The story of Daisy Mae the pit bull is like that of any other survivor — she suffered pain, got back on her feet, and is now living a sweeter, more meaningful life because of her experience.
Daisy Mae, formerly part of a dogfighting operation, is now a therapy dog in Santa Barbara making weekly rounds at Cottage Hospital's pediatric ward and Villa Riviera retirement home. Gentle and affectionate, the three-year-old cuddles with the elderly and frail, and even allows small children to hold her tight when they are undergoing painful medical procedures.
Her miracle of rehabilitation mirrors that of the dogs rescued from the Michael Vick fight farm, where only one dog had to be euthanized for being vicious. Of the remaining 47 Vick canines, most have been placed in homes, many with children, other dogs, and cats.
While Daisy Mae and the rehabilitated Vick dogs are changing hearts and minds about the American pit bull terrier, dogfighting continues to be a dark and bloody reality in the United States. According to the national Humane Society, 99.9 percent of fighting dogs are pit bulls. And unlike the Vick case where the football player paid rehab costs, most dogs rescued from fight rings are put down because there are no resources to rescue, evaluate, retrain, and relocate the animals.
Daisy Mae's life these days is a stark contrast to her puppyhood. Found on the streets of Oakland, California, in 2006, she was believed to have served as a "bait" dog in a pit bull fighting operation. Dogs without fighting instincts are used to bring out dominance in other dogs.
The behaviourist and special trainers we worked with thought that our Buster had likely been used as a bait dog. In his case, there was permanent damage, in that he was aggressive to other dogs and it took him a long time to trust new people. But even so, with re-training, tons of love and patience, and a pharmaceutical assist, Buster was able to overcome. The love in his heart was beyond measure.
OK, I didn't think I was going to cry this time, but so much for that. Check out the story.