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FLORENCE, SC.......This is the face of Dogfighting in America.  This is what small minded, weak, in-human people do for fun.  Instead of being Man enough to protect an animal, they use an animal to act like they are the big Guy.  This has got to STOP in this Country and it has to start with all of us standing up for the innocent animals that are being used and exploited because they love unconditionally.  Our newest Victim is OTTO, a 3 year old Pitbull.  He wandered onto the property of a family that called Animal Control to report a sweet dog that was on their property and needed major medical care.  We were contacted last night and knew we had to immediately take action or this sweet dog would be put to sleep.  With healthy dogs being put down, poor Otto did not have a chance.  The Powers that Be in Florence jumped through hoops to help us get this sweet boy out so we could get him the immediate medical care he so desperately needed.  As soon as we got the call he could be released to us, we put someone on the road to pick him up.  With all of the injuries Otto has and the fact he is emaciated, he would not have made it more than a couple of days.    His life appears to have been one of pain and suffering based on all of the hundreds of old and new bite marks all over him.  The best we can come up with is that, he was in a terrible fight almost four weeks ago that caused significant injuries.  He was in another fight a little over a week ago that just about finished him off.  How he survived is a testament to his Spirit.  The injuries are beyond anything you can imagine.  Otto’s nose is completely gone.  His upper lip has been split and torn so many times that it is totally disfigured.  The inside of his mouth is one big abscess from another dog locking onto his jaw and twisting and turning.  The roof of his mouth is all torn up and his teeth are so exposed that we are going to have to do everything we can to save the teeth that are surrounded with dead tissue.  Otto is sweet, loving and scared.  We are going to give him as much time as he needs to learn to trust again. Otto will be with us for months healing.  He is going to have to have around four major surgeries to put his face back together again.  He will never have a normal nose but he will have something similar that we will be building with tissue we graph from other places.   We realize these pictures are distressing and hard to look at. The worst pictures are put at the bottom of his web page so you can read his story without looking at the pictures.  The pictures are distressing but they DO NOT convey how serious his injuries really are.  Only seeing him in person do you really get to grasp the severity of what this special boy has been through.  Otto is a sweet dog that didn’t ask for this.  He is a loving dog that was trained to fight to get love and affection.  He is doing exactly what he thought he had to do to please the person that had him.  This is a learned behavior and not one that is a normal behavior.   We help fighting dogs and Bait dogs all year long.  As they are healing, we teach them to trust again.  It is a long process and one that we never give up on.  These incredible creatures deserve unconditional love and that is what they are going to always get from us.  We will never understand how anyone could allow this to happen to Man’s Best Friend.  Be his Best Friend and help us help him heal and trust again.  That is the least we can do.


The Humane Society of the United States is working side by side with the South Carolina Attorney General, Alan Wilson, to offer up to a $5000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a dogfighter.  If you suspect dogfighting in your neighborhood, call one of the numbers below. YOUR IDENTITY WILL BE PROTECTED.  For more details about the reward program, call The HSUS at 202-452-1100 or the S.C. Attorney General's office at 803-734-3970. You can also call the new CrimeStoppers statewide hotline at 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372).  You may think that dogfighting doesn’t affect you but you are wrong.  Most of the dogs that are being used as Bait Dogs are sweet family pets that are stolen out of people’s yards.  Every dog is in danger of having this done to them.  if you live in an area where you know this is happening, don’t wait until this becomes your dog.  Act now and stop the abuse.


We did minor surgery this morning to remove dead tissue so we could grow new tissue we can use to join skin together.  He is comfortable and stable.  Loaded with parasites but eating.


Otto is doing good this morning, not great because we are ridding his body of all the parasites he has in his GI system.   We removed all of the dead tissue surrounding his teeth, gums and nasal area to start the process of joining the areas together.  As you can see from the picture, the tissue is now bright red and viable.  We plan on doing his first major operation on Monday or Tuesday depending on how he is feeling.   After this week, the pictures will start improving because and will not be so shocking.  Here is one showing the improvement in the tissue after the first surgery.  This part is critical to get the results we need.  The other issues we are dealing with is that he is anemic.  We have sent off a tick panel and a Babesia panel along with the regular bloodwork to isolate the cause of his anemia.  We should get some results back over the next few days.  We are also convinced that he is closer to two years old, rather than three based on his teeth and the fact he came back HW negative.


OTTO Update.....Our sweet boy is slowly starting to trust us. He is learning his way around the yard when he is not in the hospital and stopping to smell the flowers. His face is a little sore from the surgery but he is comfortable. We are still waiting for his final bloodwork to come back. We are still dealing with ridding his body of all the parasites he has. He should be better by the time we do his first major operation on Tuesday. He is eating and gaining some weight. He already looks a lot better. Life is good for this wonderful boy and he knows it. He tires easily because he is anemic but that is to be expected. Every day he will get stronger and stronger. Thanks for caring and sharing his story of survival.


Tomorrow is the big day for our sweet boy. His first major reconstructive surgery will be tomorrow. The tissue we have been making as viable as possible is now primed for the surgery tomorrow. It will not happen until late tomorrow. We are still waiting for the balance of his bloodwork to come back. We are repeating his Babesia test to confirm the test results. We are finally getting rid of his parasites and is starting to feel better. We have had Otto for a week and we are finally making headway with him feeling more secure each day with us and the doctors. He loves all the love and affection but is still wondering if something bad is going to happen. This will take time and we give all of our animals as long as they need. We DO NOT make them adjust to our time schedule for them. We give them all the time they need to heal medically, mentally and spiritually. We never give up and we keep them in a loving supportive environment so they can heal. I get asked all the time from other rescues and from individuals, when do I give up. The answer is always the same, I NEVER, EVER give up. Animals like Otto get whatever it takes, however long it takes, to turn them around.


OTTO Update.....Unfortunately, we got back one of our sweet boys blood panels that we had repeated and we discovered he has a tick born disease called Mycoplasma Haemocanis. It is similar to Babesia and affects the animals red blood cells which is why he is anemic and run down. We had to have his Babesia test re-done since it came by inconclusive. We are treating Otto for both of these parasites which he is responding well to. We will not be able to do any surgery until we get his blood values to normalize. These parasites are spread from Ticks that have them but are spread more readily from dogs that fight. One dog has it and it is transferred when a dog is injured and spread from blood to blood. Our little boy is so far able to fight off the worst of the parasite and we are hopeful with the proper meds, he will bounce back quickly. We had the trainer start working with Otto today and we have received lots of positive feedback as to what needs to happen to turn him around emotionally. Keep our sweet boy in your prayers.


We got the final bloodwork back on Otto that we had repeated and he definitely has Babesia in addition to the other blood parasite he has. We suspected this all along since he was used to fight and he was covered with old and new bite wounds. Since Babesia causes excessive bleeding that cannot be controlled when it is fully active, we are putting off any surgery until we get him stable. We will not have any problem doing the surgery once he is well because we have cleaned up the tissue so well and it has begun to granulate. Our biggest concern is getting him over the Babesia. We have had a lot of dogs with Babesia so we know all of the ins and outs of it. Otto is coming around slowly and is still as sweet as can be.


Our sweet boy's bloodwork is slowly improving. The problem we are having with the Babesia and the other blood parasite is that it could change and go in the opposite direction at any time. Right now his Red Blood Cells are regenerating which is what we want. When an animal has as many blood related parasites as our sweet boy does, we have to give the medicine time to work. There will be no surgery until he is stable. We have someone that works with him daily and a trainer that comes in and works with him to get him to come out of his shell. The minute he is stable, he will live with the trainer for a month and be with her non-stop to turn him around and get him to associate with people more and depend on them. He is still being fed by hand to reinforce his connection with us. This is all part of saving an abused animal. We do whatever it takes, whatever they need, for however long they need it until we get them to a healthy, happy place where they are comfortable. Otto is not aggressive toward people. He is very gentle and loving. The problem is that he is not trusting of people because of what has happened to him in his past. He will eventually come around. Thanks for caring about our sweet boy.


OTTO has had two major reconstructive surgeries and is doing great.   The pictures are graphic but that is because of the major surgery he had.  We have been able to stabilize Otto’s blood and keep his values up since before and after the surgery.  He is still being treated for Babesia.  His second surgery was to repair the hole in the roof of his mouth from a tooth during one of his fights. 


OTTO’S last surgery did not hold.  We are having him evaluated by another surgeon to see if there are enough blood vessels available to rejoin the balance of his lip.  He has already had six surgeries to repair his mouth, nasal area and lips.  The last two surgeries have not held due to lack of blood supply.  If the surgeon says his chances are not the best to have a better outcome, then we will not do any new operations.  It is very traumatic on him and making him wary of people.  Otto is with our trainer to give him a stable environment where he is being trained and socialized 24 hours a day.  Otto has a long road ahead but we will make sure it is filled with lots of love and compassion.


Part of Otto’s surgery did not hold and he will be back in surgery as soon as the edges start to granulate so we can attempt to join the front area again.  His surgery is so drastic that it is expected for parts of it to not hold the first or sometimes second time because of swelling and tensions.  Each time, his chances improve.  As soon as he is done with his surgeries he will go to our trainer.  He is definitely coming out of his  shell.


It has been a long process with our sweet boy Otto.  He came in destroyed and broken.  His Spirit had totally given up.  Otto was waiting for the final straw to finally deliver it's last blow.  He has been one of our most difficult cases.  It seemed like no matter what we did surgical wise, we would take one step forward and two steps back.  Dealing with his mouth and his nose were two very separate surgeries that both affected the  outcome of the other.  On top of all that, we had to deal with his Babesia bleeding disorder.  We have had Otto for almost four months now.  There has not been a day that has passed without us focusing on Otto and how to get the best possible outcome and still not break his Spirit.  He was sick of surgery and he needed surgery to survive.  The problem was that the tissue around his mouth and nose had been destroyed and we could not get anything to adhere to it.  His sinus cavity was destroyed along with the roof of his mouth.  We had to close up the area because infection was eating away what was left because of the exposed area.  It has been a nightmare.  We have had lots of surgeons work on him but finally decided we needed someone that would think outside the box and come up with a long term solution.  Dr. Kathy Wander was our person to do that.  After hearing what Kathy proposed and getting over the initial shock, I decided she was right.  Otto’s only hope of closing up his sinuses and his upper lip was to remove his front teeth completely, bone and all.  From there, she would have enough room to rebuild his sinuses, upper lip and finally fix the fistula he had in the roof of his mouth.  It has been two weeks since the surgery and it has held.  Otto is finally on the mend.  This part of his journey is finally over.  I thought I was never going to get to say this but this surgery was a success.  He doesn’t miss his front teeth one bit and can now eat better than he has ever been able to eat.  Otto is still with our wonderful  Trainer, Alison Armao, and will be until we have resolved as many of his mental issues as possible.  We are making wonderful progress and he can finally be in the same area as some dogs without going crazy.  We are cautiously optimistic with the results we have seen.  The best part is that he has gotten his Spirit back.  He is starting to love life again and is beginning to trust people.  We never give up on any of our rescues.  Once we take an animal in, we take them in for Life.  No matter what happens, we never give up on them.  We are all they have and we will never let them down. 


I apologize for it taking so long to get this update to everyone.  I wanted to make sure the surgery was a success this time before I gave everyone hope again only to have to say it failed 5 days later.  Otto is doing remarkable.  If his Babesia is still active after the first treatment, we will do another treatment until he is finally over this hurdle.  Thanks for everyone’s patience for continuing to believe in Otto and us and for making all of his surgeries possible.


Sweet Otto is doing wonderful and his surgery has been a big success.  None of his stitching has come undone and it appears it is going to stay.  Otto will be with the trainer we have hired until we feel he is ready to be placed in a loving home..  He is getting better with other animals but still has a strong prey drive which will not go away.  He is getting to where he loves people and is finally beginning to enjoy life instead of fearing it.  Otto will always be a special needs boy and will be placed with a family that will supply him the same loving encouragement we have been giving him.  Thanks for caring about our wonderful boy and being a part of his journey to recovery.

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