Dogs have shown us again and again how resilient they can be — even in the most trying situations. That is certainly the case with survivors of dog fighting, who, despite the odds, often amaze us with their ability to love and trust humans.
The ASPCA has declared April 8th National Dog Fighting Awareness Day, and for good reason. The organization has a history of rescuing dogs from fighting rings, including the second-largest dog fighting bust in U.S. history in 2013.
We’ve written about two of the survivors of this dog fighting ring, known as the “367 dogs.” Both pit bulls, they have each been ambassadors in their own right.
Finn, known as “The Mighty Finn,” has incredible snuggling powers, while Theodore has a special talent for “pibbling” (which means being goofy). Both dogs have a knack for making other dogs feel at ease.
In 2015, Finn and Theodore — who were rescued from the same fighting ring, but had been held in two different states — met for the first time.
Trish McMillan Loehr, who is Theodore’s human mom (and a professional dog trainer and dog behavior counselor), told PupJournal,
“The thing that amazes me most about this fight bust dog is his resilience. Although Theodore was not socialized to strangers or other animals, he approaches new experiences and challenges with a happy wag and a gung-ho attitude.”
Loehr goes on to say that Theodore “has been amazingly friendly with dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and loves meeting new people. He is one of the funniest dogs I’ve ever met, you just never know what a day in the life of Theodore might bring!”
Andrea Kilkenny, also a dog trainer, and Finn’s human mom, shared similar sentiments. Finn has come a long way since he was rescued from dog fighting in 2013.
Kilkenny told PupJournal,
“Finn has become a favorite in our neighborhood. He loves the local barbershop, and Will, one of the staff, has special treats for him behind the counter. Finn loves going in to say ‘hi’ — and when we first got him, this was a big deal for him to walk into a new space.”
Kilkenny goes on to explain that Finn “loves people and other animals, but going into new places was scary for him.”
Finn and Theodore aren’t the only survivors who have gone on to have loving relationships with their humans and with other animals. A year and a half after the rescue of the “367 dogs,” this video was created to show the progress that many of the pups have made.