Rescue Group Gives Bully Breeds a Second Chance

March 29, 2011  

DogTime interviews Opie Taylor of Ring Dog Rescue of Richmond, Virginia.

How did your organization get started?

I began fostering in 1999 for another local rescue. I was one of maybe three people willing to take Pit Bull type dogs into my home. I visited the shelters weekly and decided I had to do something for these dogs. Every day more and more Pit Bull type dogs filled the shelters while fewer and fewer people adopted them and rescue groups took them.

I continued to foster for a few more years, then decided my home wasn’t enough for this many Pit Bull type dogs, so I began slowly and did it myself, covering all expenses out of my pocket. Then I met Tonya, she wanted help with a sick Pit Bull pup at a local shelter. His name was Buster. She was technically the second foster home I had and with the saving of "Buster" our relationship formed and Ring Dog Rescue was born. We began building the rescue in 2004 and became an official 501(c) 3 in 2007. By then we had gained fosters and volunteers and began really understanding the internal workings of this type of organization.

What is your mission?

Ring Dog Rescue’s mission is threefold:

#1 We want to save dogs, plain and simple. Get them out of shelters, get them medically sound, and find responsible, forever adoptive homes.

#2 Educate the public on how wonderful these dogs are, how misrepresented and vilified they have been, and to open the public’s eyes to what humane means.

#3 To help end the over population of animals through spay and neuter outreach, education, and assistance.

How do most of your animals find their way to you?

All of the dogs in our program come from euthanizing shelters. Although we do make some exception for extreme situations, RDR does not take owner surrenders. A lot of people, and even other rescues, do not agree with our policy, but it is there for a purpose. We are not here to make people feel better or OK about animals being disposable. What I mean by this is, when you adopt, buy or obtain a companion animal, you have made a commitment to give this animal love, necessities, and companionship for their LIFETIME.

Too many people give up on animals when they become inconvenient, or don’t match the new curtains. Rescue is not here to make you feel better about your choice to give up on a living breathing life. We decided long ago we would only take from shelters. We do not rescue to make friends or to make people feel better… We do this for the animals.

What happens to the animals once they are in your care?

Each animal brought into our program is placed into a foster home, and in a desperate situation a boarding facility (short term). They are all spayed or neutered, vaccinated, wormed, microchipped and fully medically assessed. Each is put on an appropriate diet, crate trained, and they begin learning life skills within their foster home. They go to adoption events, are placed on our websites, and live life with their foster until a forever home is found.

We typically take the dogs in most need, so often our animals are medical cases that are over looked in the shelters. I would say 90% of our dogs go through some type of treatment, whether it be for heart worms, mange, or more serious injuries requiring surgery or constant care. We often say to each other " the more sick they are, the more we want them." Ring Dog Rescue also is lucky to have two wonderful certified trainers in our pack, and with their guidance we are able to work through behavioral issues from past lives.

Tell us about a particularly compelling animal or inspiring rescue.

There are so many, not sure where to start. I suppose one of the more recent would be Sissy. Sissy was seized in a dog fighting bust in Missouri, she and 400 other dogs from several states were all seized and housed in a make shift shelter with the Missouri Humane Society. So many were pregnant on impound, by the time the courts (several involved due to jurisdiction) there were over 100 pups born in captivity. Sissy was the mom of one of those litters.

Each dog was individually assessed and rescue groups were contacted. Ring Dog Rescue ultimately took seven dogs from this bust. Some arrived in the wee hours of the morning on an HSUS tractor trailer, others were flown, and the rest were driven. All were special and all were unique. Sissy was shy and shut down, she was great with dogs but spent most of her life chained out with no positive human interaction. She was one of those dogs you knew would never get adopted. But she did. With the assistance of her foster mom, Sissy learned to trust. A slightly more confident Sissy began to attend events and ultimately, 14 months later, was placed in a loving home. (photo above) From the fights to the family! She survived and she lived.

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8 Responses to “Rescue Group Gives Bully Breeds a Second Chance”
  1. JMattHicks says:

    Awesome, awesome stuff. The story about Sissy is incredible as well. I know I’ve said it before, but my wife and I cannot WAIT to get our pit bull! Wonderful dogs!

  2. StubbyDog says:

    Thanks for your comments, it’s so wonderful to read about such success stories like this! Good luck with your future pit bull.

  3. TanyaLocke says:

    These types of stories make me feeling warm and fuzzy inside. I got my big boy from a kill shelter in Kansas. It was his last day on death row and thanks to a rescue chain, I saw his photo and put the word out. A wonderful friend of mine – a super hero to dogs and cats everywhere – made sure he came home to me.

    Capone (2yrs old) is now 100lbs and the biggest love you’d ever see. Every single person who has meet my wonderful pibble fall in love. They are amazing dogs.

  4. StubbyDog says:

    Thanks for your comments, how nice that you saved Capone and gave him the wonderful life he deserves. I’m sure you are both richer for having each other. Thanks for your support of StubbyDog!

  5. lgaskin says:

    I’ve personally met the sassy Miss Sissy. What a sweet soul she is. RDR is a fabulous organization in the Richmond area. They are true champions for the Pit Bulls.

  6. StubbyDog says:

    Thanks for your comments, it’s such a pleasure for us to highlight all these wonderful organizations that do so much for pit bulls.

  7. MissNancy says:

    I feel so happy that your organization is helping to save lives, especially PitBulls. I found my now 8 year old PitBull when he was about 6 months. His ears bleeding were bleeding with no food or water on a rope in front of a house. He was officially mine that day. I hope we can reduce the amount of reproduction of them due to the fact of bad breeding irresponsible and cruel people who most likely are causing the poor dogs to fight and be abused in every way. There are so many poor pits being euthanized due to the new strict regulations and requirements to have them. My Vet told me that my dog was most likely inbred. He had distemper when I saved him and now has a severe painful bone deformity which has led him to limp for the rest of his life. He also has a Thyroid problem which requires medication and continuous blood testing. I have always been the alpha male (so to speak…Alpha Female!) I must say I have raised him and socialized him after reading constantly about the breed socialization with other dogs and people (he was raised with a cats but he hates them unfortunately) He has always been friendly with other dogs but until about 4 years ago, as he’s getting older, he has lost his patience so I believe that the dogs behavior does have something to do with the way he was raised but my dog’s attitude has changed over the years. He is more unpredictable now. I never allow him off leash and I wish other dog owners would keep their dogs on a leash. Noone should allow their dogs of leash or unattended at anytime, that is common sense and if people can’t make an 18 year commitment than they should NEVER adopt an animal.

  8. StubbyDog says:

    Thanks for sharing your story , sounds like your boy is with the right person, someone who is devoted to making his life the best, no matter what. And that’s truly the best someone can ask for a pit bull or any other dog.