|Sadie's story is probably one that is all too familiar to those who
do rescue. And I suppose that is just one thing that makes her
Sadie was a Pit Bull ... she came into my life on a Saturday night
when the boy who rescued her carried her into our home, and
asked me to care for her. She was severely dehydrated, starved,
and I was told that she had been beaten with a metal pipe. She
had been surrendered on the condition that her owners names
not be given out. She was so ill she couldn't lift her hind end up
off of the ground by herself. I got water and food down her, gave
her a bath, trimmed her overgrown nails (to make walking a bit
easier on her), and settled her into a crate for the night. It was a
long night ... poor Sadie had been so starved that she had eaten
some kind of dead, putrid animal, and nothing would settle on her
stomach ... I stayed up until about 5 in the morning comforting
her and cleaning up the most vile smelling vomit you can imagine.
On Sunday I started her on Pedialyte every half hour by syringe,
and Satin Balls, small portions every two hours.
By the time her Monday morning vet appointment came she had
put on two pounds, but was still so weak that just watching her
try to walk would bring tears to your eyes. Even though she could
barely move she tried her best to eat a puppy in the waiting
room, and a Schnauzer in room one. But what a sweetheart she
was to people ... the vet and staff fell in love!!! No matter what
procedure was done she was an angel. But smiles soon turned to
drawn faces ... Sadie had Heart Worms, a very severe case.
Since Sadie had been surrendered with no paperwork involved
the vet advised me to turn her over to our local Humane Society
so that no lawsuit could be brought against me for having her put
So from the vet's office we went to the Humane Society. I have
fostered for this Humane Society, and I know them to be caring
and to have sound judgment. The director and I discussed Sadie's
health, temperament (she was wonderful with people ... even in
her starved condition she would allow anyone to reach a hand
food, but she did show dog and small animal aggression) and her
chances of being adopted IF she could survive the Heart Worm
treatment. Sadly, Sadie's chances of being adopted were not
good. Even with her WONDERFUL temperament the only people
who requested Pit Bulls in this area were those who wanted a
'Macho' dog. And we agreed ... Sadie could go to nothing less
than the perfect home ... she had been through too much
already. I already had 5 dogs and 2 (recently adopted, from this
same Humane Society) cats at home, so keeping Sadie myself
was not possible ... but I was more than willing to continue
fostering her and pay for her Heart Worm treatments if a home
could be found for her.
Luckily the Humane Society is not without a heart ... and they too
felt that Sadie needed some love and pampering after all she had
It is difficult to paint a picture of what 7 years of neglect and
abuse had done to this girl, she could hardly walk (the vet
concluded this was due TOTALLY to her severe malnutrition and
not arthritis or some other ailment) and yet she wanted to
explore so much ... I guess because she had never had the
chance ... so, we took short walks. She would pull at the leash,
her back legs wobbling, straining to get to some place she had
never seen, to explore a new smell, to live if just for a bit. And
she cherished the quiet times, her head on your lap, as she was
petted and talked to. Sadie's teeth were broken, and I can only
assume it was from trying to gain freedom from the heavy chain I
was told she was kept on ... even the small relief of having the
chain removed must have been heaven for her. Her sense of
humor was such that she seemed to take an odd satisfaction out
of walking past the outside kennels ... she would hold her head a
possible that for once she was proud? That she knew that she
was getting special treatment and couldn't help but show off that
for the first time someone cared about HER?
Sadie's physical condition was so bad that keeping food down her
was almost impossible, and she refused to drink water ... she
seemed to know that it would make her ill, so it was necessary to
give her water via syringe all through the day. Sadie had been
observed for almost two weeks, and everyone knew that the first
assessment (that she would not live through Heart Worm
treatments) was the correct assessment. On a Wednesday night
Sadie took a turn for the worse, and on Thursday morning it was
decided that it was time to release her from her suffering.
Her body bore the marks of 7 years of abuse, but there, on her
forehead, from a member of the HS staff, was the bright imprint of
lipstick ... one final mark ... this one of love.
Story/photos by Elaine.
Petunia's face was doused with what we believe was battery
acid. Deemed "unadoptable" by the rescue group she was
originally taken in by, Lorene Haythorn of Pit Bull Rescue of NJ
took Pet took over and began the rehabilitation process. Short
months later, with a healed (but scarred) face, and some new
manners, Pet joined a family where she became the best friend
of a little boy.
Exactly one year ago last week, on a riverbank in Pittsburgh PA,
a 10 month old APBT/AmStaff pup was found, barely clinging to
life after losing a fight and being tied out to die by her former
owner. She was starving, dehydrated, and badly injured. Fate
intervened, and this pup was found in the nick of time. The
shelter decided this pup, unlike many of her breed they had
picked up before her, deserved a much needed second chance at
life. Within days this abused, injured pup was tugging at
heartstrings across the country as her story circulated the
internet. It was printed in a nationally read newspaper column,
and she got her own website thanks to Jacqui Crews. This sweet
pup was named Blossom, and she began to flourish with love
and attention, and good food and medical care.
To my surprise, donations began flowing in from all over the
country to help pay for Blossom's food and medical care! I was
overwhelmed with the scope of the concern for this one little
dog, who had been discarded like trash just a short time ago! As
spring turned into summer, Blossom began to look like a different
dog - happy and healthy, and barely showing any physical signs
of her former near-death experience. Her personality is fantastic
- a testament to the stability of this breed. She adores people
and thrived on any little token of affection- a fresh blanket in her
kennel made her prance around happily, and a pig ear would
practically put her in heaven!!!
But sadly, the one thing that was lacking was someone to take
this beautiful dog home. It seems that her former abuse scared
off many adopters, who were unwilling to take this "former
fighter" into their homes. Leah Purcell from Spindletop
generously offered to take her in for training and placement, if I
could find a way to get her to Texas. Again, donations came in to
pay for her plane fare. She arrived in Texas in November of 1999,
to begin to be socialized and introduced to household manners
and obedience training. She immediately took to the training,
and became a favorite of the staff and even learned to be social
with some other dogs!!
And now the final chapter has begun!! On Friday, April 7, 2000,
exactly one year and one week after almost losing her life,
Blossom boarded a plane for Oregon, to begin the next chapter
of her eventful life!! BLOSSOM HAS A HOME!!!!!!!! She now has a
large piece of property to run on, and has some new doggie
friends to play with- at the end of her first day she was so tired
from running around she went to bed early!! Her new "mom"
promised to keep us updated and send pictures often.
And with this joyful announcement, I need to take this time to
thank EVERYONE who helped in any way to save this pup's life - I
never could have done it without the help of each and every one
Special thank you's have to go to Ron Smith and the Western
Pennsylvania Humane Society, who had the heart to give this girl
a chance instead of letting her become just another sad statistic.
And to Linda Wilson Fuoco and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, who
published her story in Pet Tales, resulting in a lot of the financial
aid for this case. To Lorraine Marsalese who went over and
beyond anything I would have ever expected for a contribution
for a dog she never even met. To Jillian, who immortalized
Blossom in her most recent book. And most importantly, to the
anonymous boater who stopped on the riverbank on March 31 -
without him, there would be no story, as Blossom would have
died alone and unloved.
As far as the rest of the help I received- there were so many
people who helped Blossom that I could never begin to name
individuals for fear of forgetting someone. The people who
helped spanned all realms of life- from dog list members, APBT
and AmStaff owners- ADBA, UKC, and AKC clubs alike - to pet
lovers who have never even met a "pit bull" but were touched by
her story neverless. Whether you donated money, food, or
medical care, or printed her story in your magazines or
newsletters, forwarded her story to someone else, sent me a
note of encouragement, or just kept her in your prayers-------
Please keep Blossom and other rescue dogs in your hearts- and
help out with rescue whenever you can. Personally or financially-
rescues are terribly overburdened and under funded. She was
just one of the thousands of homeless APBT's that are discarded
in this country every year. One of the lucky ones.
Hug your dogs tonight, and be glad they have you to love them.
--Lora Bauer/Hartagold ASTs
|FRANKIE BLUE EYES
Reward for Death of Puppy
Animal control officers are looking for the owner of a pit bull that
died from neglect this week.
Channel 11's Newlin Archinal went to McKeesport for the details.
Many neglected animals can be found in their own back yards;
but in this case, animal control says, incredibly a pit bull puppy
was found on the roof of a medical building.
Construction workers spotted the animal on top of a McKeesport
building. Humane officers hoped the malnourished puppy would
recover, but weren't surprised when it died this week.
At this point, officers suspect neglect.
"Just like your children, if you don't see them for an hour-your
going to start to wonder where they are. In this case there was
no one or they didn't care where it was."
One question that lingers is how the puppy got two-stories up?
It's possible, officers say, that the pit bull was searching for a
drink and crawled down this embankment to get the rain water
on the roof.
The owner may know more, but officers can't firmly identify that
So today, they began posting these flyers near where the dog
may have lived, hoping a \$500 reward will entice someone to
speak up for the animal.
Officers are frustrated because no one will come forward.
"They fear repercussions from the people, that they might
retaliate in some way."
But in this case, money may have persuasive powers. After
seeing the flyer, some witnesses have indicated they are ready
to do the right thing and now come forward.
© 2002 WPIX-TV
This poor dog didn't make it.
By Dr. Max Rust, D.V.M., Tulsa, OK USA (Originally appeared in
I should warn you, I'm not James Herriott. My dog's story is not
of the warm fuzzy genre, but is illustrative of a most pervasive
problem....one which too few of you are aware.
It is often said that veterinarians must have an inordinate love
for animals, but they also are often called on to deal with the
very harshest realities of human and animal relations. If my dog
tale lacks the cloying sanguinity of All Creatures Great and
Small, hopefully it is not totally devoid of optimism.
A year ago in June, on a hot Sunday afternoon as I lounged in
torpid repose, Channel 2 News was airing a story about dog
carcasses found in the back yard of a Tulsa residence. Two of
Maggots was workin' on three of 'em and the fourth one's only
been dead about two days. The sheriff's lieutenant continued in
an impassive voice,it's been alleged that they were fightin'
pit-bull dogs in the garage, and when one would get killed,
they'd just drag it out in the yard and let it deteriorate.
Feeling old, tired, and professionally burned out, I wondered
why had I volunteered for the grim task of animal cruelty exams
and necropsies. I guess, as depressing as it was, it seemed like
important work. Maybe I just wanted something besides myself
to feel sorry for. If that was the case, I was about to get my
wish, IN SPADES.
The following morning after doing the spay and neuter
surgeries and rabies observations, I headed for the pens
housing the two dogs from the news story. (It's hard enough
for me just to walk through the rows of dog runs at the shelter,
knowing that most of the animals will have to be
killed....sometimes I get the urge to open all the gates and set
them free, but that would not solve their problem.) They suffer
from that most terrible disease, in the words of Mother Teresa,
"of being unwanted." It's sad to say, but as outcasts, they are
much better off in the shelter than anywhere else. When I got
to the first dog's run, it looked empty. I'm used to seeing dogs
with sad faces begging for a crumb of attention or warily
cringing against the distal parapets. There was nothing so
animate as either in this run. When I first saw him, he was
curled up so tightly, he could have been mistaken for a water
As he tried to stand up, I could see the pitiful remains of a large
pit-bull dog. Bones jutted out everywhere. He looked like a
skeleton with hair, and what hair he had was in sparse, dirty
little tufts between numerous fight wounds, scars, and mange.
His ears had been clumsily chopped off and the unhealed edges
made him look like a macabre Mr. Potato Head. I recoiled in
horror at the sudden thought of what this poor, wretched dog
had endured. What sort of dissolute soul could do this to a
helpless old dog?
After staring at him for what seemed an interminable period, I
realized that I had five more animals for cruelty exams (each
with another story), so I had to move on Driving back to my
clinic, I thought how depraved it was to treat animals this
way.......was it sadism, apathy, or stupidity? None seemed in
short supply. I kept seeing the pit-bull's face, a swarthy
apotheosis of the downtrodden. There are so many like him, I
felt powerless as I pondered the enormity of the problem.
Animal cruelty is an epidemic that with only the most egregious
exceptions escapes the public's notice. This poor dog had been
beaten, starved, mutilated, forced to fight for his life, and, worst
of all, socially isolated.
Dogs are very social animals....more so, even, than humans.
How can humans be so inhumane? How can humane people let
such things happen? I resolved to rescue him; even though it
was a scratch on an obdurate surface, a drop in a very large
I couldn't just leave him there to be euthanized. That's the only
way pit-bulls are allowed to leave the shelter.....dead. I wanted
him to experience at least one good day on earth. If possible,
maybe I could even show him what it's like to be loved and
It would take some string-pulling from the D.A.'s office before I
could get him released from the shelter......after all, he was a
pit-bull, the paradigm of canine incorrigibility. (That is what
media mavens would have you believe.) The truth is, pit-bulls
are the oldest registered American breed and have long been
favored for their courage, (fanciers call it gameness) loyalty,
Unfortunately, their fighting reputation has made them very
popular with a lot of unsavory characters who have ushered in
a spate of backyard-bred, people-aggressive curs. Real pit-bulls
are selected to be so people-friendly, they don't even make
good watch dogs. But the newspapers are sold by grinding
angsts, not accentuating positives. Consequently, people who
wouldn't know a pit-bull sitting at their feet, still consider them
to be the snarling menace of their worst nightmare. So torturing
and killing them is, I suppose, more acceptable, or at least
easier to ignore.
I'm NOT a pit-bull fancier. In fact, I'm more of a cat person, but
let us remember, as Uncle Mattie says, There are no bad
breeds, just bad breeding. We transferred the pit-bull to my
clinic and started treating his multitude of problems. I had no
idea what kind of dog he would be personality-wise, with all of
the abuse and privation he had suffered.
His stone face was inscrutable...blank except for a sadness in
his sunken eyes. He was easy to work on so with considerable
effort from all concerned, along with lots of treats and loving
attention added to the antibiotics, vitamins, and medicated
baths, the 30-pound skeletal specimen was morphed into a
solid 75-pound dog.
After a couple of months, a shiny coat hid most of his scars, and
the glum look on his face had been replaced by an infectious
grin that, adorned by his chopped-off ears, was reminiscent of a
happy face drawn on a Pompeian ampulla.
Meanwhile, my jaded karma had been ameliorated by his
astonishing progress, not to mention his buoyant, stiff-upper-lip
charm. Somehow he had managed to come through
unimaginable hardship, not only clinging to life, and maintaining
a positive attitude, which was to me, an inspiration. We named
Pete and I started going on daily walks, short at first because
he didn't have much stamina. Soon we were doing three miles
or more, and as we ambled our way through the bosky
recesses of Boman Acres, we were getting to know each other
pretty well. It wasn't long before I was feeling better than I had
Dog walking is very good exercise for man as well as dog. Pete
loves and is loved by all of the neighborhood children, and for
the most part has even become a gentleman around cats and
Transformed into a doting pet parent, I beam with pride at any
compliment directed at my charge. With a cake and party hat,
we celebrated Pete's unofficial birthday in July.
I think it's safe to say that Pete has helped me at least as much
as I have him. When asked what breed he is, I've been known
to answer, with a slightly cryptic grin, He's my 'Healer.'
So it was that Pete and I came to heal each other and in the
process, became bonded in lifelong friendship. His case was not
only a watershed to me, but a source of encouragement to the
cruelty investigating team.
Pete's previous owner is now serving six counts of 5 years
each. Judge Turnbull simply termed the case "unbelievable. I
wish that I could agree with that assessment; but, although
the brutality of Pete's former life is now only a distant memory,
many other cases continue to pass through the shelter with
oppressive regularity. It is all too believable for those of us that
grapple with the gruesome, and often overwhelming problem of
cruelty to man's best friend.
If ever you find yourself in need of a cure for ennui, or maybe
just a dose of reality, I highly recommend a trip to the city
animal shelter, where you will see that taking any kind of
significant bite out of animal cruelty remains a formidable, if not
Having learned from my friend Pete, I, for one, have no
intention of giving up.
This dog's face was sewn up with fishing line in a botched
attempt to "fix" the severe wounds on his head.