Friends to the Forlorn

Dogtime salutes Georgia’s Friends to the Forlorn, and its founder, Jason Flatt.

What is your mission?
An all volunteer 501(c)3 rescue group in Georgia, the mission of Friends to the Forlorn is to promote responsible Pit Bull ownership, provide breed education, combat pet overpopulation, fight unfair legislation, and find qualified homes for sound Pit Bull dogs in Georgia and around the country.
My style of rescue is a little different than most. I rescue with my heart, and not with my pocket. I never wanted to start my own rescue–I did not want to deal with the bureaucracy that is usually associated with the industry. To this day, I do what I can for the dogs.

Why Pit Bulls?
The answer is simple. Nobody steps up for Pit Bulls…not even dog lovers. I chose a breed that I felt needed the most help. Most people, including dog lovers, avoid Pit Bulls. These dogs have such negative stigmas attached to them. I want to help open people’s eyes to the truth. The dogs deserve it.

The Pit Bull over population problem is out of control. I get hundreds of emails everyday of Pit Bulls in need of forever homes–from two week old puppies, to senior dogs, to those who were found abused or neglected. For me, the challenge doesn’t lie in rescuing, rehabilitating, and vetting these dogs. The problem I face is where to place the dogs once they are well enough to go to their forever homes? In my experience, mostly the wrong people are lining up to adopt Pit Bulls. Those who offer proper homes and who love the breed already have multiple dogs–many of these families have adopted two or three Pit Bulls from me already.

It starts with education. Spay and neuter. Spread the word about the wonderful characteristics that make the Pit Bull a wonderful companion animal. Let’s keep the dogs out of the shelters. I believe the stats today are that 1 out of every 800 Pit Bulls makes it out of the pound alive. We need to reduce these numbers. Encourage everyone you know to rescue their next dog.

Tell us about a particularly compelling animal or inspiring rescue.
Belle Jenni,

What a rough life you have lived. Your willingness to trust and to forgive, after all society has done to you, just amazes me. I wish that I could learn to trust and forgive so easily.

Belle Jenni, eyes burnt from exposure to meth lab chemicals

I received an email from my good friend and rescue partner, Palena Dorsey from Sanctuary Animal Refuge with a picture of one of the most pitiful looking dogs I had ever seen. The dog was located in Kansas City, MO. I was bringing a beautiful bully named Lilly, to my friend Jerry in Illinois the next weekend. Jerry was more than willing to help. He drove to St Louis and picked her up. I drove to Illinois and we swapped dogs.

Belle Jenni was in horrible condition and very frail, but she had plenty of spirit. She weighed 29 lbs when I got her to the vet. She is late stage heartworm positive, She was loaded with every parasite imaginable. She had severe pneumonia and her eyes were burned white from being exposed to chemicals in a meth lab (we think).

But that spirit was amazing. She was so weak that she could hardly stand, but she had spunk. Her spirit is what kept her alive. A few thousand dollars, a great foster home (Karen and Don are amazing) and a lot of Love. Belle Jenni is now 50 lbs and a doll. She lives with up to ten dogs, ranging from Pits to French Bull Dogs and little Daschunds and loves everyone of them. She is now ready to go to a final forever home. She loves life and loves people and other dogs. She really loves to lay in your lap and be loved on.

Her eyes will never fully heal, but she can see. She is on monthly heartworm preventative and is doing great. Now she just needs a final forever home and a lap to call her own. Open the door to your home, and Belle Jenni will steal your heart as well as your lap. Please contact me, if you are interested in letting Belle Jenni adopt you.