The Face of Hope

March 26, 2013  

After surviving abuse in a dog-fighting ring, Jagger learns to love and trust again

By Jennifer

Jagger was confiscated from an officer-involved dog-fighting ring in Houston, Texas, and held as evidence for about a month. His right upper lip is missing; he has countless scars down the front of his legs and on his back. He had burns on his “man parts” believed to be from pain inflicted to get him to fight. When the news reached Treat Em Right Rescue (TERR) that Jagger could be released, TERR rushed in to get him and two other victims, Bianca and Cupcake. (The girls are currently available for adoption.)

Once in the care of TERR, Jagger visited specialists and started to put on some much needed weight. I met him at a fundraiser/adoption event, but I had previously seen his picture and heard his story.

My heart broke for this little guy, and I thought about him every day. To meet him in person, well, there are no words to describe what I felt. I was so happy that he was safe, but I wondered what his future would be like. Although I had wanted him from the first time I saw his picture, I didn’t know if adopting him was even a possibility. But after meeting him, the discussion was now open in our family.

Could Jagger have a place in our pack, in our family?

Jagger was still healing while this discussion started. He had to have his canine teeth removed from the side of his exposed mouth. The tooth had been damaged beyond repair and was rotting. Eventually we heard that Jagger was finally healthy enough to be fostered or adopted. Our discussion ended. If Jagger got along with our dogs, we would be his family.

We took our other rescued pit bull with us to the shelter to meet him. She is a calm, laid-back girl, but she is about twice Jagger’s size. Sadly, our visit didn’t go well, and I was heart broken. Later that day, I spoke with the rescue. My spirits were lifted; they were willing to give us another chance with him. This time, it was on our terms completely. I will forever be grateful for that second chance and the confidence and trust they had in us.

For the next few weeks, we drove an hour to pick Jagger up, take him to a nearby park, and walk him with our girl every day we could. Then we started having sleepovers where he would come to our house for a night so that he could interact with our other two small dogs. As it turns out, Jagger loves little dogs, and our little dogs liked him back.

I started taking Jagger to the Behave-A-Bulls classes that TERR hosts. The first few classes were incredibly difficult. Jagger was so fearful that all he did was tuck his tail and shake. Jagger needed a lot of social experiences to gain confidence. Slowly, things got better. He built up the courage to follow commands and focus. We started taking him to various events to help promote the wonderful things that TERR does.

Then, all of a sudden, Jagger turned into a rock star!

He greeted people at events and let them hug and pet him. He started being comfortable around other strange dogs and at least tolerated, if not enjoyed, their presence. On the night of graduation from Behave-A-Bulls, we couldn’t take it anymore – Jagger had to be a member of our family, officially. We had a lot to celebrate that night!

Jagger went on to his first attempt at his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. He passed nine out of 10 items on his first try! We are currently working on his skills so that he will be really ready to take the test again next month. Jagger also won The Unexpected Pit Bull photo contest for May.

Jagger has been and continues to be a huge influence in our lives. I am amazed at how far he has progressed in the four months since I first met him. Everyday I am reminded of forgiveness, love and compassion when I look into his brown eyes. Every time we venture out in public together, I am amazed by his patience and grace as others look at him and make faces ranging from pity to fear, but then those people ask about him and pet him, and he wags his tail. People are always mentioning that they had no idea pit bulls could be so friendly, especially ones that were victims of fighting. Jagger is teaching people daily that it is not what is on the outside but the inside that truly counts.

You can learn more about Jagger and follow his continuing progress here.

This article was originally published on July 5, 2011.

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15 Responses to “The Face of Hope
  1. TruXter says:

    That poor baby.

  2. StubbyDog says:

    @TruXter Jagger may have had a rough start, but he is happy, well adjusted and extremely loved in his new home with Jennifer.

  3. GailGallant says:

    I would love to kiss that face 🙂 WTG Jagger and his wonderful family. A match made in love / understanding.

  4. StubbyDog says:

    @GailGallant He is such a cutie! Thanks

  5. Jagger says:

    @GailGallant Jagger wiggled his way into our family and has changed our lives forever!

  6. Jagger says:

    @TruXter Like StubbyDog said, he may have had a rough start, but he is a hard worker and such a love! We adore him!

  7. thatmutt says:

    Good boy, Jagger! So glad you have your forever home. What a cutie! Keep up the good work with him!

  8. Jagger says:

    @thatmutt We sure will!

  9. TwylaSpencer says:

    What a wonderful story, about a wonderful dog! Bless you for giving him the help he needed to blossom into the healthy, confident, “happy ” boy he is to day.

  10. lady_charlotte says:

    you are wonderful, and he is one very lucky dog to have you

    Bless you lovely people


    • Jagger says:

      @lady_charlotte I’m not sure who is luckier, me or my parents! Thank you! Hope you have a happy holiday!

  11. TracyPhotogirlShaw says:

    oh my.. I need a tissue please….  Oh you are sooo handsome Mr. Jagger!!  May God continue to bless you and your two-legger’s family!!  xoxoxxo  🙂

  12. CjFarrellSmith says:

    OMG! thank U for giving this smiling boy a new chance at love, I love his crooked smile to looks like he’s up to something or he knows something U don’t…huggs n kissesxoxoxo…

    • Jagger says:

       @CjFarrellSmith He sure gives us a lot of love in return! And he knows more than most people about life. He has such a kind heart, and we are blessed to be able to share it with the world!


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