I love rescuing dogs. I think Pete would turn me over to a shelter if I tried to rescue anymore. I wish I could rescue more but sometimes practicality gets in the way of wishes. I have rescued three dogs and I have one dog that I bought a the dreaded pet store. There are a lot of rescues out there, some are breed specific and some not. Here’s my story that goes along with the title of this blog. It all plays out. You’ll see.
The first dog I rescued was from a rescue called Petite Paws Rescue Angels and his name is Mr. Biggs and Pete and I got him when he was three years old. He’s now eight years old. Mr. Biggs is a small, Maltese mix.
The second dog I purchased was when Pete and I broke up. All I can say is this: don’t go into a pet store when you’re drunk and lonely because $1,000.00 later you’ll walk out with a really cute companion and not a clue what to do with a brand new puppy. When you take your pet store puppy to the vet for their first check up you quickly realize the mistake you’ve made because they look at you like, “Really? Are you a puppy mill supporter?” No I’m not, but I needed companionship and that was how I got Kasey, a cocker spaniel/poodle mix, who is almost 2 years old. I made a mistake in supporting puppy mills and paid way too much for the dog, but she’s mine and I still love her the same as I do all of my other dogs.
The third dog I rescued was a beautiful black Australian shepherd mix named Tattle. I rescued her from an organization called Lakeshore Paws. I saw her picture posted on Facebook, showed up the next day at an adoption event and brought her home. Tattle was with us for three weeks. She was such a good girl. She was a puppy when we got her and a puppy when she passed away. She was bitten in the hips and shaken to death by a pit bull that got loose. We found out later that the pit bull had been rescued and “rehabilitated”. It had some cage aggression issues and clearly was a violent dog with the intent to attack. When I took Tattle outside to go to the bathroom, the dog came running over to the yard, grabbed her and started shaking viciously. I can’t even express what it’s like to stand there and watch your dog get shaken nearly to death by another animal that wouldn’t let go. Thankfully, a neighbor came out and told me to go get something to hit the pit bull with to get it to release the grip it had. I went inside and got an umbrella and ran back and bopped the pit bull in the head twice. A few seconds later, I was holding my shrieking dog trying to figure out what to do; meanwhile my neighbor pointed out that I had been bitten by the pit bull in the process and asked if I wanted an ambulance called. Panicked and not knowing what to do, I held my puppy in my arms and drove from Portage to Purdue North Central where they have a good 24 hour emergency vet clinic. I wound up dropping the puppy off to see what they could do for her and meanwhile went to the ER so I could receive some medical attention. The pit bull survived, even though it had attacked another dog earlier that week. Animal control wasn’t able to put the pit bull down because they didn’t have enough evidence to prove that this was a vicious dog. The pit bull is no longer allowed in our neighborhood but resides somewhere else and may very likely do the same thing to another dog or person. We wound up deciding to have Tattle put to sleep. She lived three short weeks with us and we’ll never forget her. She had a severed spine, broken rib, no use of her back legs and her hips were severed at the spine. As a growing puppy, the doctors told us, even if she survived the surgery, she would have a very poor quality of life. This was such a hard decision to make, but we did what we felt was best for Tattle. I wouldn’t want to see any animal have to suffer. It was hard enough having to watch her suffer that night.
Lakeshore Paws generously offered Pete and I another dog because they felt so bad about what happened. I was immediately went on Facebook to watch for a new group of puppies to come into their rescue. My running buddy and Pete knew what I didn’t realize at the time but do know now: I was looking to replace what I had lost. Instead of waiting and mourning her loss, I wanted to adopt another puppy. Within 6 weeks of the attack, we had a new puppy named Bonnie who is thankfully still with us today. She will be one year old in June!
I have a scar on my left inner forearm from the pit bull bite. It’s concealed to most people because it’s on the inner arm. I look at that scar every day and am reminded of what happened. The funny thing about scars is that when they are wounds they are the fragile and when they heal they are the toughest part of the skin. I still mourn the loss of Tattle and wish I could bring her back. In an odd way, I justify what happened in my mind by telling myself that Bonnie got a chance at life because of Tattle’s passing. She got rescued and got a chance to live with a good family.
I believe in dog rescues. I’ve rescued three dogs from two dog rescues. I raised money for Paws Chicago when I ran the Chicago marathon in 2011. I even believe in pit bull rescues despite what happened to me and Tattle. Do I think the dog that attacked my puppy should’ve been put down? Yes I do. I think that is an aggressive dog that will most likely do the same thing to another animal.
I see a lot of people that are very defensive of the pit bull breed and will make postings on Facebook about how they are subjected to scrutiny because they are segregated as being this vicious breed. Pit bull rescue groups and pit bull owners give off this notion that this specific breed of dog is very gentle and domicile. While I’m fully aware that not all pit bulls are dangerous, and do believe non-aggressive dogs should be saved, that doesn’t mean you’ll catch me posting “Save The Pit Bulls” on my Facebook page, with the exception of this blog post title. Once an animal is vicious, it’s very hard to rehabilitate it so it can go back into a “normal” environment.
People have very strong feelings on whether the pit bull breed should be rescued or not. I hope that people reading this that do support pit bulls will read it from a perspective of someone who has been attacked and suffered the loss of a dog because of an aggressive dog. I have a scar on my arm to remind me of what happened and, yes, it does make me a little less sensitive to saving a really aggressive animal. It’s not specifically pit bulls that I’m against rehabilitating. I do believe that, when brought up from puppyhood correctly, any dog can be gentle and sweet. Owners have to do their part otherwise what happened to me will happen to someone else.
The owners of the pit bull that attacked Tattle had a rehabilitated pit bull. Clearly, a good job was not done on the rehabilitation process. It’s a tough question to answer: once you have rehabilitated an aggressive animal, will they still be aggressive? In my case the answer was yes.
Tattle, I love you and miss you. And she got the name Tattle because she had barely any tail….like Tattle Tail!