Wednesday, April 28, 2010


By Bridget Keenan, Director of Development

I got a call from a woman named Sarah recently. She was near tears and desperate to find help for a sweet pit bull who came up to her in her grocery store parking lot. Although she lived near Sacramento, she had gotten my name from a friend who had come to HSSV for a tour and was so impressed with the work that HSSV has done in our community.

This little 1-year-old pitty had jumped in her car when Sarah was loading her groceries, and wasn’t planning to leave. He clearly had been abused in his short life, with multiple scars on his body, and his ears mutilated and butchered by an apparent home-done cropping job. Despite his appearance, he had the mellowest disposition, laying in the front seat with his head on her lap while she drove him directly to the vet to check for a microchip.

It turned out there was no microchip, and she knew that his owner who did this to him didn’t deserve to get him back. But she also believed that someone had probably tried to train him to be a fighter, but because of his sweet nature it was clear he never would be one, and they likely abandoned him. And so she named him “Ferdinand”, after the famous children’s story, “Ferdinand the Bull”. As you may remember, Ferdinand was a bull that was believed to be mean and vicious, but he’d rather smell flowers and make friends than fight. What a perfect name!

After hearing her description of sweet Ferdinand, I wanted to help, too! Sarah had a friend who was fostering him, but had to leave town in a few days and Sarah couldn’t take him for long herself. She didn’t want to drop him off at her local shelter, because they had a lot of pit bulls, and she feared he’d potentially be euthanized due to space or time.

I checked here at HSSV, but HSSV can only accept pit bulls from Santa Clara County due to overpopulation issues we have with this breed. But even if that weren’t the case, there were no vacancies at our canine foster family homes. (As a side note, we need canine foster homes! Let us know if you can help!)

But I fear not! HSSV has been known to help save lives in other ways. I called my friend Dustin at Butte Humane Society (BHS) in Chico, about 90 minutes north of Sacramento. As a favor, Dustin pulled strings and Sarah was able to bring Ferdinand up to them. Like HSSV, BHS doesn’t euthanize any adoptable pets, and I knew Ferdinand would be in good hands. And he was!!

Not only did many staff members anxiously await this special boy’s arrival, but his many photos and their thoughtful and enthusiastic write-up on their website was worthy of a Pulitzer. He quickly found a home with a lovely couple who understood pit bulls and had a puppy that needed some company. Ferdinand now has a little sister!

But that’s not the end of the story. Ferdinand soon will be having a “glamour photo shoot” because he may be included in a pit bull organization’s 2011 calendar! Word has spread, and he has become quite famous!

Ferdinand certainly chose well when he spotted Sarah in that parking lot, and I’m so glad Sarah reached out to us so we could make the connection with Butte Humane Society. The staff there did a great job in finding him a home. It’s encouraging to see what can be accomplished by organizations that work together for an animal’s future. Here at HSSV, we’re saving one life at a time, quite often behind the scenes, and even for pets that never make it on to our own website.