What could be more adorable than 40-plus pooches walking together on the beautiful Santa Barbara ocean front? Forty-some pooches in full Halloween costume. On October 27, the nonprofit animal rescue Shadow’s Fund celebrated National Pit Bull Awareness Day with its second annual community walk. “We want to raise awareness and reintroduce the pit bull, the dog that was once the number one family dog in this country,” said Jill Anderson, cofounder of Shadow’s Fund.
Shadow’s Fund was started in 2009 by Anderson and Cody Rackley as a tribute to Shadow, their 15-year-old dog they found tied to a tree outside a Ventura animal shelter with an attached note that read “He’s too old.” After a wonderful year-and-a-half together, Shadow passed away, and Shadow’s Fund was instituted to rescue senior dogs from shelters where they are likely to be passed over for adoption. In 2009, Anderson was informed of a dog in Long Beach that needed a good home and, thus, became acquainted with her first pit bull, 13-year-old Button. “That was when I truly became aware of the plight of this breed,” explained Anderson. “The sad reality is that only one in 600 pit bulls in shelters make it out alive.”
According to its website, “Shadow’s Fund is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and re-homing of senior dogs and pit bulls. These high-risk dogs are often the first to end up at the shelter and the last to be adopted. Our mission is to bring hope to those that seem to have so little.” In the last three years, 300 pit bulls have been rescued by Shadow’s Fund and adopted into new lifelong families. In August 2010, Anderson and Rackley opened the doors to a new 100-acre Sheltering Oak Sanctuary, a no-kill facility that guarantees a lifetime commitment if a permanent family cannot be found.
Today, 19 dogs are living on the ranch (socializing with horses, pigs, and sheep), each with its own heart-wrenching survival story. Brothers Lucky and Rugby, former bait dogs, were picked up while running loose on a Los Angeles freeway, rescued by Shadow’s Fund, and were adopted and present for the Santa Barbara community walk. Unfortunately, for each success story, there are even more sad tales of good dogs not given the opportunity to thrive. People like Anderson, Rackley, and their group of dedicated volunteers make a difference to those animals who are in desperate need of help.
While preparing for the community walk, tourists and passersby stopped and wanted to pet or take pictures of the adorable pups in costume. Anderson explained, “They forget for a second that they are supposed to be afraid of this particular breed. They don’t see the muscles or the jaw. They just want to meet the dog in a tutu.” If you want more info on this amazing foundation or want to make a donation, visit www.shadowsfund.org