Macon’s Stubby’s Heroes reaching out to dog owners for September 25th walk

Stubby’s Heroes is a dedicated group of volunteers and advocates who are working to change the negative stigma attached to pit bulls through education and outreach.

Stubby's Heroes encourages participants in the Bully Breed Family Pack Walk to dress up their dogs. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Worthy.
Stubby’s Heroes encourages participants in the Bully Breed Family Pack Walk to dress up their dogs. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Worthy.

Jones County resident Elizabeth Worthy was one of the earliest members of Stubby’s Heroes, joining in metro Atlanta in 2012, and she has brought her passion for pit bull activism with her to Middle Georgia. Stubby’s Heroes was started by founder Johanna Falber.

“We educate through spay and neuter clinics,” explains Worthy, “and we hold monthly outreach outings for the homeless, Stubby’s Day of Compassion.”

When she joined Stubby’s Heroes, Worthy’s specialty was handling insurance breed discrimination: “We offer to review leases and [insurance] policies for people to be sure that they are allowed to have the dogs, as well as that they have coverage for the dogs. We also refer people to insurance agents and companies that sell pit bull-friendly policies,” Worthy explains.

Since 2014, she has been a director of the organization in Macon-Bibb County. Worthy organizes monthly walks for pit bull owners, foster families, and rescuers; she oversees the walks state-wide as well. Walks are held in public, dog-friendly spaces, with the goal of socializing dogs with each other, bully breed lovers, and the general public.

During the walks, safe spaces are kept between dogs for the safety of all. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Worthy.
During the walks, safe spaces are kept between dogs for the safety of all. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Worthy.
After walking in Tattnall Square Park, the dogs walk over to Washington Park to play in the water. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Worthy.
After walking in Tattnall Square Park, the dogs walk over to Washington Park to play in the water. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Worthy.

Macon’s bully pride walks begin at Tattnall Square Park, where the dogs and their humans have the chance to walk, run, and mingle with others. On their website, Stubby’s Heroes set out several rules for the safety of dogs and humans during the walks. For example, owners of “reactive” dogs are requested to dress them in red or yellow bandanas so that other participants know these animals need extra space.

“After the walks, we take the dogs over to Washington Park in the summer months so that they can enjoy some water play,” says Worthy, “and in Macon-Bibb, we have gone to Just Tap’d, they are dog-friendly.”

The next Stubby’s Heroes walk for Macon-Bibb will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2016, at Tattnall Square Park, beginning at 1 p.m. Interested members of the community, including owners of all breeds of dogs, should check the details on the Macon-Bibb Stubby’s Heroes Facebook page for important information about the walks: https://www.facebook.com/events/1672792133004359/

For more general information about Stubby’s Heroes Macon-Bibb County, go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Stubbys-Heroes-Macon-Bibb-County-Bully-Breed-Family-Pack-Walk-865226526833689/

To learn more about the history of Stubby’s Heroes, and to find chapters in other areas in Georgia, go to their website at http://www.stubbysheroes.org/.

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Elizabeth Worthy was a founding member of Stubby’s Heroes; this was incorrect, as Johanna Falber started the organization and Elizabeth joined in 2012.

Words in action: How one man is changing the way kids communicate

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Joshua Peltier with participants in his program, Designed for Greatness. Photo courtesy Shana Burton.

If things had gone according to the plan laid out by Howard University’s Master’s in Fine Arts program, Joshua Peltier would be the next Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese. Instead of a movie set, however, he spends many of his days behind prison walls and couldn’t be happier about it.

“I wanted to be a big time Hollywood movie director, but I was horrible at it,” confesses Peltier. “What I’m doing now is my true calling. It’s what God created me to do.”

What Peltier actually does is change the lives of young people through his initiative called Designed for Greatness, a program that teaches individuals how to clearly and effectively communicate. While he works with people of all ages, he specifically targets troubled youths, many of whom struggle in this area.

More than just a communications course, Designed for Greatness provides participants to necessary tools to make attitudinal, behavioral and intrapersonal readjustments through positive self-talk and interpersonal communication.

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Mr. Peltier brings his program to students in Bibb County schools. Photo by Shana Burton.

“Communication is everything, and everything is communication. If you don’t learn how to effectively communicate, you are essentially placing yourself in prison; you’re stopping yourself from maneuvering around the world. I don’t want to see the kids in this area held back because they lack the communication skills needed to move forward and be successful.”

Peltier’s idea for Designed for Greatness began in the checkout aisle of a grocery store when he overheard a conversation between a mother and her teenage daughter. Both mother and daughter were clueless as to what the other was trying to communicate. Realizing that this was a common problem between parents and their children, Peltier vowed to do something about it and began laying the groundwork for Designed for Greatness.

Taking the skills learned from his undergraduate degree in communications, Peltier created a curriculum that would help people change their behavior, the way they interact with others, and their way of thinking all through deliberate communication.

What began as an idea in a grocery store four years ago has transformed into an initiative that is impacting lives all over middle Georgia. Peltier has facilitated communication workshops throughout the region for the Bibb County School System, Virginia College, Central Georgia Technical College, The Mentors Project, and several area churches and civic organizations. He is especially proud of the work he is doing with teens and young adults in the custody of youth detention centers.

“Nothing excites me more when than when I meet one of those incarcerated young men who’s been told his whole life that he’s never going to amount to anything,” says Peltier. “By the end of the course, to see that same young man with a renewed sense of pride, self-confidence, and determination to rise above their negative circumstances makes it all worthwhile.”

Peltier does not want to limit himself to small workshops. He envisions hosting communication retreats and conferences and is toying with the idea of hosting a weekly talk show geared toward helping people overcome communication barriers. For now, he wants to continue to establish himself as a resource for parents and educators and spreading the message that everyone has value and is designed for greatness.