Last year when law enforcement discovered 200 dogs from a suspected fighting operation in southeast Ohio, the Jefferson County Humane Society called in HSUS’s anti-dogfighting team. We helped secure the surrender of the dogs and cared for them for more than two months with the help of so many dedicated volunteers.
Photo courtesy of the family
Abby with her family's grandfather
Most of these dogs had been chained up outside and some had untreated medical conditions. We had each dog individually evaluated and worked to place many of them with our Emergency Services Placement Partners across the country. It's now HSUS policy to recommend that every single dog seized from the horrors of dogfighting be given an individual evaluation so that these abused creatures might have a second chance with rescue groups and adoptive families.
I wrote a few months ago about one of these rescued pit bulls, Ferdinand, who’s now in a foster home thanks to the Pittsburgh group Hello Bully. I just received another very touching story about a mother dog from the “Ohio 200,” who recently found a permanent home through Casa Del Toro Pit Bull Rescue in Indianapolis.
Casa Del Toro director Laurie Adams sent this news:
Abby, a mother dog we pulled into rescue from the Ohio 200, came to us with seven puppies. A jovial soul, Abby’s forever home still awaited her long after her puppies were adopted. Her transition from life on a chain outside to one of living indoors was the only thing that held her back from finding a new home.
The day finally came that Abby went into her foster home with one of our volunteers, Holly. Knowing that the foster parents had recently suffered a very tough loss of their long-time canine family member, we knew this would be hard for them, but nothing prepared us for what would happen next.
The family brought Abby to meet Holly's grandfather, who at the time was in hospice care. When they met, it was as if they created their own little world together. It was a well-needed event for the family, to see Grandpa smile and light up when Abby came into the room.
As the days went on and the visits grew, Grandpa would have them mark on the calendar when Abby would come back for the next visit. She had become his companion, his singing buddy, his friend. He needed her and she needed him.
When the family would walk into the room and say hello, he would look beyond them and ask, "Where's my dog?”
What was spoken between their hearts was something so special and so beautiful, that it will remain in the lives of everyone they touched, forever.
Sadly, not long afterward Holly’s grandfather passed away. The foster family has since officially adopted Abby. We learned later from the family that Grandpa had said that he had wanted to adopt Abby himself, but knew that he couldn't. The reality is there's no piece of paper we could ever produce that would define adoption…They had already signed that contract with their hearts the moment they met.
Their bond is a stark reminder of the incredible bond between human and animal. This was no ordinary friendship. This was a true bond, one of true healing.
If I ever doubted the depth and healing power that an animal can bring to our lives and ours to theirs, all doubt was removed after this.
P.S. You can find out more about the other Ohio 200 dogs still available for adoption through rescue groups.