We've discovered a lot of rescues out there that are taking a unique approach to get animals adopted; everything from fashion shows to turning a shelter into a wedding venue, rescuers have definitely proven to be on the more creative side of the table.
So when we heard about what Pit Bulls and Jams, a Long Island-based rescue that combines live music and breed awareness to further increase Pit Bull adoptions, we of course had to feature them in this month's rescue spotlight!
We sat down with Mike and Shara, VP and President, respectively, to learn how they took their passion for music and rescue and combined them into something special.
Sparkie: Pit Bulls and Jams takes a pretty unique approach to rescue and advocacy...what led you to want to start your organization and how did you decide on this particular format?
Mike: It started back in late 2013 when we adopted our first pit from Twenty Paws Rescue. From there, we went on to volunteer for them and fostered 2 of their dogs (the first of which was the inspiration for our logo).
We started to gain some interest in starting our own rescue on Long Island, since Twenty Paws is mainly based in the city. After some research, we couldn’t believe the amount of work that goes into starting a rescue and how many rescues there are on Long Island. Instead of over-saturating the area, we came up with a different approach - lets help these rescues work together, raise some money, and get some dogs adopted!
Sparkie: When did you first start the organization?
Mike: We went live on social media platforms in July of 2014. Our first event was October 11, 2014, at Evenflow Bar and Grill in Bayshore, NY, featuring the rescues Twenty Paws Rescue and Unchained New York with support from the bands “Moose Music”, “Count To Ten”, Last Turn Off Broadway” and “This Damn Universe.”
Sparkie: A big part of your mission is breaking stereotypes about pit bulls..what are the most common stereotypes you encounter and how do you go about trying to disprove them?
Shara: I think the biggest stereotype out there about Pit Bull type dogs is that they are vicious animals and not fit to be a family pet. We love to share stats about how pit bull type dogs have done on temperament testing (ranking higher than most other breeds). We also try to share the happy stories and videos we come across since many news and media outlets only share the bad stories. We try to stress that there are so many more positive pit bull owners out there than bad ones and that they truly are a very loving and loyal breed. Whenever we can, we bring our pit mix out to meet new people.
Sparkie: Typically, how many events do you put on a year? And how many volunteers does your organization currently have?
Shara: We typically host one or two big events per year for the rescues. We also just recently started doing a band showcase once a year as well where the money raised goes to the bands. It's our way of saying thank you to those who have donated their time and talent to our cause. We are a small organization and typically have about 5 or 6 volunteers helping us out at our events.
Sparkie: How do you decide which rescues to host events with? And how can a rescue that is interested in partnering with you get in touch?
Shara: The first thing we do is chose a venue. Once we have that selected, I start researching rescues in that area. I look to see that they are a non-profit organization, that they do not discriminate against the pit bull type dogs, what their adoption process is like, and also try to ensure that a good portion of the dogs they rescue are from New York. There are many rescues that rescue dogs from down south, which is great, but at this time we are trying to keep the focus on the dogs in New York that need help. If I see that a rescue meets all of the credentials we are looking for, then I will reach out to them to see if they are interested. If a rescue would like to be considered for one of our events they can email us at email@example.com.
Sparkie: What’s been your favorite event hosted to date? And what event are you most looking forward to putting on in the future?
Mike: My favorite to date was PBJ2 at KJ Farrell’s in Bellmore, NY, back in March of 2015. As far as future events, we take it one show at a time. We just wrapped up PBJ5 a few weeks ago and have just started hashing out ideas for PBJ6. What I’m looking forward to is taking this on the road and having a PBJ TOUR!
Sparkie: If there were one musician or band (anyone!) out there you could partner with, who would it be?
Mike: I want bands that are for our cause, bottom line. I want bands that are looking to help make a difference. What I’m not looking for is bands with a “rock star” complex or a band that thinks they did their good deed for the year and we never hear from them again. Having said that, Paul McCartney is a big animal activist and if he wants to play… I’ll allow it!
Are you a rescue with a unique approach to animal welfare, education and/or outreach? We'd love to write about you! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be in touch!