It was great fun to talk with Lorrie Kalmbach-Ehlers, one of the co-founders of Bullseye Dog Rescue. Bullseye is a Seattle-area rescue that emphasizes education in addition to providing rescue support.
FromFido: What inspired you to co-found Bullseye Dog Rescue?
Lorrie: I started thinking about starting my own rescue while I was working in a shelter and realized how many pit bulls were coming through the shelter and the misconceptions about the breed. Since our founding, Bullseye’s focus has been on education, although we also do rescue as well. We educate shelters about how to rescue the breed, properly identify pit bulls, and find the right homes. We also help educate owners on things like dealing with neighbors and finding friendly living situations. And we mentor other rescues as well by helping them understand how to rehome pit bulls, what is normal for the temperament, things like that.
From Fido: Why should people consider adopting a pit bull?
Lorrie: Pit bulls are an all-around great match for so many different people. Pit bulls are extremely smart, which also makes them very trainable. They make great sports dogs. Their short hair means that they don’t require a lot of grooming maintenance. Overall, pit bulls are very healthy dogs because they haven’t been overbred like other breeds. They make great family dogs and are amazing with children. We place 8 out of 10 dogs into homes with kids.
FromFido: If you had to pick one trait, what would be your favorite pit bull trait and why?
Lorrie: They see every new person as their new best friend. It’s such an admirable quality and makes life easier for pit bull owners. And the pit bull smile just warms my heart.
FromFido: What is something surprising or unexpected about sharing a home with a pit bull (or several)?
Lorrie: A lot of people would not guess how dog-social they can be. A lot of people assume that pit bulls have to be only-dogs. But that’s not true. Once you have more than two dogs, you have a pack, and there’s different requirements. Pit bulls tend to be very dog social and love to play. They get along with a lot of other animals and are even great on farms.
FromFido: What was the impetus for Pit Bulls on Parade? How do you feel its impact has been on local perception about pit bulls?
Lorrie: We started the Parade because there were so many events focused on shelters. We wanted to start an event all about pit bulls and create a positive environment for people to come and bring their pit bulls. Last year, we had about 200 dogs and 500 people. It’s also a great opportunity for local rescues to come and find people that are pit bull friendly and likely looking to adopt another pit bull. There’s also an emphasis on dog sports – we’d like to see more pit bulls in agility and weight pull events. We also offer Canine Good Citizen testing because the more dogs are certified, it helps owners and the breed reputation. Every year we do the certifications, there are more dogs testing than what we predicted – it’s a great “problem” to have!
Mark your calendars now for the 2013 Pit Bulls on Parade on August 24th. Visit Bullseye Dog Rescue’s web site for more details.
FromFido: Any parting thoughts?
Lorrie: People should not be afraid to go to the local shelter and look at the dogs there. There’s an assumption that it will be hard and the dogs have issues. But we work with so many of the shelters that the programs have been developed. Don’t look past the shelters.
Try for the Canine Good Citizen! Don’t worry about not passing, just go out and try it. People are surprised at how many of their dogs pass with flying colors. Come out to Pit Bulls on Parade and give it a try!
For more information about Bullseye, visit their website at: http://www.bullseyerescue.org/default.htm