Storytime: Heaven Sent

Originally published in Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Pit Bulls.

Heaven Sent


I had been searching for months for the perfect Pit Bull puppy to add to our pack, first visiting Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, and then monitoring One day I found myself continuously returning to a photo of a dog with a sweet, black and white face. I went to bed that night thinking of her and awoke the next morning with the dog still on my mind. It seemed that the time had come to contact the rescue and fill out an application.

I learned from the rescue that Arial, now Emma, was born without one of her front legs. She was surrendered to a shelter in Baltimore, Maryland, due to this “medical condition” when she was only five weeks old. How sad and short-sighted of the people who dumped her—to us she was simply perfect; her missing leg only adding to her amazing character and wonderful personality. It took a month before we were able to bring her home, but about four months after beginning my search, I picked her up from the veterinarian’s office who had conducted her spay, and Emma finally joined our family. She was an absolute angel from that first day—sweet, gentle, and very calm—amazing for a seven-month-old puppy.

About three days after we brought Emma home, she began growling at us when we petted her on her right, rear leg. I noticed a black mark through her white fur and thought that maybe someone had kicked and bruised her. When it seemed to get worse, I took her to my veterinarian, who shaved the area to reveal a necrotic wound. The vet thought Emma had suffered tissue damage from her surgery that could have been caused by a variety of things. In the end we learned that it was a thermal burn caused by the previous vet placing a heating pad on Emma when it was too hot. Now she has a large pink scar with no fur on it, but I think it just adds to her enormous character.

When people first meet Emma they often feel sorry for her. I constantly hear, “Oh, God bless her, she’s missing a leg.” Dogs, unlike humans, do not dwell on their handicaps or let it slow them down. Emma runs faster than some of her pals, jumps up and down steps, and loves to fetch toys and play tuggie with her four-legged friends. One of her many nicknames is “Roo” because she hops like a kangaroo to get up the steps or onto the sofa.

Pit Bulls are one of my favorite breeds because of their intelligence, devotion, and sweet, loving dispositions, and Emma is the epitome of all these fantastic qualities. Just by being herself she teaches people how misunderstood Pit Bulls are. She’s the perfect companion and family pet—a delightful girl who brightens the day of everyone she encounters. The way people so easily fall in love with her, and how her presence in my life has made me a better person, make it difficult to decide whether she’s Cupid or an angel—either way, all she is missing are wings and a halo—this dog is truly divine!

Laurie Yost

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Storytime: Early Warning Izzy

Read this and other awesome rescue stories in Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Pit Bulls.


Featured Rescue: Fugee’s Rescue


Early Warning Izzy

A week before Halloween I was propped up in bed with my laptop on my knees, and my adopted Pit Bull, Izzy, was stretched out at my feet. It was 10:30 at night, and I was looking forward to sleeping in the next morning. My yard and porch were completely dark, as I had turned off the outside lights before going to bed.

Izzy came into my life two months earlier from a local Pit Bull rescue organization after I saw her adorable face online. Her short, golden hair and baby-bird’s-wing ears appealed to me instantly. Izzy was skinny but very energetic for a middle-aged “woman,” with manners that needed a bit of polishing, but she was wonderfully friendly and non-aggressive toward people of all ages.

I was a divorcee living alone in a log-style house that faced a two-lane road without sidewalks or shoulders. There were no casual passersby in our neighborhood of newer luxury homes and one modest remaining rental, a small cracker box separated from my property by a line of red-tip trees. The current renter was a single man, a landscaper who worked long hours.

I was about to shut down my laptop for the evening when there was a thunderous Rap! Rap! Rap! at my front door. Alarmed, Izzy raced toward the door, barking loudly, and I picked up my cell phone from the bedside table to call 911. The police arrived within minutes and walked around the yard. Finding nothing suspicious, they did ask me if I’d seen any vehicles. One officer told me my dog had probably frightened off anyone who’d been on my porch. I might have had difficulty going to sleep that night if not for my canine early warning system.

While walking Izzy on Halloween night the next week, I noticed my landscaper neighbor through the red-tips, sitting in his yard, burning a small amount of garden debris and talking calmly to a woman on speakerphone. I returned to my house and was putting the chain on the front door when I heard a desperate person in the middle of the street, shouting, “Help me!” Again I called 911, reporting that I thought someone had been hit by a car in front of my house. Several cars stopped and a fire truck and ambulance arrived very quickly. Izzy and I sat on the porch, watching from a distance so as not to interfere with police activities.

I was stunned to hear on the news the next day that my neighbor had died at the hospital, the victim of a hit and run accident. Further stories revealed he had been struck and injured in the driveway of his home during the short time it had taken me to walk through my house after coming inside.

Several days later, a state trooper came to question me about anything I might have seen. The officer told me my neighbor had lived long enough to report seeing an unfamiliar white van in his driveway a week before he was killed. On Halloween that same white van had pulled into his driveway, so my neighbor approached the driver to ask why the two men were there. The driver responded by sharply turning the van and ramming him while racing out of the driveway. Badly hurt, my neighbor had dragged himself into the street and cried for help, which is when I heard him.

The officer told me that they had not been able to locate the white van, but they suspected that at some time in the past, drugs had been sold out of the rental house. The men in the white van may have been seeking drugs and, when they realized they were at the wrong house, ran down my neighbor before he could get a close look at them.

It was a terribly disturbing episode, especially when the dead man’s family arrived to gather his belongings. I couldn’t help wondering if the mysterious rap on my door the week before had been the same men, looking for drugs. If my Izzy had not sounded the alarm and frightened them away, would I have been a victim instead? I may never know the answer, but I know I sleep much better with my warm friend and her no-nonsense bark at the foot of my bed.

Nancy Pauline Simpson

Storytime: Bustered

Read this and other wonderful rescue stories in Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Pit Bulls


Featured Rescue: It’s the Pits



Let me introduce you to Buster, a seventy-pound lapdog with the attitude and personality of Scooby Doo. He loves to eat, runs from danger, and will be your best friend for a few hugs and snacks. He was born at It’s the Pits Rescue in San Diego after his mom was pulled out of an abusive situation. He weighed a measly thirteen pounds when we met him and I wasn’t really looking to adopt that day, but Buster really picked us. My girlfriend (now wife), Lisa, and son fell in love with him instantly, so what’s a guy to do?

I have to admit Buster is a very smart dog, as most Bullies are. He has learned to sit, speak, lay down, shake, and even eat on command. I was impressed at how quickly he learned to do things, but there was one person he loved to mess with: Lisa. I swear they have this funny, love-hate relationship thing going where they tease each other like crazy.

It was New Year’s Eve and we had friends over at our house celebrating, so we crated Buster in the bedroom. As midnight approached we decided to go out to get coffee before counting down the New Year. Lisa stopped in the bedroom to check on Buster and say goodbye. She gently teased and laughed at him, since he is rarely crated in the house. He just smiled back, looking content.

Several hours passed, and with coffee cups emptied, we headed back home. As we arrived, Lisa noticed the blinds moving in our bedroom window and, of course, we were curious to see what the commotion was. We opened the front door and made our way into the bedroom to see Buster, innocently sitting inside his crate…with the room a total mess! Lisa had forgotten to lock the crate and Buster had wreaked havoc, now pretending that it had nothing to do with him. We were amazed at the chaos, but what caught our attention most was that he only destroyed Lisa’s shoes. He ate two pairs of tennis shoes, one pair of heels, and one pair of flip-flops. In the end, Buster got the last laugh, and Lisa got new shoes.

What can I say, about these dogs? They are awesome when treated with love and respect. Despite his mischievousness, Buster is a great addition to our family and still messes with Lisa to this day. He always manages to find the one thing that drives her crazy, but in the end they look out for each other. Buster is part of our family: when times are tough he is always there, when you want someone to listen he won’t talk back, and he is the first to lay in the middle of the kitchen floor so you can trip and drop your food for his enjoyment.

Ahren Nunag

Help for Pit Bulls

This just in from some animal-loving friends:

Bark Out Loud Weekly and Be the Change for Animals support the “Double BAD RAP Donation Challenge” from The Honest Kitchen

Who is Bad Rap? BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls), co-founded by Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer, has been instrumental in the evaluation, rescue and  rehabilitation of the dogs in the Michael Vick case, providing vision and hope for these dogs as well as many other dogs from high-profile federal dog fighting arrests. They also rescue pit bulls, teach award-winning classes in the San Francisco Bay Area and support rescues nationwide.

“Double BAD RAP Donation Challenge” from The Honest Kitchen

BAD RAP is March 2010’s charity of choice at The Honest Kitchen, makers of dehydrated, human-grade whole foods for dogs and cats. THK donates a percentage of online store profits monthly to various causes. BAD RAP’s donation will double if THK reaches 40,000 Facebook fans this month.

Head on over and like The Honest Kitchen’s Facebook Page to support BAD RAP!

Chat Live with BAD RAP on Bark Out Loud Weekly, March 14, 9:15 PM EST!

Learn more about the work Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer do in the Bark Out Loud Weekly BAD RAP podcast “After Vick: What Have We Learned?” . This breaking interview has just been released along with promotion of the “Double BAD RAP Donation Challenge” from The Honest Kitchen. Listen up and chat live with Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer on Monday at 9:15 PM EST. Get there early! Space is limited to the first 100 people.

BAD RAP, Featured Cause at Be the Change for Animals on March 14th

Be the Change for Animals ( will feature the “Double BAD RAP Donation Challenge” from The Honest Kitchen on Monday, March 14th. Through social media, Be the Change for Animals asks a dedicated and growing community of online animal advocates to spend just a few moments and never a cent to improve the lives of animals in need. On this date, Be the Change for Animals will also kick off a $1000 dollar Facebook ad campaign, drawing additional attention to this terrific cause.

Special announcement: Bark Out Loud Weekly and Be the Change for Animals have officially joined forces. As sister sites, each will cross promote the other with a strong focus on improving the lives of animals.

You Can Help!

Like The Honest Kitchen’s Facebook Page.
Share this link (
Cover the story on your website.
Participate in Bark Out Loud Weekly’s BAD RAP podcast and chat.
Visit Be the Change for Animals on Monday to spread the word.

Participating Blogs and Websites

The following  have committed to covering events surrounding “Double BAD RAP Donation Challenge” on Monday, March 14th:

We sincerely thank you for all YOU do for animals!

Pit Bulls: Villains or Victims?

You might think, “Never has there been a dog so demonized as the Pit Bull,” but you would be wrong. The first “demon dogs” were actually Bloodhounds back in the 1800’s. People became frightened of them because of the Uncle Tom’s Cabin series. Targeting a specific breed to discriminate against was wrong then, and it is wrong now.

Pit Bulls: Villains or Victims?In B.G. Boucher’s new book, Pit Bulls: Villains or Victims?, Boucher makes a strong case for us to move our focus from blaming dogs to seeking out and prosecuting the real villains, which are the people who would abuse dogs and make them act in ways that are inconsistent with their true nature. From all the news headlines that state, “Pit Bulls Kill….,” one would think that Pit Bulls were born and bred to attack humans. What else would you be expected to believe? The unfortunate truth is that a) the people identifying dogs in dog-bite situations are not dog experts, so even though one couldn’t say for sure if a dog was a pit bull (which isn’t even a breed, by the way), the media reports it as a pit bull; b) The circumstances around an attack are rarely properly reported, so articles lead us to believe that a dog just went haywire when the truth is the dog has been chained, underfed, and abused its whole life; and c) pit bull-type dogs were not bred to show aggression against humans; in fact, because they were bred to fight, they were specifically bred not to bite humans. But does the media report that? NEVER.

All of these things pile up to create a misinformed case for BSL (breed specific legislation), which has caused many people to become separated from their beloved family dogs. The problem is that not only does BSL destroy families, but it does nothing to protect our communities from the real threat: violent people. And these people are really violent. These are the people who force women to remain in abusive relationships by threatening their pets. These are the people who rape and murder children. These are the people who need to be behind bars instead of their dogs.

I highly recommend B.G. Boucher’s book to anyone looking for further ammunition to combat pit bull discrimination. Whether you like pit bulls or not, you can’t ignore the fact that locking up dogs instead of their abusers does nothing to make our communities safer. The abusers will just get another dog, maybe a bigger one this time.

BzTAT of Okey’s Promise: Art For A Cause gets it. She is using her art to disseminate information about the relationship between animal abuse and child abuse. It’s there, and we can’t ignore it. Click here to watch a video about it.

Through their efforts, both BzTAT and B.G. Boucher are working to create change and make our communities safer. You can help by educating yourself about these issues and sharing the information you learn with others.