Shelter & Rescue Spotlight: Bully Breed Rescue

Six feet. That’s the world that Ruby had access to. Six feet. Beyond the six feet of heavy chain the three-year-old Pit Bull mix was imprisoned by, the world didn’t look so great anyway. She was surrounded by garbage and feces, had minimal access to food and water, and no positive human interaction. Her face was badly scarred, and it appeared she had already been bred several times.

When Bully Breed Rescue came across Ruby in January, the miserable conditions she lived in were heartbreaking. In the picture they took, Ruby’s eyes say it all. They show a life filled with pain, a life spent in filth. She looks broken, and tired.

But Heidi Lueders and the rest of the volunteers at Bully Breed Rescue knew there could be a different look in Ruby’s eyes, and knew she deserved it.

Since 2005, Bully Breed Rescue has saved approximately 400 Pit Bull class dogs from kill shelters, abusive homes, and owners who abandoned them. The volunteers care for, train, and foster the dogs they rescue until they can be placed in a permanent home where they will have the life they should have had all along – with a family that loves them and recognizes them for what they truly are: affectionate, loyal friends.

They cared for Ruby for eight months while searching for the perfect home. The volunteers—especially Kellen Freeman—played with her, took her jogging, and spent extra time cuddling the lovable dog. You would think it’s amazing that a dog that suffered so much at the hands of humans would have any love in its heart for a person, but—according to Heidi—Ruby is not an exception.

“She’s an example of the true characteristics of Pit Bulls: loving, affectionate, with a strong connection to humans.”

It didn’t take long for Ruby to warm up to everyone around her, but it would be eight months before the perfect pet parent would be found.

By the time Amanda Balanos emailed Heidi looking for a dog, she was already an expert at caring for Pit Bulls. She’d fostered two puppies on her own, and after she and her boyfriend moved into a new apartment, she knew it was time to add a permanent addition to their home.

Amanda’s biggest requirement was she wanted a dog she could take to her office at the Beardsley Zoo, where she works as the Membership Manager. Heidi gave Amanda a few options, but said Ruby was perfect. At Heidi’s scheduled meet-and-greet with the potential new family members, Ruby was the first one she met. “Ruby immediately did this little bunny hop over to me, and was so affectionate, and happy, and sweet. I knew right away that she was the one.”

Ruby has been living with Amanda and her boyfriend for a little over a month now. She goes to work, at the zoo. “People come into my office – really just to see Ruby – and if they only see me they’re so disappointed.

I asked Amanda what three words best described Ruby after a month of living with her, and she didn’t hesitate.

Comedian. Touchy-feely. Endearing.

“Every toy we bring out, it’s like she’s never seen it before. She gets so excited every single time, pouncing around it as if it’s about to run, even though it’s an inanimate object. She hides them, too. Places she thinks we’ll never find them. Then one day I open my closet and find a Kong in my shoe.

“And wherever you are, she’s going to find you. Ruby is the most touchy-feely dog I’ve ever known. She has to be in constant contact, whether it’s resting one paw on your leg, or her entire 60 pound frame in your lap. She wants to be near people as much as possible. When she first came to live with us, she knew not to jump on the couch. We would tell her she could get on the couch, but she doesn’t. She does, however, sit on you while you sit on the couch.”

When I spoke with Amanda, she gave example after example of how endearing Ruby is, from the way she plays to the way she bunny hops to the way she follows—always keeping her favorite people right by her side—but the thing she mentioned that sold me on just how precious this previously abused Pit Bull is? The way she sleeps.

“It’s always on you,” Amanda said. “She always sleeps on you. She presses up against you, and one minute she’s awake, and the next she is out, snoring like you wouldn’t believe. I love it, because it means she finally feels safe. She’s finally comfortable, and happy. And that’s something we’re really happy about.”




Bully Breed Rescue

Bully Breed Rescue Inc. is a small rescue located in southwestern Connecticut dedicated to rescuing and rehoming dogs that are the pit bull class of dogs, including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and pit bull mixes. Their goal is to help give these precious misunderstood dogs a second chance at the wonderful life that they deserve by placing them in forever homes. To find out more about Bully Breed Rescue (and the 20 dogs they currently have up for adoption) or to donate to their mission, visit their website or find them on Facebook.