Hope: from abused fighter to Canine Good Citizen

Pit Bull Hope loves people and other dogs

By Kerry, for StubbyDog.org

This story is all about a very special little girl – a 4.5-year-old Pit Bull named Hope.

Her life did not start out full of hope. In fact, the first 2.5 years of her life were violently tragic. A man in Graham, Wash., who ran an illegal dog-fighting ring, had her. Hope was beaten, abused and forced to fight other dogs, all of whom were thrown into a ring, desperate to survive. She was bred for her puppies without anyone knowing for sure how many litters she bore or what became of her poor puppies.

During those first years of her life, Hope was given no love, no care, no comfort. When not being forced to fight, she was chained to a tree and left alone, exposed to the elements in all weather. Hope was mauled and brutalized during dog fights and was not given the medical treatment she needed. She will always bear the physical scars from those fights, including the eventual amputation of her left front leg, which had been broken and never repaired.

Hope recovers from her amputation surgery.

Then one day, in late October of 2009, she was given a second chance. Suspicious neighbors finally called the police, and a new chapter in Hope’s life began – that of her rescue and rehabilitation.

Hope’s owner was arrested, although he never served time for dog fighting. But Hope and approximately 35 other dogs were taken in by The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County, Wash.

BullsEye Dog Rescue then intervened to take care of and foster Hope and a few other Pit Bulls that were able to be rehabilitated. One of those is Hope’s brother, Victor, who has since been adopted by a wonderful couple and is living a happy life today too.

You can read more about their story at Best Friends Animal Society. Hope and Victor were two of six dogs who survived and found a second chance.

Bullseye Dog Rescue fostered Hope for over a year and a half. During that time, she received the medical care she needed. She had multiple wounds, skin infections and abscessed teeth. Nine teeth were eventually removed. Her broken front leg was beyond repair and had to be amputated. It was not known how well she would recover from the amputation. But not only did she fully recover, she adjusted beautifully, despite getting fatigued a bit more quickly.

Hope was also introduced gradually to other dogs and people, and she never once showed any signs of aggression. In fact, she was joyful and happy with everyone, and she became buddies with her foster family’s other dogs.

Gentle, affectionate: typical Pit Bull

Finally, Hope received excellent training from Julie Smith of Play Bow Dog Training in Tacoma. After Bullseye’s devotion, care and determination to give Hope a better life, my husband and I proudly adopted Hope from BullsEye. The adoption was official on April 28, 2011.

Despite all the abuse Hope suffered in her early life, her wonderful spirit was never broken. We are privileged to have her in our family. Hope is the most loving, happy, gentle, silly and spirited girl.

Against all odds, Hope proudly earned her AKC Canine Good Citizenship certificate this past summer. This is amazing! The fact that a Pit Bull can be treated with such horrific abuse, forced to fight, suffer such injuries, and can still become part of a loving family, with a gentle temperment, proves how exceptional Pit Bulls are!

We must all do whatever we can to end the vicious abuse of Pit Bulls in dog fighting.

Hope and her devoted person