Meet Abigail, the unlikely poster girl for rescued bait dogs. She’s changed the perceptions of people around the world regarding pit bulls and dogs used in dog fighting.
Like many other victims of cruel dog-fighting rings, Abigail was left to die from her injuries. Her right ear had been viciously ripped off and there were huge wounds on her head. Older, healed puncture wounds gave evidence of her horrendous past — as a bait dog.
Bait dogs are used for practice by those who fight dogs. They are dogs with no inclination to fight, who are attacked over and over, often with their jaws tied shut so they cannot defend themselves. When they are severely injured, their use is over, and they are thrown away to die.
She ended up at Miami Dade Animal Services (MDAS). While the veterinary staff there did basic bandaging, she needed much more if she was going to live. After a Facebook post by Urgent Dogs of Miami, a group that networks dogs who are urgently in need of rescue or adoption from the shelter garnered 500 views but not one offer of rescue, Victoria Frazier, the founder of Love is Fur Ever Rescue, jumped into action. Abigail arrived at MDAS on November 12, was seen by Frazier on the 13th, and picked up by her husband on the 14th.
She made the cross-Florida trip from the east coast to the west coast. The Fraziers took her immediately to their veterinarian. Abigail was not only suffering from having a gaping hole in the side of her head where her ear used to be before it was viciously ripped from her head. The wound was septic — a few more days without proper treatment at the shelter and Abigail would have died. The skin that hung loosely where her ear had been surrounded a huge raw area of tissue. She was also anemic and infested with ticks.
After two major surgeries, (watch graphic video of vet’s examination of wound here) she is still undergoing medical procedures. Frazier told Shelter Me, “Yesterday she had surgery on the top of head. (There were a) couple of skin grafts not taking, so they removed dead tissue and pulled up parts of skin and sutured new skin.”
Frazier started Abigail’s bonnet-wearing innocently enough. Bandages on that part of her head covered the fragile skin grafts. Once Frazier covered the bandages with a headband, the color seemed to brighten Abigail’s face. And now, her Facebook page, Bonnets for Abigail, has over 5,000 followers. People from all over the world have made and sent her headbands.
Her GoFundMe page raised over $15,000, but there is no telling how high her bill might go.
Is Abigail worth it? Shelter Me asked Frazier, “What’s special about Abigail?” Her response says it all.
“What’s special? What’s not special about her. She is the spitting image of something that you would think would have given up, lost hope, been scared. A human being (because to me, she’s a human being) that didn’t believe in anybody or anything but then you see her spirit, and you think if she can, why can’t I? This girl has been to hell and back, surgery after surgery, she sits in vet clinic, she knows she’s safe. In the vet clinic, the very first time, she just put her head on my chest as if to say, I know I’m safe. She gives everyone hope and inspiration. She’s always happy. If you were to meet her, you’d see the pride she has, that pride that says I went through dog fighting, and I beat it. She’s an ambassador for the dogs who are still in dog fighting. She beat them.”
And six weeks after the first graphic video, this next one shows her progress both physically and mentally. At the end, she rolls over for a belly rub.
Not only does Abigail love everyone, everyone loves her. And unlike many bait dogs, who understandably are frightened of (and often aggressive to) other dogs, Abigail loves other dogs.
“She’s amazing with other dogs. She can’t get out of their faces. She’s great with people. She’s a freak about people. So much loving. She greets everyone. She doesn’t ever stop wagging her tail. Her whole body moves with everything. She brings a lot of joy and hope for a lot of people. She’s something special.”
Abigail’s a lover. The following pictures are worth a thousand words.