In August 2011, the stars aligned and two gruesomely tortured and abused pit bulls in Texas were saved by luck of a garden sprinkler. Esperanza (1.5 years old) and Vonn (6 months old) were starved, used as bait in dogfighting, set on fire, dumped in a rural Texas ditch in triple digit heat, and left to die.
By sheer luck, they were abandoned by a property where the owner just happened to be watering the garden, and the dogs were able to extinguish themselves. Shaking from pain and severe shock, the only place the woman could pet Vonn, was a tiny patch between his eyes that had not been burned.
Donations poured in from all over the state, and the two pit bulls were able to get the medical help needed. Vonn was treated at Texas A&M University’s Small Animal Hospital and came close to death many times from the 70% of his body that was burned and infected. Esperanza’s burns covered 40% of her body and were quite severe. She fought hard through several sedations to change her dressings while at Aggieland Animal Health Center & Pet Resort.
Often the traits inherent to pit bulls (fierce loyalty, passion, and undying love for their owners) is what dogfighters prey on. They need dogs that will literally fight through the pain, broken bones, loss of blood, fear, and shock all to please their owners, though these poor dogs have no idea that the love and adoration will go unreturned.
These qualities are what helped Esperanza and Vonn find the strength to survive. They somehow knew the community, rescuers, and caregivers were showering them with pure love and goodwill.
Vonn made such an impression on the staff, that he was deemed the “unofficial mascot” of the veterinary hospital and later adopted. Esperanza is the face of Long Way Home Animal Sanctuary & Pit Bull Rescue and makes many public appearances where she is regularly met by her “fans”. You can follow her journey on Facebook.
Both are true representations of pit bulls everywhere–full of love, passion, and most of all, resilience. Cases of bait dogs don’t always have happy endings, but for these two special canines, they certainly were.
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The author, April Plemons, is an animal rescuer and welfare advocate. She is part of Long Way Home Animal Sanctuary & Pit Bull Rescue. Check out their Facebook page below!
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