Thank you to all the wonderful people for adopting from the American Bullmastiff Association Rescue Service
Meet Fred our Rescue of the month
I was asked to consider looking at Fred, an emaciated, neglected, worm-ridden red Bullmastiff who had been captured roaming the streets of Opa Lacka in Miami’s worst neighborhood. The last time I was in this neighborhood I was asked to help work with some of the most destitute kids in the state, a dozen years earlier. Remembering those children, against my wife’s and my own better judgment, I grabbed my son and headed south, ‘just for a peek’ I told my wife. A nervous but polite young man brought Fred from a kennel. My usual lock on a dog, and the usual look of ‘help’ back, was not there. Fred looked worse in real life, and very much intact, than I imagined. Having just had a dog on the ‘red’ scale, I wasn’t instantly ready to move. My Asperger’s son however, got right into the game, taking Fred by the leash, looking at me and stated ‘Ready?’ with an unusually assumptive close.
We loaded Fred up into my topless Jeep, and Fred settled in immediately, looking familiarly at the neighborhood streets in South Miami as we ventured north to refinement and quiet streets. 90 minutes later, we got to ‘home’. As thin as he was, Fred pulled at the leash like a 2 year old Mastiff on steroids. He pulled everywhere he went, with his ribs straining at his coat like his shoulders strained against his collar. We tried bringing Fred inside, he instantly went into our backyard, blessing everything in sight. We brought out our high end dog food; Fred looked at it and looked away. I placed a couple pieces of kibble in his mouth, he held it there as if I’d placed rocks in his mouth, not chewing, not wagging his tail, just confused and a bit lethargic. Every one of his 20 extra warts, dark and white, his pus shaped v on his ear where another dog had bitten him, his ribs, his huge genitals, screamed ‘Wrong dog! Problem Dog!’. Yet we found ourselves as a family seeing the beauty in his bones, the beauty in his misery, his Gandhi-like presence in the middle of Miami’s war zone all led us to see we needed to take Fred in or maybe no one would.
Fred was immediately neutered, his litany of worms, including the dreaded heart worms were treated. His mange was taken out in short order, and his beautiful, deep eyes, were worked on to help bring him basic comfort the likes of which he hadn’t known since a puppy. ‘It takes a village’ applied to Fred like no other dog I had ever rescued. No less than 4 different veterinarian practices discounted meds and donated time. We found practices in towns we’d never visited mailed us heartworm and flea treatments, an Irish race horse vet administered the most important heart worm injections, and Fred began to get better as he began to learn houses weren’t for marking, and stairs could indeed be climbed, and cats weren’t for sport. And Fred got better. Fred developed a following, Fred, champion of Doggles, became a darling of social media. And Fred got better. Fred became a mini-celebrity for photo ops with local businesses, Fred, still parading a rib cage instead of a silky red coat, got better yet, had his first day of playing, his first day of fetch, his first bath, his first tooth brushing. And Fred got better. And the day came for adoption, and the list of applicants began to grow, and Fred continued getting better. My son, soon to graduate from high school, began to lament he couldn’t take Fred, “Fred’s legit”, and Fred continues to progress. And this is why we rescue, this is why we foster, because we don’t leave any behind, and we love the long shots as much as we love the sure things. They get better….
Skip & Christa Middleton
Boca Raton, Florida 2017