Virginia Pit Bulls Help Raise Arthritis Awareness While Searching for Forever Homes

03rd January 2011
Canine healers on hand to raise funds and spirits at the Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run/Walk Fundraiser

RICHMOND, Virginia – November 7, 2010 – is pleased to announce the creation of a very special team to participate in the Arthritis Foundation's annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk fundraiser on Saturday, December 4th at the Stony Point Fashion Park.

In partnership with Bully Paws Pit Bull Patriots and Ring Dog Rescue, two pit bull rescue organizations located in Fredericksburg and Richmond, Virginia, co-founder, Viveca Stone-Berry feels the Jingle Bell Run/Walk provides the perfect venue to showcase the positives of pit bulls.

"We will celebrate the healing power of the Pit while making new friends – the two and four-footed kinds." states Stone-Berry. "Should some of those friendships turn into forever homes in time for the holidays, that would be the ultimate win-win; a gift that keeps on giving."

According to the Arthritis Foundation more than 46 million Americans, as many as one in five U.S. citizens, including children, are affected by the pain and stiffness of arthritis. One of the best ways to manage arthritis is as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. A canine companion makes this easier, more enjoyable and unavoidable. "Have dog – MUST walk" says Stone-Berry.

Experts from different fields agree. Mary Anne Dunkin, author of Five Walking Strategies for Fitness Success, states, "Walking strengthens muscles, which helps shift pressure from joints and reduces pain. Repeated walking compresses and releases the cartilage in your knees, helping circulate synovial fluid that brings oxygen and nourishes your joints. When joints don't get this nourishment, they deteriorate faster."

Dr. Virginia Byers-Draus, M.D., Ph.D., states, "Pets act like Valium, but with no side effects." She also adds, "People with severe arthritis move even less than sedentary people. Pets bring activity, and from activity springs health."

Additional runners, walkers and supporters are welcome to join the animal rescue awareness team. Participants can register on-line at until December 1st Registration at the event is also an option. Check-in for the Jingle Bell Walk begins at 7:00 a.m. with the pack heading off at 8:00 a.m. sharp, followed by an awards ceremony at 9:15 a.m. For more information including an online 'meet and greet' with the Pit Bull exercise muses and celebrity supporters including Lite 98’s beloved, Kat Simons, visit

"What I love about this event is the opportunity to celebrate the strength and natural loving bond between the Pit Bull and us", states Jennifer Timmerman of Bully Paws. "We're always running in to save our dogs from abuse, neglect, dog fights and irresponsible owners. At the Jingle Bell Walk we get to show off the softer, loyal – even clownish side, of our best friends."

Tanya Irizarry, Director of Ring Dog Rescue agrees and adds, "We're grateful to the Arthritis Foundation for the excellent job they do shouting out the health benefits of dog walking to their members. Our pups look forward to meeting those exercise, affection, and couch potato needs. We're hoping for many excellent connections at the Jingle Bell Run/Walk!"

An additional fundraiser to support medical and food needs of Ring Dog Rescue and Bully Paws Pit Bull Patriots will be the sale of DogCaption Holiday, Christmas, and Thank You card packs which go on sale November 8th at

Viveca Stone-Berry is a breast cancer survivor who credits her recovery to the loving ministrations of her physicians, family, and fur companions consisting of five dogs, three cats, and a bird.

A recent stint co-fostering a pit bull named Happiness, Happi for short, pushed her back into walking three to five miles a day. She loves it and states, "I've lost a few inches and a nagging pain behind my left knee that has bothered me for years. Happi is the best physical therapist I've ever known, and the cuddliest."

To obtain additional information about this arthritis awareness event, or to schedule an interview with Jennifer Timmerman of Bully Paws Pit Bull Patriots, Tanya Irizarry of Ring Dog Rescue or Viveca Stone-Berry of Dog Caption Cards, call 540.207.1889 or email requests to

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Contact Information:

High resolution images of Happi the Santa Pit and other Jingle Bell Run Dogs are available upon request.

Contact: Viveca Stone-Berry
Phone: 540.207.1889