Re-home your stuff!

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Got a few boxes of gently used stuff left over from spring cleaning? Been meaning to dig around in the closet and de-hoard your house? We have the perfect excuse to do so, all for a good cause.

Our wonderful volunteer Shelley will be hosting a garage sale stand for HugABull at the annual Great Grandview Garage Sale in Vancouver on Saturday, June 21.

We are looking for the following items to help fill our tables:

Gently used clothing for men, women, and children
• Accessories (belts, hats, scarves)
• Purses, wallets, backpacks and bags
• Shoes and boots
• Towels, tablecloths, curtains and linens
• Blankets, bedding and pillows
• Housewares (dishes, cutlery, pots)
• Toys, books, games and video games
• Videos, records, CD’s and DVD’s
• Small Tools (must be in working condition)
• Small appliances (must be in working condition)

How to donate

  • We will be hosting drop-off days where you can bring your donations to 1346 Lakewood Drive (near Victoria and 1st) prior to the sale:
    Friday, June 13 from 6pm – 7pm
    Friday, June 20 from 6pm – 7pm
  • Bring your stuff early (before 10am) to on the day of the sale (Saturday, June 21)
  • Email or post on our Vancouver Facebook Volunteer Group to see if someone can collect your donation and bring it to us on the day

There will also be a lemonade stand and bake sale on site, so if you have some goodies to contribute for sale, that is welcome too!

We hope to see you for some shopping, visiting, and refreshments in one of Vancouver’s coolest neighbourhoods.

Saturday, June 21
10am – 2pm
1346 Lakewood Drive


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Pit Bull Hero – Canine Good Citizen Kane

10153377_10152271287286201_870671078_nGuest writer Nomi Berger is interviewing and writing about some of the “pit bull heroes” in our community. Kane is companion to Steffie, an active force in the Okanagan rescue community. Steffie volunteered and fostered for HugABull for several years and now runs Sit Pretty Pit, a rescue focused on the needs of bully breeds in the Okanagan. Kane has been an ambassadog at countless HugABull, Sit Pretty Pit, and SPCA events over the years, and has shared his home with many, many foster dogs along the way. Here is the story of how Steffie and Kane found each other, and what they have accomplished together.

Some say that people – or pets – come into our lives for a reason, a season, or for always.

For Steffie, a broken bully named Kane came into her life for a reason, stayed steadfastly through the shifting seasons, and still remains, loyally and lovingly, by her side.

Three years ago, Steffie, who was devastated by the tragic loss of one of her best friends, went in search of solace. She found it at the SPCA in the shape of an underweight and ailing 2-year-old pit bull whose tail was – in typical bully fashion – still wagging.

“The staff and I still joke about the day I picked him up and, bawling my eyes out, brought him in for a medical assessment,” Steffie recounts with a wry smile. “While I was inside getting a leash, he stayed in my truck, anxiously ripping up the seats. We were both such messes. I poured everything into Kane, and he more than poured it all back into me. So, from then on, he was stuck with me.”

Steffie’s sweet mate of the soul has luminous, golden eyes and a calm, gentle face, which easily transforms into a wide, laughing smile. He is also the proud wearer of many different hats: resident snuggler of his adoring mom; tender protector of kittens and cats from the SPCA; eager host to numerous foster dogs; best dressed doggy on all human holidays, and more importantly, trusted therapy dog and ambassador extraordinaire for the bully breed.

10151708_10152271287276201_1081652871_nNoting Kane’s brightness, happy energy, and eagerness to learn, Steffie took advantage of all three, and decided to have him certified as a therapy dog. Although his “dog” skills were poor, with practice and determination, they ultimately succeeded. Kane first earned his Canadian Canine Good Neighbour certification and then his Canine Good Citizen certification. The final step: being certified as a St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog.

Sadly, Steffie and Kane were “kicked out” of their first placement due to breed discrimination. But St. John’s promptly found them a more “pit bull friendly” environment — a group home they continue to visit on a weekly basis, while they spend weekends volunteering at the Vernon SPCA.

1618580_10152188650126201_988608358_nSteffi readily admits that although she came from a family of animal lovers, they were wary of pit bulls and initially nervous about her adopting one. Luckily, natural charmer that he is, Kane quickly allayed their fears, captured their hearts, and won pride of place as the official family “grand dog.”

It’s not all work and no play, however, for this dynamic duo. On the contrary. Steffi and Kane love and participate in every kind of dog sport, including rally, weight pull, agility, and disc throwing. They also love clicker training, and knowledgeable Kane has a number of tricks he’s always pleased to perform, including “nod”, “look left”, “look right”, “dig on a mat”, “mark on an object”, “touch”, “lights on”, “in a bucket”, “under”, “over”, “find my keys.”

Could a role in films be far behind for this fine, precocious pit?

Written by Nomi Berger


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HugABull’s Online Auction: Donations Needed

Bebe computerLike many non-profit organizations, we love to include silent auctions and raffles at our events, and we have amazing supporters who contribute wonderful prizes each time. But for all the people who come to our events, we know there are plenty more who live outside the area or just can’t make it on that day.

So we gave it some thought: how can we offer these great products to more people in our supportive community, while giving our sponsors the recognition they deserve? The answer — an online auction!!

We will be posting auction items on our Facebook page starting Monday, June 30, and we’ll be inviting you to post bids. Closing date will be on Sunday, July 6 and we will put ourselves to work matching items to successful donors.

We would love this campaign to raise at least $5000 to take us through the summer’s vet bills. Can you help us?

1) We need great stuff to sell! We would love gift baskets, gift certificates, dog-related stuff, non-dog-related stuff – we’d love to see a variety of items so that there is something for everyone. The auction will be open to anyone in BC, so businesses and services in all communities are invited to participate.

For shipping and handling purposes, items of at least $20 value are ideal, but we are open to smaller, DIY, or creative contributions as well. Please email with any ideas or donations.

2) We need people to browse and buy! Mark June 30 on your calendar and keep an eye out for the auction’s opening. If you want an extra reminder or aren’t on Facebook much, subscribe to our newsletter:

We are excited to launch this exciting initiative that will reach supporters throughout our province! Please stay tuned and email with any questions or ideas for contributions.

marty computer

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Introducing Team Mila

Mila and boyAs the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child… but it also takes a village to rescue animals in need! We want to take this opportunity to introduce you to lovable Mila, her foster mom Denise, and her sponsors Sarah and Mike Rowley.

Mila is an amazing, friendly, well-mannered dog, who struggles with some anxiety issues, particularly on-leash with other animals! While she has made great progress, this has made it a challenge to find her perfect forever home.

Like many rescue dogs, Mila just needed someone willing to help her work through her struggles, and she found that in Denise, a former Animal Services Officer who was looking for canine companionship, but not ready to adopt after losing her companion Kiwi, an Australian Cattle Dog whom she raised from puppyhood to a sweet old senior of 14 years. Denise’s experience with dogs  made her the perfect fit! She and her family have devoted so much time and TLC to help Mila on her journey to a forever home, and Mila is thriving.

RowleysFoster parents donate their hearts and their time, but we don’t ask them to pay for things like food, equipment, or training. That’s where great sponsors like Sarah and Mike come into the picture. With their continued monthly sponsorship of Mila, the Rowleys are giving Denise and Mila the time they need to make Mila the best dog she can be,and be ready for her forever home when the time is right.

mila couchOur hats off, and a big thank you to Denise, Sarah and Mike in helping Mila along her path to a happy forever home – your efforts do not go unnoticed! If you’re interested in fostering, or becoming a monthly sponsor for one of our adoptable dogs, we’d love to hear from you! Visit our website for more information. You can also check out our blog for each month’s Foster Roster to see who else is working as an undercover angel.

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May Foster Roster

received_m_mid_1398371134820_4440d872496bcff465_0Thank you to our wonderful sponsors this month!

Sandra Mucci, HugABull Angel to Arlo
Sarah Rowley, ongoing HugABull Hero to Mila
Samantha Jeanette, HugABull Angel to Oden
Valerie and Jay, HugABull Angels to Gracie, in memory of Bud
received_m_mid_1398371123412_ab229605a6b09fd514_0Anonymous, HugABull Helper to Pearl
Corrine, HugABull Hero to Merlot, in memory of Louie

Meet our newest and youngest HugABulls!   Only six weeks old, these three pups needed significant veterinary care – not only typical puppy expenses, but all three are being treated for kennel cough and have double back dew claws that require surgery.  Despite their health issues, these cuties aren’t letting anything get in their way of happiness.IMG_1876

We are working hard to get their mom and dad out of the shelter, so if you have ever thought about fostering, this would be a great time. Baxter, the poppa dog (below left), is lovely with people and tested well with other dogs. He has not had a lot of experience in the big wide world, so he would need a dedicated foster home that can work on his confidence and leash manners.

Momma dog Talisa (below right) also loves people, but we haven’t been able to do much testing with her since she is still weaning puppies.

We always have willing fosters for puppies, but Baxter and Talisa need out of the shelter too! Please contact if you think you may be able to help get our momma or poppa dog out of the shelter and into a family home.

And if fostering isn’t an option for you right now, you can always sponsor a puppy or any other dog in our program! Contact for details.


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HugABull had “Best Parade Spirit” in Vernon!

Okanagan Coordinator Brittnee Van Bruegel has been doing a great job of rallying community spirit in her region. There is no greater proof of this than the honour she received earlier this year. We asked Brittnee to share her experiences in her own words.

Vernon super herosThis year our HugABull Okanagan team decided to join the “Carnival of Superheroes” known as the Vernon Winter Carnival Parade. Our goal was to show the public that being a responsible owner made you a superhero no matter what breed of dog you owned. We had a lot of fun putting together superhero-themed outfits for ourselves and our pups, and I was smitten by the positive screams and applause we received as we strutted fully costumed down the street.

vernon super hero batman dogShortly after the Carnival was over we received an invitation to join them at the awards banquet.  Without knowing why I accepted.

We applauded all the other great teams that received awards that night, and my eyes filled with tears as I heard them describe the “Best Parade Spirit” and then tell us that we won! The community awarded us for having the most fun, enthusiasm, zeal and passion during the parade. I was honoured to be part of such an amazing organization and couldn’t have done it without the help of all our devoted volunteers.


A huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped organize and participate in the parade. We were invited back and look forward to hearing what next year’s theme is.

And a big thank you to Brittnee for all the work she does in the Okanagan and as our Volunteer Coordinator!! If you would like to become more involved in the Okanagan area, email Brittnee at or join our Facebook group for the Okanagan and Interior:

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Pit Bull Hero – The Titled Muay Thai

Muay toyGuest writer Nomi Berger is interviewing and writing about some of the “pit bull heroes” in our community. While Muay Thai is no longer with us, she was a titled champion as well as a confident and poised presence at many HugABull events, carrying a rainbow flag at the Pride Parade and a maple leaf version on Canada Day. We miss you Muay, and you will never be forgotten.

Muay Thai. It’s a form of kick boxing, and the American Staffordshire Terrier given that name would lie on her back with her legs kicking the air.

Muay Thai. If every ribbon she won were draped over her body, only her head would be visible.

Muay Thai. The onetime stray turned one-of-a-kind trophy winner, becoming the only dog of her breed to earn the title Agility Trial Champion of Canada (ATChC).

Muay showed up at the Burnaby SPCA in 2003, overly bred and ailing. After languishing for months, she was adopted and trained in agility, earning the Canadian Kennel Club’s Canine Good Neighbour title. Surrendered two years later by her owner, Muay Thai was placed as a foster with Lisa and John who already owned a pitbull/American bulldog mix named Tucker. To their surprise, the two dogs bonded instantly. The whole family knew four-year-old Muay Thai was a keeper.

Muay Thai jumpingBuilding on Muay Thai’s agility experience, Lisa trained to handle her properly and the pair began competing together. The more competitions they entered, the more titles Muay Thai won, including the Silver Award of Merit and the Expert Silver Standard. Although she qualified three times to compete at the AAC Nationals, two of the events were unfortunately held in Ontario, and because of the province’s breed specific legislation, she was unable to attend either of them.

And therein lies the irony. If ever a dog did NOT fit the stereotypical profile of a “dangerous breed”, it was Muay. Sweet and mellow by nature, she was the kindest and gentlest of dogs. While she was competing, she changed the minds of many of the other dogs’ owners about the breed and they told Lisa how much they enjoyed watching Muay.

canada day muayAway from competition, Muay was an active, happy and spirited dog. Seldom seen without a toy in her mouth, she loved swimming and walking with the family to and from the river every day during the summer. She loved people and always stopped obligingly when they wanted to pet her.

“Everyone was drawn to her sweetness and gentleness,” Lisa says wistfully. “She was calm and confident, never reactive. She also had especially soft eyes, and the way she looked at you made your heart melt. She even remembered the officers and volunteers from the SPCA, who often watched her doing agility or saw her at the park. Muay would pull on her leash to go to them and give them kisses.”

Even when she was ill — which she was quite often throughout her life – Lisa was told repeatedly by those who treated Muay how great a dog she was. That she was a marvelous testament to her breed. Stoic until the end, Muay was 11 when she died at home in the arms of the woman who had so adored her.

“To put it simply,” says Lisa, “Muay was a hero to me because she changed my entire life.”

muay and lisa


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February 2014 Foster Roster

Spring is around the corner, which means green grass and sunny skies and wonderful weather to romp around in! What better time to give a dog a new start out of the shelter? We are always looking for foster homes, and we are incredibly excited to welcome our new Lower Mainland foster coordinator, Christine!

christine and baileyChristine and her rescue dog Bailey have been longtime HugABull volunteers and supporters, and her amazing organizational skills will help us better serve the dogs and humans in our program. If you have questions about our foster program, visit our website or email If you are not able to foster, you can help a dog through our sponsorship program, just like the following generous supporters:

Steve Krafte, HugABull Angel to Bentley and Teddy
Anaz Gamadia
, HugABull Hero to Oden
Andrea Fraser, HugABull Angel to Babs
Sarah, Mike, and Harli Rowley, HugABull Heroes to Mila and Bentley

Frank puppyFlirtatious Frank is one of four 9-week-old puppies who will soon be looking for a forever home.  Just like any puppy, Frank is full of energy and will need lots of positive socializing and training as he grows.

Wendy is an 8 year old who’s soul is as gentle as they come. She is good with larger dogs but can be fearful of the small ones. Wendy is a quiet easy going girl Kira feb rosterwith great leash manners who is looking for a family to call her own. 

It just goes to show you that in rescue, whether you are looking for an adorable ball of puppy energy or a well-mannered senior to warm your couch, we have it all!

If you are interesting in sponsoring Frank, Kira or any of the dogs in our program please contact us at

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Toonies to the Rescue!

toonies to the rescueOur wonderful Okanagan team has organized a toonie drive throughout the region for the month of March! “Toonies to the Rescue” is an opportunity to help raise money for the care of the dogs in our program.

Want to join in on the fun?  Swing by any of the below businesses and drop a toonie in their jar.

Healthy Spot - 200 – 3115 48th Ave
Bean Scene - 20923 30th Ave
Spa Pure, 4300 27th Street
U Weight Loss Clinic105 – 5100 Anderson Way

Fermco Party Shop - 2812 27 Ave
Vernon Management - 2805 35 Street
Diana’s Monogramming - 303 – 2520 53 Ave

Bark N Fly5830 Old Vernon Road
Bone & Biscuit136 – 1876 Cooper Rd
K9 Dog Grooming164 Rutland Rd North
Sunshine Pet Supplies5 – 1725 Baron Rd
Perfectly Polished Nails1310 Aldon Rd
A-1 Boarding Kennels, 3755 Gordon Drive
Shambhala Tattoos  - 201 – 255 Victoria St 

White Valley Veterinary1710 Shushwap Ave

Have questions or want to get involved? Contact Brittnee, our Okanagan coordinator at

A huge thank you for all the support and love from our community! 



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Pit Bull Hero – Billie, My Billie

Bilie and RockyGuest writer Nomi Berger is interviewing and writing about some of the “pit bull heroes” in our community. If you attend HugABull events in Vancouver, you have probably met Billie and her sidekick Rocky as ambassadogs. While Billie was not adopted through HugABull she will always be considered an honourary HugABull dog: we are so proud to have her as the face of our organization, and an example of how fantastic a rescue pup can be.

Billie might not have an official birthday, but for this brindled brown and white beauty, every day is worth celebrating. It wasn’t always like this, however, at least not at the beginning.

When Arran first saw her at the Vancouver SPCA, the one-year-old pit bull had already been there for a discouraging 6 months. A stray from Prince George, Billie was so emaciated that Arran could see her ribs and the beating of her heart. Each time he dropped by, it was the same. There she was, huddled in the back corner of the kennel, sad, shivering and responding to no one. He knew he had to save her.

billie ballWhen he brought her home, she was completely shut down. Timid and distrustful, her tail was tucked fearfully between her legs, and she refused to eat. “She pulled so strongly when I tried walking her on leash,” says Arran, “that I actually wore a hockey glove because it hurt my hand. But after taking some excellent obedience classes with Shelagh from Dizine Canine, we learned to walk well together.” As for her appetite? Arran laughs. “She got that back fast enough, and she’s been a food monster ever since. Her favourite treats: mini carrots and anything with peanut butter.”

She also blossomed into a gentle, affectionate and perenially happy dog, “loving everyone and everything, and just simply loving her life.” But Arran hasn’t been alone on this amazing adventure. A certain cheeky Chihuahua, Rocky, and his human, Teresa, have been the other half of the family.

When he looks back on the last four years, Arran admits that adopting Billie was the best thing he ever did. Rain or shine, she loves being outdoors, swimming or playing in the snow. She is a fixture at most HugABull events, as her calm and loving nature makes her an excellent “ambassadog”. Arran and Teresa felt that she could do even more to change people’s minds about pit bulls, and Teresa contacted Vancouver’s Pets and Friends, hoping to turn Billie and Rocky into a pet visitation team. The proud pet parents watched as their furbabies passed their tests and were officially declared ready to serve.

Billie on floorArran, Billie, Teresa and Rocky now visit the Cavell Gardens retirement community once a week, where they have a devoted fan base. They join the participating seniors in the meeting room, where Rocky breaks the ice and Billie cuddles with each of them in turn – receiving gentle pats on the back and giving tender face kisses in return.

“She may not win any trophies,” says Arran, “but she gets her fair share of rewards in loving thanks and grateful snuggles.” When one senior confided, “I love Billie so much; she’s the highlight of my week,” he asked if she was bothered by the fact that Billie was a pit bull. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” she replied. “I love all creatures the same.”

Billie and Rocky’s fan base was made obvious in 2012, when they were entered into the annual calendar competition for Pets and Friends. billie blogParticipating dogs were posted online and the public was invited to vote on the photo they would like to see on the cover. Guess who won by a landslide!

Arran’s final thoughts? “I’m so lucky to have Billie. Next to Teresa. she’s my best friend, and she’s made me a better person.”

Written by Nomi Berger. Nomi can be found at

Billie and Arran

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