Get a Coco Gram and Support Animal Rescue!

306558_388538191208379_1452390464_nMy co-blogger, Coco Puffin, has been very busy lately with all of her charity work. She is now spreading her unique brand of Coco joy around Austin while supporting Love-A-Bull and Best Friends Animal Society’s “Strut Your Mutt” event, coming up here in Austin on Saturday, September 29, 2012. You can support Love-A-Bull by buying a raffle ticket for a Coco Gram, or you can have a Coco Gram sent directly to you or someone of your choosing. (Warning: Coco Grams may involve a significant amount of snuggling.)

Here’s more on the Coco Gram campaign from Miss Puffin herself:

Mom says I need a job so instead of wearing a back-pack that carries pickles around the park, I have decided to pursue my dream job: dressing up and going around Austin to deliver CoCo Grams to you and your loved ones. But, what exactly is a CoCo Gram you may ask? Quite simply, it’s a 100% donation to Love-A-Bull that gives you 100% sweet lovin’ in return. CoCo Gram packages.

CoCo Gram 1 – RAFFLE
– Minimum donation of $10

-You could win a CoCo Gram! Package includes 1 CoCo Gram (details outlined in CoCo Gram 2) plus OFFICIAL Love-A-Bull Gear!

– Minimum donation of $25-30

– Quality CoCo time – guaranteed to brighten your day (Need a hug/someone soft to pet? Want to stretch your legs and go for a walk? Want to just sit next to me and look into my adoring eyes? Or, maybe you want to take some pictures with one of the cutest adore-a-bulls in town? You got it!)

– A balloon (because they make the world a happier place)

– Paw printed thank you note because, let’s be honest, you are pretty pawsome

– Picture of us sent to you electronically

-> NOTE: I dress to impress

– Minimum donation of $25-30

-Gift it! Same as above to surprise an Austinite of your choice (or, trust me, we can find one for you) with a random act of puppy love!

-> NOTE: I dress to impress

RESTRICTIONS APPLY – My manager has the details. To sign-up for a package above, please email my manager at and we’ll send you a form to fill out and next steps. Or, if you would like to donate for donatings sake – PAWESOME! Please just click the red SUPPORT ME button at the top of this page.

ALL proceeds go to Love-A-Bull so they can continue to help educate, advocate, and help good looking boys and pretty girls just like me have a chance to find some kindness & love in this world. Thank you for checking out my Strut Your Mutt profile!

Austin’s most adore-a-bull delivery gram

Photo credit: Coco Puffin in her hula skirt, via Facebook.


Introducing our first blog contributor, Miss Coco Puffin!

180610_135721676490033_5190941_nWe could use a little company around here (the royal “we,” of course), so I have invited a blog contributor to post now and then, whenever it fits her busy schedule of napping, eating bacon, and bringing joy to people everywhere. I am proud to introduce one of the kindest, sweetest, most beautiful young women I know, Coco Puffin.

I had the honor of meeting Coco for the first time more than two years ago, when she was still recovering from some pretty serious injuries and looking for a forever home. The incredibly awesome people at Love-A-Bull (yes, I am quite biased) got her back into full tail-wagging mode and found her a new home and a new mom that helps channel her inner muse. Here’s a bit from Coco’s bio:

Coco (also known as Coco the Magnificent, Puffin, Cocos, Coconut, The Puffster, and Puff-a-luffa-gus) was found as a stray in East Austin, limping in the cold spell during Austin’s 2010 winter. She’d obviously had it rough, and the signs of abuse and neglect were evident. It is very likely that she was used as a breeding dog and had been tossed out or had managed to run away. To make matters worse, there was blunt trauma to the back half of her body and the injuries had “healed” on their own. When she was found by a Good Samaritan, she was dragging both of her hind legs, she was about 30 pounds under weight, flea-covered, extremely weak, and she had recently delivered a litter. She was brought to Love-A-Bull and then went straight to the medical experts at Animal Trustees of Austin where they determined that she would need to get stronger before having surgery to address her physical injuries.

She received hip surgery there and recovered successfully, all the while gaining strength through regular meals, proper flea/tick/heartworm meds, vaccinations, and a warm bed in a loving foster home. After visiting a canine neuro-specialist in Dallas, it was determined that the back limbs would not require amputation, and indeed, her foot could regain some function with therapy. Coco received 5 weeks of physical therapy (underwater treadmill, ball and balancing, and bracing). Coco sustained some semi-permanent nerve damage which causes her to drag her back paw or, sometimes, it flips under on the knuckles, but, today, she is able to place her foot correctly most of the time. She will likely always need a brace (and has a very cool one!) for physical activity, but this condition does not slow her down a bit!

Today, about 3 1/2 years old, she weighs a healthy 55 pounds (after our last vet visit Aug 2012 – make that 59 pounds 😀 Well deserved treats & grandparents that spoil her rotten are doing great things for her curves) and is a happy, loving, gentle, and very respectful girl. She may walk a bit funny, but her spirit is going strong and she hasn’t looked back. She LOVES carrides & roadtrips, enjoys Starbucks whip cream, LOVES cuddle time and getting dressed up, and she really has never met a person or child she hasn’t liked. She has also very quickly become a shining example of what it means to be a FABULOUS ambass-a-bull! Her personality shines with 100% Diva-liciousness and, of course, a true social networker, she has many, many real-life friends in Austin, across the country, and even around the world! Her wonderful, friendly temperament around people and children, with a special affinity towards little dogs, especially Chihuahuas, has left a special place in the hearts of her foster families, and it finally found her adopted and into a permanent home Spring 2012. An ardent lover of being petted and loved, she will offer up her belly for rubs all day until the cows come home!

63482_127097720685762_2145173_nI tend to blog about whatever issue is bugging me on any given day, or about geeky stuff like Star Wars or Game of Thrones. I am also quite riled up about animal welfare issues, and Coco Puffin is here to offer the voice of someone who has seen the worst, and the best, of both people and dogs. Please welcome Miss Puffin and make her feel at home.


Screw You, Belfast

The city of Belfast, Northern Ireland has killed Lennox for looking like a pit bull. The Dog Files has had excellent coverage of the situation. I have nothing constructive to contribute, so I’ll just let them speak:

It is with great sadness that I must tell you that the Belfast City Council in Northern Ireland has officially given word that they have murdered Lennox on this morning of July 11, 2012.

Despite million of pleas from millions across the world, including their own bosses. Despite Victoria Stilwell, host of Animal Planet’s It’s Me Or The Dog, offering to pay for Lennox to come live in the USA, the Belfast City Council killed Lennox.

And because they are such nice folk, they wouldn’t even let Lennox’s human family, the Barnes, see him one last time or at least get his body. They said they will send them ashes in the mail. Some say that this is because the Belfast City Council had already killed Lennox a while ago. No one will ever know unless they have an official investigation and after seeing how Belfast is run, I’m not putting money on that happening.

If you are unfamiliar with Lennox and the Barnes Family story you can read about it here.

You can support the movement to get rid of breed-specific legislation (BSL) here:


Where pit bull prejudice began


The caption for the cover just says “On the Cover: Don Mattingly, Baseball, New York Yankees; Photographed by: Jerry Wachter”

I mentioned a 20+ year-old Sports Illustrated article in an earlier post that was instrumental in drumming up negative and unfair prejudices against pit bulls. I vaguely remember the article when it came out in 1987 (I mistakenly said 1988 before), and I bought into it for a long time. It is rife with misstatements and all-around bad reporting, to the point that Sports Illustrated writer Jim Gorant, while covering the Michael Vick case in 2008, took responsibility for the magazine’s role in fomenting hysteria about the dogs.

The 1987 article, written by E.M. Swift, gets it both right and wrong, in that it blames pit bull attacks on the human owners, but also blames the breed for being “aggressive:”

America has a four-legged problem called the American pit bull terrier. And the pit bull, its “ridiculously amiable disposition” notwithstanding, has a two-legged problem called Man, to whom Stratton’s second quote could also be applied. These two species are not new to each other. They have intermingled for some 200 years, and some say their common history goes back as far as the Romans. But something has happened to the pit bull in the last decade that says as much about the nature of American society as it does about the nature of this aggressive animal. Far from being an aberration, the American pit bull terrier has become a reflection of ourselves that no one cares very much to see.

“They’re athletes. They’re wrestlers. They’re dead game,” says Captain Arthur Haggerty, a dog breeder and trainer in New York City who owns five pit bull terriers and has trained hundreds of others. “They will literally fight till they’re dead. If you found that quality in a boxer or a football player, you’d say it was admirable. Will to win. That’s what a pit bull has.”

Others call it a “will to kill.”

The article goes on to cite discredited theories about “multiple bites” and “locked jaw.” It goes on quite at length. Pit bulls developed a reputation as dangerous dogs, so people who wanted a dangerous dog tended to select pit bulls. Continue reading


Blame the humans


This little one had nothing to do with the reported incident. That’s just an awesome smile.

Someone in a pickup truck in Cedar Park reportedly commanded his two dogs, identified by KVUE as pit bulls, to attack a family at a park yesterday. The family was apparently going for a walk the morning of the 4th of July, when a man pulled up in a pickup truck and ordered his two dogs to “get ’em.”

Aundrick Richard told KVUE News around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, he, his wife, three daughters and pit bull, Cane, were walking at a nature trail off Arrow Point Drive in Cedar Park. He says it’s part of his family’s morning exercise.

Richard pointed to a grassy pathway and said a truck drove up close to the trail, off-road, toward his family. That’s when he says the driver of the truck let his two pit bull dogs out of the back of the pickup, and they came charging toward Richard’s children. Richard says his dog was on a leash but jumped in front of the baby stroller to fight off the dogs.

Richard says the dogs started fighting, the kids were screaming and his wife tried to kick the dog away.

“I’m telling the guy, ‘Hey come get ’em man, come get your dog. Your dog’s hurting my family man. Get your dog. Come get your dog. Please come here.’ The guy’s sitting there, he’s staring at me, and he goes, ‘Get ’em boy, get ,em. Get ’em boy, get ’em, antagonizing his dogs,'” said Aundrick Richard.

Richard says he grabbed a large tree branch and began hitting the man’s dog until it whimpered. Then he says the owner called the dogs back to the truck; they packed up and left.

“His dog screams. He says ‘Come on,’ clap, clap, calls them. They get in the truck. He burns out,” said Richard.

The full story is here (warning for somewhat graphic dog injury pictures).

Note that the only dog in this story that verifiably is a pit bull is the family’s dog, Cane, who by all accounts is a hero.

A friend posted this story to Facebook this morning, sparking one of the most thoughtful, least-combative combat threads in the history of my own Facebook use. Not all discussions of the incident have been so civil, apparently; one person said they were called a “one percenter” for defending pit bulls. Huh? Anyway, I’m re-posting my own comments from the thread here, for posterity or something. Please forgive the off-the-cuff writing style. Continue reading


Adopt a Kitty!

Austin Animal Center has taken in far more dogs and cats than it normally does this time of year, and they could use a good home.

“MO” A626768 from Kennel M04, He is a little how shall we say, CONFLICTED. It’s like he WANTS loving (I don’t know if you can hear him purring) but then he gets scared and hisses. He only needs about 2 weeks in foster care and is ready to go today. Ideally he would go home with a kitten friendly cat or dog so he can learn how to be properly social with people AND animals. He looks very hearty and healthy and is eating well on his own.

“MORRIS” A626832 from Kennel M09. He seems a little depressed and I guess I would be too. He also only needs about 2 weeks and would like to go home to a foster with other animals he can cuddle with. Check him out, sorry, it is kind of dark. He is ready to go today.

“Bruiser” A626766 from Kennel M07 is a HOOT and a HALF, outgoing, vocal and ready to GET OUT OF HERE. He is a little smaller than the other two and will probably need about 3 weeks to get big enough for adoption but he is FULL FULL FULL of personality. Very affectionate as well.


Austin shelter animals need your help this Saturday!!!

'A cats' way to shelter from the summer heat' by tanakawho from Tokyo, Japan (A cats' way to shelter from the summer heat) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsTomorrow, Austin Animal Center is hosting its first annual Pet Extravaganza at the new shelter site in east Austin:

Austin Animal Center will host a first annual Pet Extravaganza event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, 2012.  The Center is located in Central East Austin at 7201 Levander Loop at Highway 183 and Airport Boulevard.

The event will be a fun filled day for pet owners and their families and will include a wide range of local vendors providing information on dog training, agility demonstrations, various pet resources, children’s entertainment including Josesito the Clown and his balloon animals, music, food vendors, and much more.

The event is free and open to the public. For those without a pet this event will be a great opportunity to take a walk through the animal shelter and meet a new life-long friend.

“This event will provide information and educate the community on responsible pet ownership,” said Kimberly Hart, Animal Services Office Outreach and Education coordinator.  “Also we’d like to invite all members of the community to visit us at our new location and see what the shelter is doing to create a more humane community for all pets in the city.”

For more information check or call 3-1-1 or visit for daily animal updates.  The Austin Animal Center is open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

'Black cat Animal Rescue GalawebDesign' by Galawebdesign (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia CommonsI’ll be there with Friends of Austin Animal Center, so come see us!

The shelter is packed right now because of an unusually high number of animals coming in. Actually, they’re over capacity, which puts the city’s no kill goal at risk:

For the past few months, City of Austin Animal Services has experienced an unseasonal influx of animal intakes at the City shelter, maxing out capacity at both of its locations.

As of May 2, approximately 885 animals were either in shelters or foster homes, representing approximately 30 percent more than shelter capacity.

Compared to the same time last year, the shelter has taken in 150 more kittens and 200 more dogs.  Animal Services operates the main Animal Center at 7201 Levander Loop and the overflow Town Lake Animal Center at 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St.

Traditionally, springtime brings in more kittens to the City shelter, but this year the Animal Center has taken in over a hundred more kittens than last year, with  more than 600 of those being too young to thrive on their own.  As of today, May 2,  the Austin Animal Center has about 200 cats available for adoption.

Austin remains the largest no kill city in the country, but we need everyone’s support to stay that way. So head down to the shelter tomorrow, or today, or Sunday (you get the idea). Maybe your best friend is waiting for you there.


It was necessary to destroy the car in order to save the hamster

'hamster' by Yukari*, on FlickrHow far would you go to save the pet hamster you just bought fifteen minutes ago? If you are 33 year-old student Fran Elkington, you would hire mechanics to take your Volkswagen Beetle completely apart to free the critter.

It seems she had just picked up Willow the hamster, and the little one got away from her during the 15-minute drive from the pet store to her house. Fran knew Willow was still in the car, and when she couldn’t find her she left food and water in there, hoping she’d emerge again. Willow kept eating the food, and Fran kept avoiding driving the car so as not to spook or hurt her. She tried using more food and a humane trap, but nothing was working. Willow was beginning to nibble on the seats themselves, so it was time for drastic action.

That’s when Fran enlisted the aid of some auto mechanics, who removed the car’s seats, doors, and back panels. They found Willow nestled in a gap near the car’s trunk. Since this all happened in England, they called it a “boot.” Willow is now safe and sound.

The bill for the dismantling and reassembly of the Beetle came out to $4,700, according to the Huffington Post. The Sun reports the fee as £300, so either someone reported something wrong or the exchange rate has really gotten out of control. Anyway, the mechanic shop waived the fee, presumably because everyone was too busy jumping for joy and hugging to worry about collecting payment.

Remember that owning a pet is a big, big responsibility. Fran Elkington gets it.

Photo credit: ‘hamster’ by Yukari*, on Flickr.