Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way. — Martin Luther King Jr.
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Every single day, the well-being of people and animals comes under threat. And every single day, someone somewhere decides to step up.
October was Pit Bull Awareness month. It was a month of stories about the abuse this breed so often endures. But with the stories came the heroes — the people who crossed paths with dogs who needed help and didn’t keep walking, didn’t close the door, didn’t drive on down the road, didn’t let them down.
Instead, they stepped up.
Andi Davis stepped up — literally. Davis was hiking uphill on a deserted mountain trail in the Phoenix area when she saw a dog half-standing, half-collapsed, his head resting against a sharp rock on a steep incline.
Davis was scared. The dog was a pit bull, and she had her “misgivings” about the breed. “But when he lifted his head as she reached for her water bottle, Davis put her apprehension aside, gave him a drink and then lifted the 47-pound dog into her arms,” said Bretta Nelson, a spokesperson for the Arizona Humane Society, whose veterinarians cared for the dog, now named Elijah.
Elijah was in rough shape. And by the end of Davis’ careful mile-long trek to the bottom of the mountain, the pit was motionless and Davis’ arms ached from carrying him. Davis’ husband and their daughter, Jessi, met her at the trailhead, and from there the family transported Elijah to the AHS for care.
But the story doesn’t end there. It never does with love at first sight.
Jessi told the AHS, “My heart broke at the first sight of him. He was torn up. Everywhere.” According to the doctors, Elijah had been shot. He had an open abdominal wound, bullets fragments near his spinal cord and a bullet lodged in his neck.
Two weeks ago, shot multiple times and left for dead alone in the Arizona mountains, today Elijah is recovering at the Davis family home alongside their three dogs. If all goes as expected, that’s where he’ll live forever. “Mom has a dog, dad has a dog, I have a dog,” Jessi told Nelson. “Elijah is the family dog — because he’s special.”
And then there’s Mama Jade.
Mama Jade is the battered pit bull who had the good fortune of wandering onto the front porch of 23-year-old Christianna Willis of Nashville. It took only one look for Willis to realize the suffering dog had likely escaped a dogfighting ring. “I took off her collar and saw rope marks around her neck, bite marks all around her nuzzle and she was really banged up,” Willis said. “There was blood in the crate from pressure wounds on her elbows that bust open every time she lies down.”
Infuriated, Willis did more than open her door. She posted a missive on Craigslist and titled it: “Your pit bull has found me, and I’m not giving her back.” That post went viral. That post raised awareness. And that post raised money — money for all the medical treatment Mama Jade has required and money for the care of dogs whose humans have fallen on hard times. Today, Mama Jade has her own Facebook page. As of this writing, that page has 137,656 likes.
Make that 137,657. And let’s add one more for Dr. King.
Dog trainer Matthew “Uncle Matty” Margolis is co-author of 18 books about dogs, a behaviorist, a popular radio and television guest, and host of the PBS series “WOOF! It’s a Dog’s Life!” Read all of Uncle Matty’s columns at www.creators.com, and visit him at www.unclematty.com. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Uncle Matty at P.O. Box 3300, Diamond Springs, CA 95619.
Copyright 2013 Creators Syndicate Inc.