For months, construction workers would show up at their North Carolina job site like clockwork. And every morning, they were met by the same sorrowful scene from a yard across the street.
A dog had been living in a muddy pen, on a Hendersonville property slated for demolition. He would run to the fence, his tail wagging feverishly. The construction workers were his only visitors and rarely saw anyone emerge from the house, except to occasionally throw dry dog kibble over the fence, where it scattered in the mud.
The workers would share their sandwiches with him. Other days, they'd bring spare construction materials and build him a makeshift shelter from the elements.
The dog, who they named Demo, was all licks and gratitude for every scrap of compassion. At some point, a worker, worried about the dog's condition, called an animal rescue.
The only home one pit bull knew was a homeless camp near a busy freeway.
Sharra Platt, a volunteer from Karma Rescue, started seeing the white and black pit bull whenever she took the Crenshaw Boulevard exit on the Santa Monica (I-10) Freeway in Los Angeles. The dog would often be lying on a pile of old clothes, or sitting beside a man as he panhandled at the corner.
Platt figured someone was taking care of the pit bull, but she wanted to make sure the dog was healthy and had enough food and water. But going into the homeless camp took courage. "I was very tentative about going in," Platt told The Dodo. "Then one day I saw two women in there, so I decided this was the safest it's going to get."
Platt introduced herself to the camp residents and learned that the pit bull was a female dog named Clarissa. She looked healthy, but there was no food or water out for her. So Platt started visiting every few days to bring Clarissa food, make sure she had clean water and, of course, to give her some affection.
At first, Clarissa seemed wary of people, probably because she wasn't used to getting much attention. But each time Platt visited, Clarissa became more and more affectionate. "She'd crawl on my lap every time after the first few visits," Platt said. "It became clear to me that she craved attention."
Then everything changed for Clarissa. Her main caretakers at the camp moved to another part of Los Angeles. They told Platt they'd take Clarissa, but they ended up abandoning her for three days without food, water or shelter.
Thankfully Platt noticed, and she phoned Karma Rescue, getting permission to pick Clarissa up. "When I put a leash on her, walked out with her and put her in my car, she was so happy and had a huge smile on her face," Platt said.
Yet Clarissa still had a long road ahead of her. When Karma Rescue placed her in a temporary foster home, she developed anxiety, and would "scream" whenever she saw another dog, making it impossible for Clarissa to attend adoption events.
Instead of giving up, Karma Rescue ended up spending thousands of dollars for Clarissa to be trained at K9s Only, a training facility in Los Angeles, where Clarissa learned social skills and got basic training. It was here — at the training facility — that Clarissa met her future sister.
"There was a dog named Penny who would go to K9s Only, and her owners noticed that Clarissa looked a lot like their dog, but with opposite markings," Platt explained. "So they asked to meet her, and the meeting went well. The trainers started walking the dogs together, and Penny's owners had the dogs go into play care together."
Penny and Clarissa hit it off so well, the family adopted Clarissa. Now Clarissa enjoys walks with her sister, snuggles on her new owners' laps and long snoozes on the sofa. But whenever Platt visits, Clarissa makes it quite clear she has never forgotten her.
Clarissa's story has a happy ending, but other pit bulls aren't so fortunate. Pit bull mixes are one of the most common types of dogs who end up in shelters in the Los Angeles area, and many of them end up being euthanized. According to Pit Bull Rescue Central, pit bulls comprise of 40 percent of all dogs in the 12 registered Los Angeles shelters, and 200 pit bulls are euthanized every day just in Los Angeles County.
Karma Rescue is a non-profit group that rescues pit bulls, as well as other dog breeds and cats. They rely completely on charitable donations from the public to provide their rescues with food, housing and veterinary care. To support Karma Rescue, please visit its website.
Brianna and Ivy are proof that some dogs and people are meant to be together, making this adoption extra special for Mariah.
Being surrounded by vultures often has a disquieting effect on the living.
Something about waiting for you to die in order to pick at your bones, looming mortality, that sort of thing. In classic scenes from not-so-classic movies, vultures are often seen circling overhead, etching their baleful message on black, inky wings.
Maybe this little dog seemed sad enough already, and the vultures figured they could dispense with all the theatrics.
In a photo that seems to be making the rounds on Facebook again, after being taken in late 2014, the dog is seen cowering inside a plastic house in Greensboro, North Carolina. She's chained, scared and surrounded by vultures. It's a timeless, haunting image of despair.
The birds darken her doorstep, perch on her roof and bristle in the trees above.
In fact, Guilford County Animal Control was called to the scene by a concerned neighbor, the Facebook post notes. The dog appeared too despondent to care.
Forget monkey see, monkey do! This friendly pit bull, Oakland, has high ambitions after watching his human sister Kailyn nail a series of impressive cartwheels.
Unfortunately, the 18-month-old pup isn't nearly as graceful or coordinated and just sort of stops-drops-and-rolls instead. Oakland doesn't quit however, giving the gymnastic trick a few more valiantly adorable tries.
Oakland's owner, Jacqueline Sloan has since created a Facebook page for her pooch in hope of building awareness for pit bulls and helping improve their struggling reputation.
Have a soft spot for happy pit bull stories? Check this out:
Hope the pit bull was rescued from unimaginable pain and waited nearly a year for her forever home.
SECOND CHANCE RESCUE NYC
Hope was found by Animal Care And Control (ACC) NYC in June 2014, wandering the streets in the Bronx covered in bruises, open wounds and her own blood. It was clear that she had been used as a bait dog for dog fighting, as many of her injuries appeared to be from a whip or a wire. She was also covered in bite marks.
SECOND CHANCE RESCUE NYC
Sweet little Hope was only 2 years old when she was found, and yet she had already been through so much pain. Second Chance Rescue NYC pulled Hope from the shelter and vowed to help her find the happy ending she deserved.
When Mickey, approximately 3 or 4 years old, was first found by the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly), he was missing fur from mange (a skin disease caused by parasites) and had a clubfoot, according to the Street Tails Animal Rescue (STAR) group, which pulled him from the public shelter. When Mickey first came to STAR, he was a frightened, anxious dog — he was also broken and depressed.
Through STAR, Mickey was placed into two different foster homes.
Since his rough start has left him prone to stress, it's hard for Mickey to get along with other dogs. Mickey wasn't a good match with another dog in the first home, and in his second home, his parent was relocating and had to give him back up. Mickey returned to STAR, where he was living in the basement of the rescue, all alone and away from his fellow rescue brothers and sisters.
In the wake of a tragedy, it is often the most unlikely friends who are there to help you pick up the pieces.
When Helen, Bruce and Willis all arrived into the care of Faithful Friends Animal Society, a rescue group in Delaware, they were in pretty rough shape. Though Helen, 7 years old, was brought in separately from Bruce and Willis, around 10 weeks old, all three ended up needing to have their eyes removed, leaving them completely blind.
Bruce and Willis//SHERRY STEWART
Adjusting to a life without sight is not an easy road, and volunteer Sherry Stewart stepped up to help make the transition just a little easier.
It's not being needy if all you want is a home to be loved in.
When a dog named Needy was abandoned at the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT), he was left with the only thing that brought him comfort — his beloved teddy bear. Needy clung to the teddy bear like his life depended on it … until that was taken from him, too.
Needy was surrendered on November 11, and waited all through November and December for someone to come and save him. His former owners told the shelter that he was a great dog who knew a bunch of commands, and it's unclear why they decided to give him up in the first place. No one who has met Needy understands it, either.
"He is very loved at the shelter by all his volunteer friends and was making everyone he met fall in love with him," Kimberly Cary, a volunteer with rescue group Chester County Dog Tails, told The Dodo. "The volunteers say he is shy but he warms up to you and loves resting his head on your shoulders and is very loving and playful!"
Even though Needy's teddy bear helped him cope with being abandoned, he wasn't allowed to keep it. "The shelter took his teddy bear away from him shortly after he was given up because they said it was not one of the 'approved' types of toys allowed," Cary said. Certain types of toys may be considered choking hazards or undesirable for other reasons by shelters.
And so Needy waited, homeless and without his favorite bear, for someone to see how wonderful he is.
Finally, someone did.
Needy was rescued on Tuesday by Diamonds in the Ruff Rescue, a huge step towards finally finding his forever home. The rescue saved Needy in honor of one of their other rescue dogs, Kermit, who passed away on Christmas Day. They renamed Needy to Fozzie Bear, because Fozzie is Kermit's best friend in The Muppets.
As if being rescued wasn't great enough, volunteers helped give Fozzie something incredible — brand new teddy bears. After they saved him, the rescue put a call out to the community asking people to donate teddy bears for Fozzie, and everyone pulled through for him.
He may not have a home yet, but slowly Fozzie is learning what it truly means to be loved again, and can now wait for his forever family in the company of all the teddy bears he could ever want.
If you would be interested in adopting Fozzie Bear, you can contact Diamonds in the Ruff Rescue for more information. If you'd like to adopt a pet of your own, you can go to Adopt-a-Pet.com for more information.
When she encounters on frightened pup, Tania pulls all the moves from her dog rescue playbook. She puts all the lessons learned from her pro Mama to use to get this sweet dog to trust her.