When I was 14, I volunteered at the Hi-Tor Animal Care Center in Rockland County cleaning, feeding, walking bathing and grooming homeless animals for adoption. When I graduated vet school, I volunteered at Hi-Tor shelter 3-4 days a week for 17 years while working full-time as an emergency medicine vet. I have always wanted to help save the lives of as many animals as possible and educate people that homeless animals “desperately” needed to find forever homes or they would be euthanized.
As a young girl and still to this day, I am shocked and saddened that millions of cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs etc. are euthanized each year in shelters simply due to lack of homes. That is why I am determined to help educate people to save a life by adopting instead of buying pets. I tell people that when you purchase a pet, you are taking a home away from an animal already here on death row who will be euthanized, if not adopted.
Purebred or designer poodle puppies from breeders or pet shops which are puppy mills, are not euthanized since this is a billion dollar industry. Their marketing ploy is that they say they are hypoallergenic. Shelters and foster homes have thousands of purebred and mixed breed Poodles, Wheatans and Yorkies with hair that does not shed either. Therefore, it is just as easy to “Rescue a hypoallergenic dog” as it is to buy one, so save a life and a lot of money and “Adopt Don’t Shop”.
Sadly, the shelter always looked like Pitbull rescue, so I would tell people coming in asking for a purebred that we had plenty. I jokingly would tell people we have two breeds, Pitbulls and Not a Pitbull. Many people were afraid of Pitbulls due to bad press but once meeting them in person, they were amazed at how affectionate, gentle and friendly they actually were. Some animal lovers who wanted to adopt a certain breed would be open-minded and end up adopting a Pitbull or Pitbull mix. One day a family with teenage kids adopted two Pitbulls. They told me that this was the most affectionate breed they ever rescued since these dogs were so grateful to have love and attention.
Sadly,when you hear about Pitbulls on the news it always shows a low life, disgusting, abusive person who forces dogs to fight or be killed making them aggressive. The majority of these abused dogs are usually dog aggressive but friendly to humans. Unfortunately, laws protecting animals and punishing abusers is weak and at the bottom of the pile. Animal abusers should be punished just as if they abused a human since animals feels just as much pain and suffering as humans. Until the law is strong and the punishment is severe and enforced, these abusers will always exist.
It is important for dog lovers to fight for the rights and protection of Pitbulls by educating people “NOT” to breed dogs especially Pitbulls and that there are “only bad owners not bad dogs”. Millions of dogs especially Pitbulls are killed each year since they are not adopted because people buy dogs instead of rescuing them. Breeding Pitbulls or any purebred or designer mixed breed is done strictly for money. I treat many sick dogs bought from breeders for thousands of dollars. Purebreds or mixed purebred, designer dogs are inbred resulting in genetic mutations causing them to suffer from life-long chronic diseases. After you buy a dog from a breeder and they get sick, the breeder usually ignores the buyer lies and says all my dogs are healthy and does pay the vet bill.
My first Pitbull, Jazzie, I rescued from the Manhattan ACC kill room along with 10 other animals who were adoptable and should not have been there. Sadly, kill shelters in the city are dumping grounds for Pitbulls and adult cats especially geriatric kitties and sometimes have only a few days before they are euthanized. Jazzie was about 2 years old and the most gentle, loving, devoted dog I ever adopted.The neighborhood kids would knock on my door asking if Jazzie could come out and play. She would run back and forth following the kids playing kick ball for hours and they would hug and kiss her, which she loved. Jazzie was the most popular dog in the neighborhood educating everyone how wonderful Pitbulls can be as family pets. She seemed lonely for dog company, so I soon rescued a Pitbull mix, Pearl who loved to cuddle up and sleep with her head on top of Jazzie’s back on my bed.
My second, Pitbull, Pearl, I rescued from a junkyard where she was starved and beaten for years by a mentally ill man. She was attached to a heavy gauge chain staked to the ground with no food, water or shelter. It was 30 degrees and I crawled on frozen ice with chick peas and diarrhea frozen inside to get to her to set her free. She licked my hand and looked at me with frightened, pathetic eyes since the man was standing next to her so she rolled on her back in submission. She was filthy, skin and bones, half her normal body weight with heartworm disease, intestinal parasites, dehydration and horrific bloody, diarrhea. Her severe malnutrition caused intestinal damage with watery diarrhea taking 7 months to cure.
Pearl had severe fear of noise from gunshots and moving objects since the mentally ill man beat her with his cane. It was pathetic how she would jump and run away from the slightest noise. It took over a year for Pearl to heal with medical care and be less anxious with the affectionate company of Jazzie and my cats. Along with kind praise and patient training, she slowly build up her confidence and her personality blossomed over the next two years to become a brand new dog. My family and friends could not believe she was the same dog. She was outgoing, social, not fearful of people and less so of noises except thunder and fireworks.
Sadly, I had to euthanize two other dogs in the junkyard who were too ill to recover but was able to save one other puppy. The puppy was emaciated from terrible diarrhea from intestinal parasites from the filthy environment and human neglect for medical care. I nursed the puppy back to health for one month then found her a loving, forever home.
Since Pearl was badly abused and attacked by other dogs in the junkyard, she was not dog friendly to most dogs but loved cats and people, as long as they did not resemble the man who beat her. I learned her triggers and was able to train her and avoid situations that would stress her out. She had a loving family in a peaceful and safe home for the next 14 1/2 years of her life. Pearl finally had what she and all animals deserve, a happy and healthy life. Pearl lived to the ripe old age of 16 years and I am grateful that she enriched my life as well.
My third Pitbull-Mix Gumby, was thrown out of a car along with his sister Pitbull mix on a busy NJ highway. A girl saw them eating garbage and tried to pick them up but the police did and took them to the local shelter. Sadly, this kill shelter has over 100 Pitbulls so they were put on the kill list. The girl’s mom adopted them then her best friend helped foster them since they already had several dogs of their own. They adopted the sister who was friendly to women but aggressive to men since most likely abused by a man. I adopted Gumby, a Pit-Boxer Mix from the foster home since he was dog friendly and I wanted Pearl to
have a companion. Jazzie who was Pearl’s first friend was sadly euthanized at the young age of 8 years old from kidney failure. Pearl and Gumby bonded well and we happily went on long hikes through the park. Pearl & Gumby would come to work with me daily at my vet hospital and loved having people around to pet them all day in between naps. Unfortunately, Gumby developed severe arthritis in his back causing paralysis which is a boxer genetic trait so sadly, I had to euthanize him when he was only 11 years old.
I rescued my fourth Pitbull mix Pinky, at 8 weeks of age after a horrific man broke her leg when she was only a helpless 4 pound puppy underweight and bloated from intestinal parasites. I trained Pinky to become a therapy dog for dementia patients in a nursing home and recovering patients including children in hospitals. She is sweet and affectionate loves belly rubs and playing fetch for hours in her fenced in backyard.
My clients frequently ask me if Pitbulls are my favorite breed? I reply “No, I do not have a favorite breed. I fall in love with a dog’s personality first, not their appearance. Like dogs, I do not care what a dog looks like, only how friendly, loving and affectionate they toward towards me when meeting them.”
Shelters are over-populated with sweet Pitbulls, many on death row since they are a misunderstood breed. Therefore, Pitbulls desperately need homes which is why I feel strongly about rescuing them from euthanasia. Every dog, no matter what they look like, whatever breed or label humans place upon them, deserves a chance to have a forever home with a loving family.