I was heavily involved in pit bull rescue from 2007 until 2011. I ran a rescue for crying out loud! Yes…I am that crazy. It’s not easy at all. It takes a special kind to do it. And if it weren’t for having to “take care of home” FIRST, I’d probably still be in eyeballs deep. Being able to make a difference for the dogs is an intensely gratifying feeling.
Superman Dan, July 2009
So, that leads us to Dan. Dan, Dan, Dan. What a boring name. People suggested changing his name to “Zorro” or something else based on his looks because, well, you have to admit, they’re striking. But by the time Dan actually came to me, the name “Dan” had stuck. But it still needed some “flare.” Hence, “Superman Dan.” By all intents and purposes, I wanted Dan to be a “superhero” in a way. A dog that would be out there front and center making new waves for the breed. We’re still a little behind that, but he is by all means, a fitting “superhero.”
Dan’s story began somewhere in Missouri or even Illinois. On July 8, 2009, he was plucked from the woods and taken to a temporary shelter located in the heart of St. Louis along with just over 400 (yes, four HUNDRED) other dogs. The puppies born to pregnant mothers soon sent that number well over 500. You can read more about the largest dog fight raid and rescue in US history here.
We didn’t get the list of dogs needing rescue until the end of September in 2009. If my memory serves me correctly, there were almost 250 dogs on that list. Thirty-something pages. It wasn’t the full 500+ because there were still restrictions on sharing dog information from jurisdictions who had not yet released custody of the dogs. I still have that list. I had to print it out because I simply couldn’t get my bearings straight on looking at THAT many dogs on the computer. It was very overwhelming.
I remember seeing the picture above of Dan in the line-up and IMMEDIATELY felt drawn to him. I wanted him in my own home for me to work with. Sadly, at the time, it wasn’t an option. I was already going to be bringing one dog home from MO that needed a place to hang out for a short period of time before going to a new foster home. And it just wasn’t a good time for me to have a foster dog in the home. My relationship was on the rocks and I needed to put some effort into that first. I relinquished the idea of him coming to us at all. I really figured that with his handsome looks, he’d get snatched up by another rescue.
In November of 2009, it was confirmed that my rocky relationship wasn’t going anywhere. I began my hunt for a house. I knew Dan was still available and in “safe keeping” mostly and hoped it wouldn’t be too long to get into my own place so we could bring him in. January 2010 rolls around and I STILL hadn’t found a house. And I was STILL living with the ex who was thankfully over the road driving for the majority of that time. But, I got the dreaded news. Dan was suffering in boarding and needed to get out ASAP. I don’t remember the full chain of events, but my ex, bless his giving soul, told me I could bring him to the house because he knew it would mean a lot to me. So, January 16, 2010, I drove out to Atlanta to pick Superman Dan from the airport.
This dog…I actually got to meet him briefly when we made the trip up to MO in October of 2009. He melted my heart then. INCREDIBLY happy to be alive and just DYING for attention. They had him in a larger stall set up instead of a crate like a lot of the other dogs and he couldn’t stop bouncing he was just so hungry for attention. And when I put my hand up to that gate, he blew me away with just how gentle he was in an effort to lick my fingers. He won me over right then and there.
Another volunteer went with me to get him and oh am I glad for that! We sprung that lanky boy out of the crate he had to fly in and he could hardly contain himself! And when we got him in the car, he didn’t know what to do and decided to try to eat my seat cushion! Bless my Marva though, she started petting him and calmed him down enough that he slept for nearly the entire 5 hour ride back into Charleston. He may look a little “choked” in the pic above, but I promise, we wouldn’t have done that to him 😉
Well, I finally got moved into a new home in March of 2010, thankfully. And Dan, he actually got adopted in May of 2010. I thought it was a fantastic match and things were good for a year. Sadly, I got a call in June of 2011 from the shelter saying Dan was there. Contacted the adopter and he told both myself and the shelter he was going to get him. Three weeks later, the shelter calls me again to further horrify me that Dan was STILL there! My heart broke AND swelled with anger at the same time. HOW???
And I’ll never know the real reasons why he was abandoned there. What I do know is that after that second call, I left work early and drove the almost 2 hours to go get him. My love for this dog is immense and it hurt SO badly to see that he was left in the shelter for THREE weeks! I’d have gotten him sooner had I known the adopter wasn’t going back for him. He’s just too awesome of a dog to sit in a kennel and have such limited interaction! And for someone to be so spineless as to let him just sit in a shelter instead of owning up that for whatever reason or another they weren’t going back for him….Ugh it makes my heart hurt still.
Anyway, I suppose the real point to my post is to share with you all one amazing freaking dog that needs a new home still. I’ve since closed the rescue but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on him. I can’t. I love this dog with every ounce of my being. People tell me too that they think he’s already found his forever home. While the sentiments are nice, I am NOT the best home out there for him. He LOVES meeting people. He loves going out to different places and being wherever he can possibly be with his family. Why is that a problem for *me*? Well. I live alone. I don’t have nor do I want kids (and holy crap he does back flips over kids!). I’m mostly a hermit. To be quite honest, Dan is really the only reason I leave my house and go traipsing around the neighborhood. He requires that exercise or it’s “hey I’m gonna run laps around your house and propel off your furniture with wild abandon!” And yes, I do have that kind of sense of humor with dogs that even though it does bother me a little bit, I understand why he does it and can laugh about it when he does 😉
That’s the extra fun part about Dan. He is happy to be alive. HAPPY. It does not matter that he came off of a chain out in the woods, he’s practically bomb proof with anything. He has little fear of anything at all and is 100% ready for ANYTHING that you want to do. Like hanging out with people on the 4th of July blowing up fire works? Give him people and he does not care one bit. Thunderstorms, whoopdedoo. Give him a chew toy and he’s content. Now, if it’s raining, expect him to be prissy paws and not go outside to get those wittle toes of his wet. His personality is so incredibly unique and SO true of pit bulls. I could gush for days!
I think back sometimes to a few things I was told shortly after getting him. That he wasn’t a favorite at the temp shelter because his energy level was through the roof. And that he was almost a “borderline” dog as far as being released BECAUSE of that energy level. And I look at him today and marvel at just how LUCKY he is to be alive and in one piece. And not mangled up from dog fights either. He’s also opened my eyes even further to just HOW much interacting with and exercising your dog can make a difference in their demeanor. When he’d been adopted, it was a mere month later and he had run of the home, because he was getting one on one attention and guidance. This dog is BRILLIANT. Absolutely brilliant. But because people are so easily scared off by work and exercise, they pass by dogs like him EVERY DAY. I guess they think they’re too much work or that it wouldn’t be worth it.
Yes, Dan is mischievous and looks for fun and games in nearly everything he does, but once he gets his exercise, he calms immensely. He’ll lay on the couch and cuddle or curl up in a ball in a chair to just get some down time.
He walks well on leash. You can take him running with you. He LOVES car rides. He’ll go swimming for tennis balls! And best of all, he is a NATURAL at running with you while you’re on the bike. Who doesn’t want a dog that you can do these things with??? Seriously? I have had SO much more fun with him (and he’s much happier) now that we can go out on bike rides. He loves being able to get out of the confines of the yard and run all bow-legged down the street, tongue flying out with absolute glee on his face!
Simply put, this dog is amazing. And he came from a fight bust. Off a chain in the woods. I can’t say I’ve ever met a dog that’s much happier to be alive than he is. Nor that’s as bombproof as he is.
But here he sits, still in my home. No interest in months. *sigh* That’s partially the nature of pit bull rescue though. The dogs just don’t move fast, especially with an older dog who has a “dirty” background. People have NO idea what they’re missing out on.
We’ll get there though. I know there’s a home out there that is just looking for a happy go lucky loves EVERYTHING kind of dog, we just have to find these fine folks. Dan deserves so much more than I can give him, but he’s safe with me no matter what. So, if you happen to know someone looking, send them my way 😉