The Healing Process of Two Very Misunderstood Dogs



  September 28, 2010. Papa, the dog that brought out an emotion in me I have been successful in keeping at bay; came to us by way of the dedicated and caring staff at Town Lake Animal Shelter. As you may have read in his first blog, Papa’s situation, like many others I have worked with in the last 23 years was that of severe abuse and neglect. Judging by the wounds he suffered, it is likely Papa was used as a “bait” dog. Papa received an out-pouring of support from our clients and the public that read his story. As a thank you to all of you, I wanted to update everyone on his progress four months later.

  Today, Papa, my special little man, is happily living with our pack. He still makes me melt when he comes up and places his head on my lap. He helps clients, kids and other dogs everyday by working sessions with me and going to communities to talk about the cruelty of dog fighting. He sits in on our Seminars to educate the public on the real truth behind this breed, stealing affection by anyone willing to give it to him. Best of all, he fills me with the answer as to why I work so hard to help in this field when it feels impossible to make a difference. I just need to look at how much love and thankfulness he has in his eyes, as he curls up next to me while at my desk or in my recliner. The eagerness to do anything I ask of him, the concerned look he gets if I am feeling stressed. Papa reminds me every minute of the day that as bad as it gets I have to keep fighting for them.

This is a photo of how much Papa has changed in the last four months.

progression of papas scar healing

  December 30, 2010. Captain, an emaciated badly injured American Bulldog was brought to us to avoid being killed in a Texas shelter. You may remember his story; he had been the victim of a dog fight. Forced to put his life in danger for money or status of his owners, but he lost. To show their gratitude, his old owners left him abandoned to die from starvation or his injuries, which ever happened first? Thankfully Captain had been picked up by Animal Control and brought to the shelter, where many people came together to help this guy have a chance to live the life he like so many, deserve.

  It has only been four weeks since Captain came to us, his paw half missing, completely starved. He has, just like Papa, made leaps and bounds in his recovery. He has shown nothing but a tremendous amount of love and affection to any human willing to give it to him. He patiently stands for his paw to be covered with a plastic bag before each of his 4-5 walks and then continues to stand afterwards for it to be soaked and have the “Healing Gel” applied. He walks with other dogs every day showing no aggression, he quietly waits in his kennel during classes or sessions and wags his tail every time a client approaches. At his last vet visit, a child came up to him and he immediately placed himself into a surrendering position (on his side) so she could pet him. He did manage to sneak some gentle kisses in to thank her for petting him.

   Originally it was thought he would lose his leg due to the injuries he suffered, but with the “Healing Gel” and constant treatments, he gets to keep his leg. Here is the progression in just four short weeks: progression of healing in paw

  Both of these truly amazing dogs were almost killed after human’s forced them to a life of torture. I personally would ask that everyone involved or not with Papa and Captain’s rehabilitation, thank your local shelter staff for the endless love and compassion they have for the massive amounts of animals in their care.

  Papa, Captain and I would like to thank Frances, at “Frogworks” for her amazing healing gel, Christina with “Skillful Paws” for her amazing talent with massage and acupressure, the staff at Town Lake Animal Center, Waco Humane, and all of the dedicated clients, volunteers and friends that have helped us in our successful journey to the healing process of two very “misunderstood” dogs. We can never thank you enough!

If you would like to help us in their medical care, please click on thier names below for their Chip in funds. Thank you again.



When will the Human race change?

  I received an urgent email from a shelter worker (and friend) today, about a special dog they have in their care.  This dog they dubbed “Papa Smurf”, has warmed the hearts of the staff members with his gentle and loving nature towards humans. The dog is an American Staffordshire terrier or as many people frequently call them, a “Pit Bull”.

  You all know how I feel about that term, if you don’t by now, I hate it. To be more clear, I really (fill in the blanks) hate it and Papa Smurf is a really good example of why.

  Papa was dropped off by an anonymous source at TLAC last Monday. He is covered in bite wounds and scars all around his face, neck and front leg area. It is thought that he had been used as a “bait dog” due to the wounds he has suffered. In the email, were the behavior notes on this badly injured dog:

“ 9-23-10 Dog is super sweet, very good natured. He appears to be house broken. He will whine to go outside to go potty. He gets a little nervous when a lot of dogs are barking at him. He loves affection, walks great on a leash, and gives sweet kisses.

 09/23/10 18:23 Met this dog in L&F today and was blown away. Even with all the medical stuff going on with him, he is super sweet. He loves people and wants to constantly be with them getting affection. Very nice dog.

 9/23/10 Great dog. Very gentle. Shy, but wagging and looking for approval. Loves petting and does not appear to be at all head shy, which is surprising for dog with this type of scarring.

9-23-10 “Papa Smurf” will sit with a hand signal (like you’re telling someone to stop) and shake. Walked by some dogs today and he smelled them and greeted them with tail wag. He is very gentle with humans. He loves to run outside, a little scared walking through the hall ways when I took him up front to lost and found. After a few times through there he got braver and walked normally. He does not really know what toys are, he doesn’t chase a ball or any squeaky toys.  Papa is very affectionate!”

  For anyone unsure of what a “bait dog” is, I will explain. Please understand it is very heartbreaking but this happens every day and needs to be known.

  A bait dog is typically tethered to a fence or tree by a short line, about 6-12 inches( if that), so they cannot run away or possibly injure the dog  they are training to “fight”.  Their mouths are generally taped or wired closed (I have personally seen a dog with a metal hanger used as a muzzle), again so the dog in training does not suffer any injury. The, dare I call them, humans that are training their “fighters” will then release their dogs in an all-out attack on them. They will be cheering them on in hopes they can get them even more excited about killing their victim.  The “bait dog” has no chance to run or defend itself and typically if they are not killed by the dog being trained to do such horrific damage, they meet a very cruel and horrible death. Most times, left to die from their infected wounds, or if these barbaric idiots are drunk enough, they may torture them until they do die.

  Now most of you have heard the horrible torture the Michael Vick’s dogs endured, this is not just media hype. This is real life and HUMANS were the cause.  Sadly in Pittsburgh, street dog fighting is very common. In this, a group of young gang members will meet in an alley and have the dogs attack each other in a show of gang strength. The losing dog is typically hung, tortured, and left to die, all because it lost the fight and embarrassed the gang member that lost. Again humans are doing this, the human race that I belong to. It is embarrassing. Embarrassing to know the “more intelligent” species could do something like this and sleep at night.  And yet, people all over the world will blame the breed of dog instead of looking at the true responsible party, the human. People can’t bear to think that our species would be responsible for such cruel acts. They would rather blame a creature that even after being tortured by us, will show humans warmth, love, and trust.  I will admit my species is not perfect, I can admit it after seeing dogs like Papa.  Papa “a dog that even after he suffered like this” has the forgiveness for other dogs and the human race. Could any of you ever forgive someone for this type of torture if it was done to you?

  Tara, Brandie & the “pack” 

photo of papa smurf. bait dog
Papa Smurf