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.

pibbling with theodore

Theodore, a dog fighting survivor. Source: Trish McMillan Loehr

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.

mighty finn dog fighting survivor

Finn, a dog fighting survivor. Source: Andrea Kilkenny

Related: Watch This Dogfighting Survivor Take A Warm Bath

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.

mighty finn dog fighting survivor snuggles cat

Finn, a dog fighting survivor, snuggles his cat sibling, Mush. Source: Andrea Kilkenny

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.”

theodore dog fighting aspca temporary shelter

A photo of Theodore taken in the temporary shelter after he was rescued in the “367” dog fighting bust. Photo credit: ASPCA

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.

mighty finn dog fighting temporary shelter ASPCA

Finn in the temporary ASPCA shelter after the “367” dog fighting bust. Photo credit: ASPCA

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.”

Related: Dogfighting Survivor Having The Time Of His Life At “Dog Camp”
dog fighting survivors meet

From right to left, adopted pups Theodore, Finn, and Lili. The three enjoyed a hike together in 2015. Source: Andrea Kilkenny

Kilkenny goes on to explain that Finn “loves people and other animals, but going into new places was scary for him.”

dog fighting survivor finn gives kisses

The Mighty Finn giving out kisses to friends in the neighborhood. Source: Andrea Kilkenny

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.

To help the ASPCA in its ongoing efforts to end dog fighting, you can make a donation through their website. You can also find both Finn and Theodore on Facebook.

pibbling with theodore dog fighting survivor sleeping

Theodore resting up between pibbling sessions. Source: Trish McMillan Loehr

Read more: A Tribute To Angel, The Pit Bull Who Inspired A Movement

 

 

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