When Willa, a blue Pit Bull, was found wandering the streets of Los Angeles, she was starving and suffering from infected abscesses on her face and neck. At first glance, it seemed as though she was one of the unlucky dogs…stolen and put into this life of dog fighting and abuse. When the shelter checked her microchip, it was revealed that her owner had had a long, dark history of dog fighting. The person she was running from was not a stranger, but her own owner. Even though Willa was found as a stray the local shelter refused to release her back to her owners.
Willa’s markings were symptomatic of a bait dog. She had scarring all over her body including bites and scratches that were fresh, others older and infected. Her teeth had been filed down to nubs so she couldn’t bite back. Bait dogs like Willa are used to test a dog’s aggressive, fighting instinct. They are tied up, their mouth taped closed and left inside the dog fighting ring.Many bait dogs do not survive an attack. Remarkably, Willa had survived and made the daring escape to find help.
When people at Karma Rescue, a nonprofit animal rescue group based in Los Angeles, heard about Willa, they immediately pulled her and provided her with the love and medical attention she needed. Alex Tonner, Willa’s foster mom, nursed her through the first tumultuous weeks. She suffered severe anxiety, refusing to even make eye contact.
By the third week, Willa realized her past was indeed behind her and she let go. All of her pent-up anxieties vanished and her kind, gentle, forgiving spirit shined through. Willa knew she was safe now. She was perfectly content to be by Alex’s side.
Today, Willa has been adopted and is now living with four other dogs on a three-acre property in Pacific Palisades. Willa’s favorite spot is sleeping among the family’s two girls, both under ten years old.According to Alex, who visits often, “Willa is the happiest dog on earth!”
Willa is a part of the Karma Rescue Canine Good Citizen program, testing other Pit Bulls for their Canine Good Citizen certificate, dispelling the misconceptions about Pit Bulls.
To learn more or to donate to Karma Rescue go to www.karmarescue.org.
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