Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
Big things often start small: oak trees grow from acorns, floods begin with a single drop of rain.
All those big, husky Pit Bulls who’ve been helped by Angela Adams and her Born Again Pit Bull Rescue? They have Chihuahuas to thank.
"I always loved dogs, and we always had one when I was growing up," Angela says. "But they were Chihuahuas. I'd never even heard of Pit Bulls."
The first honest-to-goodness bully-breed dog entered her life in 2003.
"I was dating this guy right after I finished college, and he brought home a Pit Bull puppy named Jasmine," she says. "I fell in love and wanted to learn about her. I didn't know anything about the breed."
Researching it, Angela was horrified by a statistic that would change her life: For every Pit Bull that finds a home [in the US], 600 die in shelters.*
"I thought to myself, '600 of my beloved Jasmines die?'. I knew I had to do something."
She immediately went to work, alone, rescuing individual dogs and volunteering at Clackamas Dog Services. "I really wanted to understand animal welfare and the shelter system," she says.
Angela became so dedicated and skilled at animal care that the shelter offered her a job. She declined because she was already employed — as a caregiver to a person. She still holds this job today, in addition to caring for a second client and running Born Again Pit Bull Rescue (BAPBR).
While she'd been building a network of foster homes and volunteers for her growing rescue since 2007, she didn't get around to filling out the nonprofit paperwork for the organization until 2011.
"I never thought of the rescue as something I would do forever," she says. "I didn't know where my life would be. I didn't know if I'd get married, have kids — so for me, the commitment of starting a nonprofit ... that was serious."
Her reluctance is understandable; at the time, Angela was a 20-something funding an animal rescue out of her own pocket while also working to pay off student loans and buy a house.
That last achievement gives her the most pride. "I worked two jobs for two years, seven days a week, to buy this home in Sherwood. Nobody helped me, no one else is on the deed. It's all me. I did that at 25 years old," she says proudly.
She shares her home with three dogs: Two Pit Bulls, Max and Sway, and a "Chorkie" (Chihuahua-Yorkie mix) named Judd.
The reason she doesn't consider BAPBR her greatest accomplishment? "Because I haven't really done that all on my own," she says. "There're volunteers and board members and donors. It has been such an amazing team effort."
An effort that not only resulted in countless canine lives saved, but also in the highly successful "Snip Your Pit" program that saw 140 Pit Bull-type dogs altered — for free — in 12 months’ time.
Angela has worked tirelessly, but finally got in a trip to Hawaii recently — her first vacation in five years. She loves the aloha spirit of the island so much she's planning to return several times in 2015 ... and one day, maybe for good.
"It sparked something in my soul," she says wistfully. "It sort of slapped me in the face, like, 'Hey! Life is passing you by!' So yeah, I'd like to live on an island one day."
She admits that dream probably won't be realized for a while, as there is still a ways to go in paying off her school bills and saving more dogs. It seems this this beach-loving flip-flop fan is just as at home being a Pit Bull hero in neon Nikes.
For now, anyway.
*This statistic is not verifiable, but the fact that pit bull-type dogs die in shelters at a much higher rate than other canines is not in dispute—Ed.
About our Sponsor
Dignified Pet Services has served the Portland-area community for 13 years. In addition to their core business of cremation and memorial services, Dignified co-sponsors the beloved annual Service of Remembrance at The Old Church in downtown Portland, as well as serving as wonderful supporters and friends of pets and those working in animal welfare. Proprietors Michael, Randy and Avani live in Sherwood.
Michele Coppola is a Portland-based air personality for 99.5 The Wolf and copywriter for Entercom Radio. When she's not talking, writing, or pursuing quality couch time with husband Bryon and their dogs, Cindy and Lucy, she's also a proud volunteer for Fences for Fido and Family Dogs New Life Shelter.