Janet Song: California Pit Bull Rescue

Pumpkin, who was beaten as a puppy, blossomed under CPR’s car photo: courtesy janet song

How did you get involved with rescue and how long have you been doing it?

I accidentally became a pit bull guardian and realized that all of the myths I had believed were untrue. I found them to be the dogs most in need of help and one thing led to another. I’ve been involved for 10 years.

What are the upcoming events for California Pit Bull Rescue?

We have an adoption event at Pet Food Express, 280 Northgate One (next to Safeway) in San Rafael on Saturday, March 22 from noon to 3 p.m.


Tell us about your organization.

California Pit Bull Rescue’s (CPR) mission is saving at-risk pit bull-type dogs and facilitating social change to abolish the abuse, overbreeding and miseducation surrounding the breed. CPR has a statewide fostering network, fundraising programs, educational initiatives, and financial/physical support for in-need guardians of pit bull-type dogs. We are also working to establish a sanctuary for pit bulls and pit bull mixes, which will ease local municipal shelter burdens and provide community support for responsible dog guardianship.

Established in August 2012, CPR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit rescue organization with headquarters in Oakland, Calif. One hundred percent of our donations go toward our mission goals including awareness initiatives and providing food, supplies, housing, training, and medical care for the dogs we take into our rescue program. We strive to house our dogs in foster homes where they can decompress and learn how to be loved and secure family members. They remain under CPR’s wing until we find them the perfect forever home.

What is the biggest challenge facing your rescue right now?

We need more foster homes and funds to purchase a ranch-style facility as a base of operations. We are also looking for help with developing an integrated revenue stream that will enable key staff to devote full-time hours to rescue. Currently we are 100 percent volunteer.

What are some of the major misconceptions about pit bulls?

They are somehow so genetically “different” from all other canines; that they are born “dangerous.” All dog breeds can bite and all dog breeds can be dangerous, but pit bulls are the breed most likely to end up with irresponsible owners who abuse and neglect them. Even after being mistreated, though, they are amazingly resilient, still trusting of humans, and eager to love and be loved. If you put them in the same loving, responsible homes that golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers get, they will thrive.

What is the age range of the dogs at your rescue?

Newborn puppies to about 6 years old right now. We get different ages all the time.

A dog I’d really like to see adopted is …

Tina! She is a gorgeous smoked chocolate Labrador retriever-pit mix with glowing golden eyes. Tina was pulled from the shelter with an old hip injury. She underwent FHO surgery sponsored partially by Maddie’s Fund and has recovered beautifully in her loving foster home. She now romps and runs with her best friend, her foster sister, Ruby (a cocker spaniel). Tina can be a bit timid, more with men than women, but warms up nicely after she’s met you once or twice. She absolutely adores the man in her foster home now. Tina is playful, affectionate, alert, and super sweet. She would do well with people who understand that her initial shyness will turn into unending kisses and cuddles — she bonds quite tightly to people she trusts.

Pumpkin slowly recovered from her sad past and became a radiant, loving dog ready for a new life    photo: courtesy janet song

Pumpkin slowly recovered from her sad past and became a radiant, loving dog ready for a new life photo: courtesy janet song

A dog who is a great success story is …

Pumpkin Pie — she was pulled from euthanasia in the Central Valley. From there, she was boarded in a doggie day care for months, and the warehouse-like environment sapped her vitality. She began to lose fur and was continuously fatigued. Pumpkin is a fearful dog, and we think she was beaten badly with objects as a puppy. She had an extreme fear of people with anything in their hands coming toward her. Due to her fears, Pumpkin bounced through several foster homes before she finally found a place where she was comfortable. Even there, she hid under tables and cowered if anyone approached her with so much as a comb to brush her. She lived there for nearly a year, learning to be patient with cats and enjoying the benefits of a home life. During that time, Pumpkin lost several potential adopters due to her fearful nature until one woman, who had been following Pumpkin’s story, decided that she and her husband would make this work. After two months of play dates and careful adherence to a behaviorist’s instructions, this little orange dog was finally home. She now lives happily and bravely with her beloved sister dog, Sinnamon, three cats and two rats. She just completed a family vacation in Carmel where she and Sinnamon went to the beach and ran like the wind on the shore!

Where can people go online to find out more, see adoptable dogs, volunteer, foster, or donate?

Visit or contact us at [email protected].

Pumpkin with her adopted “sister” Sinnamon and loving guardians John and Melissa    photo: courtesy janet song

Pumpkin with her adopted “sister” Sinnamon and loving guardians John and Melissa photo: courtesy janet song


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