Saturday, January 29, 2011

Holla at us!

Since Dogs of the 9th Ward was founded on My 19, 2009, one volunteer has been single-handedly handling all our communications. However, as the rescue has grown in both capacity and popularity, it has become a more than 1-man job. If you have tried to get in touch with us lately and haven't gotten a response, we do apologize -- we've just been swamped.

Here is our new and improved contact information:

For adoptions and fostering interest, contact:
For volunteering opportunities, contact:
For media/outreach inquiries, contact:

We prefer to communicate via email, due to the busy schedules of our volunteers. However, you can also call us on new dedicated rescue number: 504.222.3686.

We do our best to return all emails and phone calls in a timely fashion. Please remember that we are a small, all-volunteer organization and we all work and/or go to school full-time. Please know that we value every single email or call and we will get back to you ASAP!

Thanks for your support, yall, and hope to hear from you soon.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year, New Home? Don't forget your dog.

I rented 3 different apartments with this 160lbs Saint Bernard. Anything is possible.

Renting with any animals is somewhat more difficult than renting with no animals. Renting with dogs tends to be more difficult than renting with cats. Renting with multiple dogs is harder than with one dog. Renting with big dogs is harder than renting with small dogs. Renting with pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans is probably harder than any of the above.

However, all are possible and the challenge is not insurmountable as long as you are determined and well-equipped for dealing with worried landlords.

I rented with three 100lbs + dogs. It's possible.

Every year, thousands of animals are surrendered to shelters, given away, or even abandoned on the street because their owners were moving and "couldn't" find a place that would allow animals. Remember that dogs are living creatures who rely on their human caretakers entirely. Don't fail your pets by abandoning them rather than putting in the time and effort to find a pet-friendly apartment or house.

In addition to good, old-fashioned hard work and determination, here are some tips for ensuring your new home will be as welcoming for your dog as it is for you:

Plan ahead. It may well take you a bit longer than your dogless friends to find a new place to live. You might have to look longer, explore different neighborhoods, and make some extra phone calls. If possible, give yourself a couple months to complete the process.

Put your best foot forward. What is your most landlord-friendly characteristic, as a person? Probably not the fact that you own a dog. It might be that you are a professional, that you've had the same job for 5 years, that you're a graduate or professional student, or that you are a stable couple in a long term relationship -- whatever it is, mention that to your potential landlord first.... before mentioning your dog at all. Try to get him/her hooked on your great potential as a responsible renter before you break the bad news about the d-o-g.

Make your best first impression. Do you come across really well in person? Ask for a one-on-one meeting. (Again, this is before you talk about the dog issue.) Are you great on the phone? Call. Do you write really well? Try an email. Now, I love individuality and I want everyone to be a free spirit. However, for the purposes of your initial meeting, try to dress decently. It's amazing how much landlords care. They're making snap judgments on the fly -- it's not fair, but it's in your best interest to make sure they don't have anything to hold against you.
Put your (dog's) best paw forward. There will, of course, come a time when you have to mention your dog. A lot of potential renters, fearful of being rejected on the basis of their doggyness, make a horrible error. They say something along the lines of, "I have one enormous dog," or, "I have a big male pit bull." I can't tell you how many times I've heard this. Is your dog sweet, well-behaved, and friendly? Say so! "I have a very friendly dog. He loves everyone." Or, "I have two very well-behaved dogs." That's the way to broach the subject of canine companions. If the landlord goes on to ask if the dogs are big, or if they're pit bulls, you might have to fess up, but at least start it off right.

Keep going with the positives. If the landlord seems skeptical of your best friend -- or if he or she outright rejects you on that basis -- remember that negotiations aren't over. Instead of giving up or becoming defensive, just start explaining why your dogs -- and you -- would be great tenants. Remember that most landlords aren't just dog-haters. Most are worried about three things: liability for injuries on the property, property damage, and keeping good relations with the neighbors.
  • Liability for injuries:
  1. play up your dogs' friendliness. Is your dog good with adults, kids, other dogs, cats? Say so.
  2. Do you always keep your dog leashed in public? Say so. (And I hope you do!)
  3. Suggest a meeting with your dog. Your potential landlord can see first hand how friendly your buddy is.
  4. Have you had your dog a long time? Tell the landlord. It will give credence to your claims that the dog is friendly. (As opposed to, Oh, I just rescued him a month ago, but he's never been mean yet!)
  5. Is your dog spayed/neutered? Say so.
  6. Offer references and other people to vouch for your dog's friendliness. Good references for this include veternarians, trainers/behaviorists, and petsitters/boarding facility staff.
  • Property damage:
  1. First, references. If you have a good relationship with a previous landlord, ask them to vouch for your non-destructive pup.
  2. Is your dog old? Point out that your dog is well past the "puppy" stage and not destructive.
  3. Do you crate your dog when you're not around? Say so. Crated dogs can't chew woodwork, pee on the floor, or eat walls.
  4. Do you have a short haired dog? If your landlord is worried about carpets, point out your non-shedding (or at least, minimally shedding) friend.
  • The neighbors:
  1. Do you have a great relationship with your current or past neighbors? Ask them to be references. They can say how wonderful your canine buddy is.
  2. Is your dog quiet? Point it out. Barking is a major neighborhood nuisance.
  3. Is your dog never outside alone? Say so. Dogs in the yard tend to bark more, possibly escape the yard, and generally cause more trouble for neighbors.
  4. Again, do you always keep your dog leashed in public? Neighbors generally prefer that.
  5. Always pick up after your dog immediately? Say so.
  6. Do the neighbors have pets? Play up your dogs' well-socialized natures, and also offer to produce vet records.
Document things: Landlords (and many people) tend to be very impressed by paperwork. Have print outs of vet records on hand, as well as printed copies of pet references from past landlords, vets, petsitters, etc. Somehow, having a stack of papers to show people generally makes them feel very happy.
Point out the negatives you and your dog don't have: Think of the things landlords do NOT want, and list all of them that do NOT apply to you and your dog, and then also emphasize the opposite quote-unquote "good" attribute that does apply to yall: "The dog is not big, it's very little." "We don't have parties, we're very quiet." "My dog never digs holes, he sleeps all day." "I don't smoke, or burn incense...." (I couldn't think of a positive for that one.)
Make intelligent pet choices when you're renting: If you don't actually have a pet yet, but want one, think hard and make careful choices. Remember that big dogs, pits, Rotties, and young puppies might make renting harder. When adopting a pit, remember that folks seem to be most afraid of brindle, blue, and white dogs, big pits, and pits with cropped ears. This is all very silly, but still worth thinking about: are you up for the additional challenge?
Stay positive. Remember that you WILL find a place for you and your pup to live. It's just a challenge -- but in the end, the reward of having your life enriched by an amazing, happy, loving companion is worth the effort.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

a moment of silence for the murders of 2010

I am not a very spiritual person.

But sometimes I think we need a moment of silence, just to think about things.

It was an extraordinarily bloody end to the year in New Orleans, the murder capital of the country. As of last year, our murder rate was #1 in the country and #3 in the world. Up until the second week in December, the city was celebrating having about two weeks with no fatal shootings. Yes, we celebrate that in this city.

Then, we had 7 murders in 4 days. More murders ensued. Five were in the 9th Ward; the rest were fairly evenly distributed around the city, with a concentration in the East.

The 8th Ward, my childhood home, also had more than its fair share of violence.

Just after Christmas, a warehouse where a number of young homeless folks were living burned down. The "squat" at the edge of the 9th Ward burned entirely, killing 8 young people inside, along with their 2 dogs. They died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Of course, in the wake of that tragedy, folks started making disparaging comments about "gutter punks" -- the New Orleans term for youngish, homeless people, primarily (though not exclusively) white, who panhandle and play music on the streets. In response to that, a number of people -- including the press -- have defended the "gutter punks".... renaming them "train hoppers," "travelers," "homeless youth," and more, depending on where you go.

The loss of life in the warehouse is devastating. My heart goes out to the people who died and their family and friends. Any loss of life is devastating. There shouldn't have to be any mudslinging -- there shouldn't be any justification of lifestyle.

Gutter punk, traveler, train hopper....

It's sad, no matter how you phrase it.

But all the lives lost are sad. Magnolia Shorty, a well-known local female rapper, was gunned down just before Christmas in New Orleans East (technically, though not culturally, part of the 9th Ward). Other young black folks are shot all over New Orleans on a regular basis.

The majority has a tendency to say that they are "thugs" and "gangstas" and therefore are, apparently, unworthy of life. But they are young, vital people who have a lot of life left ahead of them.

Just like the folks in the warehouse that burned.

For the year of 2011, I just ask that everyone remember that, just like all dogs deserve to live, regardless of breed, all people deserve to live, regardless of race, age, or lifestyle. Any loss of life, though perhaps unavoidable, is sad. I hope that, this next year, New Orleans will start to move in the right direction.

By the end of 2010, we more than matched our murder total for 2009 of 174. Our murder rate in 2009 was about 60/100 -- New York City's is about 7/100, to put it into perspective.

I love New Orleans, my city. And I love my home, the 9th Ward.

Please remember New Orleans, and remember the 9th Ward. We need your help moving forward.

Monday, December 27, 2010

So you want to rescue a pit bull.....

Woadie, currently available for adoption!

It's always awesome to hear from folks who want to rescue any dogs, but it's even more awesome to hear from folks who want to rescue a pit bull. Because of irresponsible ownership, indiscriminate breeding, and breed discrimination and misconceptions, pit bull-type dogs are the dogs most commonly coming into rescues and shelters -- and for the same reasons, they are among the hardest dogs to place.

Pits are wonderful, sweet, affectionate, loyal, fun, and intelligent dogs. They make fabulous companions. Most pit owners can't imagine life without a pit.

Every pit adopted means another deserving dog can be rescued. Every time a pit is adopted, a life is truly saved.

However, there are a lot of things to consider when deciding to adopt a pit bull. By thinking hard before committing, making sensible, informed choices for your family, and doing some pre-planning, you can help turn the pit stereotype around -- and gain a lifelong friend. But remember that by impulsively adopting a pit, even the most well-intentioned adopters are not only letting themselves in for trouble, but doing the breed a disservice -- and are certainly doing a disservice to the particular dog they adopt.

"Moving and can't find a place that allows pits" is probably the number one reason pit bulls end up in shelters.

  • Do you rent? Due to silly misconceptions about the breed, it is MUCH harder to find a place to rent with a pit. It's hard to find a place with any large dog, but it's even worse if your dog is a pit.
  • Do you own? Remember that many insurance companies do not cover properties with pit bulls on them. This includes Louisiana Citizens.
  • Are you in the military? Most military bases do not allow pit bulls on them. Many pits are given up for this reason every year.
  • Do you move a lot or anticipate moving? First, this compounds the problems of finding pit-friendly housing, because you'll have to do it frequently. Also, keep in mind that many towns and cities (including major cities like Denver and Miami) have bans on pit bulls.

  • Do you like to walk, run, or jog? Pits are excellent companions for these activities!
  • Are you more of a stay-at-home type? Many less active folks (myself included!) happily own pits, but it's important to have a plan for exercising your pit, especially if he/she is young.
  • Do you go to dog parks? Some pits and pit mixes do excellently at dog parks; however, many do not. Especially due to the bad rap that pits have, it's important to be very careful with this.

  • Pits are generally extremely sweet with people. Dog-aggression is more common. If you have another dog, be sure that the two dogs get along well, but also be prepared to keep them separately if problems develop.
  • Adopting a puppy with another dog? Although almost all dogs get along with almost all puppies, this does not necessarily mean that problems will not develop as the puppy gets older. Use caution -- sometimes it's better to adopt a slightly older dog so that you "know what you're getting," so to speak.
  • Crate dogs! Until you are 100% sure that the dogs get along well, separate them when you're not there.
  • Use the same caution you would when monitoring play between any two dogs. Remember that pits are medium to large, strong dogs. Dog fights are scary and potentially dangerous.

  • Will your dog stay inside? The vast majority of dogs are healthier and happier inside with their family. However, in the case of pits, their very social nature combined with their short, thin hair makes them very bad candidates for life outdoors.
  • Will your dog stay outside? If so, at a minimum, your dog will need a well-insulated dog house with lots of blankets. No dog should be tethered. Pits are athletic dogs and can jump a high fence.

  • Pits are usually excellent with kids! (Think Petey from Our Gang/Little Rascals.) However, use the same caution you should with any dog/kid combination: don't leave children alone with the dog unsupervised and be sure to carefully teach both the dog and the children how to interact.

  • Pits are active, medium to large dogs that can easily eat $50+ worth of high-quality kibble per month.
  • Heartworm and flea preventative for an average-sized pit cost around $45 per month.
  • Skin issues and allergies are especially common in pits and require additional veterinary expenses.
  • You may need to pay an additional housing deposit for a pit bull.
  • Depending on the neighborhood you live in and the canine demographics there, you might find that your neighbors are hostile to your pit bull. Although we all know this is crazy, you need to be prepared to deal with it by helping your pit be a good representative for the breed (and by being a good pit owner yourself!).
  • What will you do if you neighbors complain? This is important to think about.
  • Finally, remember that, irrational as it is, people are afraid of pit bulls. For the good of your dog and the breed in general, it's important to be an exceptionally responsible owner and to be sensitive to others' fears, while at the same time trying to change their minds.
We certainly hope that you will enjoy a long, happy relationship with your adopted pit bull!

Dogs of the 9th Ward has many adoptable pits and pit mixes available. Please email for more information or see The Sula Foundation is New Orleans' dedicated pit rescue, education, and advocacy group. Please see: Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO) is a no-kill shelter that is pit-friendly:

Mercy, currently available for adoption!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

who we are, and how you can help

The dog above is the dog who started it all: a hairless, starving, 6-month-old pit bull was dragging a long chain near the Florida Projects in the 9th Ward on the morning of May 19, 2009. Her life changed that day, and so did the lives of more than 80 other dogs between then and the end of 2010. Of those roughly 80 dogs, 12 are currently adoptable and in rescue, waiting for forever homes.

Pauline, the "pink puppy" who started everything, appeared to make a full recovery. However, she battled autoimmune conditions her whole life, and she became suddenly ill in May, 2010. We lost Pauline on May 12, 2010, to an undiagnosed neuromuscular autoimmune condition. We consulted specialists all over the country, but all the tests came back negative. Many people mourned Pauline. But her spirit lives on in Dogs of the 9th Ward, which wouldn't exist without her.

Dogs of the 9th Ward is a unique rescue. All the dogs were take in are directly off the streets -- we don't take owner surrenders, and we don't pull from shelters. We basically do animal control in the 9th Ward. The need here is extreme. On any given day, you can see five, ten -- sometimes more -- wandering dogs without even trying. The dogs are in horrible condition -- starving, injured. Embedded collars are common. Packs of feral dogs wander the area.

We take in the dogs in the greatest need. We rescue the dogs very few rescues are able to: pit bulls, feral dogs, dying dogs, terrified dogs. We trap dogs, we pull feral puppies out from under vacant houses. Almost all our dogs come to us with hundreds of dollars of vet bills.

D9 is known as the biggest pit bull rescue in the city, even though we aren't officially pit rescue -- we're all breed. But more than 90% of our dogs are pits and pit mixes. We have no limit or "quota" of pits in the program. In fact, we prefer to take in pits because we know we are these dogs' first and last chance.

We never euthanize a dog because we've run out of space or because the dog's "time is up." We expect our adult rescues to stay with us for a minimum of 1 year. It just takes a long time to find them homes. Most of our dogs have major health issues, but most are treatable (we do humanely and compassionately euthanize for untreatable health issues). Many have behavioral issues, and we do everything we can to work them through those issues.

All our dogs live in foster homes. With the exception of young puppies, most dogs go home house-, crate-, and leash-trained and knowing some basic obedience. Dogs are temperament tested with a variety of people, other dogs (male and female), and cats prior to being put up for adoption. Dogs are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, and treated for any health conditions prior to going home. The majority of our dogs come to us heartworm positive. HW disease is a potentially deadly condition which is extremely common in the Gulf South. It costs hundreds of dollars to treat for HW disease, but we complete the treatment with our foster dogs. We also commonly treat for demodex mange, trauma/injuries, parasites, and malnutrition-related illnesses.

It's long, hard, and expensive work.

Here's how you can help:


We need volunteers in the New Orleans area! We can put you to work for any amount of time, just contact to discuss it.


We are always in great, great need of compassionate, dedicated fosters. We can't do what we do without fosters. Each person who fosters saves another dog's life -- it is a powerful, transforming experience that everyone should have. Email


If fostering isn't enough, we of course always need adoptive homes. By adopting an amazing 9th Ward dog, we are able to take in another street dog -- and not only save its life, but save it from suffering and dying a horrible death.


The number one thing we need -- other than fosters, volunteers, and adopters -- is monetary donations. There are several ways to donate:

--call our amazing vet, Prytania Veterinary Hospital (M-F 8am-6pm Central, 8am-1pm Central on Saturday): 504.899.2828. Please reference the Dogs of the 9th Ward Rescue Account. Please note that Prytania does NOT have additional info about our adoptables. Please email for info about our adoptables. Please do not call the vet -- they help us out a lot and we don't want them to be our "receptionists" taking our phone calls!

--send a check to us at Dogs of the 9th Ward, 2315 Congress, New Orleans, LA 70117. Please write the check payable either to Prytania Veterinary Hospital or our director, Kelly Gaus.

--Paypal a donation to (our account from when we were raising money for our sweet little girl Pauline!).

--Donations of supplies can be sent to Dogs of the 9th Ward, 2315 Congress, NO LA 70117. You can also drop them off on the porch or email to set up a time to drop things off. A list of what we need is at the bottom of this post!

Thank you for your support! The dogs of the 9th Ward need you. The situation here is hard to believe. There is so much suffering -- both human and canine -- here in the 9th Ward that we really need help from other areas to make a real difference. Please email with any comments or suggestions. We're always trying to do more with less and to make a greater impact!

Happy holidays, yall, and merci beaucoup!

D9 Director


Dog food!: we always feed the best we can afford. Our aim is to get Iams (a good quality/price compromise). We need both puppy and adult.

Flea preventative: we love either K9 Advantix or Frontline. (We recommend Comfortis, but that is prescription only.) We have a horrible year-round flea problem in New Orleans.

Blankets/bedding: During the cold months (roughly now through April) we need bedding. Cheap fleece blankets from places like Wal-Mart and Big Lots work well. We prefer not to have quilted blankets, because quilting is potentially dangerous to dogs if they chew it. Towels and sheets are also good!

Collars, harnesses, leashes, etc: We're pretty straight on regular collars and leashes. However we need martingale-style collars (like collars for sight hounds). We also love "Gentle Leaders" and "Easy Walker harnesses" (both made by Premier) because they are gentle, humane training tools that help our dogs learn to walk politely. We do also need very small puppy collars!

Crates/kennels: we prefer plastic, airline-type crates, but we love any :)

Chews: Anything to chew on is great for our dogs while they are crated. Kongs are great. Rawhides and other chews are good too.

Dewormers, vaccines, etc: please call in a monetary donation to our vet, Prytania Vet, 504 899 2828 so that we can buy these items from them!

The dogs thank yall!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

No Mercy in the Desire Area

When I'm not feeling great about life, I drive around and check on the state of the 9th Ward.

Today was such a day, and I drove into the Desire Area of the 9th Ward. I randomly decided to drive through the former Press Park Apartments -- Housing Authority of New Orleans Properties that are now the subjects of demolition by neglect, the belongings of their former inhabitants still inside them, 5 years after Katrina -- and the first thing I saw was a very pathetic looking little dog.

I see stray dogs constantly -- sometimes as many as 10 per day. But this little girl was missing half her hair and bleeding from raw, open sores. I couldn't leave her there, even though Dogs of the 9th Ward is totally out of space and even more out of money.

Our wonderful vet saw "No Mercy" today. Mercy is around 1 year old and is a very petite pit female at about 35 pounds. She has very severe demodex mange and a bad secondary skin infection. She's staying at the vet to begin treatment, and will be ready to join foster care soon.

If anyone has even a dollar to spare, we really need help with No Mercy's treatment. Our dogs come to us in such bad shape that our vet bills are constantly high. In fact, the majority of our adult dogs are -- like Mercy -- obvious abuse/neglect cases.

Please help us keep helping the dogs that care forgot.

You can donate to our wonderful vet, Prytania Veterinary Hospital, at 504.899.2828 8am-6pm CST M-F or 8am-1pm Saturday. (4907 Prytania Street, New Orleans, LA 70115) You can also donate via paypal to

Thanks yall!

Dogs of the 9th Ward

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Update: Rosie's Puppies!

Rosie, the small pit mix girl who was living around the abandoned Gentilly Woods shopping mall, gave birth to her 7 puppies just after we finally managed to catch her. Now, 4.5 weeks later, they're doing fabulously, getting big, and are healthy and sweet. And did I mention cute?

These 4 girls and 3 boys will ready to go to new homes right around the holidays. They will be dewormed, UTD on shots, and spayed/neutered before leaving. Mama Rosie is an approximately 40 pound black and white pit mix; we don't know who Dad was, but all the puppies are black and white like Mama. We expect them to be medium-sized as adults and they are already sweet as can be!

We are taking applications for the pups now, and they are available to meet. The puppies' adoption fees will be $100, which covers a portion of our costs caring for them and vetting them. Please email for more information!


Tiana is one of 4 girls. She is the largest puppy in the litter and is very friendly and outgoing.


Pizza is one 4 female puppies. She is mostly black with some white and is pretty outgoing. She is about the same size as most of her brothers and sisters.


Wyatt is one of 3 boys. He's the most outgoing of the boys and just loves people. He's about the same size as most of his brothers and sisters.


Calamity is one of 4 girls. She is the smallest of the puppies and is also a bit shy. She loves her brothers and sisters though and is very playful!


Posey is one of 3 boys. He is the only dark-colored male of the litter. He is medium in size and is moderately outgoing.


Throttle is one of 3 males. He is outgoing and happy and is one of the larger puppies.


Tilly is one of 4 girls. She is friendly and sweet.