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Star Dog Winner: Ruckus and…

How the two top Star Dog contestants joined smaller forces for good

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Ruckus Photographed by Darcy Evans

It all came down to a proverbial olive branch.

During our last Star Dog contest something magical happened: the teams behind our two top dogs—Ruckus, a cancer-surviving Vizsla, and Starbuck, a Pit Bull who lost her leg when she was thrown from a moving vehicle at just three months of age—decided, instead of battling for the win, to support each other, not only offering words of encouragement but even financial support for the other’s animal-welfare-related causes. (If only the same could happen in politics!)

It was as simple as bridging the gap. When comments were made online questioning how quickly Ruckus was climbing the ranks to become a top contender in the vote driven contest, Joe Chowaniec, Ruckus’ owner, reached out to Allison Phillips, Starbuck’s adopter—and a friendship was formed.

Joe explains, “I felt that both teams needed to deal with the comments in a positive way so I reached out to Allison and had a great conversation over email about both dogs.”

Following their chat, Allison posted a note to the Starbuck Team page wishing both dogs good luck, and Joe shared Starbuck’s story with the Vizsla community, who were moved by her story. When Ruckus ultimately won, his many supporters wanted to do something for Starbuck, too. “They told Allison to increase her fundraising goal for abused and disabled dogs,” Joe reports. “Thanks to Vizsla owners around the world, over $3500 were raised for Starbucks’ cause.” But the good vibes didn't end there. In return, Allison donated to Joe’s local humane shelter on Ruckus’ behalf. Then Joe, along with many other Vizsla owners, also donated to their local shelters. 

“In the end,” Joe said, “a new family of friends was created and Starbuck is a honorary Vizsla and a true Star Dog!”

Allison seconds the sentiment. “Team Ruckus is incredible! They helped us raise over $4,000 for Lotsa Love Pet Rescue and Adoptions. We are so thankful and grateful to have met them through the contest and wish we could just scream THANK YOU TEAM RUCKUS! I think it's so important that we work together. That has been the best part about these contests. We've made so many amazing, lasting friendships along the way. We are so blessed!”

As for us, we are thrilled to be able to feature both these amazing dogs and their people on these pages.


Ruckus the Vizsla
Get to Know the Vizsla: Joe Gives Us The Lowdown OnHis Favourite Breed 

Best things about Vizslas? They are extremely intelligent, devoted, loyal, and friendly dogs. We often refer to them as ‘Velcro dogs’ as they always want to be included in all aspects of family life.

Who would the breed be a good match for?
Individuals or families that are active and have a lot of patience during the first few years of their dog’s life—Vizslas test boundaries. They need room to run and burn off energy, but they also need a comfortable bed, pillow, and blanket.

Interesting breed quirks? They are extremely clean, groom themselves like cats, and don't have the typical dog smell. Also, every Vizsla we have had—all four of them—required that they be covered in a blanket for the night!


Starbuck the Tripawd!
Allison Talks “Pibble” Pride and Love on Three Legs 

What do you want people to know about Pit Bulls/bully breeds?
I really wish people would understand that “Pit Bull” is usually just a lump term for a mutt. When people ask me what Starbuck is mixed with I usually say “Staffy? Lab? Sugar and spice and everything nice?” I have no idea, she's a “pibble,” she's a mutt, she’s an awesome dog! I also want to stress the Pit Bull advocacy should be about education, nondiscrimination, and it should be positive.” 

What would you like people to know about “tripawds?”
“It's amazing to see how quickly an animal can recover from losing a leg. I think people could learn a lot from dogs. I used

to have a very bad attitude about getting arthritis at 23, and I let
it get the best of me, but seeing my best friend Starbuck accomplish such amazing things missing a leg, I started working on getting over it and last year I completed my first half-marathon thanks to Starbuck!

What's the best thing about having rescued Starbuck?
“That's such a loaded question! She's just an amazing dog. She is so full of love, she's so happy, she's incredibly patient, she's pretty well behaved, and she's just a lot of fun. She is everything I could ever ask for in a best friend. The added bonus of rescuing a “tripawd” is she helped me get over my physical issues. The added bonus of rescuing a dog that had been through abuse was she helped me get over social anxiety from years of being bullied. The added bonus of adopting a Pit was I found the sense of purpose I lost after getting out of the Coast Guard. I also see so much good in so many people now. Instead of "who rescued who?" I always say that I adopted Starbuck but she rescued me. When I see Starbuck I don't see a dog that was thrown out of a car when she was a baby. I see this beautiful strong dog that people pulled together to save, and I see her Team standing beside her, helping us with our mission, and they are so supportive and so kind. So to answer the question, the best thing about adopting Starbuck is the amount of love that came with it!”

Thanks to our amazing Star Dog Contest sponsor Adaptil!


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