By Brittany Boler
Keeping our furry friends at a healthy body weight is just as important for them as it is for us. According to the most recent survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 55.8% of dogs in the US are overweight or obese. Other health issues are often made worse with obesity- including hypertension, diabetes, and osteoarthritis. Preventing your pet from becoming overweight or obese is much easier than correcting a problem later. Keeping our pets lean can help them live longer and healthier lives!

How do I know if my dog is overweight or obese?
The first step is to evaluate your dog’s weight using the body condition score ( BCS ). It is best to ask your vet to assess your pet’s weight in order to provide an unbiased view. Your vet can also determine the ideal body weight of your pet. This is done based on breed standards, and individual pet size, age, and life stage.

What are the best weight loss programs?
There are many programs to help your dog lose weight, but it is best to have a conversation with your vet and have him or her assist in developing a plan tailored to your dog. It is important to remember, if you are cutting calories substantially it is best to feed a diet meant for weight loss. Nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals will be adjusted in weight loss diets to ensure nutritional needs are met.
Prescription diets are another option to help pet owners manage their pet’s weight. 
In the same APOP survey mentioned above, respondents said they had the best results with calorie restriction or increased exercise.
Regardless of how you go about it, it is best for weight loss to be gradual. Most pets can safely lose 1-3% of their current body weight per month .

What are the best ways to prevent pet obesity?
The Petfood Institute provides some great tips below:
By Autumn Fenton
Although she achieved progress, Roxy’s new forever family currently refers to her as a “special needs dog.” They consider small things, such as enjoying a walk or wagging her tail, as big victories.

Determined to do their best for her, Courtney and Nate Guillen hired an animal behaviorist within a month of adopting Roxy last summer. Roxy’s body language stumped even the professional. Although she was terrified and suffered from low-energy, Roxy remained alert. She found the courage to glance around and occasionally made eye contact. And in true Brittany mode, her nose “was going a mile-a-minute.”

The Guillen family also found a vet experienced in anxiety issues. Roxy was put on a low dose of Sertraline, as well as a calming food and Chinese herbs. Neither the medication nor the supplements seemed to make a difference, however, so the vet encouraged the family to adopt another dog as a companion for Roxy. 

They welcomed Gracie, a two-year-old Australian Shepherd/Husky mix, into the family last fall. The rescue organization introduced “every dog they had” to Roxy. The staff gauged the body language of both dogs. Gracie was chosen based on her reaction and ‘listening’ to what Roxy was expressing. The dogs are well-matched in size and Courtney hopes that when Roxy comes into her own, they will be well-matched in energy levels as well. 

Gracie’s presence has made a profound difference. Roxy still stays in her hiding places but moves between them more often now. She added a new safe spot in a high activity area of the kitchen. Most notably, Roxy wagged her tail for the first time when Gracie greeted her one morning.     

Before adopting Gracie, the couple was unable to take Roxy for walks. She would get about twenty yards from the driveway and strain to go back to the house. These days, Roxie sniffs around and after about ten minutes, relaxes enough to walk in a straight line, instead of in circles. Recently, she has started to whine while on walks. Courtney considers this another victory because previously, Roxy never made any noise at all.

“She finally feels safe enough that she doesn’t need to feel invisible. She is letting us know she is uncomfortable, but not fighting it as she used to,” says Courtney.

Roxy now accepts treats from family members’ hands. She enjoys receiving affection and sometimes bestows kisses. Recently, she acknowledged a toy that was presented to her by placing her mouth on it. She didn’t accept it or play with it, but she didn’t back away from it. Roxy still hasn’t learned to play in the general sense, but she and Gracie have created their own game by running between two of her safe spots over and over again. 

Courtney says they originally underestimated the effects of the abuse Roxy had endured. They thought that in three or four months, she’d be well on her way to normal. But as Courtney says, “If a human had gone through what those puppy mills dogs experienced, it could take that human a lifetime to recover.”

“The best advice I can give to someone considering adopting a dog like Roxy is that you must have infinite patience. Losing your temper is not an option,” she says. “You also can’t take their behavior personally. It took me time to understand that Roxy is not afraid of ME. She is just afraid. That said, the little wins she makes feel life-changing. And, cumulatively, hopefully, they will be.”

It’s the call no rescue wants to receive. A breeder, with ten senior dogs, has died and left no plans for their care. All the dogs were living in outdoor runs with only barrels as shelter. The dogs were lacking veterinary care and needed vaccinations, dentals, spay/neuter, and medication for fleas, parasites, and infections. In addition, several needed surgeries for growths and mammary issues. Fortunately, a family member contacted American Brittany Rescue and all ten dogs were taken into care.

Since ABR received the call on January 20th there has been a whirlwind of activity! The ten dogs came into ABR's possession on January 22nd and by the 24th each one had been transported to various states and to a wonderful ABR foster. Since then the dogs have been receiving veterinary care to address basic and advanced veterinary issues.

Already five of these beautiful Brittanys are ready to find their forever homes!
BARNEY JR. - Illinois
Male - Age 7
"The Sweet One"
REBEL - Illinois
Female - Age 9
"The Security Officer"
TIMMY - Wisconsin
Male - Age 11
"The Cuddle Bug"
J.J. - Ohio
Male - Age 7
"The Gorgeous One"
ROCKO - Kentucky
Male - Age 12
"The Lover"
Submitted by James DeKnight
My family and l have fostered seventeen Brittanys over the years and every single one of them was a joy to know and care for. I can't rightly say that one stands out above the others because they all became part of my heart. So, I am going to pick Curly’s story for this article. Curly's story has a happy ending (his new home), a pretty pleasant middle (my home), and a sort of rough time (his first home).
In 2018, not long after we finished fostering a beautiful young girl from Spain named Kira (that one is a great story too), my state coordinator contacted me about a nine-year-old male Brittany who was being surrendered due to the owner having health issues. I was asked if l would be interested in fostering him. I probably said yes far too enthusiastically, like I always do, and then asked for any details. Curly had had only one owner. He was used for hunting and spent his entire life outside. The owner was not doing well and relied on a neighbor to feed Curly. The neighbor was instrumental in helping rescue Curly and was able to convince the owner to surrender him. The neighbor later told me that Curly was tied to a tree all year with very little attention from the owner. The neighbor said he prayed every winter that Curly would make it through the cold, bitter season. The owner would prepare Curly for the winter by fattening him up and putting an extra layer of hay in his doghouse.
So, needless to say, l was excited about rescuing Curly, but at the same time I was worried because he wasn't housebroken, and being strictly an outdoor dog with little attention, I didn't know what his temperament might be. He could be aggressive, have behavior issues, or any number of problems. My thirteen-year-old daughter accompanied me on the two-hour ride to pick up Curly. On the way, I was going over contingency plans in case Curly was aggressive or uncontrollable. The unknown makes your brain go into overdrive and does more harm than good sometimes. And this was the case with Curly.
The first time we met Curly he was smiling from ear to ear. He was a mess to behold; he was overweight, smelled something awful, and had nails so long it was painful to see him walk, but he had the biggest smile l have ever seen in a pup. The whole ride home Curly laid on my daughter's lap, just as happy as he could be.
I will never forget the first time Curly walked into my home. He walked into every room with a smile and a sense of awe, with a country boy's first time in the big city sense of wonderment. It was so funny to watch. And, he adapted to indoor life very quickly. After a few days he had hardly any accidents in the house. When he went outside it was all business, and then he wanted to come right back in. I guess living outside all his life was enough for Curly. He was officially an indoor only pup. And forget ever trying to sit or lie down by yourself because Curly must climb on you and smother you in love. I think that is one of the things l will most remember about Curly, he seemed genuinely thankful for having been rescued. You could see it in his eyes, his smile, and his tail wags. Every part of his body would say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." Little did Curly know, but he was about to hit the doggie lottery and have his life forever changed, for the better.
A couple months after Curly came to our home we received an email stating there was a couple interested in him. This couple had adopted through ABR before and they preferred senior dogs. After talking to them on the phone and meeting them in person, I was kind of hoping they would adopt me too. No luck on that, but Curly found his forever home. Every picture they send shows Curly snuggled up on someone with such a content look on his face. The couple just adore Curly and literally dote on his every whim. I stay in contact with them and love hearing how well Curly is doing, and how they love him to pieces. It is such a wonderful transformation to see that scruffy unkempt dog turn into such a beloved member of a family.
Well, that is the story of Curly.
So many people ask, “How can you foster a dog and not become attached to it?” The answer is... when the family comes to pick up the dog, we always have two things on the table, the adoption contract and a box of tissues. And the box of tissues is not for the adopting family.
Do you have “Foster Tails” to tell?
A foster moment you’ll never forget?
A challenge you overcame?
A funny or heartwarming story?
A tale of encouragement?
A foster who made a special impact?

Whether it's a few sentences, a whole story, or a photo that speaks for itself, we would love to hear and share your anecdotes, thoughts, and experiences. Please connect with us at !
Poison Prevention for Your Pet
By Christine Brennan
It’s every dog owner's nightmare: your beloved has ingested something poisonous. As careful as we try to be, each year U.S. veterinarians deal with more than 200,000 cases of pet poisoning. With March as “National Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month,” it’s a good time to look at ways to avoid this situation in the first place.
Below are a few tips on what to do if you think your pet has been poisoned.
The #1 preparedness tip is to know what’s potentially toxic to your Britt. While poisons, such as bleach or weed killer are obvious, others are less so. The most common dog poisons are:

  • Over-the-counter medications, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen/naproxen (Advil, Motrin, Aleve) and prescription medications such antidepressants, pain medications, and those for high blood pressure or kidney disease
  • Chocolate
  • Gum (Xylitol)
  • Grapes/raisins
  • Household cleaners and rodenticides/pesticides
  • Certain plants including azalea, poinsettia, oleander, lantana
Lesser known potential poisons include:
  • Coffee grounds
  • Onions/garlic
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Avocado
  • Batteries (dogs love to chew!)
  • Fabric softener sheets
Keep these items away from your Britt. Not all dogs will react to all of these, but better safe than sorry. If your dog tends to visit with friends or neighbors, make sure they are aware of possible household toxins and that they don’t keep poison-baited traps on their property.
Keep a poison prevention kit .
It should contain items such as rubber gloves, liquid dishwashing detergent, hydrogen peroxide (for inducing vomiting), a bulb syringe, saline eye solution, and tweezers.

If your pet has ingested a possible poison, don’t induce vomiting without checking with your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline. *
Vomiting can make the effect of some toxins worse. If vomiting is advisable, your vet can give you the correct dose of hydrogen peroxide to administer.
Keep the ASPCA poison hotline number handy .
Program it into your cell phone, and maybe put this page on your refrigerator.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 1-888-426-4435*
*There is a fee for consultation with the ASPCA experts; as of this writing it was $60.00
It is hard to believe the dramatic impact the outbreak of the coronavirus has had on our lives. The state of California has asked its populous to limit attending gatherings of more than ten people, and a great portion of the major metropolitan areas have been mandated to shelter in place for the next three weeks at minimum. In light of all of this, the picnic has been rescheduled for September 26, 2020.

We hope this date will work for everyone. We look forward to a wonderful fall day together. Please mark this new date on your calendars!

We hope all our dear friends stay healthy during this time of uncertainty.

For Questions Contact Diana or Terrie:
Diana Doiron:  or (562) 690-3139
Terrie Johnson:  or 707-477-2718 
Add a little color and beauty to your garden this spring while helping American Brittany Rescue! Shop for your spring bulbs at Three River Wreath Plant Company and 50% of all sales go directly to ABR for the care of rescued Brittanys.
The sale ends on April 30th.
Keep up-to-date on dog food and treat recalls on You can also sign up to have recall alerts delivered to your inbox!

American Brittany Rescue, Inc. is an organization that was formed in 1991 as a cooperative effort of Brittany owners, breeders, trainers, and fanciers who ABR believes have a responsibility not only for their own dogs and the dogs they produce, but for the breed as a whole.


ABR's mission is to provide the leadership and expertise via a network of trained volunteers to take in stray, abandoned, surrendered and/or impounded purebred Brittanys, provide them with foster care, health and temperament screening, an opportunity for any necessary rehabilitation and to assure their health and placement into new homes. In order to fulfill this mission, ABR's volunteers remain flexible and adaptable to current and future business environments and they remain dedicated to the organization.  

Terry Mixdorf, President
Terrie Johnson, Vice President
Michelle Falkinburg, Secretary
Diana Doiron, Treasurer
Debbie Clark, Co-Treasurer
Tiffany Dexter
Nancy Hensley
Sandra Oelschlegel
Bobbi Tolman
Brittany Boler
Christine Brennan
Jeannine Connors
Judie Cutting
Kristin Davis
Autumn Fenton
Lori Gartenhaus
Patricia Gillogly
Monica Rutt
Melissa Tapply DiLello
Debra White

American Brittany Rescue, Inc. | 866.274.8911 |  Visit Our Website