A few months ago, we received an anonymous call about a very skinny pit bull chained in a back yard. The caller said “it really needs help bad”. I headed over in the late afternoon. When I arrived, I saw a woman sitting on her front porch of the house next door to the address I had been given for the dog. She was watching me, so I headed up the steps to her porch. I asked her if she was the one that had called about the pit bull next door. I heard a man’s voice say “that’s my dog, I live there!”. I had not even seen him sitting in the shady corner of the porch as darkness was coming. He had a hat on and his head bent down and I hadn’t even seen him behind some of the chairs and things. I asked him if he needed help with his pit bull. He said yes he did so I asked him if we could go back and see it. He led me to his backyard and there was a very skinny white, female pit bull chained to the clothesline. She had an upside down pet taxi for shelter, apparently. There were various empty bowls and things laying around on their sides. This poor dog had absolutely nothing.
I fixed her a bowl of food and gave her some water. She almost wanted the water more than the food! We see this all the time. Sometimes these poor animals are so dehydrated.
The man proceeded to tell me that his son had brought 2 pit bulls there several weeks ago and left them. This man said that he didn’t want them and couldn’t take care of them. He pointed to a spot up against the fence on the side of the yard and said, “that’s where the male was chained”. There was no shelter at all, just a dirt spot where the male had laid while chained. I asked the guy where the male was and he said that he had just sold him to some guy walking down the street for $25 the day before. I asked him if the male was as skinny as this female and he said, “oh yes.” How sad. I can’t imagine anything good happening to that poor dog, but this man had no clue where the guy lived or anything about him. He didn’t care. These are the things that haunt us.
I told the guy that I could take this female. I had to get her out of there. He called his son and I had to talk to the loser so that he could tell me that I could take the dog. I asked him if she had ever had puppies (because she sure looked like it!) and he said no. Not so sure I believe him. The dad signed our relinquishment form and I loaded this poor, pathetic girl in my car. Off to start her new life!
I got her back to Chain of Hope. She was just filthy and crawling with fleas! Into the bath tub she went! Doesn’t she look thrilled?
We named this gorgeous girl River. She was such a pretty girl and had a big bone structure. We knew when she filled out that she was going to be a big girl! We got her into the vet and of course she was heart worm positive. We would fatten her up first and get her spayed and then we’d tackle the heart worm treatment. River settled in and we began introducing her to other dogs. She had absolutely no manners at all when she came to Chain of Hope. How could she? The only life she’d been shown was living chained to a clothesline pole.
We began working with her and she began packing on the weight. Talk about a big, strong girl! She was a striking, beautiful pit bull. She has one discolored eye, but no one cares and she gets along fine. We tell her it gives her even more character! She is very playful and puppy-like!
We’d had River for a couple of months when I received a phone call from another anonymous caller regarding another skinny pit bull chained up in the same damn back yard that River had come from. I headed over. The neighbor woman came out on her porch, but didn’t say that she had called. I went back to the back yard and there was an emaciated, brindle male pit bull. He was so skinny! He was chained up to the same clothesline, had the same upside down pet taxi for shelter, and empty bowls strewn around. I can’t even tell you how mad, frustrated and disgusted I was. You can only imagine. I knocked on the front door, but no one answered. I asked the neighbor if this was the same male pit that he had sold and maybe it was back. She said no, that the other one had been a blue. I took food and water back there and got this poor boy fed and watered. He was starving. This poor, poor boy.
I knew that I was going to have to call animal control. I hate that because this poor thing would now have to go to the shelter. Chain of Hope was very full. We also have a severe lack of foster homes for our pit bulls, so we have to limit the pits we can take in. I wished we could take him into our program where he would be safe and get a home that is screened well so he didn’t end up back in a similar situation. I have to make decisions out there in the hood based on the room we have at Chain of Hope and we just didn’t have room for this poor little one, especially after bringing in River a couple of months before. I got him fed and watered well, gave him some love and took pictures to document in case he wasn’t impounded. I had a very heavy heart as I left him there and went to my car to call animal control. We have begged for foster homes for our pits and we come up empty, so these are the decisions that we are forced to make in the field. It’s unfortunate and heart breaking.
Outreach is extremely frustrating. I sincerely thank all of our outreach volunteers. It takes a certain kind of person (crazy?!) to keep getting out there, despite the resistance that we face at times and the frustrating repeated behavior that we see daily, such as this case.
On the positive side of things, River is thriving! She is actually having her heart worm treatment today and tomorrow. She is close to 75 lbs. and is stunning! When she finishes her heart worm treatment, she is going on a 2 week trial adoption!!! Yay for River-you can do it girl! Look at this happy face! The power of love and good care! Have a great life, River!!!