In May of 2012, I had the most difficult time getting over the death of my Jack Russell, Howard, affectionately known as Howdog, Howpuppy, etc. My roommate forgot to lock the fence and Howard was gone for over three weeks, during which I hung posters around the neighborhood offering a reward for his return. I searched the internet every day several times hoping that he would turn up at a shelter or someone had found him and posted on a website like Craigslist.
During my search, I came across a post with the subject line, “Help me. I don’t have much time.” The post contained a picture of a little red nosed pit bull that was so skinny, yet he was wide-eyed and looked so happy. I bookmarked that page… one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.
The next day I received a call from a lady telling me she had seen my poster offering a reward for Howard’s return. My heart raced with joy when she told me she had seen him the day he got out. She had tried to get him in her car and he ran out in the road and was hit by a car. My Howdog was dead. I was heartbroken.
I remembered an image I had seen on the internet about a dog and his “last will and testament.” It stated, “I’d will to the sad, shelter dog the place I had in my human’s loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds.” I decided to go get the dog I had seen just the day before on the internet. Howard would want that.
I drove to the shelter and told them about the ad I had seen on the internet. The lady led me right to him and I met with “Solja.” I was less than pleased with the given name, which was quickly changed to Fred. He was 31 pounds and had heart worms and hookworms. He only received treatment for these things once I agreed to adopt him. Turns out the ad on the internet was an indicator of the fact that Fred was scheduled to be put down two days from that day.
He was skittish. I was told he was found in a boarded up old house after someone had heard his whining and yelps for hope of rescue. Inside the home, he was found surrounded by several pitbull carcasses. It seemed to be a dumping ground for these dogs once they had fought and lost.
It had been determined from the marks around Fred’s snout that he had been muzzled and used as a bait dog. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a dog that is used to train the dogs that actually fight. He was tied up and muzzled so the other dogs could attack him and he could not fight back. Fred was covered with scars.
I knew this little guy would be a handful, but I was determined to give him a better life and show him that all people are not so cruel. It was hard to wait the two days I had to wait to return to the shelter and get him while he received the necessary treatment he needed. I even went back the next day to visit so he would know someone cared. The following day I brought him home. He had two little shaved spots in his fur above his hind legs on his back. This is where he had received injections for the heart worms.
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Fred was food aggressive and would growl and snap when I walked by his bowl while he was eating. He would also cower as if he had been hit while being fed before. I would try to snuggle with him at night and he would jump off the bed and whine by my bedroom door. I would often sit on the floor with him with my arm extended to pet him and reassure him that he would never endure anything like the life he had before.
So many people told me I was crazy for adopting such an aggressive dog. I even had friends that stated I could not bring Fred to their home if I came to visit or they would not come to my apartment unless he was locked away. I couldn’t believe such ignorance. People need to understand that a dog’s behavior, no matter what breed, is a result of the dog’s human and how they are raised. I won’t be told otherwise.
So almost seven years later, I am still with Fred, and he has two little rescue brothers and a rescue big sister – Milo (a chihuahua), Petey (a dachshund), and Gracey (a pit english bulldog mix). They all sleep in the bed with me and get along like no other pack of dogs I’ve even seen.
Sure I have to deal with dog messes on the floor sometimes (God bless the inventor of the carpet steam cleaner), and shelling out money for heartworm and flea meds, but I wouldn’t trade the joy of being a dog mom for anything. I think of all my fur babies, Fred had the worst life of all before he found his forever home. Oddly enough he is the most docile and calm of them all. That doesn’t mean that people don’t give him disapproving looks when I take him out or walk out of their way to avoid him. I smile and feel sorry for them. People who are closed minded like that will never experience the joy I have felt since the day Fred rescued me.
Story submitted by Shannon Dalton from Atlantic Beach, Florida.
Fred’s story was originally shared on The Animal Rescue Site. Share your very own rescue story here!
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