Meet APBA Volunteer Kelsey


Final_iconThe core of Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance is our volunteers. These are people with full-time jobs, families, and their own dogs but choose to donate their time to help spread APBA’s message when they can. Each volunteer has their own story so beginning this April, we’re featuring one Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance volunteer each month to highlight their connection to our cause. Thank you to our volunteers, for all you do!


Our Featured Volunteer for April: Kelsey Marshall

Our Featured Event for April: Bartending for the Bullies April 20 at The Ashburn Pub

By: Kelsey Marshall

Hi! My name is Kelsey Marshall and I’ve been volunteering with APBA for the last year. I grew up in the area and am a GMU grad. While at GMU, I studied Sociology with a concentration in Social Change and Inequality so being an advocate for those who are Kelseydiscriminated against, whether human or animal, has always been a passion of mine. I never really knew the amount of discrimination pit bulls faced until about three years ago when my partner Jesse and I were looking to move in together to a new home with his 4 year old pit bull Fiona. We were turned down time and time again purely based off of the dogs breed. I was heartbroken that our sweet animal was being judged especially by complete strangers. Being an animal lover, this did not sit well with me and I began doing research: breed discrimination, petitions to end BSL, the incredible amount of pit bulls in shelters. I just had to get involved. Whether it was sharing an adoptable dog’s Facebook link, spreading the word to my friends who were looking to adopt, or adopting myself (we’ve since added two more beautiful pit bulls to our family—Pedro & Amelia). I was determined to try anything I could to help. I had just graduated and wanted to spend my free time giving back to the community and my friend Christina (a fellow APBA volunteer) suggested I look into volunteering for APBA as well. Best decision yet! I love the work that we do, the animals we get to meet and find homes for and the happy endings we’re able to be a part of. I think the program I’m the most interested in is the Pet Owner Support Program as we get to partner with local families on the struggles they’re facing being an owner of a pit bull and work to make recommendations to ensure the safety & happiness of both the family & the pup! To me, image1the best way to spread ABPA’s mission is to start with our local community which is why I wanted to partner with Kevin & The Ashburn Pub for the Bartending for Bullies fundraiser. The Pub is a local business with tons of people that make up my immediate community so where better to host a fundraiser? The Pub is notorious for hosting events that spread the word on so many great volunteer groups and our mission is definitely one that needs to be heard. The event will run from 7-9pm on April 20th and I’ll be guest bartending! Other APBA volunteers will be there to spread the word on our rescue and help sell raffle tickets. The raffle tickets will be for our awesome prizes that have been donated by some AMAZING local small businesses. A sneak peek at some of the prizes include: wine tastings, fitness classes, and salon gift cards. The Pub has also generously agreed to donate 10% of all food sales to APBA so if you’re with the family that evening, The Pub will be the perfect place to host your dinner! Hope to see you at one of our events soon.



Tidy Up for Your Pup: Spring Cleaning for Your Pets

By: E. Adrian Foster4371919184_4aa55a6ee2_z

With spring already beginning to show its bloom, it’s natural for us to begin thinking about spring cleaning, decluttering, and redecorating. However, don’t forget Fido’s Feng Shui! We’ve got some tips on how to keep your pup in mind while tidying up the house.

Spring Cleaning

We clean all our most visited spaces: bedrooms, living room, kitchen, bathrooms. But 4320811707_0a25ed41cb_zwhat about the spaces your dog visits most?

Dog Crate & Bed: Give your dog’s crate base a good wipe down and wash any blankets or beds inside. Most dog beds have a removable cover so take a look and see if there’s a way to unzip the it for easier washing. If not, consider purchasing one from Molly Mutt or making one with this tutorial from Fab You Bliss.

Food & Water Bowls: It’s extremely important to regularly wash your pet’s food and water bowls. Most pet bowls can go in the dishwasher on the top rack or you can hand wash them. It only takes a second and can prevent harmful bacteria and mold build up. NSF International, a public health organization, rated these little containers as the fourth dirtiest spot in our homes!

Poopy Yard: Yes, it’s gross, but cleaning up your pet’s droppings is essential to their health and the health of the environment. From Doody Calls Website:4948377552_d546e48059_z “According the EPA, dog waste is considered non-point source pollution along with herbicides and insecticides, oil, and grease. Roundworm is one of the most common parasites found in dog waste and it can remain infectious in contaminated soil for years.” Not a fan of scooping poop? Consider hiring a pet waste management company to visit your home regularly such as Doody Calls.


We all need to do it, even when we don’t want to. Decluttering isn’t just tossing things into the trash, finding a new home for unwanted items is a wonderful way to prevent contributing to landfills and giving old products new life!

Donate: Have any old e-collars, towels, blankets, or sheets? Make a tax deductible donation to a local animal shelter.

Pay It Forward: Dog toys, collars, leashes, and 6236610894_b72c902201_zun-expired food items might seem disposable to some people but to others they’re pricey items they wish they could provide their pets. Consider posting these items for free on Craigslist or on your local Freecycle group. You’ll be surprised how quickly they get picked up!

Recyclable Dog Bed: Got some old clothes not suitable for donating to Goodwill? Stuff a Molly Mutt dog bed or make your own dog bed case and stuff it with your old rags!


Sometimes all you need is a little change in scenery to brighten Purina Art Projectyour mood. Spruce up your walls and counter tops with these fun doggie art projects!

Make Art with Your Dog: Be sure to use pet safe, non-toxic paint when trying out these fun DIY pet projects!

Treat Your Eyes & Your Dog: Try making a beautiful, fun, new treat jar using this tutorial from My Dog Likes.

Brighten Up Your Walls: Making art not your thing? Consider purchasing original and unique art from artists.

Cleaning up after your pets is an easy way to improve their quality of life as well as yours.

What are your go-to pet clean-up projects? Share in the comments!

APBA’s Microchipping Program

By Michelle Rivera

I went from never owning a dog to having three within 8 months! I started out with a senior Yorkie who was full of spunk.  After only 5 months, I decided to get another dog but wasn’t sure what type until I fell in love with a pit bull named Max and let me tell you, I
wasn’t fully aware at how different pit bull owners were treated until I became one. The same people who would run and Michelle & Dogspick up my Yorkie Lola to cuddle were now crossing to the other side of the street when they saw Max.  I was blown away at how quickly I became an outcast amongst the same pet parents at the dog park that I was once friendly with. So I made it my mission to become an advocate for this awesome dog who is so intuitive to what I’m feeling and is nothing but a huge cuddle bug. I was so determined to be an advocate that I decided to get another pit bull but this time a puppy! I was in way over my head but she was just what we needed to complete our family. After having Brooklyn for just a week, the unthinkable happened, she bolted through my door as I was closing it and she was gone.  I looked for her everywhere and thankfully, she came home 15 hours later. I was so relieved but also completely unaware at how lucky I was that she managed to find her way back to her very new home because most pet owners aren’t so fortunate.

Since then, I’ve learned that 1 in 3 dogs will go missing in their lifetime and 90% of them never make it home. Pet owners can change this statistic and drastically improve the Home againchances of reuniting with their irreplaceable companions if they simply microchip their pets.  Unlike a collar, a microchip can’t be removed and will stay with your pet forever.  The chip is the size of a grain of rice that is injected subcutaneously and does not hurt or irritate your pet. No anesthesia or surgery needed.  Microchipping your pet is not a tracking device, it is a radio frequency identification device (RFID) that is easily scanned by any universal scanner. The scanner will reveal a unique number which is registered to your contact information so the finder can contact the owner. Over 6.5 million pets are enrolled with HomeAgain, a microchip database, which responsible for reuniting over a million lost pets with their families.

After my personal ordeal of having my beloved Brooklyn go missing, I have never been more adamant about microchipping. As a volunteer for Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance, not only do I get the amazing support on how to be the best dog owner I can be but I also get Michelles Dogsthe opportunity to share my story and advocate the importance of microchipping and how it could potentially save your dog’s life. APBA offers FREE microchipping for all pit bull type dogs and will gladly microchip all other dogs for a donation of $15. The process only takes about 5 minutes and can be done anywhere, no need to make an appointment at the vet.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find out when we’re hosting events. We will have a microchipping station with us at most events so all you have to do is stop by!


Photographs courtesy of Jeanne Taylor Photography/Pet Portraits

APBA’s Pet Owner Support Program

By Kristie Wood

I have been involved in rescue for the last 12 years. I’ve volunteered with all breed dog and cat rescues, breed specific pit bull rescues, and even ferret and rabbit rescues. I’ve been a part of Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance (APBA) since the beginning, and two and a half years ago, I started volunteering at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. That’s where I was able to see things that I never got to see in rescue.

For me, being in rescue made me feel kind of jaded towards people who surrendered their Kristiepets to animal shelters. I asked myself week after week, when the rescues I volunteered with announced their new arrivals, how anyone could dump their pets like garbage. How could they live with themselves after ridding themselves of animals they promised to love forever, but now found to be inconvenient? It made me so angry, especially if the animals I cared for as a foster and handled at adoption events were old, or sick, or old and sick.

What I learned at the shelter is that the average pet owner who surrenders a pet doesn’t actually WANT to do it. Most times they just don’t see any other option. Some examples of reasons for surrender are:

  • They’re moving and can’t find affordable housing that will accept their pet
  • They just had a new baby, and the pet isn’t adapting to the change as well/quickly as they should
  • Their house was foreclosed and they have to move in with family who won’t allow the pet
  • They’ve fallen on financially hard times and can’t afford basic care
  • Their pet is sick/injured and they can’t afford treatment

More often than not, I also witnessed the anguish and tears from the people, and the confusion and anxiety of the pets as they parted ways. It actually made me feel kind of ashamed of myself for being so angry for all those years.

I started wondering if there were resources out there that could help keep people and their pets together. After a lot of research, and after taking a lot of classes offered at the shelter, I discovered that there are, but in order to use them, a person has to know where to look.

APBA gets a lot of emails from people looking for help. These are people who love their dogs, but don’t know how to keep them for many of the reasons listed above. All they know is they don’t want to surrender their pet to the shelter. And so, I started answering these emails and pointing them towards existing resources. I have referred them to trainers that I personally know will use positive reinforcement. I have found pit bull friendly realtors to help them find housing. I have visited their homes with another volunteer to assess behavior and offer safe management advice. And, sometimes, if there really isn’t another option, I’ve been able to assure them that if they surrender their pet to a shelter, their pet will be safe. Volunteering in the shelter system has taught me which ones are on board with finding homes for the majority of their animals and which ones aren’t. Luckily, in this area, most of our shelters are progressive. Still, if an animal can stay with his or her family, that’s always the best outcome.

I’m so excited about the launch of APBA’s Pet Owner Support program. Making it known to the pit bull loving public that we are here and we want to help is a dream come true for us, and we hope will be a lifeline for those who need help, but don’t know where to look.

If you or someone you know in the DC Metropolitan area is looking for resources to help them keep their pit bull, or is looking to rehome their pit bull, please contact us at