JUNE 2018
The Fear Free Pets Program - What Is It? How Can It Help Me?
Emma, a 10-year-old Brittany, seems disinterested in a nail clip prior to her shampoo at the Willmar Vet Technology Association Chip ‘N Dip Saturday at Ridgewater College in Willmar. Photo from West Central Tribune.
Do you or someone you know get really anxious before you go to the doctor? People that have elevated blood pressure only when they see a doctor are referred to as having “White Coat Syndrome.” Pets aren’t immune to the anxiety of visiting the vet. This could be caused by a number of factors- riding in the car, smells of many other pets, or a negative experience at a vet office. Think about how often you visit the vet office where your dog is not poked, prodded, or given a shot. It is no wonder many of them would have anxiety.

There are many things you can do help reduce your pet’s anxiety with the vet. Here are a few tips:

  • Stop by the vet office for an impromptu friendly visit; no shots, no exam - just say hi
  • Bring treats with you to reward them throughout the process
  • Make sure the dog is restrained properly in the car
  • Book an early morning appointment when the vet is less likely to be running late, so less wait time for you and your pet!

So, what is the Fear Free Pet Program?
This new program ( fearfreepets.com) has been gaining popularity to help vets and their practices learn more about dog (and cat) behavior with the aim to improve the experience for the pet. It was developed in 2016 by Dr. Marty Becker and includes courses for everyone involved in a pet’s life- from pet owners to certification programs for trainers and veterinarians and their practices. The Fear Free program’s mission is to, “prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them.” Their courses are written by board certified veterinary behaviorists and internists, anesthesiologists, and experts in animal training, grooming, and other pet-related professions.

Veterinarians and their practices can go through 3 levels of certification, providing over 20 hours of online course training. They are working on more certification programs specifically geared to groomers, boarding and day care facilities, and other pet-related services.

According to a 2017 report on the program ( NPR Fear Free Vets) over 8,000 veterinary clinics had completed the program by 2016 and there are currently more than 16,000 pet professionals in their database in more than 30 countries. Program founder, Dr. Becker, was quoted explaining his passion for starting this training, “… I’d noticed pets were exhibiting signs of fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS), but like almost everyone else involved with veterinary medicine, thought of it as collateral damage, no big deal really. Wrong!” After listening to a talk by Dr. Karen Overall, board certified veterinary behaviorist, discussing how repeated high-stress veterinary visits were affecting pets both emotionally and physically, he decided to take action.

How can it Help Me?
Fear Free Happy Homes is a program specifically designed for the pet owner. The website (fearfreehappyhomes.com) also has several free video modules for the pet owner and you can sign up to receive free articles and monthly deals. A premium Pet Owner membership gives you access to several additional courses. Finally, the website provides a directory of veterinarians and practices that have completed the Fear Free program.
The videos are short animated features with information about the given topic. For instance, the video describing a Fear Free Vet Visit includes what a visit entails. This includes the vet office having non-slip floors, allowing you to wait in the car until the doctor is ready, and wearing pastel colored scrubs, which are more soothing to pets. The videos provide information in easy to understand language for all audiences.

Picking a veterinarian is a personal decision that involves many factors to consider. If you find your pet is anxious when visiting the vet or in situations around the home, the Fear Free program may be a good resource. Who knows, your vet may already be certified! Regardless of that, this provides a free a resource for pet owners to better understand dog behavior and help them create a dog-friendly home environment.
Brave Bobby: The Blinded Brittany From Spain
Bobby’s story with ABR begins where someone attempted to end it. His former owner in Spain smashed his head with a blunt object in an attempt to kill him, then abandoned him for dead. Instead of ending his life, that horrific attack rendered Bobby blind in his left eye. It also left a huge, permanent hole in his skull.

Prior to that terrible trauma, eight-year-old Bobby endured years of neglect. He suffered from painful glaucoma and dry eye, and because he was denied medical treatment, Bobby lost sight in his right eye. Bobby’s former owner most likely decided that vision loss diminished his ability as a hunter, so he was ‘disposed of’ in an empty, lonely field. 

A Spanish rescuer found Bobby cowering in that field and brought him to a shelter. ABR learned about him by chance when Nancy Hensley needed to fill an empty spot in the May mission. Nancy wanted to give an older dog a chance at a new life, so after he tested negative for contagious diseases, he was on his way to America.

Bobby flew to the Pacific Northwest where Jenny and Mike Gessler stepped up to foster him. The Gesslers had adopted two other Brittanys and although they lacked experience in dealing with a blind dog, they knew ABR would provide constant support and guidance. Mike watched videos on YouTube and Jenny joined a Facebook group for additional tips. They work different shifts, so someone is almost always home with Bobby. The couple touches base at mid-day to compare notes.
“I know patience with Bobby is huge. You can’t rush him, everything is on his own time. The first couple of weeks, it was like caring for an elderly person,” Jenny says.

Bobby’s eye specialist estimated that he had been totally blind for one and a half to two years. The examination determined that he is not eligible for surgery to restore his sight. Unfortunately, an expensive surgery could still be required to remove his eyes in order to relieve the discomfort and inflammation. For now, Jenny administers three types of eye drops several times each day. The next visit to the specialist could determine the effectiveness of that protocol. 

Jenny says Bobby's progress each day. “He sleeps a lot, but I imagine he has a multitude of issues to navigate. He does bark now, he licks us and he rolls on his back and wiggles for love. So, while he has had a rough go of it, we see joy in his personality.”

At first, Jenny carried Bobby everywhere. Then she was advised not to coddle him, so now the couple teams up to build his confidence. When they want to pet him, for example, they warn him first by touching his feet. In one exercise, Jenny holds one end of an extra long leash, while Mike walks backward in front of Bobby, luring him with a treat. They allow him to explore the house on his own and one happy day, Bobby found a whole pile of toys and bones!  
Jenny began walking him several weeks ago. “Now that he is more mobile he will need some discipline as he loves to remove Mike’s gloves from a bin by the fireplace and start to chew on them,” she says. “I was told in the beginning to not feel bad for him, as he would sense that and take advantage.”

Bobby’s curious Brittany brothers had sniffed him upon his arrival in the family, but beyond that, they tend to ignore him. “I had hoped they would be helpful to him and show him the ropes…nope! In fact, they jump over him as if he’s in the way. They still roughhouse, but they do it away from him.” Jenny says. “On the bright side, they are three males all getting along. They all did end up on the couch one night…that made me so happy. I know it will get better over time. I’m guessing they know he is ‘different’, but just don’t know why.” 

In addition to the blindness, Bobby deals with several other issues. He is overweight, most likely because he was disoriented in the total darkness without anyone to guide him, and thus afraid to move. Those extra pounds add stress and discomfort to his joints. He was prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication, which resulted in an immediate improvement in his joint mobility and comfort.

Jenny says he often shakes when he stands and is unsteady on his feet. The cause is undetermined at this point. Jenny has expressed concern that the blow to his head could have a long-term effect on his brain activity. His life-long lack of medical care also caused severe periodontal disease and the loss of several teeth. When he was sedated for his dental work, the vet discovered a growth at the back of Bobby's throat. He will see an oncologist in several weeks for a biopsy.

In spite of everything Bobby has been through, and the medical issues he faces in the future, Bobby maintains a Brittany’s happy heart and that ever-wagging nub of a tail.
“If you met Bobby, you would see a beautiful boy who deserves nothing but the best from here on out.” Jenny says. “We are blessed to have him join our family and want nothing more than to have his remaining years to be easy and happy.”

Bobby was denied medical treatment his entire life. He needs our help to recover from the resulting neglect and abuse. Please consider contributing at   www.americanbrittanyrescue.org and designate your donation for Bobby (5865) .
Rocky ROCKS! This special and super friendly guy has so much love to give! He is a 10-year-old neutered male who is eager to please and knows basic commands. He’s in fantastic health and loves to run and play! Rocky is ready to be your loving companion!
No one can deny that Bentley is a beautiful pup! This youngster is ready for summer, as he absolutely LOVES the water! He’s an energetic Brittany who enjoys running and playing with his foster brother. True to the breed, he’s a love and enjoys snuggling with his foster humans. He’ll thrive in a home with a good-sized fenced yard and someone who is home with him. Are you ready for a super summer with Bentley?
Paula is just a precious pretty girl! She is one of our International Rescues and just couldn’t be happier than when she’s snuggling on the sofa with her humans. This girl also has a strong prey instinct and will thrive with a yard with a fence. She would enjoy a home with another canine companion and humans to give her the attention and love she deserves! Will you be her forever companion?
"Rescuing one dog will not change the world... But for that dog the world will be forever changed."

These wonderful Brittanys are currently available for adoption. Click on their picture for more information, and if you think your family is a good fit, please complete an adoption application here.
American Brittany Rescue
"Year of the Dog" Paw-ty
Year of the Dog Paw-ty
You are invited to American Brittany Rescue “Year of the Dog” Paw-ty, but you don’t need to buy a fancy dress or rent a tux because it is a virtual paw-ty. By going to our website and RSVP'ing, you will give to a Brittany in need of your help. You can choose from the list below to help our dogs with a specific need or make your own charitable gift in honor of your past or present dog.
  • $500 – 2 Spay/Neuters
  • $300 – Heartworm Treatment (Typically ¼ of the full treatment cost varies between states.)
  • $100 – Vet Visit & Vaccine
  • $50 – Heartworm Medication
  • $25 – Dog Food
  • $10 – Collar

You can also select to use your gift for the greatest need or designate your gift to our International Rescue effort.

Remember we are a volunteer-driven organization and will use your donation for medical care, food and microchipping of adoptable dogs. Also, American Brittany Rescue is dedicated to senior and special need Brittanys that would otherwise be overlooked in shelters. Your gift will help a wide variety of dogs in our care. 
Send your RSVP:      ABR Treasurer
731 Ridgehaven Dr.
LaHabra, CA 90631
Thank you for your “Paw-tying” with American Brittany Rescue.
Congratulations to these Brittanys who have found their forever home!

Ari, NY
Beauty, IL
Choco, GA
Dora, NY
Gibb, IL
Horus, WV
Lily, IA
Loco, renamed Raijo, NJ
Maggie, KS
Myka, NY
Nick, NJ
Odie, IL
Perla aka Mini, NJ
Stella, KS
Whisper, PA

If you have Facebook, you know that a new trend on this popular social media platform is to celebrate your birthday by raising money for your favorite charity. But some of you may be a bit leery, so the enews team wanted to address some commonly asked questions in the hope you will create a birthday fundraiser for American Brittany Rescue!
First, how do you create a birthday fundraiser? 
-       Most people will be prompted two weeks before a birthday to create a birthday fundraiser, but if you are not prompted then click on the arrow on the top right side of your profile next to the circled question mark. The dropdown menu will appear and you can select Create Fundraiser
How can I make sure I raise money for American Brittany Rescue? 
-       It is easy! You will be asked “Who are you raising money for?” Select nonprofit and then search for American Brittany Rescue. Our organization will pop up and you can select us for your birthday fundraiser.
What is the amount and timeframe of the fundraiser?
-       Both are completely up to you!! You set the amount – maybe an amount to represent your birthday. You may want to consider setting an amount that you believe is attainable for your friends and family on Facebook. People love to hit a goal, so make it exciting and attainable for your “followers.” Generally, the timeframe is two weeks for birthday fundraisers, but if you are creating a fundraiser separate from your birthday then you can set the date. 
How does American Brittany Rescue get the money and is there any fees?
-       Great questions. American Brittany Rescue is a registered nonprofit through Facebook Payment Systems (as of May 2018), which means that Facebook pays us directly rather than using a third party vendor; therefore, there are no fees! 
Once ABR reaches the pay-out amount, we receive a check from Facebook Payment Systems bi-weekly. Overall, ABR can account for the fundraisers and donations created by our supporters on Facebook and we have access to reports through Facebook that outline the amount and who donated since joining the Payment System. 

If you ever have a question about whether or not ABR received your donations through Facebook, please email social.networks@americanbrittanyrescue.org with the dates of your fundraiser and we will dig in to our reports and give you an update.  (Please note that we want to maintain confidentially, so we can give you general information about your birthday fundraiser, such as total amount raised and number of donations, but never any information about a specific donor’s amount, etc..)
Where can I get more information?
-       A great place to get more information about Facebook Giving tools is - https://donations.fb.com/
Thank you to all of those who have fundraised and donated to American Brittany Rescue through Facebook. Since ABR officially partnered with Facebook Payment Systems, we have raised:

from May 28th to June 27 th !!!
If you would like to give to American Brittany directly, please click on the button below to make your gift and help a dog in need.

American Brittany Rescue, Inc. is an organization that was formed in 1991 as a cooperative effort of Brittany owners, breeders, trainers, and fanciers who ABR believes have a responsibility not only for their own dogs and the dogs they produce, but for the breed as a whole.


ABR's mission is to provide the leadership and expertise via a network of trained volunteers to take in stray, abandoned, surrendered and/or impounded purebred Brittanys, provide them with foster care, health and temperament screening, an opportunity for any necessary rehabilitation and to assure their health and placement into new homes. In order to fulfill this mission, ABR's volunteers remain flexible and adaptable to current and future business environments and they remain dedicated to the organization.  

Terry Mixdorf, President
Tina Leone, Vice-President/Co-Treasurer
Michelle Falkinburg, Secretary
Diana Doiron, Co-Treasurer
Tiffany Dexter
Terrie Johnson
Nancy Hensley
Sandra Oelschlegel
Monica Rutt
Maria Smith
Ryan Waterbury
Cheri Wilson
Lisa Bagwell
Brittany Boler
Jeannine Connors
Judie Cutting
Autumn Fenton
Lori Gartenhaus
Patricia Gillogly
Melissa Tapply
Rachel Schollaert
Maria Smith
American Brittany Rescue, Inc. | 866.274.8911 |  Visit Our Website