The Power of One is a series of articles about canines and the people who saved them. One person, at one moment can make all the difference to one animal. The journey of a dog being rescued can be long, their path can be filled with many people taking on the role of that one person to assure they get their second chance at life.
Introducing A 102121: Part I
A 102121 used to identify him, PA028 is the kennel number he called home for the last days. He arrived at Chicago Animal Care and Control on January 26, 2014 as a stray picked up in the Englewood (Chicago) neighborhood.
A 8 month old, brown Merle and White Pit Bull Terrier. The percentages for A 102121 to receive a reprieve and second chance at life dropped with every turning of the calendars pages.
The reality is Pit Bull Terrier’s face discrimination through Breed Select Legislation (BSL), are saddled with a bad reputation through misrepresentation and suffer from over breeding due to ignorance of owners, backyard breeders and criminal enterprises.
A 102121 had the cards stack against him the minute he took his first breath in this world. He doesn’t know what Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is, or why people fear him, or why his kind suffer abuse through forced breeding. And he’ll never understand what enjoyment can possibly be derived from forcing brother to kill brother in a ring for money. Or the evil of torturing his sister until her body gives out and her last breath drawn.
He only knows unconditional love – no different than any other of man’s furry best friends. He wants to give out kisses, cuddle up close for comfort, feel your hand stroke the length of his back, or tickle his tummy with belly rubs. He wants to have fresh water, food and a safe place to lay his head at night. He lives to be your best friend, your loyal buddy, your guardian and companion without ever questioning gender, breed, financial potential or misgivings.
A 102121 went from “adoptable” to “death-row”. Literally, he moved from one area of the shelter to another, just like the “big house” down in Joliet, Illinois.
The fine volunteers of the CACC transfer team had taken a liking to A 102121, as they do with all of the dogs they care for while pleading for rescues to come to their aid.
These people are the true warriors and heroes of rescue work in animal welfare. They are these dogs saving grace, the one person who uses their voice to start a dog on it’s journey to a second chance. They are also the one person often to give a gentle touch or say a kind word to a dog whose second chance didn’t come. Bless you for all you do when so many others do not.
They saw potential in the small brown Merle & White Pittie named Ramon Rampage. A Facebook plea went out by Peace for Pits rescue: “This brindle guy has 5 days to find a foster home or he’d be put to sleep. He is young, and lacks social skills. So he needs to be an only pet until we can build up his positive experiences with other dogs. If you can foster, please fill out an application online at www.peaceforpitsrescue.org”
I began sharing their plea on my personal page. A 102121/Ramon Rampage/Wild Child/Brindle Guy had that look that said, “I am too young to die. I have so much to see and do. There is garbage bins to knock over, mud puddles to roll in, car rides to take, cuddles to be had and kisses to be given; where is my best friend?”
Then came the day. His last hour. I didn’t want to look to see if he had been edited with the all now too familiar “RIP” on his listing. I felt as though if I didn’t look, it meant it didn’t happen.
I finally gave in and instead I sent Peace for Pits co-founder, Megan Lindberg an email asking. She replied she didn’t have the heart to email CACC as of yet, the news was probably not what she wanted to hear. And just as I thought to myself “at least I am not the only ignoring the inevitable…
Her reply email arrived, “He’s ALIVE” is all it said. It’s all it had to say. Christmas morning had come early.
I put out another plea; this time tagging a couple I knew didn’t own a dog and praying maybe they would spot my plea and succumb to his need. I offered to train him, be his dog walker, dog sit him, whatever it would take to enable them to home him as fosters.
At 6pm that evening, they responded with a Facebook pm asking what they needed to do to help. “Yes! There was the chance he could be saved.”
They completed the foster paperwork and sent it to Peace for Pits (P4P’s) rescue. I emailed P4P’s and asked them to please look for the application and to consider putting A 201121 on hold at the CACC until they reviewed the information.
At 1am I received Megan’s email saying, “Brindle guy is on hold. Lisa is now approved as his foster.”
Amen. I can rest now.
The next day, Megan confirmed with CACC that A 201121 was a “save”. I received an email asking when would be a good time to “bust him out”. Like I said, “just like the big house in Joliet”.
She gave me the honor of joining her team on this special day. Ashley, one of A 201121 supporters, Megan’s husband and rescue co-founder, Mike and my sister Jill were there for the “busting out” party.
He came running out from behind the doors leading away from the kennels, pulling Ashley and right into Jill as she bent to greet him. This little dude was saying, “Hey ladies, let’s blow this joint and now!”
Megan, Mike and Ashley loaded us up with his new belongings courtesy of the rescue. Jill placed the little dude in his crate and we set off on his freedom ride.
He rested the trip heading out of the city and to his new life. Freedom looked good on him. This is when Jill named him Henry, “He looks like caramel and chocolate, like an O’Henry candy bar, she said, as we tested out names. “Henry is also a gentle name”, she added.
She called out, “Henry”, and his head shot up in the crate. She called it out a couple of more times, with his ears perking up and his eyes widening. And so, A 201121 became Henry.
We arrived at our home where he happily bathed, washing away the ick of kennel life. We picked out some new toys, bed and fleece blankets from our stash and played for a bit to chill before returning to the road for the next leg to his foster home.
Henry’s foster family couldn’t contain themselves and came out to greet him on the driveway. He immediately went for a walk around the yard for a chance to relieve himself before heading in for the grand tour of the main living space.
His crate, otherwise known as Henry’s Dog Cave set up and playtime commenced. Henry proved a quick learner and after all the family introductions, more new toys, tours of the house and some quick training, little Henry was ready for nap time.
But for the grace of God and the empathy of multiple people who chose to be that one person who said “No. Not today. I will not let you die.” Henry lives.
The power of one person at one moment makes all the difference.
Please don’t wait until “someday” to reach out and help, be that one person today. The Henry’s of the world don’t have the option of someday.
Find Henry on Petfinder
(foster-sister not included)
In Part II, you’ll read my interview with the cutie himself, Henry and meet the people who raised their voices for him.