Shaka The Police Dog: Shelter Dog to K-9 Cop

Shaka was a death row dog, on the short list for euthanasia.  How such an amazing dog found herself in in a crowded New York shelter, we’ll never know.  Luckily for Shaka, her high energy and need to work caught the eye of a rescuer.

Cyd Cross, President of Out of the Pits Rescue, pulled her out of the shelter and took her home.  It was then that her drive to work was discovered.  Cyd contacted Diane Jessup, founder of Law Dogs in Washington State about the potential of this former shelter dog.  Shaka was transported across the country to the program and passed their eligibility test immediately upon arrival.   She has served as a narcotics officer for multiple jurisdictions since completing her training.  See her in action in the video below!

After working in drug detection for the next four years, the Washougal Police Department unfortunately had to downsize their canine unit, so Shaka was offered up for relocation. Officer Wells who had experience with bomb-sniffing dogs was chosen as her partner.

“I’m almost certain that if she could figure out a way to drive my patrol car, I’d be completely out of the picture,” joked Wells.

Since arriving on their force, Shaka has shown an amazing aptitude as a detection dog. In her first few months, she found drugs in 18 out of the 20 times she was deployed. On her state certification exam she scored 100 percent. “She pretty much walked me through it, because she’s a four-year veteran with a phenomenal nose,” Wells told

Ambassador Pit Bulls: Interview with a Therapy Dog

Kaida is a therapy dog.  She, along with her mom, Phuong, do lots of volunteering together.  As part of our spotlight on breed ambassadors, we interviewed Phuong to find out more about Kaida and the positive impact she is making in our community.

1.  How old was Kaida when you adopted her?
The rescue estimated that she was two years old.

2.  Where did you adopt her from?
I adopted her from an APBT Rescue based in Culpepper, VA.

3.  How old is she now?
She is 5 years young.

4.  When did you know she had the capacity to learn to be the dog she is today?
I actually didn’t. I went to get her CGC and while there, the evaluators suggested that I look into doing therapy work with her. I’ve been into volunteering work since I was in high school, and was immediately intrigued. It was when I brought her to a family event where she would let my 20+ baby cousins climb, pull, tug, and love on her that I realized she was a gem with kids, and set out to certify her.

5.  How long did it take to teach her?
Luckily, the TDI test is a combination of a CGC test and only a couple other items. So since she had already passed her CGC it was only a few months of training to get the rest right.

6.  What is her favorite public service?
She loves working with kids. Her favorites are working with the shy/troubled kids at Camp Fusion every summer ( This year, we were invited to participate in Project Mickey,  in inner city Baltimore where she showed the kids that love, compassion, and responsible ownership was the right way to raise a dog. Not fighting and abusing it.

7.  What is her favorite thing to do in her free time?
Her favorite hobby is to eat, sleep and snuggle =)
8.  Does she have a best doggie friend?
Her best doggie friend is a 9yr old black Sheppard/Lab mix named Mathern. They enjoy getting lost in the woods and causing havoc to squirrels and rabbits!

All of us at APBR love Kaida.  She is a shining example of what an ambassador is.  She changes perceptions about pit bull type dogs every time she meets someone new.  We are lucky that she and her mom are active volunteers with us.

To find out more about the Canine Good Citizen program visit

To find out more about Therapy Dogs International visit

October is Pit Bull Awareness Month

Back in 2007, a woman named Jodi Preis, founder of Bless The Bullies, initiated a nationwide event now known as National Pit Bull Awareness Day.  Her mission was to combat negative stereotypes by celebrating responsible ownership and showcasing the true nature of pit bull type dogs in new and creative ways.  There is no right or wrong way to participate; the only rules are to change perceptions and have fun doing it.

Event support and participation were more than Jodi could have ever hoped for.  Rescuers all over the country jumped on the NPBAD train with purpose and enthusiasm.  The day was a huge success and is now celebrated every year.  What started out as one day of national celebration has evolved into a month-long campaign.

APBR is participating this year by offering a Pet Safety and Wellness event hosted by our wonderful vet, Dr. Eastin, of Sterling Park Animal Hospital.

We are excited about participating in our very first National Pit Bull Awareness Month.  We hope you join us and help us spread the word!

Our New Boys Debut at Felix and Oscar Event

We’re excited to announce that APBR has some new Ambassadors!  They made their debuts and quite an impression at our Felix and Oscar event last Saturday.

Pacino and Jessie
Pacino poses with his new foster mom.

Pacino joined us when he was dropped off  to his new foster mom, Jessie, by his shelter foster family.  He’s a handsome boy and immediately stole our hearts.  He was sad to see his first foster family go, but he is quickly settling in at his new foster home.

Pacino was found by a worker in the new construction site at the animal shelter.  It appears he had a rough time before he found his way to us.  He had some lacerations and punctures on his face and around his head, but they have healed nicely.  We don’t know how they got there, but we do know that he hasn’t let that experience get him down.   He has an incredibly sweet disposition and is friendly with both dogs and people.

image courtesy of

Sweet, gentle Lionel is a young pup with an old soul.  His soft fawn-brindle coat and gorgeous eyes are much more magnificent than any picture can accurately show.  He is unbelievably calm for his young  age and loves to meet new people and have a seat on their laps.  He plays nicely with other dogs and calms quickly when playtime is done.

It was another gorgeous day at Felix and Oscar, this time with power!  The customers who came to the store were happy to stop and pet our pups, some even getting down on the ground and pose for pictures of their own!

Big thanks to Diana and the staff at Felix and Oscar for their generosity and hospitality!  We also thank , Dirty Paw Photography, and our friend Stephanie  for coming out and taking pictures!

More photos from this event can be found here.