Sunday, December 18, 2011

milestones and transitions for notable 'bust dogs'

Dogs that were once passed over as too broken to be helped have been passing milestones and making news. Here are a few must-mentions from recent days and weeks...

Audie - the Vick dog survivor who inspired the children's book listed in our sidebar- could care less about his past and is anxious to tear up the agility course now that his once-faulty knees are fully healed.

He competed in his first AKC sponsored show last weekend at the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of America Agility trial and did very well. Lookit that proud boy and his ribbons. Who would've guessed?

To add to his happy day, when Audie and his handler Linda Chwistek were driving home from the trial, they learned that Audie had been announced as the high scoring Novice Staffordshire Bull Terrier of the weekend. Not bad, little man!

Pretty Gigi is finally home for good. She came to us via the large dog fighting operation known as the 'Missouri 500' bust, named in honor of the 500+ victims pulled from various dog fighters around the midwest in the summer of 2009.

What took so long to get home? Gigi's story is especially sad. She was one of several dogs who were hurt very badly by Missouri-based humane investigators who fought dogs during their undercover investigations in 2008. (Video and Story) Gigi's scarred body tells the story of numerous fights during the time period that she was owned by investigators. After they were done with her, she was transferred into our program along with nine other dogs - most of whom did not survive the transition to real life. Just a Dog Rescue in San Diego then opened their doors to her and provided ongoing support for her health care needs and rehabilitation. It was a rough road for this little one. She suffered from an advance case of heart worm and several injuries including the mental damage that comes from a life of mishandling and abuse.

Several months into her recovery, Gigi's foster parents confessed that they couldn't imagine being without her in their lives, and signed adoption papers to announce their commitment. She enjoys the beach as part of her new life, and attends Just A Dog's obedience classes to visit her old friends and forever saviors. Welcome Home, Gigi.

Please thank Just A Dog for all they did for Gigi on their facebook page: here

Leo - once known as Bouncer - has died of natural causes after several years of service as a therapy dog. He was the lucky resident of Hopewell Animal Control in VA when we met him - the only Vick dog in their shelter and a certain celebrity. Thankfully, he was never fought by Vick and received daily outings and kennel enrichment at Hopewell, all of which allowed him to streamline right into real life when he was transferred to Our Pack. He is one of five Vick dogs to have died since their rescue in 2007 and follows Aretha/Seven, Sweet Jasmine, Bonita and Red. He will be dearly missed by the world of Vick Dog fans. Right: Guardian Master Rebecca Huss enjoys Leo during his evaluations in VA.

Mikey - another survivor from the Missouri 500 case - flew back to Oakland with us after we met her during our evaluations of dogs sent to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. Full of spirit and drive, she was accepted into the Washington State Patrol as a bomb detection dog, but budget cuts in WA grounded her in Oakland. Not to be discouraged, she was adopted by our Ambassadog trainer Sara Scott, who has been competing her in nosework trials. Mikey recently earned her NW1 title in a nosework competition, along with the 'Harry Award,' which is given to rescued dogs who impress the judges. Way to go Mikey!

Another happy note: Inspired by the MO500 dogs who did so well post-rescue, the Animal Welfare League of Iowa lifted its ban on pit bull adoptions and has been enjoying great success and happy adoptions ever since 2010 through the ARL Pit Crew Club. Visit their dogs on this project's facebook page here.

Finally, ten of the Vick dogs including Hector, Jonny Justice, Uba and Teddles are appearing in the very luscious photo book by Melissa McDaniel. This edition of 'The Photo Book Projects' highlights pit bulls and pit bull type dogs. Melissa shot the dogs on a white background so viewers are treated to nothing but a big blast of DOG on every fabulous, glossy page. Her work is exceptional - We hope a copy lands in your hands so you can enjoy! More Info Here

12 comments:

Brenda said...

This is soooo awesome! Congrats to the lil furbabies! :)

Dianne said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Leo. But last but not least more Vick dogs have passed their Canine Good Citizenship quals. Georgia has earned her CGC and can be adopted! I told her former keeper and his first reaction "its a miracle."

Sara said...

Hooray for all of these wonderful dogs and their families! (And may the ones who didn't survive always be remembered and honored, too.) Donna, I (Sara from A Rotta Love Plus, a.k.a. Josie's mom) would love to document in some way the MO500 dogs' 3-year Freedomversary next summer but I'd need some help getting ideas/access/contact info -- hit me up if you're interested in collaborating! :) (sara@arottalove.org)

Rochelle New said...

Amazing!! This really made my morning :) Thank you for sharing.

Amanda said...

Wonderful, wonderful, except of course the news of Leo's passing. =(

Sara, don't forget us at MN Pit Bull Rescue, there are 8 other MO500 dogs in MN and we would love to help or be part of a 3 year Freedomversary celebration! AWESOME idea!!! (ajackson@mnpitbull.com)

I really appreciate that this post can celebrate both those dogs out there getting titles and doing work either in the ring or as therapy dogs as well as those blessed and happy to be leading "normal" family pet lives. Each is important and a testament in its own way. =)

Joan said...

Thanks for doing this wonderful article and acknowledging these amazing dogs and people who have done right by them. Rest in peace sweet Leo and all the other wonderful victims of abuse who have passed before you. The world is a lesser place without you in it. All these dogs should be celebrated as much as possible, in life and in death. They are so innocent and have such a capacity for love.

Donna said...

Sara - Love your idea. The faces of the dogs that did not make it - both the investigators' dogs and the dogs that didn't find homes in the midwest - deserve to be honored as well as the lovelies like the girl in your home. Thank you for the idea.

Jodi Scaife said...

I met three of the Missouri 500 dogs that were in Texas this past March, and I fell deeply for a shy guy who had been dubbed T-Bird. Unfortunately, I wasn't in a position to adopt him, but thanks to a local pit organization, Love-A-Bull, he's moved into a permanent home in the country with a loving family, a pittie sister, cats, chickens, and horses.

Love-A-Bull also ended up taking Xena into their program, but since she is dog aggressive, she will take longer to find a home for.

dr.chagnon@yahoo.com said...

Thank you for this much-needed good news. We have been grieving for Leo, and the pittie you tried to save in Ohio. To all who do this amazing work, we salute you and thank you.

MrsMoos said...

Well...this is sad and happy and horrifying at the same time. I am so glad for those who were rescued. Sad that Leo had to leave this world so early (wasn't he only apx 6 years old?) I have to wonder if his early life before rescue made his life so short.
I rejoice for the dogs that have families. But I have to say I am absolutely horrified about what I read about Gigi. What kind of a world do I live in? How can this be allowed? How does law enforcement justify this? Is this not equal to infiltrating a gang and killing someone as an initiation so as to bust the rest of the gang? What kind of a world do we live in? Are we moving forward in becoming more civilized, feeling humans? Or back?

Donna said...

We're still having a hard time with the situation surrounding Gigi's abuse, too MM. It's a terrible thing.

Unknown said...

I know it doesn't make up for her abuse and what she went through, but I got to meet Gigi when I was taking my dog through Just A Dog's training program. She has the best little personality, loves belly rubs and is a fun little dog. She hasn't let her past slow her down at all. Steve and Nicole did an amazing job with her and her fosters, now parents, are great people.