Random Musings on Dogs, Photography, and the Vagaries of Life

Monday, September 12, 2011

From Bait Dog to Source of Inspiration

Because of my involvement with various shelters and animal welfare organizations, I have the opportunity to meet and interact with a lot of dogs. All of them are special in one way or another. And all of them have stories to tell.

Asha is no exception. Until just a few short weeks ago, this little girl was chained to the wall in a windowless basement and used as bait dog. For those of you fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the term, bait dogs are used as the canine equivalent of sparring partners for dogs being trained to fight.

Unlike human sparring partners, however, these dogs usually don’t fight back…think slabs of meat punched by Sylvester Stallone in the movie “Rocky.” Chosen for their sweet, submissive nature, bait dogs just get bitten, and bitten, and bitten. Then they die, either quickly from their wounds or slowly from starvation. Since they’re of no monetary value to dog fighters, they’re not worth purchasing food for.

It seems strange to say this, but Asha is one of the lucky ones. Thanks to an anonymous tip from a concerned citizen, she was discovered in time…just. Covered with bite wounds—some infested with maggots—she required emergency surgery involving more than 100 stitches at the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) before she could even be transported to Towson Veterinary Hospital for longer-term care. Her rescuers didn’t know if she’d survive the night.

But she did. And on the day that I met her, less than three weeks after her liberation from hell, Asha demonstrated an amazingly resilient spirit and zest for life. She adores my friend Jen, who made Asha’s survival her mission. She adores the veterinarians and staff at the hospital. She adores French fries. She adores the toys and “blankeys” generous donors have sent her. She even seemed to adore me.

And the feeling was mutual! This brave dog—estimated to be only 18 months old—is an inspiration…an example of how all of us, whether human or canine, can overcome the bad hands dealt to us, put the past behind us, and get on with living life to the fullest. You go, girl!

Note: Because of her many bite wounds and unknown rabies vaccine status, Asha will have to remain in veterinary boarding for more than 5 more months. Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so via her Chip-in fund or by calling the veterinary hospital at 410-825-8880. If you would like to mail a donation, send it to 716 N. York Road, Towson, MD 21204; and write “Asha/BBC” in the memo section.