Orbie the Blind Pit Bull

Orbie gets a kiss from a roller girl at the Derby

Orbie (formerly Kemo), the blind pit bull rescued by Oakland Animal Services (OAS) in California, has been settling in to his new temporary home at Phoenix Cottage. Orbie spent six months waiting in the shelter, and Our Pack, Inc brought Mutts-n-Stuff and OAS together. Northern California rescues, including Our Pack, took over 50 dogs from last year’s Big MO Bust; this was our opportunity to repay them by helping one of their dogs with special needs. Mutts-n-Stuff has extensive experience working with disabled dogs. In fact, Phoenix Cottage was built especially for blind pit bull Phoenix. Phoenix passed on to the Rainbow Bridge earlier this year, and his family could think of nothing better than for another blind pit bull to find comfort and happiness in his special cottage.

Orbie's favorite toy is his Cuz ball

Orbie’s foster mom and dad are discovering that he is a very social dog, and loves to play and snuggle with any human that crosses his path. Orbie loves toys; he squeaks and squeaks his Cuz endlessly. Due to his blindness, Orbie cannot read the body language of other dogs and is hesitant to interact with them. He relies on humans to be his guide and is responding exceptionally well to clicker training combined with verbal cues, which is especially helpful on walks. Two clicks = obstacle ahead, one click = let’s go, etc. Orbie also has learned sit, down, and roll over. His positive interaction with humans is helping him learn to trust and build relationships with people.

Orbie’s blindness may be due to macular degeneration, and he will very soon be visiting a specialist to determine if his eyesight can be at least partially restored. Regardless of his ability to see or not, Orbie is a sweet, loving, and patient boy who will soon be looking for his special forever home. Check back with us for updates on his progress and adoption availability.

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Cuts for Mutts is Sunday July 18th

The haircuts are for the humans, but the money is for the mutts!  This Sunday July 18th from 12pm to 4pm at the Aveda Experience Center at the St. Louis Galleria, stylists from J’labii Hair Design will give you a complimentary haircut when you make a donation to Mutts-n-Stuff. PLEASE CALL 314-721-4425 TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT.

Dharma in Chicago Parent Magazine

Dharma is in the Summer 2010 issue of Chicago Special Parent magazine, a special topics magazine from the publishers of Chicago Parent.  The article discusses various ways in which animals can therapeutically help children with special needs.  Although I admit I might be biased, I really do believe that Dharma is a very special dog.  I’m continually amazed and humbled by the reactions she inspires in the people she meets.  People truly do gravitate towards her wherever she goes.  It’s not just that she has three legs; it’s her sweet and trusting personality.  She enthusiastically greets all who approach her, covering their faces with kisses if they’ll allow her to – which everyone does.  And she completely melts their hearts.  Dharma has a calm presence when she’s with people she doesn’t even know, and children love to sit next to her and gently pet her.  Many people are curious about what happened to her leg, but most are surprised to find out that she is a pit bull rescued from the July 2009 dog fighting bust.  “But she’s so small and sweet,” many of them respond.  Yes, she is.  So are so many bust dogs, and they all deserve lives of happiness and love.

-Suzi

Photo courtesy of Mike Bizelli

MO 500 Reunion and Memorial

Patience smiles for the crowd as Todd gives his speech.

On Saturday July 10, 2010, a significant event took place at the Humane Society of Missouri’s Macklind shelter: the first anniversary reunion of the largest dog fighting bust in the history of the United States.  There were over 200 people and over 50 dogs at the event.  Most of the dogs were rescues from the July 2009 bust, but there were also two dogs from the pre-cursor bust, the Stoddard County bust in October 2007.  Smiley King Elvis and Fiona were there, representing the Stoddard County survivors.

The festivities kicked off with a greeting from HSMO president Kathy Warnick, followed by a few words from VP of Operations Debbie Hill.  The final speaker was HSMO volunteer Todd Ribbick, who gave a stirring talk about the string of nearly impossible events that culminated in many of the rescued dogs finding homes and becoming beloved pets.  During his talk, many of the listeners started crying as they recalled the hard work and love that went into caring for the rescued dogs.  Also, I’m sure, many of those tears were shed for the dogs, those in loving homes and those not, who touched the workers’ hearts.  Following Todd’s speech, several people put ashes from beloved dogs who didn’t make it into a common box to be put into the Memorial Wall at Macklind’s facility.

Smiley King Elvis, Willis, Atlas, and Samson.

Wall of pictures from the dogs' shelter days.

The activities then moved over to the actual facility.  A special montage was shown, spanning the day of the rescue and the care of the dogs at the warehouse shelter, as well as thanking many of the people involved in the entire operation.  There were very few dry eyes after that!  Personally, I was doing okay until I saw the picture of Fay, Gale, and me.   Some memories take a long time to lose their sting.

Fatboy waits patiently for someone to give him a yummy doggie cookie.

After that, things got rocking!  Shelter workers and volunteers got reacquainted with some of the dogs who were brought there by their adopters.  Foster parents did the same.  There were tails wagging everywhere.  It was quite an impressive scene: all those rescued dogs, a year later, being loved on by people they seemed to remember from the shelter and from their foster homes.  The dogs even seemed to remember each other: perhaps they shared some sort of “group memory” of the hell they had survived and left behind.

Kona (formerly Vienna) gets a kiss from her new mommy.

In addition to the people involved with rescuing, caring for, and adopting the “Missouri 500,” newspaper and television reporters were there to cover the festivities.  Perhaps you saw some coverage on the news Saturday night.  If not, or to see more, go to http://www.fox2now.com/videobeta/a76d02f1-012b-40bb-a25c-f43c27dfd009/News/Reunion-For-Survivors-Of-Largest-Dog-Fighting-Raid-In-U-S-History.

-Dave
Co-founder, Mutts-n-Stuff

Brothers born in the warehouse shelter: Willis and Samson.

Joe Rockhead

Sir Reginald Farnsworth III got a lot of hugs.

Beautiful Stella (formerly Daffodil).

The Missouri Bust Dogs: One Year Later

HSMO investigators examine Dharma's damaged limb at one of the sites in the 2009 raid.

July 8, 2010 marks the first anniversary of the largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history.  One year ago, an eighteen-month long investigation, initiated by the Humane Society of Missouri, culminated in raids at sites located in eight states across the Midwest.  Humane investigators and federal law enforcement officials rescued approximately 500 dogs and arrested 26 people.  The evidence of abuse and cruelty – as seen in the mutilated limbs and torn faces of the dogs themselves – that was uncovered by investigators was heartbreaking.  Yet amidst the heavy chains and dirty wooden boxes, hope was in the air.  The dogs greeted the investigators not as enemies to be feared or attacked, but as saviors and friends.  Betrayed by the humans who had inflicted so much pain on them, the dogs still welcomed these new humans who had come to put an end to the cruelty.

Sir Reginald gets some good scratchin' action.

One year later, the bust dogs we took into our foster/adoption program are proving to the world that they deserved their second chances at happiness.  They are enjoying lives filled with love and comfort.  Sir Reginald Farnsworth III was a shell of a dog after enduring the horrors of the fight ring, but today he loves nothing more than to snuggle and be hand fed his favorite treats.

Dharma settles in for a nap on a pile of warm laundry.

Dharma was forced to wear a heavy chain around her little neck and breed litter after litter, even though her mutilated leg made carrying pups all the more difficult.  Today Dharma lives like a princess with a family that adores her.  She is on her way to becoming a therapy dog for children with disabilities, even though when she was first rescued she was too afraid to even walk through a doorway.

Petunia is all ears!

Petunia was so terrified of the world around her that she was literally scared of her own shadow.  Now pretty Miss Tuners is queen of the couch, where she loves to throw herself around upside down to demand belly rubs.

Lucy loves smushy snuggles on the couch.

Lucy was desperate for human affection when she was first brought into HSMO’s temporary shelter, yet she often stayed huddled into a little ball in the corner of her kennel.  Today Lucy’s favorite spot to nap is on the couch with her adopted brothers… a 3 year old pit bull and a 7 year old boy.

Malcolm has a classic pittie grin.

Malcolm was rescued as an underdeveloped, weeks-old puppy whose back legs were very weak.  With lots of love and care from his new family, he has grown into a big strong boy who runs and jumps with his adopted sister, Karma, in their huge back yard.

These are just a few of the many wonderful tails (and tales) that came out of the bust.  Their happy endings are the ultimate proof that the victims of dog fighting deserve to be given a first chance at life as it should be.

Bust Dog Diaries: Samson

Handsome Samson!

Here’s another heartwarming success story of one of the puppies from last year’s big MO bust. Albert (now called Samson) and his brothers were born at HSMO’s temporary bust shelter after their mom was rescued in the July ’09 raid. He has been adopted and is growing up healthy and happy with his forever family. Samson’s new daddy Jake shares the story of how he and his wife fell in love with Samson and decided to add a pit bull puppy to their home.

I’m a dog lover always have been. When my wife and I got married I talked constantly about when we bought a house I would love to get a dog. My wife, Michelle, didn’t quite share the same view, as she never owned a dog only cats. I would talk her about the different dogs I would like to own, Great Dane, Rottweiler, Pit Bull. My wife was very afraid of the idea of owning a Rottweiler or Pit Bull. She would always say I don’t want a dog that could eat me! I would talk to her a lot about what great dogs Pit Bulls are, it was very hard for my wife to get over the stereotypical feelings she had about owning a Pit Bull. Finally she said she would think about it. I knew this was my chance! In January, I found the website PBRC and saw the pictures of Willis and Albert I immediately knew I had to have one of these puppies. When I came home that night I showed my wife the pictures. She watched the Pit Bull Tribute video and we both started crying. With out a word my wife starting filling out the application, she said we have to give a good home to one of these puppies.  In the next week we looked at the pictures everyday as we waited to hear back from Mutts N Stuff. We were so worried we would not qualify for some reason. Finally on Thursday we heard back from Shaun and arranged to meet Albert (we changed his name to Samson). On Saturday, we met Samson, we both fell in love with his adorable face and lovable personality immediately. That day we brought Samson home and waited while Shaun evaluated Samson’s future home. Finally, Shaun gave us the approval. We were thrilled, Samson has broke down every stereotype my wife had about Pit Bulls. She even wanted him to sleep in our bed and he has since the first night he became part of our family.  Samson, is lovable and smart and very gentle. We love him and feel so privileged that he is our puppy. We recently put him in obedience training and he is doing great. The trainer is drawn to him and said he is the Star of the Class! One of our friends said “Samson is the kind of dog that makes you want to get a dog!” He has won over all of our family and friends. We hope that we have the privilege of adopting another Pit Bull when the time is right.

Samson snuggles with his daddy

Samson’s equally smart and adorable brother Willis is available for adoption and waiting for his own loving forever family. To submit an application to adopt Willis or any other of our available animals, please visit our website.

Dharma Goes to Jeff City

April 20th was Humane Day, when animal related organizations from around Missouri travel to Jefferson City to talk to legislators about humane animal issues. Dharma and Mutts-n-Stuff were at the state capital to talk to lawmakers about the big bust last year and the horrible plague of dog fighting that is afflicting the state. Legislation has been proposed that would make things a lot harder for dog fighters and a little easier for bust dogs. We had no idea what a celebrity Dharma is! Many people – including members of the state House and Senate – recognized Dharma immediately. She was a real trooper and gave lots of kisses and snuggles. Here are some pictures from her big day. These were taken by photographer Mike Bizelli, who took the pictures at the bust site last July. He was thrilled to be able to take some new pictures of Dharma now that she is happy and healthy.

Dharma takes a break from the crowds.

Dharma greets legislators and visitors at the Mutts table.

Nobody can resist Dharma's sweet little face.

Relaxing in the shade outside the capitol building.