I love redemption stories. Last summer, I wrote about our Animal Rescue Team helping to rescue dogs from two fighting rings in North Carolina. It was a blazing hot day, and most of the animals were chained outside in the woods. The HSUS and Hello Bully set up an emergency shelter and cared for these dogs, with staff sleeping on cots at the shelter to make sure the animals were safe as Hurricane Irene barreled into the region. Through the Dogfighting Rescue Coalition, several shelters and rescue groups then took in the dogs to place them for adoption.
One brown pit bull-type dog named Gizmo had been attached to a heavy chain, was denied water and sufficient food, and seemed destined for the fighting pit. When he arrived at our emergency shelter, Gizmo didn't trust people yet. Over time, and with the right amount of human patience and a lot of dog toys, he got better, step by step.
BEFORE: Gizmo was tied to a heavy chain. AFTER: Gizmo enjoying a toy.
Next, Gizmo traveled to the Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania, where a dedicated volunteer helped him get used to unfamiliar things like stairs, riding in the car, television, and grass to play in. The dog went to obedience classes and saw that life offered more than a heavy chain and being forced to fight. Finally, one day a family came to meet Gizmo and decided to adopt him. He got along great with the family and their other dog, and now this formerly mistreated pit bull-type dog has a new bed, even more toys, and a heaping of love and attention from his new human companions.
I know there are truly millions of stories and adoption and redemption in communities throughout the country. But it's through these intentional acts of kindness and redemption that we can give so many creatures their fair shot at a rich and full and happy life.
P.S. This video shows the conditions where Gizmo was rescued: