August 23, 2017

Rescued from Dog Fighting, Part Three: Kermit the Kind

Kermit
Kermit’s teeth were worn down from chewing on a chain in her former life. Her resilience shines through in this post-adoption photo (Photos courtesy of Megan Alexander unless otherwise noted.)

As an emergency field responder for the ASPCA, Megan Alexander meets many animals who steal her heart. But on one particular deployment in August 2013—which happened to be the second-largest dog fighting case in U.S. history—she met a dog deemed “magical” for her ability to help other dogs overcome fear and anxiety.

Kermit when she was rescued
Kermit was malnourished and underweight when she was rescued. (Photo courtesy of the ASPCA)

“We named her ‘The Magical Kermit,’” says Megan, who often cares for animal victims from large-scale cruelty cases. “She helped other dogs come out of their shells. Watching how she would turn around a dog who had been shut down really ingratiated me to her. She brought back the spark in dogs who had lost hope. And she would plop down like a frog—hence the name.”

“I usually don’t allow myself to get attached to many dogs, but I loved Kermit,” said Bruce Earnest, Manager of Responder Safety for the ASPCA. “I watched her transform from a scared, emaciated dog to a solidly built, energetic, sweet and happy dog. Whenever I could spare a minute, I would take her out of her enclosure to spend a little time with her and see her smile.”

Kermit at a temporary shelter in Florida with Bruce Earnest from the ASPCA
Left: Kermit with the ASPCA’s Bruce Earnest at the ASPCA’s temporary shelter in Florida. (Photo courtesy Bruce Earnest) Right: In her famous frog-like pose.

“Kermit was one of our most reliable helper dogs in playgroups,” added Pam Reid, Vice President of the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior team. “She was wonderfully social and tolerant of even the most ill-mannered or awkward playmates—a real gem of a dog!”

After living in temporary shelters for more than a year after her rescue, Kermit was adopted by Megan, who lives near San Francisco and owns an animal behavior service business. Megan also does contract work for Sonoma County Animal Services and volunteers as co-chair of the spay/neuter committee for Pit Bull Rescue Central.

While Kermit is a good ambassador for pit bulls, her previous life has taken a heavy toll on her body. She suffered from malnourishment and skin infections before her rescue, and wore down her teeth by chewing on her chain, a source of constant frustration. The nine-year-old canine gets allergy shots as well as joint and seizure medication. She has also undergone surgeries to repair torn cruciate ligaments in both knees.

“Other than that, my girl has been a breeze to love and live with,” Megan says proudly. “She has quite a fan club in my community and loves other dogs, cats and kids.”

Kermit with her roommates Sassafras, left, and Junebug.
Kermit with her roommates Sassafras, left, and Junebug.

Megan’s two other dogs are also pit bulls from former criminal cases. Junebug is 14 years old and is from the Missouri 500—the largest U.S. dog fighting case on record, while Sassafras (or Sassy), age 10, is from a DUI case and was once deemed unadoptable. That is, until Kermit worked her magic and taught her how to play.

“Kermit can communicate with other dogs in a way that I can’t,” adds Megan. “She’s more effective than I could ever be. It’s just a beautiful thing.”

Megan and “the girls” live in a condo community where Kermit is a bit of a celebrity. “Kermit draws people in,” explains Megan. “When walking her, I get stopped a million times. Neighbors even get out of their cars to say hello.”

Kermit wearing a tutu while out on a walk
Kermit looking pretty while out for a stroll.

Aside from her animal behavior work, Megan’s involvement with pit bulls is personal. “They’re the most abused class of canine. They’re like a punching bag, wearing a ‘Kick Me’ sign. What did these dogs ever do to deserve people treating them with such disdain?” she asks.

“The worst thing Kermit does is run into you when she wants to kiss you, because she has bad depth perception,” Megan says. “But the minute you see her you can’t help but smile.”

Read Part One of the “Rescued from Dog Fighting” Series!

Read Part Two of the “Rescued from Dog Fighting” Series!