Rescuing & Advocating for Neglected Bully Breeds
By Susan Spisak
Pitte Posse, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit, does not just rescue dogs and find them new homes. They strongly advocate for responsible dog ownership for bully breeds and their “cousins,” and this includes essential training, socialization, and education as part of that mission. They also offer a free pet food pantry for those in need in Southern Maine.
The backstory of PP is as interesting and full of heart as co-founder Britt Bolnik is. She rescued her first Pit Bull in New York City twenty plus years ago. Her dedication to him prompted her to not only volunteer for a few Pit rescues but also research them. After discovering there’s an abundance of bully breeds in pounds who are abused, neglected, or exploited by owners for dog fighting, her drive was further ignited. She moved to Maine, got married, and convinced her husband, rescue advocate Todd “Sully” Sullivan, to initiate PP. By December of 2017, their first dogs came under their wing, and since then they have rehomed 600 dogs.
That said, they are down on intakes. “We get up to half a dozen requests a week [from Mainers for relinquishments]. Ninety-nine percent we can't take, either due to them needing the animal gone immediately, or human aggression, or needing to be in an animal/child free home.” (It’s rare for them to have a foster open without children or animals.) Likewise, southern imports are slow. “We are way down this year due to lack of funds, fosters, and very slow adoptions. This year we've only imported 29 (with eight owner surrenders) vs. last year 118 imported.”
Their fosters and volunteers are valuable. “The volunteers are the absolute backbone of Pittie Posse—we literally couldn't do this work without them. We have a close-knit circle of core crew who talk most of the day, every day, handhold foster families and support them, and bend over backwards for the dogs. We have a new social media person who is slaying our social media game and really helping to grow and engage our audience.”
Britt and Sully are also co-founders and owners of The Bark Yard (TBY) in South Portland that provides trusted dog care, grooming, boarding, and positive training. This priceless for-profit was a goal of theirs to work in tandem with PP. (Next is a land sanctuary for PP.) “We now have a place to board dogs when they need immediate placement and we don’t have an open foster, plus we can get them training at TBY, do adoption meet and greets there, and offer follow up training for new adopters. We’ve also been able to offer local fosters daycare for their foster dogs, which is a huge bonus and carrot for fosters’ families who work full time.”
They’ve had a few dogs with them for over a year. Rory, a smaller, shy couch potato needs a savvy owner who can gain her trust slowly. Katya deserves a shout out too—she’s a playful 4-year-old. Britt would like to find them their perfect homes. See below for more. For foster and adoption criteria, pittieposserescue.com/adopt/.
2 years old, Mixed Breed
This two-year-old little love muffin is Halo and she's hoping for a home! She's been here just a few weeks and we're learning more about her goofy, cuddly personality every day! Halo loves to play tug, is eager to learn and is an amazing snuggler! She loves playing with her foster doggy siblings and her zoomies are hysterical!
4 years old, Cattle Dog/Pit Bull Mix
Rory is a little couch potato and only 44lbs! Rory is the perfect dog for those who can’t have cats. She is a bit shy with new people so patience is key with her but once you have gained her trust she will love you forever. Loves to go on trail walks and always takes a dip in the lake when given the chance! A quiet girl who is extremely well mannered, and house trained. She loves her comfy beds and the couch will be her spot! Rory will need a dog savvy owner who can be patient and slow with her and fulfill her needs of a low energy, low stimulus environment. She is truly an amazing dog who will make a great addition to the right family's home!
4 years old, Plott Hound/ Pit Bull MIX
This beautiful brindle is Ms. Katya! Katya is almost 4 years old and is loving her new start in Maine. Katya's favorite things are her tennis balls, playing tug and all things outside! Her fosters rave about how sweet and smart she is! They have this to share, "Katya is very confident, easy-going, attentive, goofy and loves to give kisses." If you're looking for an adventure pal that also loves couch cuddles, Katya's your gal!
For more on these and other Pittie Posse dogs, visit: pittieposserescue.com/adopt/.