StubbyDog Hero: Marthina McClay

November 15, 2012  

President and Founder of Our Pack Inc.

Originally posted on Oct. 4, 2011

Q: Can you tell StubbyDog readers about Our Pack?

A: We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit rescue, training and education organization.

• We have a website dedicated to education about not only pit bull dogs but about positive and responsible teamwork between dogs and their guardians. We also have our Facebook page with well over 100,000 fans!
• We have weekly training classes for handlers and their dogs.
• We also have monthly lectures at all of our local partner shelters.
• We provide adoption support and counseling for not only our adopters but for adopters from our local shelters. Our adopters receive a lifetime of training from Our Pack.
• We provide education on socialization for your dog through our socials for puppies and adult dogs. Consultations are provided for people who may have issues.
• When possible, we take a cruelty case dog to a school to try and educate at a much younger age to help prevent issues later in life for kids.
• We provide training and support for our local shelters and their staff when needed, as well as support and assistance with shelter dogs as far as training, evaluation and fostering.
• We have wonderful foster homes that foster our dogs during their wait for their forever home that train and socialize our dogs.
• We will also assist in cruelty cases and dog fighting cases nationwide when needed. We were involved with the Michael Vick case and the largest case in U.S. history, where 500 dogs were taken into care in Missouri in 2009. Many of these dogs are now therapy dogs and family companions that live with dogs and children happily to this day.

Q: What motivated you to become a trainer and to eventually start Our Pack?

A: I learned to ride horses when I was 11 years old. At 14, I trained my two horses for pole bending and barrel racing. I also grew up and cared for dogs at a young age.

In the 1960s, the public feared German Shepherd Dogs. As a teenager, it was the Doberman. We had those dogs at that time. In the early 1970s, I learned dog training the traditional way. I went on to pursue other careers but always lived with dogs and continued to train on the side on a small scale. When I became a part-time trainer, I saw that the pit bull type dog was feared and misunderstood just like our family dogs – the German Shepherd and the Doberman – were. To me they seemed easy to work with and train, and were willing to please. However, I could see that familiar story starting all over again.

I became interested in the pit bull breed in 2003. I had already begun training, studying and working with dog-to-dog aggression issues on a part-time basis. Later I began rescuing/fostering pit bulls on my own, working with local shelters, rescue groups and eventually taking in dogs from shelters and placing them as an individual in my home along with my resident pit bulls, and thus Our Pack was born.

I currently have four pit bulls and a Chi mix.

Q: If there were one thing you could convey to the general public about pit bulls, what would it be?

A: Don’t judge, learn!

Every time we judge without understanding, we get into trouble. We need to spend time with an individual dog, finding out who he is and not what anything else says that he may be.

Q: How has Our Pack evolved, and what is your ultimate goal?

A: Our Pack has grown leaps and bounds, and we are lucky too in that it’s grown into a group of kind and dedicated individuals that just want to help dogs. We have certified trainers for our classes and excellent speakers for our lectures.

Through this, the ultimate goal is to have a world where no dog has to be judged on false misconceptions and hype but is judged in regards to who he is. It would be nice if this could happen with people, too!

Q: In what ways does Our Pack differ from typical rescues?

Our Pack does do rescue but our main focus is education for shelters, the public, schools and the media. I feel that we could rescue forever, but until there’s more education and assistance, there will continue to be more and more issues with other breeds of dogs as well. Education, training, teaching management to guardians, counseling on spay/neuter, etc., is the main work that we do.

Q: Not everyone is cut out for rescue work. What attributes does it take to keep your spirits up despite the sad cases you see and the overwhelming need?

A: I think you have to always look at the big picture. It’s not about me, it’s not about us, it’s about the dogs – and yes, that can make you go off the rails a bit, but you rope yourself back in and say, “This isn’t about me being sad or feeling better about this or that. It’s about helping the dogs on some large scale or platform.” Such as the Vick case: Leo didn’t know a football player owned him, and frankly I don’t care. But this case did help the public see what these dogs are actually all about. So it wasn’t about rescuing a Vick dog per se, it was about saving many, many dogs through that case. Again, not about us or Vick but about letting the world see the true image of the dogs.

Q: We think you’re a hero. If you could have one superpower to make a difference for pit bulls, what would it be?

A: It would be that they go on to being judged as individuals and that breed-discriminatory legislation would end. My magic power would be similar to Glenda the Good Witch in “The Wizard of Oz” with her pink bubble and magic wand. She said to Dorothy, “You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.” I would want to add for the dogs, “You’ve always had the power to go back to where you were, a revered, respected and loved companion to American families” … if only people would not judge but learn.

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One Response to “StubbyDog Hero: Marthina McClay”
  1. Awesome story and FINALLY someone who thinks on the same level as me when it comes to Michael Vick. It is my opinion folk focused more on who he was and not the dogs. You can’t imagine the strange looks and heated debates I’ve been for my statement I thank Michael Vick for being exposed. He exposed what goes on daily with these dogs… the fighting, the unnecessary deaths, the abuse etc. was exposed and more people started getting involved. Because of Michael Vick my family is more educated about pit bulls and their plight, because of Michael Vick my family are strong advocates for this bully breed, because of Michael Vick my family rescued two pit bulls that are the highlight of our lives. One must read the entire story inside of looking at the pictures to understand how one persons “appeared” demise saved gave life to so many.