Posts Tagged ‘dog fighting’

If you’ve been here with me for awhile, you know about Annabelle, formerly known as Crazy Momma, rescued in Biloxi from a dog fighting ring. She’s been at our house since arriving in Cleveland, while waiting for a foster home or, even better, a forever home. When she arrived, she was skinny and hadn’t experience much love in her life. It also turned out she was Houdini disguised as a pit bull! Soon after arriving, she managed to squeeze out of her crate while our younger daughter was gone. She didn’t open the door; she managed to somehow get out between the wire and the bottom of the crate. It’s a bit like the way mice can get in anywhere but on a much larger scale!! Thankfully, she didn’t wreck the room, but you can imagine that it’s a bit stressful to leave the house, not knowing exactly what will happen while you’re gone. We found out Houdini had escaped from her crate regularly where she stayed after being rescued, so that behavior had already been rewarded. We needed to stop the reward of getting out and in addition, Annabelle was also scraping herself up in the process, something we didn’t want repeated.

With the help of a friend, our daughter used colorful zip ties to reinforce the crate. Still, Houdini managed to get out again. The next round of zip ties was more thorough but by this time, Shana, who runs the rescue (For the Love of Pits, had purchased the prison cell crate, The Zinger, (If you click on the link to connect to “For the Love of Pits”, you can see pictures of the dogs needing forever homes, learn more about the group, or even donate if you’d like to help.)

I guess just the fact that the crate on its way must have sent vibes to Annabelle, because the next time our daughter left, Houdini stayed in her crate. Our daughter had also been working with her to learn to stay in the crate for longer periods of time and that, combined with maybe realizing that “her” person would come back, made the difference, and taking a lot of pressure off our daughter! And our daughter’s definitely Annabelle’s person….when our daughter left to go shooting after lunch, Annabelle stayed by the door, barked a little, whined, ran around the house looking for her and took some time to settle to having just me around. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, she’ll get used to me again and I can become her second person.

Annabelle loves to curl up in her bed but she also likes to lie in our laps, either partially or completely if she can manage it. She has more energy, possibly due in part to getting her heartworm treated. If our daughter leaves the room, she still eventually goes off to look for her, but she’s much calmer. When we sit down to eat, she’ll get as close as possible, but she won’t jump up to try to get our food. She will keep inching closer and closer, though, and if that doesn’t work, she’ll give the soulful look a shot. When she sleeps, she often snores slightly and just a few minutes ago, she made little yipping noises and her legs twitched in some sort of doggie dream. Sometimes she stands with her head down, unmoving, for a long time, as if contemplating a profound thought or staring at something. Who knows what does on in a dog’s mind?

Annabelle knows “sit” and is learning “shake” and “stay”. She walks well on leash but still needs work on plenty of things. She’s got the main attribute of a good dog, though, a sweet temper, despite whatever she went through in Biloxi. Hopefully by the time she gets her foster home, she’ll know much more. But at least now she knows love.

Three weeks, a (foster) home, love and a new name. Instead of Crazy Mama (wishful thinking, from what I can tell), our dog sports the new sobriquet of Annabelle, in a nod to the South where she lived so unhappily. When I walked in a few days ago, she came to meet me, friendly but not leaping up; happy to be petted, but ready to go back to our daughter, her one constant in these days of adjustment.

Doubtless because of her former life,(fighting or as a bait dog, we don’t know), she has separation anxiety issues. Twice while our daughter was at class, Annabelle managed to push hard enough on her crate, not to pop the door open, but to create a small space where she somehow shoved her rather large head through, followed by her still a bit too skinny body. Once she tore the bottom of the crate. Fortunately, both times she neither damaged herself, except for some scrapes, or much else once she got out, although my Guinness hot pad, a gift from our older daughter, direct from Ireland, fell victim.

After the second time, our daughter and a friend covered the edges of the crate with colored zip ties, frustrating her latest escape attempt. Now, part of Annabelle’s work consists of being left briefly in the closed crate, while our daughter closes the door, standing outside the room, then coming back in to reward Annabelle for not getting too excited. She made it close to a minute today. Progress indeed. Once she realizes that when we leave, someone will come back to let her out, she can relax.

During Japanese lessons, Annabelle curls up on her sleeping pad. Mrs. Saito (and everyone else) loves her. She’ll be a good companion for someone who wants a friendly, loving dog that doesn’t require athletic training to keep happy. She knows how to sit and lie down; we’re working on “Shake”, an always popular trick. Sometimes when we go into another room, she can’t figure out immediately where we are and she trots from room to room, a panoply of wrinkles on her forehead, puzzling it out. Her feet mostly stay on the floor, even under the intense provocation of food smells. She likes to sit on a lap, pushing her head into the object of her affection, or to curl up in her round pad in an impossibly small space. Often, her head lies on the edge of the pad, squashed into a definitely non-feminine but unquestionable cuteness.

Yet this dog and thousands like her, suffer from breed discrimination all over the United States. In Denver, for instance, “It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport or sell within the city any pit bull.” Section 8-55. A pit bull owner even has to obtain a license to transport a pit bull from outside the city, through the city to destination outside the city of Denver. There’s a separate section about dangerous dogs. So pit bulls are even below dogs that have to be demonstrably vicious!! Welcome to Denver, city of discrimination (and not in the positive way), a place that, when I was growing up, was where I wanted to life at some point! I’ve re-thought that idea and not just because of the pollution caused by inversions.

Welcome to a brave, new world, Annabelle, one where some places and people hate you without even knowing you. Given a chance, one loving dog at a time and lots of vocal owners, perhaps this will change. Until then, you can keep the Rocky Mountain high.

More Mama

Posted: January 16, 2012 in Dogs
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Crazy Mama.  That was her name, either from where she was fighting or from the people who rescued her in Biloxi.  You can see the scars, although Megan said some of them are just scabs and will hopefully fade when they heal.  She’s very curious.  Megan told me when she opened the fridge and then closed it, Mama went up and looked at it. She’s probably never been in a house before, so everything will be new to her. When the people who brought her the last lap left, she went and sat by the door, facing it, evidently thinking (hoping) they would come back.

Needless to say, she’s very emotionally needy and follows Megan around all the time.  Much like having a child!  I used to sing a little song to the girls when I would zip down to the basement to do laundry or something and didn’t want them to worry.  The song was “I’ll be right back, I’ll be right back” over and over to a little tune I made up.  Maybe Megan can sing that to Mama.

Being from the south, Mama maybe less than thrilled about going outside in the cold, although today’s high was a balmy day in the low 40’s.  Wednesday there’s a temperature drop in the forecast so until her new doggie coat arrives, the walks may be short.  But since she has heartworm issues, I don’t know how much she’s supposed to do yet anyway.  I can’t wait to see how cute she’ll look in her coat.  Janie had a coat that was too big and look hilarious when she went out but it certainly didn’t impede her long, rapid walks in conditions that ensured we’d be the only two out.

Mama will be safe, warm and loved now.  She’s a lucky girl!


Posted: January 16, 2012 in Dogs
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Although it’s another travel day for me, there’s excitement because today Mama arrives. Mama is a pit bull that was part of a fighting ring and was rescued. Many of the dogs didn’t survive. Mama has heartworm and has to be kept quiet. She’ll be evaluated for heartworm soon but was already evaluated for temperament and passed with flying colors. Our nearby rescue, For the Love of Pits,,  is getting her to our house and providing everything for her care, as they always do. They’re an excellent organization, run completely by volunteers and on donated money.

The story of how we got involved with pit bulls is for another time. Right now, we look forward to having Mama here so she can experience the love she’s never had. Hopefully as she heals emotionally, her scars will be covered, her heartworm dealt with and she’ll find first a foster, then a forever home.

Mama’s only her temporary name.  The search is on for a good southern or Cajun name for her.