Dynamic Dog Training Services, LLC 


The Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club, Inc.

by NBC 10 News 

Sunday, November 20th 2016

WARWICK, R.I. (WJAR) — The Dirty Paws Beast-Ro & Lounge opened its doors on Saturday.

The lounge which is part of Dynamic Dog Training, will be a specialty room where pet owners can pamper their canine companions.

Susan Parker, of Dynamic Dog Training say that dogs and their owners come to the Beast-Ro "for dogs to get a gourmet meal, handmade dessert and doggie bear" for their enjoyment.

There are also services for pet-owner games and dog table etiquette.

Parker says, "Dogs have a lot of fun and are allowed to be off leash in a safe, controlled setting."

The facility has partnered with Providence Animal Control and will take shelter dogs during the weekday operation schedule. The Lounge will reserve weekend operations for owned dogs.

WARWICK BEACON
Gourmet doggie food at Beast-Ro Lounge opening Nov. 20
Posted Thursday, November 17, 2016 12:06 pm

The Dirty Paws Beast-Ro & Lounge, 859 West Shore Road, will hold a grand opening Sunday, November 20 at 4 p.m.

NBC 10’s Mario Hilario will emcee the opening.

The lounge, which is part of Dynamic Dog Training, is a specialty room where pet owners can pamper their dogs.

According to Susan Parker, of Dynamic Dog Training, dogs and their owners come to "The Beast-Ro" for dogs to get a gourmet meal, homemade dessert and a doggie beer. After dinner the dogs are encouraged to play games with their owners, do some nose work and even learn table etiquette.

“Dogs have a lot of fun and are allowed to be off leash in a safe, controlled setting,” Parker said in a release.

The room is booked by making reservations ahead of time, and dogs visit one dog at a time. Of course, all dogs go home with a "Doggie Bag," she said.

Dog handlers can also spend time sitting down, unwinding and enjoying a cup of coffee or tea, while they read one of many books (yes, the books are dog recipe books or dog-related books) after play time dogs are encouraged and taught to relax and "go to their mat.” RI Shelter dogs can come to the Beast-Ro during the week for free.

Parker said she has partnered with Providence Animal Control and is currently searching for volunteers who can take shelter dogs to make frequent visits to get some time away from the shelter and also cut loose and have fun while they wait for their forever home.

Shelter dogs can attend weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All dogs must be up to date on vaccines and volunteers must be cleared through the shelter staff before becoming a "Beast-Ro volunteer."

“Weekends are utilized for owned dogs. but shelter dogs can come if we have a reservation available,” Parker said.

Pit Bull Plunge helps pets in Warwick
Jan 01, 2015
By Olivia Fecteau, NBC 10 News
WARWICK, R.I. -

Warwick City Park Beach was packed with people and pups for the Pit Bull Plunge on New Year's Day.

Freezing,” Jen Caya said. “I'm so cold.”

“Actually it was nice in the water,” Kerri Lopes said. “It's when you got out, like ‘Okay, I think I want to go back.”

The event is in its fourth year, organized by the Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club.

This year, more than 75 people showed up, raising more than $1,000 for training and enrichment programs.

“[It's] about the plight of these pit bulls and what these dogs go through every day of their lives,” Susan Parker, the club's president, said.

Parker said she and others want to convince people to stop buying from breeders and adopt dogs instead.

One of the dogs who has been adopted is Marco, a pit bull who is now four years old and in a wheelchair.

Marco was hit by a car when he was a puppy and his back legs cannot support him.

“He goes to nursing homes and hospitals and does visits as well,” Lopes, Marco's owner, said.

Organizers also gave awards to people involved in animal shelter work, including NBC 10's Mario Hilario and Molly O'Brien.

O'Brien participated in the plunge for the second year.

“This was a lot colder than last year,” O'Brien said. “I can't feel my fingers or my toes, but it was definitely an amazing feeling and we had to run really far out.”

Her advice for anyone considering an event like this is simply to take the plunge.

“Just come and run and go,” O'Brien said. “Just run and then run back out fast.”


You read it correctly: First ‘pup crawl’ is Oct. 5

Warwick Beacon, 9/23/2014


The Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club will present its First Annual RI Shelter Pup Crawl beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5 at Providence Animal Control. From Providence, the group will head to the Warwick Animal Shelter at 2 p.m. for the next part of our Pup Crawl.

Both Warwick and Providence Animal Control are sponsoring adoptions and spay/neuter for canines committed to adoption on the day of the crawl. People will have the opportunity to meet adoptable dogs, fill out an application, and adopt their new best friend free of charge. In addition, Dynamic Dog Training will train the dog in a group class for free.

Each shelter will hold their own open house with crafts and raffles. In addition, two shelters will hold a shelter dog fashion show to showcase the wonderful animals in their care. This is a day of fun for the whole family, dedicated to getting local pets out of the animal shelters and into new and loving homes.

Following the shows at the shelters, adults can join for the After Party at 1150 Oak Bar & Grill in at 1150 Oaklawn Ave. in Cranston. For a $20 donation per person, you can enjoy food and live music, raffles and a great time with new friends.


Aroma therapy for R.I. shelter dogs is training in disguise

June 17, 2014 10:49 PM

BY DONITA NAYLOR

Journal Staff Writer

[email protected]

WEST WARWICK, R.I. — Lisa Scott, 40, an animal control officer in Providence, used her day off Monday to give Cassie, a shelter dog awaiting adoption, some training disguised as a walk in the woods.

Cassie, agog with the whole outdoors near the West Warwick Animal Shelter, tugged at her leash as she circled a parking lot with Susan Parker, the Dynamic Dog Lady, who has set up an enrichment program with volunteers who work to make shelter dogs more adoptable.

Unlike an obedience class, Parker’s program of treasure scent mapping lets the dog enjoy using its natural abilities. The game is like the outdoor treasure hunts known as geocaching, only the dogs use their noses instead of GPS devices. “Sniffing is relaxing for dogs,” Parker said.

She has planted “treasure” boxes, marked with a scent and containing dog treats, a stamp pad, a notebook, a rubber stamp and stickers. She also has marked the trail occasionally with the same essential oil she dabbed on a cotton square taped to the boxes. She also wrote a treasure map giving humans directions to the scented boxes. And she baked a bunch of doggie waffles that she broke up and used as rewards.

Cassie was given a whiff of the scent and immediately a reward. Scott had a bag of treats to condition Cassie to expect something good whenever the command “go find it” was given.

Cassie must have thought she was in heaven. As she enjoyed her ramble on a long lead on the River Trail, she heard, “Go find it!” and waffle treats appeared on the ground in front of her. She snuffled up the treats and sniffed for more. “You want to encourage her on her own to go find it,” Parker said.

When Parker came across a place she had marked with the scent, in this case Sandalwood Forest essential oil from Wal-Mart, she indicated for the dog to smell the spot, then rewarded her with a waffle.

“Although it’s natural to the dog, you still have to teach them what they’re looking for,” Parker said.

Parker read from the map: “We are now in the Enchanted Forest,” she said. “You will see two old trees, one on each side of the trail.” The treasure box was clearly visible in the roots of one tree.

Cassie flopped on the trail to rest. “She’s already wiped out,” Parker said. “C’mon, find it! Come over here, find it!” Parker said, encouraging Cassie to sniff the box. When she did, Parker immediately rewarded her, first with her voice, “Good find it!” and then with a dog biscuit from the treasure box.

In the treasure box was also a notebook, into which Scott stamped the rubber stamp she had brought. Then she marked her own notebook with the rubber stamp in the treasure box. Parker and Scott wrote the date and “Projo” in the notebook.

“That’s how we converse with the other volunteers in the other shelters. We’re going to have a contest with this,” Parker said.

“The more they do it,” Scott said, the dogs “realize what you’re looking for.”

With the help of the written instructions, Scott found the next treasure box and pointed it out to Cassie.

“Good find it! Good girl!”

“They go back seriously tired,” Parker said. “They go back enriched.”

Parker has written four maps and placed three treasure boxes for each map. The program was set up for volunteers to work with shelter dogs, but owned dogs can also benefit. To try one of the treasure maps, call Parker at (401) 823-8851 or email her at [email protected]

Cassie is available for adoption at Providence Animal Control.

“Letting the dog be a dog,” Parker said, “that’s what it’s all about.”

NBC10 'Sunday Brunch' Cooking Segment
Woofles: A homemade treat for your dog

2/11/2014

Warwick’s Dynamic Dog Training Services is offering a one-of-a-kind enrichment program to help shelter dogs channel their energy through their nose.

“Calming Scents” Nose Works allows dogs to tap into their basic hunting instincts by training them to learn and find various scents within the Dynamic Dog Training facility in Conimicut.

Owner Susan Parker learned about this type of program when she completed a similar program in Massachusetts with her own dog. She decided to add the element of using calming essential oils as some of the scents dogs can search for and started the program in May 2013; it is the only one of its kind in Rhode Island.

Parker explained that the program was originally designed for shelter dogs because they often don’t have another way to get energy out of their system.

“The reason it works so well with shelter dogs is it teaches them channeling and energy release,” said Parker. “Otherwise, they don’t get to get out and enjoy.”

When completing the training, Parker says they usually select shelter dogs experiencing “stranger danger,” or those with low-confidence and social anxiety.

“The shelter can be overwhelming for some dogs,” explained Parker. “This is naturalizing the dog. They are doing what a dog does best.”

Parker, who is also the founder of The Little Rhody Bully Breed Club, works a lot with pit bulls in the program simply because there are a lot of pit bulls in shelters. However, the program works with all breeds.

Parker has a relationship with volunteers at the Warwick Animal Shelter, West Warwick Animal Shelter and Providence Animal Control to provide this program at no cost to dogs in those facilities. Some volunteers who have been assisting with this program include Nettie Rose Cooley and Patty Martin, who bring dogs from the Warwick shelter to class on Saturdays.

Parker also decided to open it up to private owners and their dogs through Dynamic Dog Training.

Although there are multiple dogs in a class, they are brought in one at a time for their exercise on the floor. The other dogs remain in their owner’s car because they cannot interact with each other or other owners; they need to stay focused on the training. After finding a scent two or three times, that dog’s turn is complete and the rotation continues. Each dog has multiple turns in a class.

The exercise goes like this: Their owner brings in the dog on leash and a trainer holds a small aluminum dish with a scent in it. The dog sniffs that item, learns the scent and receives a treat. The owner then brings the dog into Parker’s office to decompress. The trainer hides the tray with the item somewhere on the training floor, informs the owner where, and the owner then brings the dog onto the floor, on or off leash, and says, “Find it.” That triggers the dog to begin “hunting” for the item. When he finds it, the dog receives another treat and encouraging cheers from the crowd.

Parker explained that the dogs begin training by finding treats hidden throughout her workspace, which includes a number of empty dog dishes on the floor, furniture, cupboards and other household items in which to hide the scent. After they have mastered finding the treats, the volunteers will put essential oils such as rose or lavender on a cotton ball and begin to train the dog to find those; finally, they move on to human scents. The owners take turns rubbing napkins on their arms and neck to collect their unique scent, which the dog then searches for.

The program is only in its second week with its current group of dogs, so Parker pointed out that they have yet to learn the whole game.

“They’re not as experienced as the other dogs who can find a human scent,” she explained.

But they were still pretty quick. The group includes a mix of shelter dogs and dogs whose owners were looking for a way to calm them down. Most were able to find the scent of the treat or essential oil in less than a minute, and a few within seconds. Others even tried human scents for the first time and had great success.

Even a dog participating in the class for the first time was able to pick up on the game quickly; Parker’s husband Harry brought a new dog to this past weekend’s class, Sebastian from Providence Animal Control. Although his first attempt took quite a while, by his second turn, Sebastian had caught on and was finding the treat within seconds.

“Even a dog that’s never done it before can do it,” pointed out Parker. She added that it was possible this was one of Sebastian’s first experiences outside of the shelter, and he likely wanted to explore his surroundings before hunting for a scent.

For the winter, the program will remain inside, however, Parker plans to transition the dogs outside as the weather gets warmer so they can learn to target the scent in an outdoor environment.

While Parker also teaches regular obedience classes, she prefers the “Calming Scents” program.

“It’s a really good social skill. You aren’t forcing them into anything,” said Parker. “It is something fun to do with them as well.”

Private owners who are taking part in the program say it has done wonders for calming down their dogs.

“She can jump a six-foot fence. I need a way to keep her calm,” said Heather Johnson, whose dog Royce is visibly energetic. Johnson was worried about her dog jumping a fence to get to her neighbor’s dogs. This program has changed that.

“She can play in the yard herself, searching for things,” she explained. “It gives her a job to do and calms her down.”

Other owners commented that it has given them something to do with their dogs during the cold winter months. All of the owners also said their dogs are so tired after class; they go home and fall asleep.

According to Parker, this program would work extremely well for dogs with low confidence, or issues socializing with people and other dogs. Parker and her husband are also looking to begin working with other shelters by training their volunteers and staff to design their own programs.

For more information about “Calming Scents” Nose Works, contact Parker at 823-8851 or by emailing [email protected]

Warwick ‘shelter dog that needed a break’ is certified for pet therapy and is in search of a home

Providence Journal

BY DONITA NAYLOR   8/1/2013


WARWICK — Last Saturday, Sasha earned her certificate as a pet therapy dog.

“I’ve been doing pet therapy myself for 27 years,” said Sue Parker, who runs the certification classes that qualify dogs to visit nursing homes and schools. “I don’t even own a pet therapy dog.”

What’s remarkable about Sasha is that she has the certification but she’s still looking for an owner.

Sasha hadn’t gone very far in life when she was left for a week with no food, Parker said. She had to live at the West Warwick animal shelter for months because she was evidence in the case against her owner.

Although she has an enthusiastic wag and a wide smile, she was a shelter dog for more than a year.

Then Parker included Sasha in a program in which volunteers help shelter dogs earn the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen certificate. In Sasha’s class, students from the MET School in Providence trained the dogs for their senior project.

“That alone is awesome for a homeless dog,” Parker said.

Parker, who founded The Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club and runs Dynamic Dog Training in Warwick, has fostered the three-year-old mixed-breed pit bull since March.

Volunteer Kerri Sorbel saw potential in Sasha to continue her education. “She just had something,” Sorbel said Tuesday morning as Sasha showed what a friendly dog she is. “She’s so lovable — that big sloppy tongue coming at you.”

Starting with nose training, or hiding treats for the dog to find on command, Sorbel and Parker saw that Sasha was extremely intelligent. Sorbel, who works at a hospice, volunteered to train her as a pet therapy dog.

“She was just like, ‘great, let’s do it,’ ” Sorbel said of Sasha.

“She rocked it,” said Parker. “We’re actually harder on shelter dogs,” she said. “I want to make sure [their training is] totally rock solid.”

The 35-foot-square dog training studio on West Shore Road is set up like a home or nursing home environment. Besides ordinary furniture, there are tables on wheels, a portable toilet, a dummy oxygen tank, an IV stand, walkers, canes and a wheelchair.

Sorbel orders Sasha to stay and places a plate of dog treats before her. Parker turns a CD player up loud and starts dancing and clapping her hands. Trying to distract Sasha, she grabs the IV stand, rolls it across the room and dances with it, twirling the tubing as if it were a feather boa.

The dog doesn’t notice. Only when she is released from the stay does she get the top bone from the plate.

On Sunday, Sasha will show off some of her training at Bark in the Park in Fall River. The event starts at 11 a.m. at Kennedy Park.

Parker is hoping that Sasha’s new credentials will help her find a home, preferably with an active family who can be a responsible pit owner and continue her work as a pet therapy dog.

Parker describes Sasha as going from “a dog in the cage going woof, woof, woof,” to a certified good citizen and insurable pet therapy dog.

“She’s just a shelter dog that needed a break.”


IMAGE:  Sandor Bodo/The Providence Journal
Kerri Sobel, who works at a hospice, was the volunteer who worked with a homeless pit bull named Sasha to earn her AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate and go on to become a Certified Pet Therapy Dog.

Homeless pit bull a ‘certified’ therapy dog

Warwick Beacon

Elisha Kay Aldrich    8/8/2013


Sasha is Warwick’s own certified pet therapy dog. But, Sasha’s journey to obtain such a title is different from most dogs. She is a pit bull. Sasha is also homeless; she was abandoned a year ago and has been in the care of the West Warwick Animal Shelter ever since.

Susan Parker and Kerri Sobel, who were in charge of Sasha’s training, said they chose her because she was never aggressive, and they thought she was just special. Sasha began her training in March and has been so successful that they want to create a program so more homeless dogs can be like her, and find better homes because of it.

Parker is the owner and founder of Dynamic Dog Training and The Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club. Dynamic Dog Training will train all sorts of dogs, while The Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping sheltered pit bulls.

“I just love them,” Parker said of the breed. “They’re misunderstood, they’re loyal, loving, and have a bad rap. I want people to feel the same way I do about them.”

Through both of these organizations, Parker has been able to train dogs using two programs, which she hopes to combine to create a third one for dogs like Sasha.

The first program, Out of the Pits and into the Ritz, is a national program. It allows shelter dogs, specifically pit bulls, to obtain the AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate. Parker began working with Out of the Pits, in 2005, and in a spin-off program, she and Sobel work with students at the Met School and children sponsored by the North American Family Institute every week to help train the dogs.

“The program is written so kids understand to treat their pets with love, honor and respect,” said Parker.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Canine Good Citizen Program “lays the foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events.”

Most shelter dogs are adopted before they can obtain the good citizen title.

The second portion would be based off Lexis Circle of Friends Pet Therapy Program, which is taught by Parker and named for another homeless pet therapy dog, Lexi. This program deals with dogs who already have owners, and who already have the AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate. Dogs, and owners, are taught the proper temperament and behaviors for going on pet therapy visits to nursing homes or children’s hospitals.

Although shelter dogs do not normally enter the pet therapy program, Sasha showed so much potential that both Parker and Sobel wanted to enroll her.

“After we started the AKC Classes, we agreed Sasha was special, so I said let’s try it,” said Parker.

Sasha excelled in her training, especially with children. Now they hope to put her either in children’s hospitals or interventions with teenagers. Sobel, who is a volunteer with both Dynamic Dog Training and The Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club, has a 15-month-old son that Sasha has become great friends with.

“He’s been around her for about a year. When we go for a walk she likes to be near him and keep tabs on him. She’s very gentle with him. They’re best buddies!” Sobel said.

Sobel has also received some backlash about her choice to let Sasha be around her son.

“She’s fantastic with him. People say, ‘Oh, I can’t believe you let a pit bull near your baby.’ But she’s just so good. They’re inseparable,” she said.

Parker stated that she would like Sasha’s future owners to be responsible with pit bulls, and continue with the children’s pet therapy. However, they shouldn’t own cats.

“Sasha’s not a cat lover,” she laughed.

The new program will aim to make more dogs like Sasha. They will take dogs from shelters that already have some basic obedience training, like sit and stay, and train them to receive the AKC Good Citizen Certification. Once they become Good Citizens, the shelter dogs will be trained to become pet therapy dogs like Sasha. The training will be similar to what Parker teaches dogs with owners now, but more intensive so that when the shelter dogs are adopted owners know they have had rock solid training.

“Our goal is to make this a shelter dog program for dogs that have the qualifications and personality,” said Parker.

The program will differ slightly from Out of the Pits because it will not be limited to just pit bulls but will be open to shelter dogs of all breeds. However, Parker and Sobel want to make Sasha the poster dog for their new program, so that they can support their new program and still help to get rid of the stigma against pit bulls.

The new program has yet to be named, but Parker and Sobel are ready to get the ball rolling, and help out more dogs like Sasha.


Bill aims to cage, muzzle all pit bulls

By Kim Kalunian, WPRO News

February 13, 2013


CORRECTION: Rep. Ray Gallison is the House sponsor of this bill. The sponsor was misidentified in a previous version of this story. We regret the error.

Senator Chris Ottiano (R-Bristol, Portsmouth) has submitted a bill that would require all pit bulls in Rhode Island to be caged or muzzled at all times. The bill has pit bull and animal advocates voicing their concern, but Ottiano said he realizes the legislation needs a lot of work.

The legislation was born out of a Bristol Town Council resolution that was drafted after several residents dogs were attacked by other canines in public places. Ottiano said the owners of the vicious dogs were not held accountable for their animals' actions, and subsequently let the dogs be euthanized and then acquired new dogs.

The legislation, submitted earlier this month, targets pit bulls specifically, calling them "dangerous" and mandating that all owners register the dogs with their municipality. 

The legislation says that, because of pit bulls' "inbred propensity to attack other animals" they must "at all times" be kept inside or in a "enclosed and locked pen, with either a top or with all four sides at least six feet high." The bill goes on to say that if a dog is not confined, it must be muzzled at all times it is on a leash, and cannot be walked within 100 feet of a school.

The bill also proposes that pit bull owners be able to prove they have the financial ability to respond to any damages or harm caused by the dog in the amount of $50,000.

Dr. E.J. Finocchio of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said he agrees with the insurance and registration of the dogs, but not with the confinement or muzzling. Finocchio said there are already vicious dog laws in place that ensure dogs that growl, bite or attack will be properly confined.

"How could you impose that a dog that is not even vicious, he or she has to be muzzled or put in such a confinement?" he asked.

Finocchio said pit bulls do not bite more than any other breed, but their attacks can be more serious due. 

"Walking down the street with a Chihuahua you're carrying a BB gun, if you're walking down the street with a pit bull, you're walking down the street with a machine gun,” he said.

Finocchio said he would like to see a moratorium on pit bull breeding unless the breeder is American Kennel Club (AKC) certified.

“We need to get these inner-city thugs who are breeding these dogs, we need to put them out if business,” he said.

Susan Parker, President of the Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club, said, “Our organization, the Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club Inc... a 501 C 3 organization is highly opposed to BSL [Breed Specific Legislation] in the state of RI. We as a group are working hard on alternative ideas. We also believe that education (beginning with school age children) and responsible ownership  along with offering  low cost spay/neuter is the key to success. BSL does nothing but hurt responsible owners & their beloved pets. “

Ottiano told WPRO Tuesday he spent two years drafting the legislation, which he realizes is far from perfect.

"Admittedly, we did not have any input from so-called national canine groups but now with the placement of the bill, we had sent a copy of it to some of the national groups," he said.

Finocchio said no one has contacted him for his input on the legislation.

Rep. Ray Gallison (D-Bristol, Portsmouth) is the sponsor of the bill in the House, but said he only agreed to sponsor the bill because it was handed to him by Ottiano and the Town Council. He said submitting the bill is "as far as it goes with me."

Ottiano said he hopes the legislation will ultimately zero in on irresponsible dog owners, and not on the animals themselves. He is now working with animal advocacy organizations to make the bill more palatable to all parties involved, and said it could take years before the language in the bill is finalized.


An Oldie, but a Goodie! Back in 2005.

2013 Pit Bull Plunge!

Warwick Beacon, 1/3/2013




A group of Pit Bull Plunge participants dances to get warm after retreating from the icy waters. They are, from left, Scott Henshaw, Mark Ready, Ann Marie Rakovic, Jen Saker and Kerri Lopes, who made up “Marco’s Team.” The team was named after Mark and Kerri’s pit bull, pictured, who now uses a canine wheelchair to get around. Kerri and Mark rescued Marco after he was struck by a car and abandoned. Marco’s Team raised more than $800 at Monday’s Pit Bull Plunge event. (Submitted photo)

No, actually Zane who was rescued from the animal shelter 12 years ago, stayed on dry land Tuesday as his master Mike Motulski took the Pit Bull Plunge with scores more at City Park Beach raising funds for the Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club. The club seeks to overcome attitudes that the breed is vicious and unsuitable as family pets. Mike, who lingered at the beach in his swimsuit after the plunge, said the water wasn’t all that cold. No pit bulls were seen going into the bay, confirming that while they are lovable, they are also sensible. (Warwick Beacon photos)

'Dog Lovers Dive in for Pit Bulls'

Dozens Brave Frigid Water to Help Dogs in Need

Updated: Wednesday, 04 Jan 2012, 2:08 PM EST
Published : Sunday, 01 Jan 2012, 11:07 PM EST

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) - New Year's celebrations have gone to the dogs in Warwick.

Dog lovers ran into the frigid water at Goddard Park on Sunday morning to raise money for pit bull awareness -- and a local youth mentoring program.

"All the proceeds go to the homeless animals in the Rhode Island shelter base system," Susan Parker of the Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club said.

She says the pit bull is a misunderstood breed -- noting many pits are therapy dogs.

A separate plunge was held for the RI Mentoring Partnership , where adults are paired with teens in need of a good role model.

Organizers for both events say they were a complete success.

Copyright WPRI

'Pit Bull Stops Larceny in Progress'

Cranston Herald, 10/17/12

Nick Cantor

CANINE COP: Amy DuPont's 1-year-old pit bull, Brady, woke her up Saturday and alerted her to a larceny in progress from a car parked outside. DuPont was able to identify the suspects, who were later arrested.

It was shortly before 3 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 13, when Amy DuPont of Cranston, a home-based therapist for United Cerebral Palsy, was awoken by her startled dog. Brady, her 1-year-old pit bull, was scratching and clawing at the bed, trying to get her attention.

“I have never heard him make noises like that before,” she said.

DuPont brought Brady outside, whereupon she says he let out “the loudest bark I have ever heard.” It was fitting, given the fact that right there, in her driveway, a man was rummaging through her father’s truck. As he realized his actions had drawn the attention of a woman and her dog, the suspect immediately fled the scene, causing DuPont to head back into her house and call 911.

The Cranston Police were able to arrest the suspect shortly thereafter, along with four other suspects in a car on nearby Short Road.

DuPont was called down to the Cranston Police Station, where she was able to make a positive identification on the suspect, whom she described as wearing “dark clothing with a hat that had ‘raccoon style’ ears on it.” Police arrested 21-year-old Alexander Woods, 22-year-old Jennifer Wholly, 19-year-old Alexander Rastelli and 20-year-old Kyle Cote, as well as an unidentified juvenile.

Brady, however, was the true hero of the night, according to DuPont.

“I owe it all to my dog,” she said.

While the actions of Brady were certainly noble and worthy of recognition, the fact that he is a pit bull, a breed often associated with the wrong side of the law, makes it all the more noteworthy. For once, a pit bull has made headlines for something positive – alerting someone of imminent danger.

DuPont rescued Brady, then named “Brody,” in Providence on Sept. 28, 2011. Now, a little over one year later, the renamed Brady has made significant progress toward DuPont’s ultimate goal of having him become a therapy animal. She credits his trainer, Susan Parker, with much of his progress. DuPont is part of the organization “Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club Inc.” Founded in an effort to alter common misconceptions regarding pit bulls, the organization emphasizes spaying and neutering as the best methods toward achieving a positive portrayal of the breed. Brady has participated in numerous pit bull shows across Rhode Island and Massachusetts over the past year.

'Pit Bull Put Down After Attacking Family'

http://www.abc6.com

Posted: Sep 18, 2012 5:28 PM EDT

The pit bull that bit three people in Woonsocket was put down Tuesday, just a day after he attacked a family. Usually there's a ten day waiting period, but animal control officers said, in this case, there was no reason to wait.

Woonsocket Animal Control made the decision to kill "Biz" when he was brought to their shelter Monday night after viciously attacking three people.

"Our job is to protect the safety of people first and in this case, with this dog, to protect the public in general. He needs to be euthanized," said animal control officer Doris Kay.

She said they really had no choice but to put "Biz" down. He's just not adoptable, and they already have ten pit bulls at the shelter.

Usually you have to wait ten days to put a dog down, but this time officers said the attack was bad enough to do it right away.

"He lunged at me and bit me and that was it," said Tracy Cyler, "Then I started screaming and my daughter came running, and then the dog turned around and she was screaming and he bit her."

Biz also bit Tracy Cyler's son. All three ended up in the hospital. They only had the dog for a few days. Cyler said "Biz" turned on them when he  began fighting with one of her other pit bulls. When she tried to pull him off, he jumped into attack mode.

"I've never ever been scared about dogs, ever, ever, no matter what breed it was never," said Cyler, "He had that look about him. I knew something was wrong."

That's why pit bull trainers said never get in the middle of a dog fight.

"It's the first thing that you want to do, because you want to break up the fight, but the dogs can and will displace, meaning they're in a frenzy so they're not paying attention," said pit bull trainer Susan Parker, "They don't realize it's your hand at that point."

Just like Cyler didn't realize something like this could happen.

New England Pet Expo 

September 15, 2012 

At 1:45 on the main stage: Breed-specific legislation (BSL) refers to laws that target dogs based on how they look rather than their actions. Hundreds of U.S. cities have already enacted BSL, and more cities adopt it every year. Many cities...and counties—plus Marine Corps and Army bases—have banned select breeds altogether. Currently, BSL most often focuses on Pit Bull types (dogs that have “Pit Bull characteristics”), but some cities also target Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinchers, American Bull Dogs, Bull Terriers, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chows and other large breeds and mixes of the targeted breeds. Local animal advocate Susan Parker, of Little Rhodie Bully Club, will discuss BSL, why BSL doesn’t work, and how you can help prevent breed discrimination.

'Sugar Sweetens Lives of Those Around Her'

Warwick Beacon

posted 12/20/2011

EVERYTHING NICE: Sugar, a 10-year-old female pit bull, is up for adoption at the Warwick Animal Shelter. Sugar has been trained to be a therapy dog, and often visits senior centers, bringing laughter and smiles with her wagging tail and silly tricks. (Submitted photo) Kim Kalunian

What’s sweeter than sugar?

Susan Parker has been working with pit bulls since 1997, and has been training dogs at Dynamic Dogs in Conimicut since 2005. She’s been working with pit bulls for a long time, and frowns when she hears that people are afraid of them, or stereotype them as mean and aggressive dogs.

“People think their jaws lock, but no mammals’ jaws lock,” she said. “People think they’re aggressive towards people and children but that’s not the case. You have to judge each dog as an individual, not as a breed.”

Parker has taken her own advice, and judged Sugar, a 10-year-old female pit bull, to be one of the sweetest dogs she knows.

“She’s like a clown,” she said.

This Sunday, Sugar joined seven other pit bulls on a trip to a local senior center where they visited the patients. The dogs’ handlers sung Christmas carols and read stories while the pooches lounged around and brought smiles to the seniors’ faces.

Sugar rolled over, shook “paws” with the seniors and let people pet her beige and ivory coat.

“She’ll charm you and warm your heart,” said Parker.

But Sugar is different from the other therapy dogs she accompanied last week, because Sugar is up for adoption at the Warwick Animal Shelter. Parker said Sugar is the only homeless pit bull in Rhode Island that works as a therapy dog.

“Because she’s what we call an ‘elder bull’ people often look her over,” said Parker.

The combination of her age and her breed has not boded well for Sugar, who has been waiting for months to be adopted.

Parker said Sugar is a well-trained, loving dog. She’s so well trained that Parker and two volunteers, Larry and Karen Carpenter, brought her to the New England Pet Expo this summer, where she demonstrated her tricks and best behavior.

“She won the hearts of people,” said Parker.

Parker hopes that Sugar will find a loving home for the holidays.

If you’re interested in adopting sugar, call the Warwick Animal Shelter at 468-4377.

**** Sugar has since been adopted! ****

On Sunday, the Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club met at City Park for a pit bull memorial and blessing of the dogs. Those who attended also participated in a dog show to demonstrate how pit bulls could socialize with other dogs and humans.

Sue Parker, who founded the club, led Sunday’s gathering. The memorial was for Parker’s own dog, Callie, who died last month. Callie was adopted and trained by Parker, and became a pet therapy dog.

A DAY IN THE PARK: Lauren Fontaine-Greenless of Warwick poses with her pit bull, Izzy.


READY FOR A WALK: Patty Nichols and Sebby prepare for a walk around City Park

All of the dogs at Sunday’s events were current or former shelter dogs; some were previously considered dangerous and are now “good canine certified.”

Parker started the club in 2007, and has since been working with shelter dogs, ensuring they receive the proper obedience training to get them good homes. Parker also runs Dynamic Dog Training.

Parker said the biggest misconceptions about pit bulls are that their jaws lock and they are naturally aggressive. Neither, she said, are true.

“They make fantastic family pets,” she said.

Twelve pit bulls and their handlers attended Sunday’s event.

For more information on the Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club, find them on Facebook.



Pick-A-Pet of the Week with Mario Hilario

NBC10

NBC 10's Pick-A-Pet segment is featured Saturday mornings on "Weekend Sunrise."  It features dogs and cats available for adoption from the Providence Animal Care and Control Center.

If the pet you saw on-air has already been adopted, the Providence Animal Care and Control Center and the Rhode Island SPCA have many more wonderful pets that hope you will take them home.

The Rhode Island SPCA features animals here as well as the RISPCA Web site.  If you would like to meet an animal featured on the Web, please visit the RISPCA at 186 Amaral St. in Riverside, R.I.

The Providence Animal Care and Control Center is located at 7 Service Rd. in Providence.

Volunteer Services for Animals is located at 200 Terminal Road, off Allens Ave. in Providence.  You can reach the VSA at 401-272-1639.  The Providence Chapter of the Volunteer Services for Animals can be contacted at P.O. Box 41206, Providence, R.I. 02940.


'Out of the Pits and into The Ritz! Bully Training Workshop'

Pit Bull Workshops In New Jersey and New York

Sammy's Hope

"Susan Parker is a trainer specializing in American Pit Bull Terriers, pit mixes and bully breeds.

Shelters, rescue groups, volunteers, trainers, pit bull owners, and pit bull devotees are welcome at this workshop. Sue will be working with shelter pit bulls throughout the day to demonstrate and teach her techniques.

Topics covered in the workshop:

  • learning how to read dogs thru understanding their body language
  • Pit Bull reactivity – how to work with it.
  • Specific games teaching how to work with high prey drive and energy outlets for the dogs.
  • Safety handling tips for shelter workers
  • Specific training for shelter Pit Bulls and shelter volunteers (Out of the Pits and into The Ritz)
  • Adoption advice
  • How society views Pit Bull owners and how we dispel the myths
  • There will be a Question and Answer period following the workshop

About Susan Parker:

Susan Parker is the owner of Dynamic Dog Training/Behavior Services LLC. Located in Warwick, Rhode Island. She is the president and founder of the non-profit 501 C3 organization, The little Rhodie Bully Breed Club Inc. Susan has worked with dogs and their families to develop better relationships for many years. Susan specializes in American Pit Bull Terriers and has been a Pit Bull rescue coordinator for many shelters in RI. Susan’s specialty is rehabilitating and training the most difficult dogs with her upbeat motivational methods. In 2008, she was nationally recognized by winning a $5,000 Maddie’s Fund grant for a shelter of her choice.

She was granted this primarily because of her work with volunteer training and placing shelter Pit Bulls. She is the founder of the non-profit organization called The Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club Inc. She created an inner-city youth program teaching high school students how to love; honor, respect, and train shelter Pit Bulls. Over the years, she has conducted various educational seminars and presentations on dog training/behavior and enriching dogs’ lives during their shelter stay. She has been a keynote speaker in Rhode Island, Mass & NJ & NY and also appears on the local “Pick a Pet of the Week” segment routinely with news Channel 10′s Mario Hilario.

During this interactive workshop, Susan will demonstrate her techniques. Shelters, volunteers, and Pit Bull owners interested in learning about understanding and training Pit Bulls will benefit from this workshop."

'Susan Parker Workshop a Great Success!'

Sammy's Hope

"Sammy’s Hope was so happy to have Susan Parker of Dynamic Dog Training present her “Out of the Pits and into The Ritz!” Bully Training Workshop at the shelter today for our volunteers, past adopters, and bully breed lovers.  We all learned so many valuable ways to train and socialize our pups and help the shelter dogs become more adoptable, more quickly!  We have gotten wonderful feedback from our attendees and look forward to having Susan back in the future.

We would also like to thank the Edison Animal Shelter for allowing us to hold the workshop on their grounds and staying open on an off day so that we could use the shelter dogs for the program.  It was much appreciated."

'No Bull, a Wedding Fit For Dogs '

Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2011 

Cranston Herald

The bride wore a veil with a white satin dress edged in lace. The groom wore a yellow bandana and a black bow tie. That was it. No shoes. No shirt. No pants.

But then the wedding party – mostly homeless – was similarly attired. “Frankie” fit right in with all his friends, all of them pit bulls.

Frankie and “Isabelle” tied the knot Sunday at Conimicut Point.

It looked like rain would wash out the ceremony. An earlier shower had left wet grass on the lawns and puddles in the parking lot. But then the day brightened and Tammy Collins stepped forward to officiate.

A lot of life has brightened in the last year for the two pit bulls.

Frankie was first to be rescued, by Lauren Fontaine, a registered nurse at Rhode Island Hospital.

Fontaine had a dog as a child and searched on PetFinder.com for another. Frankie’s face called to her. She had no idea she was looking at a pit bull, and certainly no clue that the initial connection on the Internet would lead to meeting a group of people who stand by and support the breed.

Fontaine visited Frankie at the West Warwick Animal Shelter. She was torn. Was this the dog she should bring home? Was he the right one? Finally she decided to let Frankie make the decision.

She sat and posed the question, “Do you want to come home with me, buddy?” Frankie wagged. He does a lot of wagging. He jumped in her lap. Question answered.

Then there was Isabelle, a refugee from the great flood of 2010, recalls Warwick Animal Supervisor Ann Corvin. Isabelle was one of those dogs that were evacuated when the Pawtuxet flowed over the levees and inundated the shelter with water that almost reached the ceiling.

By then, Fontaine had connected with Susan Parker, the founder of the Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club.

“I was working with Sue and I knew there were a whole bunch [of pit bulls] that needed a home,” said Fontaine.

Her first recollection of Isabelle was a dog that couldn’t stop jumping up and down. Isabelle jumped into Fontaine’s heart. Now Frankie had company.

So, how did co-habitation lead to a wedding?

Well, it wasn’t a doggie thing. Rather, the wedding was the brainchild of Parker and

Fontaine who saw it as a means of bringing club members together and raising some funds to help homeless pit bulls.

They created Facebook pages for Frankie and Isabelle. Interest grew. The dating couple suddenly had lots of friends.

Sunday’s wedding was followed by a reception at Dynamic Dog Training on West Shore Road. There was plenty of food, including hot dogs that Isabelle and Frankie would have for their wedding banquet. Of course, they had cake too. The newlyweds will honeymoon in Fontaine’s backyard, although the couple won’t get too much time alone. More than $1,000 was raised to help homeless dogs.

“I have a wonderful boyfriend,” Fontaine says of Dennis Greenless, who gave away Isabelle. Fontaine and Greenless work alternating shifts so the dogs aren’t left on their own much.

And what about the family planning for the couple?

“They decided long ago that life is all right without puppies,” said Fontaine. Not to mention that both dogs have been fixed.

But Fontaine said that shouldn’t change things.

“Maybe they’ll adopt," said Fontaine.

'Pit Bulls go to Charm School'

The Herald News

By Deborah Allard

Fall River - Never mind the cat walk, pit bulls are taking center stage and gaining confidence and good manners in a training program that transforms problem pooches into model pets.
“Out of the Pits and Into the Ritz” Pit Bull Training Academy is not your average sit and stay class. Created by Susan Parker, owner of Dynamic Dog Training of West Warwick, R.I., the program, being instituted at Forever Paws in the city’s South End, has graduated several dogs.
And, better than that, these shelter dogs are now eligible for loving homes.

Nory, a black pit bull/Labrador mix, that's been living at Forever Paws for a year, will have a home to call his own upon graduation. The same goes for Hennesy, a red and white petite Pit; Eric, a brown and white Pit; and Uno, a ridge-back mix.
“Oh my God, the pits are getting adopted,” said Gail Furtado, president of the Forever Paws Board of Directors. “They’re more friendly and confident in themselves ... and in their reactions with other animals and people.”
Each pit bull that goes through the training learns how to deal with other dogs, people, noises they might hear in public, and even baby carriages. It’s all to accustom the dog to what they might run into in normal life. It also teaches good manners, like the usual sit and stay.
“The big thing for us is we’re promoting responsible pit bull ownership,” said Parker. “They’re not vicious killers.”
Parker, who’s been a pit bull owner for many years and has worked with thousands of pit bulls, started the Academy three years ago.
“I always had an interest in training,” Parker said. “Then, I realized how (my program) was helping the dogs.”

Parker, who’s been a pit bull owner for many years and has worked with thousands of pit bulls, started the Academy three years ago. 
“I always had an interest in training,” Parker said. “Then, I realized how (my program) was helping the dogs.”

Since then, she’s been branching out and offering the training program to animal shelters.
Parker, an American Canine Club evaluator, trains some 300 pit bulls per year and owns five herself. Graduates of her program receive their AKC Canine Good Citizen Certificate. Some of the pit bulls she’s trained have even gone on to be pet therapy dogs.
Melanie, a pit bull that lived at Forever Paws, was the first pit bull in Massachusetts to receive the award. She was adopted to a home three weeks ago.
Parker first got hooked on pit bulls when her 6-year-old son begged her to take a pit puppy home from a neighbor’s dog who’d had puppies.
Parker said she was skeptical and thought of the dogs as mean. But time proved her wrong. That was some 15 years ago.
“She was an excellent dog,” said Parker.
Parker said many people think of pit bulls as “throw away dogs.” Once they’re turned into shelters, many are “sitting on death row” because no one wants to adopt them.

But pit bulls are not as scary as people make them out to be. Their behaviors are learned from their owners, she said.
“Our dogs, you don’t see in the news,” Parker said. “I’ve had a 100 percent success rate.”
She recently won a contest and $5,000 for her copyrighted program from Petfinder.com and is now known nationally. She’s filming a segment for Animal Planet this weekend.

To learn more about the program, e-mail Parker at [email protected] To learn about dogs and cats available for adoption, visit Forever Paws at 300 Lynwood St. or call 508-677-9154.


'Classes aim to blunt pit bulls’ bad-boy reputation'
Providence Journal
01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, May 30, 2007
By Talia Buford, 
Journal Staff Writer 

WEST WARWICK — On Saturday, 14 pit bulls graduated from “Out of the pits and into the Ritz,” an obedience program started by Susan Parker, a member of the Little Rhody Bully Breed Club, to help change the reputation of the breed.

Ginger, one of 14 pit bulls “graduated” from an obedience training program Saturday in West Warwick, awaits a treat. The owners received certificates of completion of the Canine Good Citizen program, one of many throughout the country sanctioned by the American Kennel Club.
The Providence Journal / John Freidah
“When people see a pit bull, they think they’re killers,” Parker said. “That they’ll eat animals. That they’ll eat your children. But these dogs are very active, loyal, smart, admirable, tenacious and strong.”

Saturday’s graduation, cosponsored by the club and Parker’s Dynamic Dog Trainer Service, was held in the park behind the West Warwick Animal Shelter, on Hay Street.

Parker has been turning dogs into good citizens for three years, and has graduated about 25 dogs from the program, she said. Through her work with both family pets and dogs from shelters around the West Bay area, she said she has never had to flunk a dog. Her clients include a high school teacher, chemist, and medical secretary — a far cry from the hard-core image the dog gives off, Parker said.

“A lot of people look at the breed for status,” Parker said. “You have to be conscious of who you are giving the dog to. When people come into the shelter looking for a certain breed, we steer them away from the [pit bull breeds].”

The pit bull is not a formal breed, but rather a catch-all term for a series of purebred or mixed-heritage bull terrier breeds. The American Staffordshire terrier and the Staffordshire bull terrier, the most common breeds, are generally muscular and are easily stimulated, according to the American Kennel Club.

The club says the bull terrier’s “indomitable courage, high intelligence and tenacity.  . . coupled with its affect for its friends, and children in particular, its off-duty quietness and trustworthy stability, makes it a foremost all-purpose dog.”

Indeed, the animals can make good family pets, said Mary R. Burch, director of the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Program.

“It requires an owner that understands what this breed is about,” she said. “They have high prey drives and may need fences, but they are wonderful family dogs and can participate in all activities. And because of their strength and size, they need an owner who is consistent when it comes to training.”

Going through the Canine Good Citizen Program helps owners do just that, Burch said. The program is a 10-step class where a certified trainer teaches responsible ownership and basic training and good manners to dogs. The certification means that each of Parker’s students can meet friendly strangers, tolerate petting, walk through a crowd and perform a number of other tasks that show they are under control.

“We believe that there aren’t really any bad dogs,” Burch said. “What you have is a problem with owners who need to be more responsible and who need more training on how to communicate and recognize when there’s a problem and they need help.”

The program, which began in 1989, nationally has certified 500,000 dogs as good citizens, Burch said. Owners of any number of breeds with bad reputations — Rottweilers, chows, Dobermans and bull breeds — have also been able to obtain homeowners insurance as long as the dog receives the good-citizen certification, Burch said.

“They’re telling the the data shows it makes a difference,” she said. “The best parallel is to driver’s education. If you train teens, they are less likely to have an incident. If you give breeds and owners training, you are less likely to have an incident.”

But even with programs such as these, incidents do occur.

Earlier this month, a 3-year-old girl was bitten in the face by a family dog — a pit-bull mix— while she played at her aunt’s Cranston home. The toddler was taken to Rhode Island Hospital where she required stitches to the cheek and lip and above one eye.

The dog, a 3-year old named Tyson, was taken to the city animal shelter. The owner said she would not take the dog back, even if officials determine the dog is not a threat if properly supervised.

Parker said it’s all about knowing your dog, and training it properly.

“I’d trust my dog as golden around my granddaughter,” she said.

Like Parker, Burch said that with proper training and supervision, any dog can be obedient.

“Some people like to write off pit-bull breeds,” she said. “They look at the aggression in the breed, but in terms of responsible dog ownership, it can be a great family pet if the breeder makes sure it’s in the right home, under the right conditions and is trained properly to prevent problems.”

More information about Canine Good Citizen programs can be obtained from the AKC’s Web site — www. akc.org — and from pet stores. Parker’s course, lasting six to eight weeks, costs $165, but she provides training for shelter animals for free.

“We believe that there aren’t really any bad dogs. What you have is a problem with owners who need to be more responsible and who need more training…”


Mary R. Burch, director
>American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Program
West Warwick

[email protected]

'Pet Owner Discovers Hard Way Dog Toy Not Indestructible'

Warwick Beacon

6/9/05
By KELLY SMITH 
Dog owner Susan Parker wants to warn fellow dog lovers about what she says could be a dangerous toy for some canines.
Last month, Parker noticed her dog Cairo, an American Staffordshire terrier, was sick and vomiting violently. Concerned, she took the dog to Oaklawn Animal Hospital, and after x-rays showed nothing in his stomach he was sent home under the assumption he was sick from eating too many "Greenies," a dog treat.
However, the vomiting continued, and when Parker returned to the veterinarians at Oaklawn, they sent her to Warwick Animal Hospital on Elmwood Avenue, telling her it had more advanced equipment to better determine what was causing the problem.
Long story short, after several x-rays, a barium swallow and an EGD (an examination of the lining of the esophagus, stomach and upper duodenum with a small camera, a flexible endoscope) showed nothing in the dog's stomach but the vomiting persisted, Dr. Seychelle Ricard decided to perform an emergency operation on Cairo. A few minutes into the surgery, the four-year veteran veterinarian discovered a large, hard lump in Cairo's small intestine.
"I didn't know what it was at first," said Ricard, adding it wasn't until Parker told her it was part of the dog's chew toy, a Dental Kong, that nearly killed him.
"I took one look at it and I knew right away what it was," said Parker. "I couldn't believe it. I never thought it could've been the Kong. I always thought they were indestructible."
Kong toys have been around since 1976 after Joe Markham, desperate to keep his German shepherd from chewing on rocks while he was working on his van, tossed the dog a suspension part. After the dog showed an interest in it, Markham refined the rubber design into a strong chew toy for large dogs. Since then, the company has created several different toys for dogs and other animals as well. Based in Colorado, Kong products are sold worldwide.
An active advocate for sheltered dogs, specifically pit bulls, Parker said the Kong toys are commonly used and known by many dog owners as virtually indestructible chew toys. However, the Kong Company does not claim the toys are indestructible.
"No dog toy is indestructible," says the company's Web site at www.kongcompany.com. "Supervise your dog's use of Kongs until you are confident they can be used safely without supervision."
The site goes on to say dog owners should check and inspect Kong toys frequently.
"Look for cracks, separations and/or missing pieces," it says. "Flex your dry Kong and inspect it from all angles. Loose pieces larger than a food nugget can be harmful if swallowed. Worn and damaged Kongs must be replaced immediately. Your dog's safety is your responsibility. If you think your dog has swallowed a toy fragment (for example, if the toy was damaged and you cannot find every piece larger than a food nugget), promptly inform your veterinarian."
Having read this herself, Parker said although it's good the company has this disclaimer on their Web site, the toys are known by dogowners everywhere to be "one of the safest toys you can give your dog." Saying she did inspect Cairo's toys often, Parker is now concerned for other dogs out there. Expressing how grateful she was to Ricard and the staff at the Warwick Animal Hospital, Parker said Cairo would've died were it not for them, and she wants other dogowners to know that not only did the hospital do a "phenomenal job saving Cairo's life," this danger does exist.
"I want people to realize the Kongs are not as indestructible as they think there are," said Parker. "I'm sure the average person doesn't know this, and I want them to know."
Ricard feels the original Kong toy or Extreme Kong are good chew toys for even the largest of dogs and most aggressive chewers, but said she would not recommend the one Cairo swallowed for larger dogs.
"I think the important distinction is what Cairo ate is one of the Dental Kongs and one of their newer products," said Ricard. "The material it's made out of is squishy. I've never seen a dog that was able to chew [apart] a regular Kong."
Ricard said Cairo's dilemma was her first encounter with the Dental Kong, which has paste squirted in it and is meant for dogs to "brush" their teeth as they are chewing on it, and had she seen one sooner she "definitely would've been concerned."
"And not because there's anything inherently wrong with the toy, but strong dogs, strong chewers — and a pit bull is at the top of that list — can chew apart just about anything that isn't nail-bound," she said, emphasizing she believes the regular Kongs are pretty sturdy.
Aside from Kongs, Ricard suggested rawhides, which are digestible if swallowed, as chew toys and even said she's known of people giving their pit bulls truck tires to chew on, saying, "That's how tough they have to be."
Ricard said dogs investigate with their mouths and noses and as puppies they develop chewing habits when teething. Providing them with safe chew toys is very important, and the stronger and more aggressive a chewer the dog is, the more careful owners must be when choosing toys.
The bottom line, said Ricard, is to not use the Dental Kong on dogs who are aggressive chewers and take care to inspect your dog's toys regularly.
As for Parker, $3,600 later, she said she's not giving Cairo any more Kongs, regular, Dental or Extreme.
"He misses his toys," she said, "and he eats a lot of cheese."