April 15, 2013  

With love, care, and a lot of food, Wakefield became a big handsome guy in his happy forever home

By David Dufault

I was driving home from work one afternoon three years ago when I noticed an animal digging through a trash bag on the side of the road. The animal was so skinny that initially I thought it was a buzzard (which are common where I was living at the time in Mississippi). As I got close, I got a good look at the poor creature and realized it was a dog: a horribly emaciated, hairless thing.

I drove to the nearest gas station, hoping to buy some food and take it back to the dog before he ran off. Luckily for both of us, he was still there on the side of the road when I returned with food. I parked close, got out of my car, and slowly walked towards him. He was literally one of the saddest sights I’d ever seen. He was all skin and bones, missing most of his hair, and his skin was scratched and scarred…his eyes were nearly swollen shut and he had some long, open wounds. He was covered in marble sized ticks, and you could tell it was painful for him to just move around.

In spite of his sorry condition, when I approached him he sat down (very gingerly), looked up at me and wagged his tail. I fed him a bunch of food and contemplated what I should do for him. After a few minutes of talking to my wife, I decided to take him to the vet. To be honest, I thought the vet would decide to just put him down…like I mentioned, I’d never seen an animal in such bad shape. So I picked him up, put him in the back of my car, and took him to a good vet in town. The vet called me a few hours later and told me to come in. When I spoke to him at the office, he told me his best guess at the breed was pit bull (the dog was in such bad shape that the vet couldn’t say for sure what breed he was…turns out he was right), that the dog was heartworm negative (good news), but had a severe case of mange and was so riddled with infection that he probably wasn’t going to make it. The vet then told me we could either put him down, or I could take him home and try to get him back to health. I felt so sorry for him that I couldn’t just leave him there to be put down. So I opted to take him home.

After many weeks of mange baths, dozens and dozens of pills, and more food than I’ve ever seen a little dog eat, the sad, hairless pup started to recover. Fast-forward three years, and now my best buddy Wakefield is 80 pounds of happy, healthy pit bull. He loves other dogs and every person he meets, in spite of the neglect he suffered. He’s a great testament to the breed’s resiliency. I never thought to own a pit bull before picking him up. My wife and I have a few shelter mutts, but all I knew about pit bulls was what the media said about them: that they were naturally vicious and dangerous animals. I consider myself a full-fledged pit bull advocate these days, though. I take Wakefield to public events so people can see just how friendly this maligned breed is. My wife and I foster for Gentle Souls Pit Bull Rescue in Little Rock, Arkansas, and have only had positive experiences with every bully we’ve fostered. And it all started with Wakefield.

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