Vick Dog Adoption Stories: A Shy Boy Comes Out of His Shell

July 28, 2011  

As first posted on Dogtime

Dog: Uba
Humans: Letti de Little and Jamel Freeman
Fellow pets: Lulu the rescued pit bull and two cats
Town: San Francisco

Letti and her boyfriend Jamel first glimpsed Uba on TV shortly after Vick’s bust, when leaked footage of the small black and white dog with the worried face flashed across screens throughout the country. He caught their attention instantly. “There was just something about him,” said Letti, “We thought, what a cute, smart-looking dog–we hope he makes it out alive.”

As luck would have it, Uba and several other Vick dogs wound up in the care of BAD RAP, the pit bull rescue and advocacy group that Letti has volunteered for over the past two years. And when BAD RAP was looking for families to foster the dogs, Letti and Jamel offered to be one of them. They got Uba.

Seven months later, Letti says the shut-down dog with the horrific past is now full of energy and excitement at his new life; the Uba we filmed last winter isn’t the Uba of today.

“Every few weeks, he’s doing better,” says Letti. “You know how dogs wander around the house wagging their tails? He’s started doing that lately. We didn’t even notice it was missing until he started. It’s so nice to see him getting to be more and more of a normal dog and coming out of his shell.”

As one of the shyer dogs rescued by BAD RAP, there were some hurdles to overcome. Uba hit it off with the other resident pit bull and got along with the two cats, but he was scared of black men–including Jamel–as well as busy streets and crowds. By slow exposure to small doses of what scares him, Uba has gradually been getting over these fears.

Like Cris Cohen, the adopter of Jonny Justice, Letti notes that the Vick dogs seemed to go through the puppyhood they never had once they arrived in real homes. “Uba’s mostly over it now, but at the beginning they wanted to try everything,” says Letti. “They wanted to know, can I chew the floor, can I leap over the stairs?”

Also like Jonny, Uba relishes the training he’d missed out on in his earlier life and learns fast. Letti describes him as one of the smartest dogs she’s ever met, laughingly recounting how she caught him scaling furniture to get to an out-of-reach stuffed animal, and how he figured out how to unlatch his crate with his tongue.

Letti doesn’t downplay the time and effort it takes to heal a dog who lived such a deprived life, but she says Uba’s getting there. “I woke up at last night and he was lying in bed right next to me, belly up” she says. “He’s not supposed to be in our bed, but I just laid there and thought how far he’s come, when just a year ago, he was living on a chain.”

Watch a video of Uba.

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4 Responses to “Vick Dog Adoption Stories: A Shy Boy Comes Out of His Shell”
  1. What a beautiful story — I remember Uba from the news coverage. Hope he continues to trust humans again after his horrible past!

  2. StubbyDog says:

    @annedreshfield It sure is a lesson on the forgiving nature of dogs.

  3. diana russell says:

    thank you so much for giving the vick dogs a second chance at a wounderful live. a life without having to live in fear and being abused,. I own “Samantha the Service Dog”. she’s the first pit bull ive ever owned and they are simply the most loving and loyal dogs ever. I the dog is mean it’s because the owner made him/her that way. thank you for sharing such an awesome story and lets pray the Vick is never allowed to own a pet of any kind for the rest of his life.(that’s my opinion)

  4. StubbyDog says:

    @diana russell Thanks Diana, and we are sure most people agree with you on Vick. However, dogs like Uba just show the forgiving nature of pit bulls and how they can go on to be fantastic dogs despite an abusive past.