At four years old, Taco seems like any other dog. He plays with toys, snuggles in bed, and runs around with fellow pups. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that Taco isn’t like most other dogs. He has a limp, a drag in his step that serves as a reminder of all he has been through.
Doctors at our hospital moved into action quickly, only to discover that much of the damage to Taco’s vertebrae was inoperable. Determined to help the 10-pound pup, they began a regimen of intensive care that involved painkillers and a full-body brace—keeping him safe and comfortable until he was strong enough to begin physical therapy.
During his stay at the hospital, Taco received love, attention, and unwavering care, possibly for the first time in his life. Slowly but surely, he regained his mobility. When he was ready, he transferred to our Adoption Center and was quickly adopted into a loving home. Though Taco will always have a limp, his new family tells us that “he is full of energy and life, and he never lets his gait hinder his stride.”
When Vivian adopted Blue from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), she knew nothing of the horrors the nine-month-old pup had endured at the hands of dog fighters. One of 77 dogs rescued in a multi-state dog fighting raid in March 2013, Blue was chained to a stake in the ground, exposed and shivering in blizzard-like conditions, when the ASPCA rescued him. For today’s special video Happy Tail, we traveled to Tucson to catch up with Vivian and Blue.
Vivian W. grew up in New York with all kinds of pets: cats, birds, even rodents. But she never had a dog. When she moved to Arizona last year, she decided that pit bull adoption was at the top of her priority list. On her second day in Tucson, she adopted Blue.
“It was love at first sight,” says Vivian, recalling the moment she met Blue. After spotting his picture online, she was drawn to his striking blue eye (for which he is named), but knew nothing of his past. As she later came to learn, Blue was rescued by the ASPCA in a massive dog fighting raid. He was emaciated and weighed just 30 pounds when he first arrived at the shelter.
After his adoption, Blue settled in with Vivian quickly. He now devotes his time to the finer things in life: “He loves people, as well as car rides and his rope toy—that’s his favorite,” says Vivian. He is never far from her side, especially when she’s sleeping or cooking, and has even taken a liking to olives, which grow on the many trees that dot their property.
“He seems to have forgotten about everything that happened, which is more than we can really ask for,” she adds.
Blue’s happiness is a testament to his resilient spirit. In many ways, he represents the thousands of dogs who have been rescued from abuse and who refuse to be defined by their traumatic past. Blue never gave up, just as we will never give up our commitment to ending dog fighting. In fact, April 8 marked our first annual National Dog Fighting Awareness Day, a day created to spread knowledge and understanding of dog fighting and to encourage animal lovers to take action against this barbaric practice.
We believe that there will come a time when dog fighting is seen for what it really is: the shameful pastime of cowards. But until that day comes, we will continue to fight for the victims—for dogs like Blue—so that they never have to fight again.
The ASPCA is currently on the ground assisting the Milwaukee Police Department and the District Attorney of Milwaukee County with a multi-site dog fighting raid in the City of Milwaukee. Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission is transporting, sheltering and caring for the dogs.
Today, eight search warrants were executed at eight crime scenes, where 23 suspected fighting dogs were seized. Investigators also discovered blood on basement walls as well as other evidence of dog fighting, including treadmills, wound treatment supplies and muscle building supplements.
Experts from the ASPCA Field Investigations & Response (FIR) team are on hand to assist with evidence collection and documentation. The ASPCA has been assisting local authorities with this dog fighting investigation for nearly a year.
Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The ASPCA is committed to eradicating the blood sport. We have designated April 8 as the first National Dog Fighting Awareness Day to advance the conversation about dog fighting, and to encourage animal lovers across the country to take action against this brutal form of cruelty.
With the winter doldrums at an all time high, plenty of us are daydreaming of warmer climates. But as any pet parent will tell you, taking a vacation often comes with a side of stress about your animal. There’s nothing worse than spending your time on the beach worrying about how your furry friend is doing back at home.
Fortunately, traveling with your pet is easier than you think. When you shop Priceline through We-Care.com, you can support the ASPCA and narrow your hotel search to those that are “Pet Friendly!” Check out We-Care’s Spring Travel blog post for instructions on how to do this, and be sure to send us a postcard of you and Fido soaking up the sun!
Meet Waffle. This charming Chihuahua spends her days playing with toys, snuggling into warm blankets, and running around with fellow dogs. But that wasn’t always the case. Waffle first came to the ASPCA as one of a hundred dogs rescued from an animal hoarder. Her life at that point had been defined by loneliness and neglect, and the traumatic experience left her with an extreme distrust of humans. When we met her, she was anxious, timid, and very, very afraid.
Waffle spent more than two months working closely with the staff at the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center. Through our comprehensive treatment plan, she was able to tackle her fears and transform into the sweet-as-syrup pup she is today. She is now an official “graduate” of the Center, and she’s ready to take on the next chapter of her life.
When you donate to the ASPCA, you are supporting projects like the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center. With its combined mission of welfare and research, the Center is at the forefront of progress in its field. But it can’t run on good intentions alone. With your support, we can continue to give dogs like Waffle a chance to heal, and, more importantly, a second chance at life.
If you live in or near New Jersey and are interested in adopting Waffle, please contact Second Chance Pet Adoption League at [email protected]. Waffle is looking for a home with another friendly dog!