Goddess in the Spotlight: Mandy Glatz
Mandy has a unique passion that most of us know little about: bulldogs.
Yes, that cute, stocky, squish-faced muscle dog. True, lots of us are passionate about cuddly animals.
So why is Mandy’s passion for this breed different and why should you know about it?
Mandy started following some generic social media feeds that featured bulldogs, mostly just to get her daily fill of cuteness, and at some point stumbled across a photo posted by Road Dogs and Rescue. She started following them because they were a rescue who specialized in Bulldogs and related breeds.
Then Pinky popped into her feed. She was just so cute! A few weeks later, there was another picture of Pinky! Mandy was starting to fall for her, but they were out of town, with another big trip coming up as well. By this point her husband Jon was hearing an earful about Pinky!
A few weeks later, another picture of Pinky was posted with the caption: Nobody wants Pinky! Mandy’s immediate thought was, “but I want Pinky!” Well, if no one had adopted her by the time they came back from their next trip, maybe she could convince Jon. When they got back to town, Jon and Mandy had plans to do an overnight in LA with some friends to see a concert. Wouldn’t you know, when she looked up to see where Road Dogs was located in LA, it was a short drive from where they were staying. So she set up a met and greet with Pinky and Road Dogs founder Nikki. Needless to say, everyone got along, and home they went with Pinky.
Mandy kept in touch with Nikki and eventually met another San Diegan who volunteers for Nikki’s rescue. Slowly, Mandy began to volunteer as well. Picking up new dogs in the San Diego area, taking them to vet appointments, driving them up to LA or to a new fosters home. As time went on she became more and more involved, spending much of her free time on her days off or even taking her lunch break from work to take a dog to a vet appointment.
The more Mandy worked with Road Dogs, the more she learned about the breeding practices that have created terrible birth defects in this breed and just how widespread and rampant the issue is. As society has decided certain colorings or features are more desirable (read cuter and more expensive) than others, breeders are adding different gene pools into their breeding practices to try to bring out these desirable traits. Unfortunately, this has led to issues such as cleft palate, cherry eye, incontinence, hydrocephalus, and spina bifida. Normally vets and breeders will choose to euthanize these puppies right away, which not only gives them no chance at living a happy life with caring pet parents, but it also keeps the problem hidden. Nikki has made it a mission of Road Dogs to take in as many of these special pets as possible and place them in homes with special humans who have the ability to take care of them. Mandy has been able to assist in placing many of these great dogs into their forever homes.
The mission of Road Dogs isn’t confined to the United States. Rescues from all over the world have reached out to Nikki and her volunteers. One special rescue that has developed a relationship with Road Dogs is based in China. China doesn’t have any laws established to protect animal welfare, and in fact eating dog meat is still widely practiced, both in certain restaurants as well as in an annual festival devoted specifically to this “delicacy.” While the younger generations are involved to a much lesser extent than their elders are, and are in fact becoming more likely to want to keep a dog as a companion animal, there is still a high risk for dogs in China to end up in a slaughter house.
Enter Slaughterhouse Survivors (SHS). This rescue was formed by three young women who came to China from three different countries to teach English and expand their horizons. They united over their utter dismay over the mistreatment of dogs, and decided to form a rescue. SHS focuses on dogs found in their province of Harbin, and they have formed connections with rescues all over the world where they can send these dogs in hopes of giving them the life that they deserve.
Thus began Operation Bulldog in cooperation with SHS and Road Dogs.
Last fall, Mandy went on her first rescue trip to China to represent Operation Bulldog and escort the bulldogs back to LA. Mandy learned a lot, made life-long friends with the women of SHS, and successfully flew 8 dogs back to LA to meet their foster parents in the airport when they arrived. Since Mandy’s trip, Road Dogs has sent additional volunteers on several more trips, and at the time of this writing they have brought 34 dogs safely back to the US.
When thinking over the last four years of working with the rescue, she can’t imagine what her life would be like now if she had never gotten involved.
“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about where my life would be right now if I hadn’t happened upon Road Dogs. So many wonderful new friendships and life changing things have happened to me by being a part of something so special.”
It was with her love of bulldogs in mind that her husband Jon contacted me to make Mandy a custom necklace for her birthday. Mandy has been a long-time customer of mine, so he knew she would love a custom Holly B. necklace. When I asked what he had in mind, he said I had free reign but that he wanted it designed around a particular object: Pinky’s tooth!
So, here is the story: Pinky hates other dogs! This cranky attitude has only made her more unique and lovable to her parents, but can cause a little strife in the household if she finds herself without a barrier between her and Watson (their second rescue). One day, Jon was home with the dogs and she got past the fence and into Watson’s territory, and proceeded to pick a fight. She jumped up and her jaw smacked down on Watson’s hard head just so, and her entire tooth, end to end just popped out of her head! Both dogs were no worse for wear other than the missing tooth, and Jon kept the tooth, eventually devising a plan for this unique birthday gift!
I will say it is definitely the strangest component I’ve worked with as of yet, but it was a fun challenge! I love creating custom designs that really represent the person who will wear it, and this necklace both represents the love Mandy has for her fur-child, as well as the passion she puts into her volunteer work.
“Some people might think it’s weird, but I love my necklace! When Pinky is gone I will still have a piece of her with me.”
Click here to learn more about my custom work!
Want to continue the story? Follow Mandy and her volunteer work on Instagram @Pinky_and_Watson. Find Nikki and the rescue on Instagram @Roadogs or on Facebook @Road Dogs & Rescue. Follow the Chinese rescue on Instagram @Slaughterhouse_survivors or on Facebook @harbinshs.