Monday, February 27, 2017

Pit Stop...PHS-a bi-monthly blog on a seriously misunderstood mixed breed

Soon after I was offered the position at PHS, I took some time to educate myself on Pit Bulls and the Bully type breeds. During my self guided tours of
the facility, Pit Bulls were certainly the predominant
dogs. I dove into books, documentaries and even YouTube videos to fully understand the popularity of “Pitties.”
I must admit, I had a biased opinion. My only interaction stemmed from a dog outing with our first rescue Weimaraner at a Care-A-Lot building back in
2006. My young daughter and I were shopping with “Nic” in the warehouse section of Care-A-Lot. Around the corner came a small (45 pound) Pit Bull
puppy and his owner. I asked if he was friendly, and
the owner said ‘yes,’ so I proceeded to allow Nic to
sniff. In a few seconds, the pup snarled and then
snapped at Nic. I quickly pulled him back. Nic had a
         permanent piercing on his ear from that interaction. I was jaded for many                        years. As an owner of rescue dogs, I’ve always said,
“There is no such thing as a bad dog, unfortunately
the same cannot be said of people.” Be
it lack of interaction and socialization,
dogs of ALL breeds can be deemed
“bad dogs,” due to poor training.

Every Pittie with whom I’ve interacted
at PHS has been affectionate, smart,
playful and incredibly intelligent. A
few we’ve had here are so smart that
they begin to struggle in this captive-type
environment. Zach Flota, one of our Animal Care
Managers, noted to me during my first month, “This
is a wonderful place and this is a terrible place.” So
very true. We save animals from the dangers of the
great wide world by providing a safe harbor; but
imagine being confined every day in a cement cell or
a stainless steel box. Breaking up the monotony of daily routine                    helps all our animals. We are in the process of developing an
even greater Animal Enrichment Program. By June, we will have a full
time Animal Enrichment Specialist on our Team. Our goal is to provide our
animals with the extra help and stimulation to mentally make it through
their time with us until they are adopted.

So, back to the Pit Bull breed. The breed itself is not recognized by AKC,
though it is an accepted breed by the UKC—“American Pit Bull Terrier.”
AKC recognizes the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull
Terrier which are often called “Pit Bulls.” They do have similar characteristics. The Pit Bulls we often see in our shelter are mixed with a variety of breeds, including Boxer, Mastiff, AmericanBulldog, American Staffordshire  Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Bull Terriers to name a few.

The popularity of the breed isn’t a new thing;
however, the notoriety of the breed is a different
story (I won’t go into the notoriety in this
blog...Mr. Vick, shame on you). Pit Bulls can
be described as dogs who have a square
shaped head, cropped or short ears and range
in size from 45-85 pounds.
Though Pit Bulls have been in the negative
spotlight in recent years, there was a time in
America’s past when the breed was revered.
“Little Nipper” was the famous dog who listened to
the Victor Record Player with his head cocked
(much like Daisy above.) “Petey” was the beloved
Pit Bull who hung out with Spanky, Alfalfa and the
gang from “the Little Rascals,” shown below.

If you haven’t visited PHS in awhile, I invite you to
come and see us. Support from our community is
needed on a variety of levels: volunteering, donating
supplies from our Wish List, becoming a Foster Parent, or simply walking through and visiting our homeless animals. With your ongoing support, we can continue to provide a wonderful place for the stray, abandoned, and sometimes neglected animals who come through our doors.
Babs Zuhowski

Monday, September 23, 2013

Rabies... How Much Do You REALLY Know???

Today kicks off National Rabies Awareness Week! Do you consider yourself aware? Take the short quiz below and see how you do....

1. How many CONFIRMED rabies cases were there in Virginia last year (2012)?
a) NONE b) <5 c="" class="text_exposed_hide" span="">...
d) >500

2. How many CONFIRMED rabies cases have there been in Virginia this year (2013)?
a) NONE b) <2 c="" d="">300

3. What animal species is the most common rabies carrier?
a) dogs b) cats c) raccoons d) foxes

4. Name four different species that can be infected with rabies (there are many!)?

How many did you answer correctly? See your answers below and post your results.

1) d) >500 - in 2012, there were 562 CONFIRMED cases of rabies in Virginia - check to which cities have confirmed cases at
2) d) >300 - so far, in 2013, there have been 369 CONFIRMED cases of rabies in Virginia - check to see which cities have confirmed cases at
3) c) raccoons - raccoons by far, are the largest carriers of rabies in Virginia
4) Any of the following species can be infected with rabies (this is not an all inclusive list): humans, raccoons, foxes, dogs, cats, bats, bears, beavers, bobcats, horses, goats, groundhogs and skunks.

**If you believe you have been bitten by an animal that could have rabies, please contact your local health department immediately.**

Monday, September 16, 2013


It's been a long time coming, and today is the day.  We are resurrecting our blogger page to add a new element to Portsmouth Humane Society - discussion. 

There are so many wonderful things going on and so many different things to participate in, but not a lot of ways to hear back from the community.  This is your chance!  We'd love to hear comments and insights on different ideas or things we are planning.  We would love feedback on what we can do better or what you believe needs to chance.  And I would be remiss if I didn't mention - we like positive feedback too!  Let us know if you like something we're doing, that way, we'll keep doing it!

We look forward to hearing from everyone over the next few days, months, etc.


Monday, May 16, 2011

3rd Annual "Cause for Paws" - A Great Success!!!

Hundreds of paws paraded around Portsmouth during the 3rd Annual "Cause for Paws" 5K Run, Dog Walk & Festival, which was held Saturday April 30, 2011 at North Landing in Olde Towne Portsmouth. Over 300 attendees and their canine companions came out to support the Portsmouth Humane Society's annual fundraiser, which raised over $29,000- a record amount for the event!

A 5K Run kicked off the event, with over 100 participants running the course through Historic Olde Towne Portsmouth. Dogs and their owners then participated in a 1 mile dog walk which was followed by the Festival. Supporters were able to shop from local vendors, learn about the dedicated work of rescue groups, enjoy delicious food and relax to the music of the "Joint Therapy" band.

The money raised from the event will go towards our Capital Campaign for a new shelter. The urgent need for more space and the need to comply with new, more stringent state regulation has compelled us to embark on a capital campaign to improve our facilities with a new building.

At approximately 9,500 square feet, the new building will include expanded dog runs, an indoor exercise area, a cat play room, puppy and kitten nurseries, a humane education area, a lost and found station and more.

The cost of the new shelter will be $1.9 million with a goal to raise $1 million in private donations towards construction of the new facility. PHS has already committed and pledged funds that will cover almost half the costs of land acquisition and building construction.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

3rd Annual "Cause for Paws"

This is my favorite time of year- "Cause for Paws" time! The event committee is busy preparing for this fun-filled experience, which will take place on Saturday, April 30. Last year we raised a record-setting $25,000 for the animals and I am confident that we can surpass that amount this year. We've added a 5K Run to the mix or you can opt for the leisurely 1 mile Dog Walk. After that, stroll through the festival which will include local Rescue Groups, vendors, live music, food and more!

You can raise money to participate in the dog walk and even win some great prizes, including a Nintendo Wii! Create your own FIRSTGIVING webpage and supporters can donate directly to your cause!

Visit for more information or to register to participate! We hope to see you there!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Fur Ball was a SUCCESS!

I am thrilled to announce that we raised over $30,000 from the 1st Annual Fur Ball Gala on Saturday Jan. 29, 2011!! That is a tremendous amount, especially considering this is a first-time event. All the proceeds from the event, which was held at Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel, will go directly to the Capital Campaign for a new shelter.

Our guests enjoyed cocktails, a delicious plated dinner with dessert, live entertainment from Strickly Bizzness, free photo booth photos from the Boardwalk Photo Booth Company, a complimentary pet reading from animal communicator Chris Stakes, professional photos from Ramone Photography, and opportunities to bid on silent auction items or purchase raffle prize tickets.

The event was such a success that we have already set the date for next year- January 28, 2012! I cannot say THANK YOU enough to the sponsors, participants and guests of the event!! We could not have done it without your support!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Attend the 1st Annual Fur Ball!

Portsmouth Humane Society is pleased to announce the
1st Annual Fur Ball Gala!

The Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel & Waterfront Conference Center will be hosting the event which will feature:

  • Full plated dinner with dessert

  • 2 Complimentary Drinks with Ticket

  • Live entertainment

  • Raffle prizes

  • Silent auction

  • Dog bar (featuring delicious dog treats)

  • Professional Photographs from Ramone Photography

  • Photo Booth

  • Pet Communicator Pet Stakes

  • and much more!

The proceeds from the event will go directly to the Capital Campaign for a New Shelter!