Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable Pet Week brought Petfinder lots of stories about Pit Bulls, big black dogs and special-needs pets.
One of these stories was about Marco. It really touched our hearts and we just had to share it with you in the lead-up to National Pit Bull Awareness Day this Saturday.
A stray, Marco was brought into Darlington County Humane Society in South Carolina by animal control with raw wounds along his back. The veterinarian who looked at him said that they had been caused by acid, and it looked as if something had been poured on him.
Whatever was the case, it was clear that such wounds would have caused more suffering than any creature should have to bear. And as if one heartbreaking condition wasn’t enough, the shelter also learned he had heartworms.
Some thought the humane thing to do would be to euthanize him, but the
Darlington County Rescue Team, which is committed to helping pets at the
humane society get second chances, thought otherwise; they had met Marco and knew what a great dog he was.
So they went to work. Heartworm treatment began and Marco’s wounds began to heal. The Petfinder forums
buzzed with talk of the dog’s plight. Sue Mahoney, the founder of Another Chance Ranch
in Conesus, NY, saw the posts and agreed to take Marco in if he could
be transported to New York. Six weeks later, his heartworm treatment
behind him, he arrived at Another Chance.
“We were highly aware of the ‘Big Black Dog Syndrome,’” Sue says, “and
here we had a big black dog who was part Pit Bull and would always have a
scar running down his back — three strikes from the start. We feared we
would never find someone willing to give him a chance. We knew he was
safe here, but he needed a home of his own.” Sue listed him on
Petfinder and crossed her fingers.
About that time, Karen Kelly was looking for a dog to adopt to fill the empty nest she was facing when her youngest son went off to college. She began searching on Petfinder.
“I remember seeing this black velvet-looking dog with the most intense amber, almond-shaped eyes,” she says. “He came with a horrific story. I remember being so moved and angry.”
Still, she wasn’t sure she wanted a dog with possible “baggage.”
She began considering a puppy at Another Chance Rescue and filled out the adoption paperwork. The next step was a home visit.
Based on what Karen had said she wanted in a dog, Sue Mahoney asked to bring along another one Karen might be interested in.
“It turned out to be the black velvet dog with the amazing eyes and yes, the scars,” Karen says.
Marco put his best paw forward on the visit. He was calm and came right to Karen and her son to be petted. “I thought about things overnight and e-mailed Sue the next day, saying I was still very much interested in the puppy I had called about,” Karen says. “As I hit send, I looked, with tears in my eyes, at my son who was next to me and told him that I thought Marco needed us.” So she e-mailed Sue again, saying she would take Marco. “That was the best decision I ever made.” She gave him a new name: Sidney.
Sidney took awhile to realize his new home was to be forever, and he still has fears. “The sight of my son’s hunting rifle paralyzed him as he stood hunched with his tail between his legs, literally shaking from head to toe,” Karen says. A raised voice can have the same effect. But he has been easy to train and excelled in obedience class. “He so very much wants to please.”
Karen and Sidney “walk twice a day, and he loves all the smells and to run through the weeds. The cooler weather makes him more feisty. And it warms my heart when I see how much fun he is having running around, sniffing and jumping like a deer — seriously! He sleeps during the day, even when I am home, and after the evening walk he plays with his chew bones and toy and then spends the rest of the evening before bed cuddled up next to me on the sofa, head on my lap.”
He has helped her through the quietness of an empty nest, and she has given him what he needed most: love and joy. You can tell by his smile that he’s a happy guy.
“For those out there that have concerns over an older dog, a dog from a troubled past or a specific breed, all I can say is don’t sell yourself or the dog short,” Karen says. “There are some real gems who get overlooked based on our preconceived notions or prejudices.”
Thanks to everyone who made Sidney’s second chance possible. You are an inspiration!
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