A former bait dog has a new “leash” on life thanks in part to a group of young Manhattan students.
Misty, an American Pit Bull Terrier, was discovered on a Brooklyn street corner covered head to toe in severe gashes and deep bite wounds, an indication that the 6- to 9-month-old puppy was used as a bait dog in a cruel dog-fighting operation.
New York organization Second Chance Rescue pulled the badly wounded Misty from an overcrowded city shelter early last month. When Second Chance brought Misty to their veterinarian for treatment, it was revealed that the little dog’s road to recovery would be a long and difficult one. While some of Misty’s wounds were fairly fresh, others had been there for longer and infection had started to set in. Her eye had swollen shut, and vets were not sure whether or not it could be saved. The exam also showed that Misty was suffering from symptoms consistent with blunt force trauma.
As the weeks went by, veterinarians and Second Chance Rescue volunteers worked tirelessly to help Misty heal, and her condition slowly started to improve. But as the cost of Misty’s medical treatment continued to rise, the rescue organization wondered how they would be able to pay. That’s when a group of 11-year-old students stepped in.
Stephen Gaynor School Counselor Kimberly Spanjol works with her students on humane education. Spanjol says when the compassionate kids learned of Misty’s story, they immediately wanted to get involved.
“They said, ‘We have to help her,” Spanjol tells the New York Daily News.
And help her they did. Calling their group the Youth Animal Protectors, the children brainstormed and came up with the perfect way to raise money to cover the cost of veterinary care for the gravely injured Pittie pup — cupcakes. The students organized a bake sale in honor of Misty, a dog they’d never met but who had managed to touch all of their hearts.
The Stephen Gaynor bake sale fundraiser turned out to be a rousing success, proud school counselor Spanjol says.
“They set up bake sales along 71st and Columbus Ave. on a Saturday and made over $800,” she explains.
Second Chance Rescue volunteers were deeply moved by the students’ generosity.
“Her suffering should not be in vain,” Second Chance Rescue representative Jackie O’Sullivan says. “Her story should raise awareness of dogfighting in the city.”
Later today, Thursday afternoon, the students at Stephen Gaynor School will finally get the chance to see how their efforts have changed the life of one very special dog. Misty will stop by for a visit to meet the children who cared enough about her to take action.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer was blown away when he heard how these school-aged kids worked together to help an animal in need. He believes others, including city leaders, should take away a very important lesson.
“If these remarkable students can open up their hearts to save a dog’s life, imagine what we could accomplish if we reformed the city’s dysfunctional Animal Care & Control,” Stringer says. Stringer’s recent “Led Astray” investigation revealed severe oversights in the system and deplorable conditions at the city animal control department facility, and he hopes the children’s efforts will inspire change on a large scale. Stringer plans to be present when the Stephen Gaynor students meet Misty for the first time.
For more information about Second Chance Rescue, or for updates on Misty, check out the Misty’s Journey Facebook page.