In school this past spring, my daughter was given an assignment to write a persuasive letter to her parents. She attempted to persuade us to get a dog…I think she may have convinced her father, but not me or the cats. Today’s organization is working to persuade people to understand two specific dog breeds: Rottweilers and pit bulls.
In 1997, A Rotta Love was founded as the first nonprofit Rottweiler rescue organization in Minnesota. In 2003, A Rotta Love and a Twin Cities’ bit bull rescue named Pits Plus merged to become A Rotta Love Plus. The organization is a comprehensive and proactive all-volunteer advocacy organization that uses multiple strategies to further their mission of re-homing Rottweilers and pit bulls in Minnesota, raising breed awareness, educating the public about responsible pet ownership, and advocating for the humane and equal treatment of all dogs without prejudice. They are based in Golden Valley, Minnesota, but they serve the entire greater Twin Cities area.
A Rotta Love Plus has several programs that further their mission. Their foster and adoption program takes a “quality-over-quantity” approach to carefully select the dogs that they bring into the program and the homes where they are fostered and adopted. They also offer ongoing assessment and support for their dogs to ensure ongoing success for the animals. They rehome approximately 30 to 40 dogs each year.
A Rotta Love Plus builds and foster strong relationships between dogs and owners through their Rott n’ Pit Ed training classes. These classes, free to fosters and dogs who have been adopted through their organization, offer owners a variety of tools to ensure the right approach is taken for each dog as an individual. They also offer a Dog Safety/Humane Education program that offers education to youth, adults, and organizations on the humane treatment of animals and reduces the risk of dog bites. Between 2009 and 2012, this program reached nearly 4,000 individuals. They also offer free spays, neuters, vaccinations in addition to low-cost micro-chips to pit bulls and Rottweilers.
This year they partnered with the Minneapolis Police Department, Minneapolis Animal Care and Control, and the Minneapolis Public Schools to bring a Dog Safety program to local elementary schools. In just one semester, they conducted 46 classes where a group facilitator and two or three volunteers with their trained pit bull or Rottweiler visit a classroom and educate student on the humane treatment of animals and reduction of dog bite risk.
Another program offered by A Rotta Love Plus is their PRIORITY Paws (Pit Bull and Rottweiler Interactive OutReach Instruction and Therapy for Youth) program where they conduct dog-therapy groups with youth in crisis who reside in local youth-services organizations. The stories of abuse, neglect, and negative social perception of the pit bulls and Rottweilers provide the youth with a powerful parallel that often mirrors their own experiences. This can inspire the youth and enable them to work through their own crisis using the lessons and skills that only the dogs can teach. In 2012, their PRIORITY Paws program gave about 700 at-risk youth experience with this unique program.
Sara Nick, Communications Director for A Rotta Love Plus shared just one of their many success stories:
This is the story of Prim, a beautiful brindle pit bull. Prim endured the first couple years of her life in a heart-wrenchingly abusive situation – without going into the ugly details, suffice it to say that when she wound up in a local animal control, it was like heaven on earth. (Food! Rest! Kindness!) Eventually, Prim ran out of time at animal control, but two ARLP volunteers, who were freshly mourning the loss of their 10-year-old pit bull to cancer, decided to push through their heartache and open their home to another dog in need through fostering. ‘When we saw her face and heard her story, we knew without words that we wanted to save her,’ they said. As soon as Prim was in their car, ‘despite not having a clue where she was going, she was smiling ear to ear!’
Ever so gently, Prim’s new fosters took the time to earn her trust. They slowly introduced her to the sights, sounds, smells, and other animals of their household. Prim adjusted well (REALLY well) to their routine and lifestyle, so it came as no surprise when we heard the news not long after that they decided to make Prim a permanent member of their family. In their words, ‘Prim brought life back into our family. She will stop doing whatever she’s doing to come kiss us and let us hold her. She has so much love that she wants to give, and we want to be the ones to give her every success in life.’”
How can you help?
The organization’s greatest volunteer need is for foster homes which allow them to save a pit bull or Rottweiler and place them in a loving home until their forever family can be found. Foster families are provided with everything they need to be successful, including food and supplies as well as free training and support. Learn more about their foster program on their website.
You can also attend any of their adoption events. On Saturday, August 10 from 4 to 7 PM, they have a “Beer and Dogs” event at Nomad World Pub (501 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis) where people will have an opportunity to meet some of the dogs they have available for adoption.