Meet Our Volunteers!!
Welcome Lesley Bailey back to the PitCrew!
Good morning, my beautiful pittie-loving people!
Paula Jean Wagglesworth here - giving ya’ll the 411 on what’s new with the PitCrew.
Almost two weeks ago, we had a bit of a shake up at the rescue. Aunt D decided to resign :-O We were all shocked and surprised at this sudden news - not to mention, what were we gonna do without Aunt D to take care of us?!
But - Mom and Dad were looking out for us, and were on the search for a new pibble caretaker, ASAP. Lo and behold - the stars were aligned, and an old friend rejoined our pack. I was finally able to sit down with her for a while yesterday and talk to her a bit.
Lesley first began with Shaw PBR all the way back in the beginning… some nine years ago. (Side note - wow! Has it really been that long?!) Her family helped the early adopt-a-bulls in many different ways - fostering, intakes, daily care, gravel work - all aspects. Back then, it wasn’t as ‘easy’, either! Gravel was transferred via old water buckets and a cart - oh my!! Nowadays, Dad still uses a bucket, but a big ole bucket attached to a tractor!
When I asked how it felt being back with the PitCrew, Lesley said, “Every since I met Aimee & Kenneth, and joined Shaw PBR, they have been my family and taught me so much about pittie breeds. Now that I’m back, I realized there is nowhere else I’d rather be. These furbabies are my life. They make each and every day worth it. They motivate and inspire me to push on further, no matter what life might toss my way.”
Awww, that makes me feel all tingly inside!!
Lesley told me that for the last 20+ years, she has dedicated her life to dogs and all that consists of. She has worked with different rescue and shelter groups, and has furthered her career by becoming a licensed dog trainer/canine behaviorist, and groomer - specializing in difficult to groom dogs (ahem, Che….. lol)
“I feel like every dog deserves a chance - whether that be a good haircut for a dog who hates being groomed, or little extra tlc for one who has been abused/neglected,” said Lesley. “The pitties bring me peace. There is so much hope in them. I want to do right by them - help in any way I can to make them feel whole again. Rehabilitate, motivate, and inspire them.”
Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m thinking this new chapter in our lives is going to turn out great. We were dealt a big blow, but today is a new day.
“Together we can make a difference - and that’s all that matters.” You are so right, Aunt Lesley. It definitely takes a village. Or a PitCrew - and we are glad you are back!
Paula Jean Wagglesworth
Shaw PBR Reporter
Hello, my favorite people!!
How are ya’ll doing this weekend?
My name is Sloane O’Collar, and I am a news reporter for the Adopt-a-Bull-etin here at Shaw PBR. Today, I got to interview my favorite Mexicano chica - Bertha Cisneros :)
Bertha is from Mexico, where she had her first dog, Peque - a pitbull mix - when she was 14 years old. Bertha says, “Peque lived with us for 13 years, and taught us that she was only a dog, not a breed.”
In 2005, Bertha moved to the US, and after living 10 years in Virginia, her family made the move to Columbus, MS. “In 2015, I started following Shaw PBR on Facebook, and after several months, my daughter (Bertha Alicia) and I decided to go visit for the first time and see in person the dogs that we had only seen in pictures”, said Bertha. “At that very first visit, we were invited to become volunteers. I had never considered that idea - I really only went to meet the dogs and help with bath day.”
Bertha Alicia asked if they could come back to volunteer the following Saturday. That was in July, 2015. “We have been going back every Saturday since that day. I never imagined I would be so involved in the rescue.” said Bertha.
Bertha then told us about volunteering and working events, “We did not know anything about cleaning kennels so we started to learn how to clean, poop scoop, disinfect areas, wash food bowls and water buckets; socialize with the dogs, learn to walk a dog with a leash, train and understand dogs’ behavior and body language
One day, I was invited to go to PetSmart for an event where we would sell items, ask for donations and inform people about our organization. Dana and another volunteer, Andrea, told me that we should go with a costume because it was almost Halloween
I was thinking for some days which costume to use until I had the brilliant idea to buy a Scooby-Doo costume as a cute and funny conversation starter that would make it easy for kids and parents to approach our stand, so we could inform both children and parents on our rescue and message. That was the first of many events that my daughter and I have gone to.
The first time my family and I went to an event to ask for donations we did not know what to expect, we did not know if we could get donations but I always said to myself “if we get $25 in donations, I’d be very happy, I want to give people information about who we are and what we do”.
After our first event, Aimee sent me a message asking me how was the event, and I answered her that we got money in donations and we sold a few items. I thought she would be disappointed with the $100 we got in donations. To my surprise, however, she was delighted with our progress that day
I can’t lie to you, we sometimes get people who are rude and come up to us just to tell us that they don’t like PitBulls, that they’re dangerous dogs, and many other negative comments
I only think ‘If they at least had a chance to meet a pitbull, maybe they would change their minds’”.
Today, Bertha has much more responsibility and she says she appreciates the trust Aimee and Kenneth have in her and her family. For the past year, every Saturday Bertha and her family take care of the dogs and disinfect the kennels at the old site, while everyone else works at the new site. Bertha also handles all of our Instagram and TikTok posting, edits videos and photos, as well as answering Facebook comments and messages.
Bertha also checks our website periodically to make sure all links are still working correctly, and keeps our ‘Pit Bull Friendly Rescues’ list up-to-date.
When I asked why does she continue to come back each and every Saturday, she replied, “Because I know how this breed has been discriminated against for many years. If you could see everything that these dogs say with their eyes, you would understand it. They are very grateful for us just cleaning their kennels, giving them fresh water, petting them, giving them medicines, giving them hugs and kisses, and even the simple thing of talking to them. Dogs know we are their family, and the rescue is their home until we find them a forever home.”
She went on to say, “Shaw Pit Bull Rescue has taught me and given me so much.
These six years I have seen some dogs be adopted while other ones are with us for years because nobody asks for them. I have seen dogs come in to the rescue so close to death - and, despite the odds - they survive, get healthy, and are adopted after being saved thanks to our care; while others die because nothing could be done. Every dog has left a mark on me, and the dogs who are now in our rescue have a special space in my heart for now.”
Well, Ms Bertha sure has a special place in our hearts, too.
Our interview ended with the words, “I can only tell you that these dogs are “our dogs” and they are my family until they get to be adopted”.
Yes, you are mi familia, Bertha - and we woof you so much!!
Shaw PBR Reporter
I am Bertha Mireles. My mom, Bertha Cisneros, would occasionally mention Peque, an American Pit Bull Terrier my mom had had from when she was a
thirteen year-old. Unfortunately Peque passed away thirteen years later around the time I was around a year old. My mom would not go into much detail about Peque, for the sadness of losing her baby
was still great, and I believe it will always be so.
My awareness of dogs and the community of dog rescuers and such did not spring up until my family adopted the second Peque, an Italian greyhound and rat terrier mix that looks and acts exactly like the first Peque. What I mean by awareness is now anytime I hear of an animal cruelty case or of a dog fighting ring bust on the news, I think of Peque being in that situation. It brings me to tears of merely thinking of any harm coming to her. I took that anger and sadness and turned it into a more proactive and positive situation: donating, getting involved, and volunteering at the Shaw Pit Bull Rescue.
It was the middle of the summer, the beginning of July of 2015. My mom was doing research of some animal organizations to be involved in when she came across the Shaw Pit Bull Rescue Facebook page. The rescue being specific to pit bulls has a significant sentimental value to my mom and I because of the first Peque. As we scrolled through the pictures of the dogs, I thought, ‘I want to visit them. I want to see what I can do for them in memory and in honor of both Peques.’
The following Tuesday my mom and I decided to give the rescue a visit just to see the dogs. The last time I had seen a Pit bull in real life was when Peque was alive which had been when I was an infant. It had been nearly thirteen years since I had last seen Peque. Even so, Peque the Pit Bull had been little in size, hence her name Peque which is short for the Spanish word, pequeña, meaning small.
When my mom and I first arrived at the rescue, I did not know what to expect. I imagined maybe ten little Peques asleep on a blanket; how very wrong I was. When we entered the kennel area for the first time, I was taken aback. First of all, the dogs were huge, bigger than I had ever seen in my life. I was scared at first, not because they are pit bulls but because they are the same size as me if not larger. I barely knew how to handle little 20 lb Peque at home. But I made the effort to keep calm.
For a while I was unsure of dogs in general, but as I began to gain knowledge of their body language, how they perceive energy, and what they do and do not like; I became more and more confident that I would be able to handle and care for a dog. The rescue has done so much for me. Without the rescue, we would not have found out about and been able to adopt Vicky, a Dutch shepherd bully mix, who is the sweetest baby ever. The rescue has also contributed to a significant amount of my knowledge of dogs and confidence with dogs, that will follow me through the rest of my life. For Vicky and my ever-growing knowledge of dogs, I am forever thankful to the Shaw Pit Bull Rescue.
My name is Shannon, and I'm a MS native that spent several years out of state. While out of state, I found part time work with dogs, and it became a part of my identity.
We moved back to MS in 2018, and I can't begin to express how much I missed my doggy family. I had heard of Shaw from researching local rescues on the internet, but didn't give it much thought until we began looking for a second dog to add to the household. I knew it would be a task, because I had become involved with another rescue as a foster, but hey, it would work out, right?
My oldest daughter and I set up a vist, and came to the rescue to meet our perfect pup. It turns out, all of the faces I fell in love with that day wouldn't fit my household. Not a single one. But despite the adoption failure, we found more.
We got to meet some dogs that left a lasting impression. We witnessed the second day of an intake, and the condition she was in upon arrival. We went home and talked, and talked, and talked, and realized that we couldn't say goodbye to those furry faces simply because they couldn't fit into a foster house scenario. Those furry faces, some adopted now and some not, drove me to fill out volunteer paperwork and spend most Saturdays back doing what I love - working with dogs, and giving ear scratches. Those pups, the wagging tails, and the awesome staff make it a second home.
May 21, 2012 - The day that started it all.
This was the day that 11 pit bulls were seized from a home in Caledonia and put to sleep without a chance of finding a new home. Let me clarify, I am not blaming the Humane Society - it was their policy (at that time) not to adopt out pit bulls. However, it was this event that put the idea in my mind that a local American Pit Bull Terrier rescue was necessary. Little did I know that it was going to come to fruition much sooner than I thought!
We ran our first ad in The Real Story Aug. 15. We received six surrendered pit bulls the following Sunday, Aug. 19. What originally began as “we can only house one pit bull at a time” quickly got blown out of the water! But we can’t turn our back on a pit bull in need. Apparently, there was a great need for a local pit bull rescue operation!
Starting this rescue has been pretty labor-intensive, but it is also richly rewarding on many levels. Finding a new, loving home for a rescued pit bull represents a victory in our life-saving work. Every person we reach with our message of compassion and care for these wonderful dogs will share it with others...and that ripple of compassion will keep growing and growing. That, in itself, is reward enough for what we are trying to do.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever does” (Margaret Mead).
Of course, our general love and appreciation of the breed has fueled our devotion to them over the last 30 years. We originally bred American Pit Bull Terriers, but when the wrong crowd started showing interest in our dogs, we stopped. We had no idea about over-population (which is growing at an astonishing rate, day-by-day for bully breeds). We assumed most all that bred dogs were educated in that particular breed, bloodline, temperament, genetics, etc. Boy, were we wrong!
There are so many reasons I could list as far as why we are advocates for 'pit bulls'; but I'll refrain :O) I guess the main reason is because there are so many that hate them, even tho they have never met one in person, or want to. And that just breaks my heart. All dogs show and feel love; but in my experience, none are like the American Pit Bull Terrier. They are such characters, goofy clowns, smart asses, and snuggle buddies. I want everyone to experience the love and companionship they can offer - or at least hear me talk about it constantly, lol!
We lose our minds sometimes; and the indifference and basic ignorance makes us want to rip our hair out of our heads and run screaming for the hills. There have been many times we almost decided to give up. But then along comes another dog that needs our help; or we see photos or videos of those we have helped over the years in their new, forever homes, living the high life - and that's the fuel we need to keep on going.
One of my favorite rescue poems ends with the words... "We rescue them; and they SAVE us." It's the God's honest truth.
Owners and Founders Kenneth and Aimee Shaw