separate rooms for the night. During nights like this, your fearful dog will be stressed and will not have the patience to deal with another dog. A situation like this can easily escalate into a physical argument. If your other dog is pretty chill and obedient, this suggestion may not be necessary.

6. Medications, supplements, essential oils, and Thunder Shirts
There are now many commercial products on the market that have a calming effect on dogs. You can go to your vet and ask for a medication that will knock your dog out – but, remember, you should only give medications under veterinarian direction. There are also many homeopathic and natural products available that calm your dog down. Just Google them and read their reviews. One of the latest products that can decrease anxiety are CBD oils (cannabinoid oils), but you want to ensure they come from a reputable distributor. Some people are able to calm their dogs down by fitting them in a Thunder Shirt. Using natural essential oils such as lavender can also be helpful to create a calming environment. As you can see, there are plenty of resources out there; you just have to find the one that works best for your pooch.

7. Stay at home
I know there are some people who don’t like to make too many compromises for their dogs, but they will lose all the fun of the evening when they come home to a destructed home, a hurt dog who tried to escape a crate, or a dog who ran away from the pet sitter’s home. That’s why I recommend people who have a noise-sensitive dog stay at home to ensure they can keep their dogs safe.

Fireworks are an inevitable evil of a luxury society. We can’t avoid them, but we have several options to make them bearable for our dogs. I wish you and your canines a happy, healthy, and stress-free holiday!

Iris Grimm – ItsNotTheDog.com


The Vecchio’s Foster Story

By Jordan & Mike Vecchio

We are not sure who said it first, but it’s true. When you fall in love with one pitbull, you fall in love with all pitbulls. Our love for pitbulls has shaped us in so many ways. And every new dog brings more joy.

For Mike, his love for pitbulls started long ago and grew with him over the years. In 2007, Mike’s house was feeling empty and quiet. He adopted a handsome guy, Beau, who would have been overlooked. Beau proved to be the boost Mike needed.

A couple of years after Mike fell in love with Beau, he fell in love with me. Early on, Mike educated me about what it means to love pitbulls. At the time, I was mom to a 11-year-old Westie named Madeline. Within months we were married and blending our families. We did everything by the book with introductions, feeding separately, walking together, and so on. Beau and Madeline must have known what was going on and were rooting for us because they immediately loved each other and made the transition easy. For the next few years, the love in the household grew. As a family, we went on short road trips to the mountains, spent days at the lake, and went on “adventure walks” through the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield trails. There was so much doggie love. So much so that we knew we wanted to add a third dog to the family. We were up for the challenge. And we knew we wanted it to be a pitbull.

The pitbull gods must have heard we were asking for a challenge because right on time, we were introduced to a rambunctious little girl who needed a home. We brought the new little sister home and named her Sorella (Sorella means “sister” in Italian.) Beau and Madeline immediately welcomed their little Sorella into their home and loved her to bits. Her puppy antics brought out the playfulness in them again. Eventually, though, Beau’s face was getting greyer and Madeline’s eyesight was deteriorating. We knew that our time with them was limited. By this time, Beau was around 11 years old, and Madeline was 16 years old. They had seen it all, and, as it goes, both eventually developed cancer. In their own time and in their own way, each dog let us know that it was time for them to leave this life and go to rest. So, as sad as it was each time, we had to let Beau and Madeline go, one right after the other, just 6 weeks apart. Now, we lovingly refer to them as the “OG’s”.

Don’t worry, Sorella didn’t let anyone stay sad for long. She suddenly became the center of all our attention and the receiver of all our affection. She went with us everywhere, and everywhere she went people loved her and told her she’s pretty. She was well-trained, well-behaved, and just too easy. Sorella proved that she was ready for a house-mate, and, lucky for her, we were up for the challenge. Mike was already following Jason and FTTF, and one day a cute blue boy with floppy ears and puppy dog eyes named Parker grabbed his attention. Again, the pitbull gods must have heard us say we were up for a challenge.

Jordan, Sorella & Parker

It was in November 2016 Parker first came to our house. The connection was instant, with us and with his potential new sister. Mike walked him (along with Sorella and Iris), and Sorella and Parker played like crazy dogs in the backyard all day. Once again, we instantly fell in love with this pitbull. Parker’s foster parents felt a little sad to see him go. And, honestly, they were a little surprised that Parker had taken to his new family so quickly because, as we soon found out, Parker is a unique kind of guy with peculiar challenges. The next several months were dedicated to integrating Parker more fully into our home. Let’s just say that Parker provided us the opportunity to learn how much we are willing to do to love ALL pitbulls, even the tough ones. We fed him by hand for the first six months. We learned that, generally, he is introverted and does not like meeting new people. And we learned that he will do just about anything for a carrot stick. He is a handful to say the least, but he loves to snuggle with his sister, lay at my feet while I work at my desk, and greet Mike after a long day at work with a wiggly butt. And, together, Parker and Sorella alert the household to every delivery at the front door and every squirrel in the backyard. From the very beginning and still today, Sorella and Parker love each other just like how Beau and Madeline had loved each other.

At the end of May 2018, we noticed a cute little boy who was at Fulton County Animal Services and was on the euthanasia list for the third time. The staff was advocating for him to find a home. They said he was a “rockstar” who got along well with the other dogs, and they desperately wanted to see this sweetheart have another chance at life. So, Mike and Jason headed down to Atlanta for this forlorn pitbull’s Freedom Ride. We named him “Chiron” after a comet that travels around Saturn. We’re very grateful the pitbull gods designated Chiron to be our first foster pup. As we write this, he is in standard-procedure quarantine separate from our other dogs. But, he is exceptionally affectionate, gentle, and sweet-spirited with us. He anxiously awaits the day he can meet his foster brother and sister. We’re sure they will fall in love with him.

We continue to admire Jason and his dedicated and enthusiastic staff for their limitless efforts to save the forlorn pitbulls. He leads the rescue with his whole heart, and that attitude permeates the work. We are so glad we found FTTF and have the opportunity to be more involved in the pitbull lovers’ world. We’re volunteers, adopters, and fosters…bring it on! After all, when you fall in love with one pitbull you fall in love with all pitbulls. Even, and especially, the forlorn.

Mike & Parker
Adopt-a-Bull Chiron
Parker & Sorella

Metro Atlanta Pitbull Rescue Wins $50,000 Grand Prize in National Fundraising Competition

Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue took home 1st Place among Tier 1 organizations in the Michelson Found Animals’ Fifth Annual Saving Pets Challenge, raising $198,257 and winning $57,795 in cash grants. Funds received through this competition will go toward building the organization’s own shelter.

ATLANTA, June 15, 2018 — Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue, a non-profit rescue organization, won 1st Place in Tier 1, and raised more funds than any other participating organization in this national month-long fundraising competition, receiving a total of $256,207 in donations and grants. FTTF previously competed in the Saving Pets Challenge in 2016 and placed 2nd overall.

“It’s a good feeling when people tell you to chase your dreams. But it’s an amazing feeling when they actually show support for your dreams. Raising this money brings us that much closer to meeting the needs of our community and the dogs who need us,” said FTTF founder, Jason Flatt.

All funds raised and won are going toward the organization’s shelter capital campaign. Over one million pitbull-type dogs are euthanized in shelters nationally, over 2,000 pitbulls per day, mostly due to overpopulation. Building its own facility will allow FTTF to grow their rescue, educational, outreach, and spay/neuter efforts to combat pitbull overpopulation within the Metro Atlanta community.

Facility plans include state-of-the-art sanitation and energy features, spacious indoor and partially-covered outdoor runs, on-site veterinary care, and multiple play and enrichment areas. Current estimates for Phase I are around $2,000,000, with a goal to break ground by 2021. To date, nearly $480,000 has been raised toward this capital campaign.

Learn more about Friends to the Forlorn’s shelter plans and capital campaign:
www.friendstotheforlorn.org/dreamshelter


About Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue, Inc.

Founded by Jason Flatt in 2009, Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue is a volunteer-based 501(c)3 rescue and animal welfare organization based out of Dallas, Georgia. The mission of Friends to the Forlorn is to do all we can to better the world by changing the world for pitbulls, other animals, and sometimes humans. Focusing on pitbull-type dogs, FTTF has rescued and found loving homes for over 600 dogs, and spayed/neutered over 5,000 pets at no cost to the community.

Media Inquiries
Lori Ragan Harkey
lori@friendstotheforlorn.org
866-962-3883