Here’s the boy who started it all: Smith! As a foster parent, you try to help as many dogs as possible by getting them healthy and finding them a “forever” home. Smith was my first “failure” since he ended up becoming a permanent member of my family! He was part of a litter named after characters from the Sex in the City TV show. You can read his complete story here:
For the Love of Smith
My name is Robin Tackett. I’ve been involved in pit bull rescue through Adore-A-Bull Rescue (AABR) for years and have been a foster mom to over 40 dogs. Rather than adopt one or two dogs, I felt I could do the most good by fostering a dog in need, helping return them to health, and finding them a loving “forever” home. That led me to serve on the board of AABR. When I first met Smith, I was serving as medical coordinator for AABR.
An individual contacted AABR and said they had a young litter of vicious “razor’s edge” pit bulls. They didn’t know what to do with them and asked if Adore-A-Bull would take them. AABR focuses on pulling animals from high-kill shelters, and does not take owner surrenders. But AABR reached out to me personally, knowing my passion for controlling overpopulation with spay/neuter. The fear was that this owner was going to give these “vicious” dogs away unaltered. Could I get them assessed, and hopefully altered?
So I reached out to my colleague Melanie Corwin at UCAN Cincinnati. (UCAN stands for United Coalition for Animals Non-Profit Spay/Neuter Clinic.) I asked if we could get these pups in asap and have them fixed. She agreed. UCAN has a wonderful transport program, so they used their van to pick up the puppies, their mother, and another unaltered dog in the home.
I went down at 8 a.m. to see the dogs come in, as I wanted to see firsthand what vicious puppies looked like. When the transport driver started unloading the crates, I asked if he had indeed picked up the litter of four-month-olds. He said, “yes, these are the pit bull puppies.” Shocked doesn’t even begin to describe my reaction. These four-month-old pups looked like Chihuahuas. After a thorough medical assessment, it was clear they would not be having surgery that day. They were malnourished and dehydrated. They were diagnosed with low body temperature, ocular discharge, enlarged Lymph nodes, upper respiratory infection, possible anemia, and infested with fleas and worms. I had to leave the puppies at UCAN and contact AABR to see if they would allow me to take them (I already had three foster pups in my house, so we had to find other homes for those).
UCAN WAS AMAZING. When I got back to pick up the pups later that day, they had been given IV fluids, a shot of penicillin, and both Capstar and Frontline to rid them of fleas. UCAN also sent us home with six boxes of the antibiotic Clavamox. I took all six pups to our local vet to spend the evening in the hospital. Meanwhile, we had to call them something, so each of them was named after a character from the TV series Sex in the City.
It was clear that these puppies were not vicious but starved and sick. A typical four-month-old pittie should weigh from 15-20 pounds, but the runt, Smith, weighed in at 3.6 lbs and the largest was a little over 6 lbs. After a few weeks at my house, they had almost tripled in weight and were happy, healthy pups and would soon be on their way to new foster homes. All except Smith. After fostering almost 40 dogs, I finally caved in, and became a “foster failure” with Smith, making him a permanent part of my household.
The original owner of this litter did go on to have the mother spayed. That opened my eyes and heart to the fact that people usually want to do the right thing. Maybe they just need help affording it. So with the amazing support of UCAN, their low-cost spay/neuter clinic, and free transport from 11 locations around the city, I committed to helping those pit bull owners that I could. On Giving Tuesday, December 2, 2014, I posted on Facebook that I would pay for the first 15 pit bulls to be fixed through the marvelous work of UCAN.
By December 7th all spots had been taken, and people were still calling UCAN.
My friends donated to Smith’s “GIVING BACK” campaign, and those spots were filled quickly as well. By December 23rd we had 32 spots filled. I then donated another 50 spots for my year-end contribution. As of today’s writing, June 29th, 2016, we have had 500 pit bulls altered with this program. Based on the statistics that one female and her offspring can produce 7,776 puppies over a four-year period, we have essentially saved 3,888,000 pit bulls from being born over the next four years. Fewer unwanted litters mean fewer dogs roaming abandoned, taken to shelters and ultimately euthanized.
This is Smith’s story. A story of how one dog changed my life and led to an idea that became a mission. Everyone here at Smith’s Pit Stop has a dream that someday no dog will be homeless, all shelters will become no-kill, and every litter born will have families already waiting to adopt them. We hope you share that dream and decide to help.
Founder of Smith’s Pit STOP, offering free spay/neuter for Pit Bulls
Board Member for My Furry Valentine, Cincinnati’s Mega Animal Adoption Event
Foster Mom for Adore-A-Bull Rescue
PS. You can rest assured that Smith’s Pit STOP is 100% volunteer driven and no one involved is reimbursed for expenses or their time. Our website, logo, copy, photography, flyers, and cards are all the result of hard-working volunteers donating their time, talent, and money because they are equally passionate about helping the underdog.