You know you're spending too much time away from home when your dog falls over and exposes his belly when the suitcase comes out of the closet. So sorry, Simon. Tim is in Missouri right now, working with the Humane Society of Missouri to assess 25 pit bulls from a recent fight bust; MO's biggest bust ever.
We knew we were going to like these folks when we saw the slide show in this news article. The people of HSM are kind, realistic and they have that practical Midwestern sensibility that makes evaluating fight bust dogs seem as normal as trying out a new casserole recipe - Except it's certainly NOT normal to give abused pit bulls a fair chance in this part of the country, where breed prejudice is high and pit bull bans are dotted all across the state. Scary times in Missiouri.
Did I mention how much we like these people? Brains AND balls. They understand that the odds are stacked against dogs like these, but they wanted to give them a fair chance. Unlike custody cases in so many shelters, 'their' dogs get environmental enrichment and a walk each day. Not easy when the shelter's already crowded, but I believe they would tell you that humane care is a right that every animal in their care deserves. They've even worked out some breed-savvy foster care should some of the dogs come out of this okay. (Tim's not allowed to stuff any in his suitcase before he leaves - Simon's orders)
How do they look so far? Tim and the staff are still in the middle of the evals, but he told me today that the types of personalities and temperaments he's seeing are no different from the Vick dogs -- And that's a very good sign. We'll offer more info later, once shelter staff has the opportunity to review the findings and ready their report to their community.
For now, we're just so damn glad to know that one shelter in the middle of BSL nightmares is willing to rise above the status quo. Keep your fingers crossed that - like the Vick dogs - these victims' stories bring new lessons and changed hearts in the heartland.
PHOTO from St. Louis Post-Dispatch News on intake day.