Thursday, Jul 21, 2016
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!
Me having a passion for music and always wanting to get into the concert promotion side of things, thought it would be a good idea to bring local bands in the music scene together for a great cause. We loved the idea of supporting local musicians, local business and rescues all at the same time. After attending the 2014 Stand Up For Pits at the Gotham Comedy Club, which helped us format our events, coupled with attending the “One Million Pibble March” in DC, there was enough inspiration to finally make us turn this idea into a reality.
- Mike, co-founder, Pit Bulls and Jams
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.
We have even adopted a pit mix out to someone who thought that all of the stereotypes were true until she met her now dog, Cali. We love when we are able to change people’s minds about these beautiful and loving pups.
- Shara, President, Pit Bulls and Jams
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: 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!