Last Friday night, Christianna Willis, 23, got an unexpected text from her roommate — a frightened dog had found her way onto their porch, and he was wondering what Willis thought they should do. With fresh bite marks on her face, rope burns around her neck, pressure wounds on her elbows, and obvious signs she’d had many litters of pups in her lifetime, it was clear that the large white American Pit Bull Terrier had been subjected to severe cruelty.
But as Willis, who works in a veterinarian’s office, examined the poor dog’s mouth, what she discovered shocked her to her very core, as she tells WTVF News Channel 5.
“I saw her teeth and saw that her teeth had been pulled out and filed down, and I just started crying,” Willis remembers. “I immediately started bawling.”
The evidence was clear: before the sweet, scared Pit Bull showed up on Willis’s front porch, she had likely been used as a breeding and bait dog in an illegal dogfighting operation. Willis suspects the dog — who she named Mama Jade — broke free of her captors and came to Willis that night out of desperation.
For what was likely the first time in her life, Mama Jade’s cries for help were met with love and compassion. Willis could not, would not turn this abused dog away. She gently ushered Mama Jade into her house, vowing to care for the Pittie no matter what because what Mama Jade deserved was a chance at a happy life.
But Mama Jade was in pretty bad shape from all that she’d endured. The next morning, Willis took Mama Jade to the vet’s office where she works for an examination. Tragically, the doctors made a devastating discovery — cancer. Worried Mama Jade was in serious pain, Willis considered having her humanely euthanized to end her suffering. As the day to say goodbye approached, however, Willis couldn’t bring herself to give up on Mama Jade. Instead, she brought the sweet girl home and tried to come up with a plan.
Wednesday night, as she sat in front of her computer, Willis couldn’t shake the strong emotions she’d been feeling since Mama Jade wandered onto her front porch.
“That night I was just sitting in my room thinking about her because I was so angry,” Willis explains.
What Mama Jade’s kind-hearted rescuer did next has people all across the country and around the globe talking — she wrote Mama Jade’s former owner a letter and posted it to Craigslist for everyone to see.
“Your pit bull found me,” the post reads. “And I’m not giving her back.”
Willis goes on, calling Mama Jade’s former owners out for their despicable acts, putting the blame for Mama Jade’s injuries where they belong—not with the other dogs in the ring, but with the cruel and heartless criminals who put those dogs in the ring in the first place.
“With each bite of her they took and each yelp she cried, they’d look at you for reassurance,” Willis writes of the dogs trained to attack Mama Jade. “Because all they wanted to do was please you…Loyalty is in their blood. Violence is not.”
The poignant letter continues as Willis describes Mama Jade as a loving, trusting dog who, above all, has not lost her spirit despite what has been done to her.
“Mama lets you get right up in her face,” says Willis. “In fact, she LOVES it. She’ll give you slobbery kisses and nuzzle your face with love.”
Then, Willis’s letter becomes like a battle cry as Mama Jade’s protector vows to get justice not only for Mama Jade, but for all the victims in the cruel blood sport of dogfighting.
“And when her soul has left her battered body and I’ve dried the tears enough to see, I will document every bruise, every bite, every cut, scrape and gash. I’ll photograph her teeth, or rather, where her teeth used to be,” Willis promises, almost daring the perpetrator to come forward. “I’ll turn in all the evidence and post it where EVERYONE will see it. I’ll use it to educate kids in heavily crime ridden areas, on the horrors of dog fighting.”
Within mere hours, Willis’s powerful message attracted so much attention that it went viral. People from all over the world started coming out of the woodwork, asking Willis what they could do to help Mama Jade. Some have even offered generous donations to be used towards treatment for Mama Jade’s cancer.
“The response…has restored a lot of my faith in humanity,” says Willis, who plans to be right by Mama Jade’s side as the brave dog fights cancer.
Hoping to share Mama Jade’s story with an even wider audience, Willis stayed up late Thursday night and created a Facebook page for Mama Jade. In a matter of eight hours, the page earned more than 15,000 Likes; as of Friday afternoon, the number ballooned to nearly 75,000.
“Thanks [to] the overwhelming response I received from posting Mama Jade’s story on Craigslist, this girl is getting yet another chance to live a beautiful life,” Willis writes in a Facebook post. “From the bottom of my heart, I can’t thank everyone enough for the kind words & incredible support.”
To read Christianna Willis’s complete letter, which has since been flagged and consequently removed from Craigslist, or for updates on Mama Jade’s condition, check out the Mama Jade Facebook page.