In my early twenties I was a brand ambassador for a few marketing companies in the tri-state area. At the time, the tri-state area consisted of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The promotions that I worked paid very well, and they expanded my world to a lot of unusual places that I would have never wound up in on my own accord. Some of the most driven and dynamic people I have ever come across worked promotional events with me.
Promotions is a very unique industry, and promotional jobs are not for everyone; it takes a special type of person with the right energy to make them work. You have to be outgoing, witty, and always on the grind. Most of us were juggling multiple jobs and networking like crazy! That’s the very basic nature of promotions.
One marketing company I worked for promo’d Stoli vodka at various bars, clubs, and concerts, and Lauren Verfaillie Ramone worked with me.
I know exactly why they hired her—she’s the life of the party! Everyone loves this girl! People are drawn to her because she’s intelligent, hilarious, and gorgeous. In other words, she’s the total package—not to mention that she was one of the few professional and responsible ambassadors I’ve ever worked with. (If you have ever been employed to do promotions, I think you know how rare that can be.)
Lauren and I worked a bunch of events together and hitched rides with one another because we lived close to each other. I remember one LGBT event we worked in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where our uniforms consisted of gold corsets and black skirts. I did not think they were particularly risqué until some creepy guy came up to us outside the casino and asked us how much we cost.
Umm?? NO! Gross, sir! Goodbye!
Rules and standards are usually very important in the promotions business, even in Atlantic City, the home of decrepit Trump-related casinos and all the places you didn’t want to buy in Monopoly. And yet, the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) in New Jersey is very clear: promotional models are not allowed to collect tips while working at venues. However, the event that night in Atlantic City was private, which meant the one thing most adored by certain wannabe-presidential purveyors of Atlantic City casinos: the rules did not apply.
This was a very rare opportunity!
Lauren, myself, and another promo girl working the event decided to hold a little contest to see who could collect the most tips by the end of the night.
Lauren won by a friggin’ landslide! I think that tells you just how much people love her.
Here is a picture of us working together at one of the random Stolichnaya events.
Ahh to be young again!
Fast forward a few years and she is now married, just had a baby boy, and is also the owner of three sweet dogs! (She only had Ace when we worked together, and I loved that little guy!)
The quality of my picture of Ace is terrible! It was taken with a flip phone (a.k.a. old as dirt).
Lauren is also the founder of Pit Bull Pride of Delaware, Inc., which rescues pit bulls in the area and helps them find a “forever home.”
Whew! Somebody please give this girl a GoPro so I can see how she juggles everything!
The work that Pit Bull Pride of Delaware does is so beautiful! I had to pick Lauren’s brain about it, so I sent over a few questions for her to answer.
Lauren sent me this video, and it gave me all the feels. Before I go into the Q&A, I want to show you this video about Odin, a dog her organization rescued. His story is incredible!
Did that pull on your heartstrings? I was bawling like a baby when I watched it! I’m so happy that Odin was given a second chance, and is now in the home of people who love him. Lauren mentioned that Odin and his family live right across the street from her now. How awesome is that?!
Let’s dig in!
What was the inspiration that made you want to rescue pit bulls?
Growing up I heard all of the negative stereotypes that everyone else hears: “pit bulls are naturally bad dogs,” and “never bring a pit bull around children, they are mean and aggressive,” etc. I must admit, when that is all you have ever heard about a breed, it is easy to blindly believe it and not give them a chance of “safety” or “comfort” because of what others have instilled in you. I can still remember the day my roommate asked me to get a dog and his heart was set on getting a pit bull.
My gut was no—based on the instinct that stemmed from all of the negative ideas I grew up with. I feared the dog would be naturally mean and aggressive. Little did I know, things were about to change. I remember the day I picked up Ace, a seven-week-old Staffordshire bull terrier. He playfully snuggled in my lap the entire way home, even nibbled on my seatbelt a little, but it didn’t bother me.
As I held him carefully in my arms, I felt the tides of tradition change in my mind and, most of all, my heart. Ace is now a well-adjusted, protective, and loving adult dog that would never senselessly hurt anyone. He shares a bond with my seven-month-old son that just warms my heart.
Knowing how much Ace changed my opinion is what makes it hurt so much when I see others ignorantly come to my former conclusion about pit bulls without ever getting to know them. I knew I had to make a difference; I just needed to find a constructive way to contribute.
September 2011, a close friend needed help with a pit bull type dog that needed to be re-homed. We took Sage in and provided her with a temporary place to call home. While in our care, Sage was spayed and we also worked on basic obedience training. She was a quick learner and it only took two weeks to find her a forever home. As I kissed her goodbye, I knew this was my calling—to work with animals and to save as many dogs as possible.
My passion to make a difference started by volunteering at the Delaware SPCA in Stanton, Delaware. Through volunteering I met so many other people who were just as passionate about helping the bully breed. This circle of people helped lead me to found Pit Bull Pride of Delaware. Creating a non-profit pit bull rescue was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The love for these dogs is what keeps me going.
During this time, I have been fortunate enough to foster over 40 pit bull-type dogs. Each dog has been placed into a loving home, with children included! My family includes a wonderful husband who is also a true dog lover at heart and fully supports the rescue. We have three wonderful four-legged children who bring us countless joy! Dozer is our 90 lb. pit bull lap dog; Ace man is our 40 pound bundle of joy, and, of course, shy but sweet Lucy.
I am so grateful to everyone for supporting Pit Bull Pride of Delaware.
How would you describe Pit Bull Pride? How long has your organization been running? How many dogs have you saved since you started and where do you find them?
Pit Bull Pride of Delaware, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization committed to providing loving, forever homes to “pit bull-type” dogs. Our mission is simply to better the lives of as many homeless “pit bull-type” dogs as possible. Pit Bull Pride of Delaware was founded and incorporated on April 17, 2012 in response to the growing number of homeless “pit bulls” in Delaware and the surrounding states. Dog lovers to the core, we were heartbroken to learn just how many “pit bulls” never experience the love of a family and the comfort of a home. Our goal is to help these warm, loving dogs in every way possible: through adoption, fostering, volunteering, promoting a positive image of “pit bull type” dogs, and educating the public.
As of February 2016, we have rescued over 185 dogs from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and approximately 85% of those dogs have come from high-kill shelters. The number of dogs that need our help continues to grow each day. Our success is growing at an exciting rate and we could not be more thankful for the opportunities we have been able to provide to each dog.
Why are pit bulls one of the most common breeds found in shelters?
There are many different reasons why shelters may see a high number of dogs coming through that are labeled as “pit bulls.” These dogs may be other breeds and just may be labeled incorrectly. Also, local breed-specific policies may be making it difficult for families to keep their dogs. It is extremely difficult for renters in some areas where landlords aren’t welcoming to large dogs or certain breeds. Pit bull dogs are also filling up in many homes as family pets. In 2012, Vetstreet published a survey that reported that the American Pit Bull Terrier was one of the most popular dogs in the country.
Pit bulls are the most abused and over bred dog in the US. It is estimated that only one out of 600 pit bull-type dog ever makes it out of a shelter system. Because dogs cannot defend or speak for themselves, we need to be their voice, show them compassion and help make a difference. Despite how a dog may look on the outside or what their breed or breed mix may be, research reveals that dogs are complex animals influenced by many factors.
Looks alone do not dictate behavior. Recognizing and understanding dogs as individuals is important for our families and communities. It means that every dog must be judged and evaluated for their actual behavior, rather than on assumptions, generalizations, and stereotypes based on breed or looks. And all dog owners must be held equally accountable for their own dog, regardless of breed.
What are the common misconceptions that people have regarding pit bulls (i.e., bully breeds)? What do you think leads people to have these misconceptions?
The number one misconception about pit bull dogs is they have locking jaws. They would need be classified as a different species if this was the case.
They do not have locking jaws. The pit bull is commonly referred to as a specific breed of dog. In fact, pit bulls make up a group of several different breeds of dog, most notably the American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and American Pit Bull Terrier. All of these breeds share similarities in build, coloring, and temperament. In some areas, breed-specific legislation has led to non-related large breeds being considered a “pit bull,” such as the Cane Corso or Alano Espanol.
If so many other dogs are involved in dog bites, how come we only hear about pit bulls? Sensationalized reporting equals big ratings for the media. Publishing and broadcasting stories about dog bites perceived to involve a pit bull, even if the dog is not correctly identified, results in ratings. There are over 78 million dogs in this country and many of them are happy pit bull-type dogs.
Are pit bulls safe to own if you have children?
Pit bulls are safe to own if you have children. Kids and dogs are individuals.
The best way to create a good match between your dog and your child is to know your children and understand what works best for them. Once you determine your child’s needs, you can search for a dog that would be a good match. Interactions between dogs and kids should always be supervised.
How do you go about selecting the pit bulls your organization puts up for adoption?
Since we rely on our foster network to provide care, there is a selective process for intake of new dogs. To be accepted into the care of Pit Bull Pride of Delaware, Inc., dogs must be people- and dog-friendly. A temperament evaluation is performed before any dog is accepted into the care of Pit Bull Pride of Delaware, Inc.
Once a dog is officially brought into the care of Pit Bull Pride of Delaware, it is placed into one of our incredible foster homes. Before each dog can be officially adopted by a new forever family, the dog must be in medically good condition.
This includes being spayed/neutered, up to date on all vaccinations (rabies, distemper, flu), and tested for heartworm. All dogs also receive a microchip and the initial dosage of flea/tick preventative and heartworm preventative. Pit Bull Pride of Delaware, Inc. accepts the responsibility of fulfilling all of the previously mentioned medical responsibilities before allowing a dog to become an official member of their forever family.
Explain the adoption process one must go through with your organization to adopt a rescued pit bull.
Our adoption process begins with completing an adoption application for the dog(s) that you may be interested in. If you are unsure of which dog or what type of temperament you are looking for, please enter “undecided” in the area that asks for the dog’s name. Once we receive your application, we will start to process the application and contact you within 24-48 hours to review your application and discuss any questions you might have.
After the paper portion of your adoption application has been pre-approved, we will move onto the second phase of the adoption process, the home visit. All members of the family must be present during our home visit (including roommates and children). All current animals in the home need to be fully vaccinated and spayed/neutered.
Our home visit evaluation form will be completed by one of our trained home visit evaluators and submitted to me for review, if I am not the one completing the home visit. We will review the evaluation form and contact you within 24 hours to let you know if you have been approved or not approved (and, if applicable, details as to why the application was declined).
If approved, we will move to the third phase of the adoption process and schedule a day/time for you to meet the dog(s) that you have chosen to see who fits best into your family. If you have another dog, a dog meeting will also take place during this visit. Once you have chosen the dog you would like to adopt, we can complete the adoption during this visit. The dog will be left in your care and you will start the foster-to-adopt period for dogs four months of age or older.
If the dog is less than four months of age, the adoption can be completed at this time. The foster-to-adopt period is a one-to-two-week period to ensure the dog is the right match for you and/or your family. We will follow up with you after a few days to confirm everything is working out and to confirm a date to finalize the adoption. If you schedule a meet and greet and decide you want to adopt a dog, but you are not able to take the dog at that time, other arrangements can be made.
During the formal adoption, we will collect the adoption fee. Our adoption fee (depending on the dog you choose) is $200-$300, which includes spay/neuter, rabies vaccination, distemper vaccination, microchipping, heartworm testing, monthly heartworm and flea /tick preventative, and deworming while the dog is in our care.
Dogs that are up to six months in age have an adoption fee of $300; six months to a year have an adoption fee of $250; and dogs one year of age and older have an adoption fee of $200. Once you assume ownership of the dog, you will be responsible to continue providing monthly heartworm and flea and tick preventative as well as yearly veterinary checkups.
Once all the formal adoption paperwork is completed and approved, we will provide you with a copy of your new pet’s medical records and we will take a photo of you/your family with your new family member to post on our Facebook page.
If you are interested in adopting a dog from PBP, please contact our Adoption Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our adoption application can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0xcq4hhap3npu00/PBP-%20Adoption%20Application.docx
Do you have any interesting training tips or ideas for dog owners in general?
We use dog behaviorist Christine Nolan, founder of Your Dog and You, http://www.yourdogandyou.com/ and Carl Zive http://calmcanines.com/. They are both absolutely amazing! We also have a volunteer who is a retired trainer who offers training ideas online via a Facebook page called PB Training Discussions.
We also have a volunteer that works for K9 Camp and a few volunteers that recommend professional training through Misguided Mutts.
RESOURCE GUARDING VIDEO –
How else can people help with your cause? Do you have any opportunities for volunteers? Is there a way someone can donate to your organization?
Pit Bull Pride of Delaware, Inc. relies solely on the support of our foster network to house and provide care for our adoptable dogs. If you or someone you know would like to become part of our incredible foster network, please contact our Foster Coordinator at: email@example.com.
Or you can give a tax-deductible DONATION!
As a 501(c)3 organization, donations are 100% tax deductible. Donations are greatly appreciated and none is ever too small. We recognize the hardships that the economy has placed on people today, but every contribution is valuable.
Please see our Wish List below, or we will gladly come to you. For donation pick up, please contact our Donation Coordinator at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can donate here.
- Dog Food: Adult dry, grain-free (pet store brands like Natural Balance, Earthborn, Verus, Wellness, Purina Pro Plan or Costco’s brand, Nature’s Domain)
- Gift Cards: Concord Pet, Costco, Tractor Supply, Walmart, or Staples
- Dog Toys: large Nylabones, Kongs, etc.
- Dog Treats: Kong stuffers, peanut butter, etc.
- Dog Crates: large and x-large sizes
Shop for the pups at http://smile.amazon.com/ch/30-0740889
Search for and shop from our Wish List and Amazon will donate .5% of the price to us as well as deliver directly to us! When shopping for yourself or others, please also use this link as they will donate .5% of the price to us!
There you have it, folks! I hope this Q&A helps you keep an open mind and heart towards pit bulls. I have several friends who are proud pit bull parents, and I love each one of their pups! Here are a few pictures Lauren sent to me of her family- dogs and all!
I encourage you to check out Pit Bull Pride of Delaware, Inc.’s website. They have a ton of amazing and helpful information on pit bulls.
What makes someone remarkable is when they find a purpose greater than themselves. Lauren’s organization and love of pit bulls is what makes her remarkable to me! Perhaps this path is calling for you to get involved to help these sweet pooches! I sure hope so!
Until next time, take care!