You may have seen this photo before. It was taken last August at the scene of a dog fighting raid, and it has been used in ASPCA advertisements all around the Internet and on TV. It can be hard to look at—a small, vulnerable puppy tied to a heavy chain, alone and cowering in fear. With just the quick snap of a camera, this single moment captured so much about the fatal sport of dog fighting, and this puppy became the face of abused animals everywhere.
That puppy’s name is Timmy, and he was one of 367 dogs rescued from a multi-state dog fighting ring that spanned Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas. After the raid, Timmy and the other dogs were taken to a temporary shelter where ASPCA responders gave them medical examinations, behavioral assessments, and the care and love they had previously been denied.
But Timmy’s story doesn’t end there. This sweet puppy was placed in foster homes that helped train him to become a well-adjusted pet. His final foster parents, Brian and Nadine DeCicco, just couldn’t give the little pup up and adopted him this past May. “We didn’t have any concerns about bringing a dog who had been associated with fighting into our home,” says Brian. “We’ve both had dogs our whole lives and know that they can reflect the way they are treated. Both of our previous dogs were pit mixes and they are just so unbelievably affectionate.”
Timmy now lives with Brian and Nadine in Maryland, where he is safe, happy and well-fed. “These dogs show amazing resiliency and forgiveness after being treated so poorly. They just want to be loved,” says Brian. Timmy spends his days snuggling with his family, snoozing in his “pita pocket” bed, playing tug-of-war with the neighbor’s Mastiff, and letting out his puppy energy—energy that at one time was restricted to a heavy collar and chain.
It’s hard to believe that Timmy is the same dog from that first photo. Fortunately, he will never have to worry about growing up to become a fighting dog, like so many generations of dogs tied to that very same chain before him.
Timmy’s new life is picture-perfect, but it would not have been possible without the support of animal-lovers like you. When you donate to the ASPCA, your gifts have a real, tangible effect—and Timmy is living proof of just how much we can accomplish when we work together.
Unfortunately, there are thousands of puppies just like Timmy still out there waiting for their rescue to come. Will you be the one to help save them? Make a donation today.