Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Independence Day Celebrated

One year ago today, these two dogs were removed from their chains by a variety of orgs including the Humane Society of Missouri, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and the HSUS and shuffled to safe shelters in what's been called the largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history. What a difference a year makes.

To celebrate their Independence Day, we popped a bottle of champagne in the heat of the day after Pit Ed class on Saturday and choked back tears while their new families of two of these survivors signed final adoption papers. "Thank you adopters for being there to give these dogs a home." What would we do without you?

There are dogs all over the country from this bust celebrating their Independence Day today ... maybe some in your circles. If so, we salute them (and you!) for mucking through one hell of a summer last year and for getting the dogs to a safe home or - in many cases - a gentle death in the arms of a friend.

You may have read about Oklahoma Daisy's new people. We were jumping up and down when longtime pit bull advocates Jeanne and Neil brought her home, but behind the scenes, a quieter adoption was going on. Beautiful, sporty, ever-ready-to-party girl 'Mikey' is a survivor from the same bust and she found herself at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, where we met her along with 33 other dogs. She came to us several months ago but has been sorta hidden in the background while we lined up the next phase of her life. A true working dog, Mikey was in need of a real job in order to channel her limitless enthusiasm and drive.

We were thrilled when she was accepted into a police-run bomb detection training program but disappointed when her training class was canceled. That turned out to be big happy for her new person - Sara Scott. Sara has been getting deep into dog training and wanted to challenge herself with a working dog, when - Voila! - the ever-ready Mikey showed up needing a spot. It didn't take much to figure out that Mikey's detection training delay was Sara's green light to enter a new sport. Mikey is now Sara's official sidekick and is being trained for ring sports -- an obedience-based protection sport that doesn't typically utilize pit bulls, but this wild child's got way too much talent to deny. Go Mikey, Go Sara!

We also clinked our plastic champagne glasses over the full adoption of the tender Brutus (below left), one of the handful of survivors from a cruelty case in Oakland this past spring. It was originally announced that all the dogs from this bust were going to be destroyed, but the four arms of this foster home-turned adopters flew up in the air so fast that Brutus was out of harm's way in no time flat. Now a teenager, Brutus lives with diehards Catherine and Brett and his beloved Tulip - the apple of his eye. Independence Day - yes. Welcome home dear Brutus.

We also want to acknowledge the dogs that were saved from torture but who didn't find their forever homes. They were undoubtedly relieved to leave the difficult lives they endured before July 8, 2009. Violet, Freddy, Messy, Jimmy ... Sent here from the Humane Society of Missouri after their release from ... well, it's a long story. You were too broken to help but we embraced you til the end. Edison with your badly deformed knees...You broke our hearts. And the two overwhelmed males who we regret did not receive names.

Recognizing them today as well as the many dogs in Iowa who we could not save but who won our hearts ...

Dede, Fonzie, Hag, Harry, Johnny, Joy, Kenney, Liquer, Porter, Smiling Suzie Q, Sunshine, Thermite, Trooper, Tucker, T-Roy, Balto, Bootie, Carrie, CW, 'D,' Angel, Dusty, Jackson, Reggie, Rosie, Whitney. You're imprinted on our souls, sweet darlings.

And to Snuggle Bear .. who made it to California for a compassion hold and many tears during her good-bye. Forever Independent.

With hundreds rescued, there are so many more dogs to list who are celebrating freedom today, both in our corners and in homes throughout the country. Please list your dogs here in the comments with a link if you have one so we can give them a proper tip of the hat. You know who you are, and we thank you!


Laura Bartek said...

Now in tears, I'd like to mention the love of my life- Nicodemus Zym, R.I.P. 2009. Nicodemus, originally named Dungeon, was brought into my life as a severley abused and undersocialized puppy who was used in dogfighting in Richmond, VA. I knew nothing of the breed (he was actually an AmStaff)until we met, and his rehabilitation became my purpose in life. He taught me the true meaning of strength! He touched the lives of everyone he met, human and ALL other animals alike, and he is the reason I am now an advocate for the breed. Thank you for all your hard work. Nicodemus, there's not a day that goes by that I don't miss your rootbeer eyes! xxoo
Laura Bartek

Jen's Mom said...

Cheers to you BR! And to the 8 pups (so far) I've fostered and found new homes for from high kill shelters...all who were out of time: Phoebe, Maximillian, Scott, Julie, Big Mike, Lil' Mick, Sabra, and of course the bully mix I adopted, Jenny.

CafRcr said...

We decided that July 4, 2000 is Lily the bulldog's birthday, so she just celebrated 10 years after being rescued off the streets of Chicago. Actually, we're pretty sure she found us and not the other way around... She just moved to sunny Los Angeles and is already making new friends!

Anonymous said...

I would like to give a big high five to all the supporters who have helped all these sweet pitties find homes and at least for a little while before going to doggie heaven a little peace with out fear or pain. All my babys are rescues and i would not change that for nothing. Right now I have one 2 week old puppy from my female who we got from a breeder who said he didnt have room. He posted two months later with a litter of puppies who look a lot like the male we got from him. My partner is always looking at puppies for sale or free to good home and from that we have a sweet 13 week old who has scars one really long one along her neck. (she was choked) we believe has throat damage because of it. All my babys deserve their freedom and All pitties out there deserve our love and support.

Sara said...

Happy Independence Day to all the former bust dogs! My girl Josie, rescued from the Iowa section of the bust and taken in by A Rotta Love Plus, celebrated her day by teaching her very first Dog Safety Class at a Minnesota summer camp today! BIG congrats and thank you to Bad Rap and all of the other rescues for bringing happy new lives to these very special dogs! (Pics of Josie's new life here).

Donna said...

Yes Josie!

Happy Independence Day, you gorgeous little trail blazer, you!

Dianne said...

Happy Independence Day to all the bust dogs across the USA! I love, love,love that there are too many to name them all. I also think it is way cool that many are becoming TDI (therapy dogs). Thanks to Bad Rap, A Rotta Love, Mutts N Stuff, Our Pack, and all the other rescues again too many to name!

LilliGirl said...

I love my babies Sprout & Layla with all my heart and am glad I can keep fostering so more babies find their families for life. We decided that each of the pups will share a birthday with my youngest 2 children. The kids consider it an honor and the pups enjoy the party too!

Bad Rap is a fantastic group! Thank you for all you do!

Anonymous said...

My two Pittie-ful Pits are Floyd and Bella. Floyd was transferred from a shelter where he would have been euthanized thanks to a compassionate shelter director and found his way into our hearts after having been locked in an abandoned apartment where he was starved and dehydrated. Bella was rescued from a fighting organization and fostered by two wonderful women who recognized she was more than they could handle and gifted her to us. Bella was given Independence Day has her birthday since we don't really know when she was born.

Thanks to Bad Rap for all you do. It was your information on the breed that convinced me to adopt Floyd and he is the canine love of my life.


Jhannet Marantonio

The Vegan Cookbook Review said...

Happy Independence day to all! I am so happy for all these dogs...but of course my heart is drawn to Snuggle Bear. Oh sweetheart, shine on.

And to our Jitterbug, Sunshine & Francis who were all adopted this weekend - happy independence day!

Nicole said...

Wow, a year already? Happy Independence Day beautiful Gigi
We continue to be inspired by the pit bulls we meet and our friends who work on their behalf...Many thanks.

Mike Sweeney said...

Victim #0A11147E79 (Maverick) would like to thank the Federal agents, US Department of Justice, HSMO, HSUS, ASPCA, A Rotta Love Plus, BAD RAP, and the fine folks at Animal Rescue League of Iowa for beyond the rederick and seeing the victims of this incredible barbaric and brutal crime.

I showed Maverick the little clip of Tim and he in the eval during the pinch test. He seemed to recognize Tim and smiled!!

A happy day for a lot of dogs but we need to remember the dogs whom did not make it. They are in a better place.


Donna said...

Snuggle Bear was your kinda girl, NYCKitten. She lives in us now (and blood from her happy tail is STILL showing up in strange places all over our house)

Saluting all the dogs listed here, especially Gigi and my personal heartthrob, Maverick. Pinch him for me please Mike!

Charlene Graham said...

I am so grateful for organizations like yours. I worked as an animal control officer for 12 years, and dealt with the scum of the earth Iowa dog fighters. I fought to take pet ownership away from known dog fighters and abusers, only to be met with excuses about violating "a person's right to pursue happiness" by taking away their pet ownership. If you look at BSL laws in Iowa, you can see how they deal with the problem people, they don't!! They take away the right to own pits, for loving decent pit owners. The bad guys still have pits, they never followed laws, what makes law makers think they will follow them now? How blind can the law makers be...I can only hope that the dirtbags I dealt with were caught up in the raid. I love the stories of your survivor dogs, they deserve no less than their new and wonderful lives. Thank you from a long time pit lover and owner.

Unknown said...

I fostered, then adopted Apple through Butte Humane Society in Chico, California. He was born just after the bust and just celebrated his first birthday. He's a sweetheart. I'm so honored to have him in our family (his pack includes a rescue Saint Bernard who ADORES him). Kudos to all those who have adopted these dogs and given them a chance to love and be loved.

Diane said...

Look at the trio of caramel beauties! Great to see Daisy, Brutus and Mikey happy and thriving.

It hurts to see the tributes to the others who did not fare as well but I think it is important for people to understand the full spectrum of what is happening - not just the happy endings that we all love so much. And we do love them!

I volunteer at EBSPCA and I remember three males briefly housed in the back kennels last summer for BAD RAP. One seemed to be coping fairly well but the other two were not. I think those must have been Edison and the two "overwhelmed males" you referred to in your post.

The EBSPCA bio sheets must require names because the two had some silly names like "Bad Razzle" and "Bad Rizzup", something like that. I knew you would never give them names such as those!

The state of those two boys shocked me. I knew about dog busts and cruelty but I hadn't fully understood the effect it has on some dogs. I always thought of dogs as resilient and optimistic creatures even in the face and aftermath of great hardship.

I was in the back cleaning kennels. I cleaned their three and tried to give them a little attention without being overwhelming or intrusive. The no names wanted to make contact but weren't sure or didn't quite know how. One in particular was trying to wedge himself between me and the kennel wall when I was cleaning.

I was taking class with my own dog at the time and I asked about the dogs after they were no longer at the EBSPCA. You didn't answer in words but your eyes spoke volumes.

Thank you for the work you do and for sharing these stories!

Donna said...

Hi Diane

Thank you for putting your heart out there for those boys. It's so nice to know that at least one of those boys found a snuggle friend while he was in the shelter. Gah - that breaks my heart.

Donna said...

Congrats on Apple! She must be a wild little teenager this summer. Have a great time with her.

Dianne said...

Thanks for telling about those boys. I volunteer at a low-kill shelter but it breaks my heart when we lose one due to fear aggression most often. Thanks for caring about them.

Daisy Dog said...

Tears wept reading this. We want to add our names to the independence list. Daisy the Pit bull saved from the streets of Los Angeles, and Roscoe the chihuahua mix who I rescued in traffic on a 4 lane highway. They are both living lovely lives with 2 kitty rescues and a momma who loves them the most. Kudos to all that you do!

Anonymous said...

I have to add to the mix my own rescue from outside of Baltimore, who is currently snoring loudly at my feet, Quizz. My life would be so different and bereft without him.

Thank you to you Donna, Tim and the Team at BadRap, and a shout out to the hometown team, RingDog Rescue, in Richmond who work so hard to help those who cannot help themselves.

Leila & Quizz
Richmond, VA

Diane said...

Hi Dianne,

I agree - the euthanasia cases are all heartbreaking but even more so when the dogs are physically healthy but emotionally and spiritually broken due to mistreatment by humans.

I should clarify that, while these dogs seemed in major breakdown mode, nervous and under-socialized, I saw no signs of aggression from them, which is why I entered their kennels to see if they would accept any comfort.

I wish we had more time and resources for rehabilitation, not to mention educating people in order to have fewer of these cases.

MS. H said...

Minnow, dear little Minnow. Driven to MN from MO in one 11 hr shot (one way!) by Lara. Dancing her Hop hop on her back legs, daring anyone to walk away from rubbing her belly, charging through life on her own terms. Mother of Vessa, my foster for 4 months, posthumously adopted by me in hopes she'll know what a huge impression her tiny self left on this earth. Minnow was not able to leave her demons behind with the MO chains, and awaits all her saviors at the rainbow bridge.

Thank you Bad Rap and ARLP, for the privilege of knowing this small spicy girl. My heart goes out to all those like her, while we celebrate the ones who made it to safety.

Donna said...

Daisy, Roscoe .... Quizz! Hat tips to you all.

Thanks so much for bringing Minnow into the room, Ms H. Her sassy soul lives on the antics of Vessa. We can't look at the little one without thinking of Minnow's brave work to keep her pups alive ... both born in a fighting pit and exposed to the worst kind of beginning. Long live the slippery one!

ingrid said...

oh my - tears in my eyes indeed.
Great post.
Thanks to BADRAP and everyone they work with and everyone who supports them.

Well, no one knows the real story behind my little pit-girls pre-adoption life, but we're all pretty sure she was used for breeding. Lots of breeding. Somehow she escaped from wherever she was (or they dumped her) because when they picked her up her little paws were shinny & new and not a callus on them! Pretty pink delicate little pads, with scars everywhere else, And nipples down to the. . well anyway.

She's celebrating her freedom as well.
Thanks for reminding the world how awesome it is that these dogs can come so far.
thank you thank you thank you.

2 Brits, 2 Yanks, 2 Dogs said...

Ok so I cried! I am also so sad for the Concord couple that lost their son today and like you say another round of explaining why I have and love pit bulls and the fact that I have little ones around pit bulls! It is always frustrating but probably not as frustrating for me as for you - who have to deal with the media all the time.

I want to add my boy Hurricane who has crossed the rainbow bridge who was sitting on death row at our local shelter and had been there for months his days were numbered before we were able to give him a loving home for 9 years. My lovely old lady Macy who was rescued from the streets of San Francisco and has been the most amazing ambassador for the breed and has been part of our family for 11 years.

It is organizations like yours that give me hope for our lovely breed.

Puppies in Arizona said...

Happy independence day, i knew about dog busts and cruelty but I hadn't fully understood the effect it has on some dogs?? I always thought that dogs as resilient and optimistic creatures.