By Robbi Hess, Executive Story Editor, Crimeless Cat
Pet Blogs We Love: Sarcastic Dog’s Alison Reder
Alison Reder, pet parent to: Zora, a fourteen-year-old yellow lab; Simon, a ten-ish-year-old yellow lab, her first rescue and Piper, a two-and-a-half-year-old-ish American Pit Bull Terrier, runs the Sarcastic Dog blog.
In the beginning her bog was going to just be a fun place for her to share stories about Simon and Zora and to rant about people who don’t pick up their dog’s poop! “Then I started fostering for a local bully breed rescue and Piper came into my life,” she said. “When Piper first came to me as a ten-week old foster puppy, the first question one of my neighbor’s asked me was, iIs she going to bite me?’ I was so taken aback by the question.”
Alison said she knew that some people were afraid of “pit bull type dogs,” but said that Piper was just a puppy. “I realized the misconceptions about pit bull type dogs run so deep and are so emotionally charged that it was clear I needed to be involved in advocating for these misunderstood and misrepresented dogs.”
Changing lives and minds
“I knew immediately I had to start writing about changing the conversation about pit bull type dogs because the myths and misconceptions are so damaging,” she said adding that, “In reality, it’s what is happening on the human end of the leash that leads to nearly half a million pit bull type dogs being euthanized in shelters each year across the US.”
There is a great deal of outreach and education that needs to happen around animal welfare in this country and for Alison that conversation can’t happen without acknowledging the negative impact on pit bull type dogs. “Dogs are dogs and humans have a responsibility to learn and understand their body language, provide opportunities for our dogs to be properly socialized and exercised and to increase access to resources to support dogs and their guardians in our communities,” she said.
As her blog has evolved, Alison said she’s started writing more about getting and staying healthy with our dogs. “There is a saying that goes, ‘If your dog is overweight, you’re not getting enough exercise’ that inspired me to launch the Healthy Dog, Healthy You Challenge in 2016.” The challenge, she said, is designed to get everyone outside and doing more with their pets but, more than that, the challenge is set up to help participants work on issues they may be having with their dogs while out and about on walks – things like leash reactivity, fear or anxiety and more.
“Being healthy with your dog is about not only about physical health but it’s also about finding solutions to problems that many dog parents face,” she said. “I have a certification in health and wellness coaching and the 2017 Challenge (June 4th to July 3rd) included the addition of a dog trainer and a personal trainer ‘in residence’ to help me support everyone’s efforts. It’s been inspiring for me to hear the feedback so this has become a really important topic I will be writing more about in the coming year. I hope to make the challenge an ongoing endeavor that happens more than once a year.”
How is your blog making a difference?
“Generally speaking my blog is about dogs. All things dog. I hope by sharing my successes and my failures as a pet parent, I make others feel comfortable in sharing theirs.” Alison said it’s also especially important to create safe spaces for people to talk about the training and behavior challenges they may be facing as there is a weird assumption/expectation (especially in online communities) that everyone else is perfect or that everyone else is feeding the right food or has perfectly well behaved dogs, etc. which is simply not the case. She hopes the Sarcastic Dog provides people that safe place to come ask questions and share their stories. “If I don’t have an answer, I will find someone who does,” she promises.
Over the past eighteen months the blog has become more and more focused on rescue, education, advocacy and outreach. Alison said, “Many of the posts and the Healthy Dog, Healthy You Challenge include a fundraising component to support shelters or rescues that are doing important animal welfare work around the country. My hope is to create a judgement-free community where we can laugh together, cry together, support one another and take action together in having a positive impact on animal welfare initiatives and, specifically in shifting societal perceptions about pit bull type dogs.”
Her favorite posts, and why
DIY Ball Pit for Dogs
is her most popular post and she said, “It’s kind of hilarious my most popular post remains my DIY (fail) post about my attempts to make a ball pit for my dogs. I am not known for my crafting/DIY skills.”
7 Ways to Help Pit Bulls in Your Community Today about which she said, “There are so many awful stories out there about the plight of pit bull type dogs. I wanted to share some practical and easy ways to help these misunderstood and maligned dogs in your own community.”
Changing the Conversation About Pit Bulls Is her y interview and book review with author, Bronwen Dickey about her book, Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon is still one of her favorite posts.
Pick up Your Dog Poop, In this post I try to encourage (rant about) being a responsible dog parent. This is a humor piece with a purpose.
What got her into the blogging and pet world?
- I blog to help overturn Breed Specific Legislation (BSL).
- I blog to help end puppy mills and dog fighting.
- I blog to build and connect with a community that shares my passion for animal welfare, loves funny stories and adorable dog pictures and is interested in changing the conversation about pit bull type dogs.
“I hope my writing and talking about these issues helps create positive change for how pit bulls are viewed and that it inspires others to get involved not only on behalf of bully breeds but in all aspects of rescue and animal welfare,” she said. “Sarcastic Dog is also committed to supporting health and wellness activities for dogs and their humans and this has had a tremendously positive impact on my own life, the health of my own dogs and, hopefully on others. ”
Alison said, “For me the blog has become a platform for advocacy and outreach. Through Sarcastic Dog, I have met some of the most incredible and talented animal welfare activists all over the country – all over the world, really – for which I am grateful.”
Her work on the blog and her volunteer rescue work, inspired her to learn more and do more so she recently completed a certification in shelter management. “I hope to have an even greater positive impact on reducing return to shelter rates and increasing community access to resources like training and behavioral support among other things. Sarcastic Dog has encouraged me to dust off my masters in nonprofit management and I am currently exploring the possibility of starting my own nonprofit rescue, advocacy and outreach organization. I am also looking for work in the animal welfare world where I can have a more direct positive impact.”