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!

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