About Miami Valley Pit Crew, what our mission is and how we began.
"Running a rescue" was never on our bucket list, and in no way did it sound like fun to us. How we got here will always be left open to speculation.
Blake and I (Collette) were dropped smack dab into the middle of the rescue world shortly after what we know now to be our "rescue dog," Caesar, had to be euthanized due to complications from epilepsy.
I was working at a vet clinic in 2008 when Caesar's owner dropped him off to be euthanized because he didn't want to "deal" with the epilepsy any longer. Since he was an affluent doctor at a local hospital, one would assume he would have had a little more compassion, but that proved to not be the case.
The doctors at the clinic refused to euthanize him, as epilepsy (if diagnosed early), has a high probability of being managed. The owner was asked to sign him over to the clinic, and THIS is where our journey began.
Days and weeks went by, to no avail. All of the poking, prodding and feeble attempts of convincing me to take him home weren't working. There was NO way I was going to assume that kind of responsibility.
I lied to myself.
Caesar became OUR dog on Christmas Eve, 2008.
~On a desk top? Click to enlarge each image and enjoy the gallery
Willingly taking on a sick dog is one of the most selfless, heartbreaking and rewarding things a human being could ever do. Our whole life came to a screeching halt and Caesar's comfort and quality of life became the only thing in the world that mattered to us.
It's not for everyone, but as we found out, it mattered to us.
Looking back, I don't know how we did it. The monthly financial burden alone would have been enough to send a medical professional into bankruptcy, but somehow we managed. Our lives totally revolved around that dog and his medical needs. Caesar was kept on a strict schedule and we adhered to it as though our lives depended on it.
We had only 8 months with our boy but he taught us so many life lessons - lessons that we later turned into running a rescue.
After Caesar's death I spent a lot of time searching for what my purpose was in this life. I never think that something just "happens." There are reasons. Honestly, I was lost without my boy. I was distraught and cried a lot. I guess I really didn't know what to do with my time. Looking back, one could say that I was in a very dark place.
It was at this time that I stumbled upon this thing called "rescue.' I believe to this day that Caesar had a paw in it.
Blake and I jumped into rescuing dogs almost immediately upon my discovery. We fostered one dog from a rural shelter in Kentucky who later went on to live with my in-laws.
We then found a local rescue, Luv4k9s, who showed us a literal hell on earth through their puppy mill rescue efforts. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity those ladies gave us. They taught us everything they knew and are a huge part of why MVPC is as successful today as it is. We took what we learned from them and ran with it.
I began researching these "Pit Bull" dogs and the more I read, the more disgusted I became.
I could not believe, nor understand, that dogs were being culled because they were born to look a certain way.
I have always been one to stand up for the underdog, and it was at this point that I realized it was time for me to stand up for a literal underdog - the American Pit Bull Terrier.
During my research I became friends with the director of the only Pit Bull rescue at that time, Luv-A-Bulls Rescue. She was instrumental in opening my eyes to a whole new world of hell on earth.
Blake and I attended every city council meeting from Dayton to Timbuktu, with one objective: to be a voice for the most ostracized dog in American history. A dog that used to be valued, honored and recognized for its loyalty, intelligence and unwavering love for family.
That was it. This is where we were supposed to be.
In the fall of 2011, I was introduced to a gal who had been independently rescuing pit bull dogs for a little while. Her husband was a police officer and he often confiscated these type of dogs from drug dealers, felons and the like. She had a dog that she needed to find a home for. We desperately wanted to meet him and Russ became ours.
We became official in early 2012 and we had a good run. We ran the best Pit Bull rescue in the state for almost 18 months, until unfortunate circumstances caused a rift. That rift became a separation.
As things tend to go in rescue, it was not an amiable separation. Truth is, it was quite messy. It was not something that I wanted, but I was not given a choice other than releasing her from her responsibilities and duties to this rescue we created.
When you're in a relationship with a person whom you consider a friend, in the true sense of the word, you never imagine something going wrong. We were friends, business partners and this separation can only be construed as a "divorce" of sorts.
One early Sunday morning in August 2013, we received a phone call from our local animal shelter about a dog who had been shot by a police officer while he slept.
This boy had been dropped off the night before and had been laying on the cold concrete floor, all night, with a bullet lodged in his shoulder. The volunteers were desperate to get him out and we could not say no.
Lt. Gen. Chesty Puller became the first of many severe medical cases that the Miami Valley Pit Crew rescued, rehabilitated and adopted out. He is the reason that the majority of dogs that come into the Crew are dogs with extreme medical issues (along with extreme medical costs), that most rescues simply cannot burden.
Every rescue has their niche. "Train wrecks" and "Impossible" are ours.
Chesty was later adopted by the director of the Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio. He went on to earn his Canine Good Citizenship certification, and to this day, continues to make us very proud. Our boy is paying it forward, daily, by working with other dogs who started out like he did - unloved and unwanted.
~On a desktop? Click the images to enjoy them in a gallery!
While we are extremely proud of our boy and all he has done, it would be amazing if the Miami Valley Pit Crew was given the credit for his rescue and rehabilitation. It is very hurtful to us to see false credit for this being taken and makes us question the motives behind it.
Rescues work selflessly (and most of us quietly) behind the scenes. It is only fair that credit is given where it is due. While we will always support our dog, we have great difficulty supporting the exploitation of him. This exploitation has been done to further his adopter in his journey to become famous.
We only hope that the pursuit of fame doesn't ever result in Chesty being neglected in the process.
Fame is fleeting, but the love of a dog is not.
Since 2013 Miami Valley Pit Crew has paid out in excess of $100,000 in medical bills for dogs who otherwise would not have had a chance at life.
We have seen injuries to dogs that would make the Pope himself lose faith in a higher power. Yet we persevere.
While our goal is to find good homes for good dogs, we strive to help as many dogs as feasibly possible to find love. In doing so, our faith is renewed with each one who successfully leaves us.
Miami Valley Pit Crew:
What makes MVPC truly stand apart from other rescues? We truly are a family. A family that consists of people from all walks of life, who contribute something different to make this rescue what it is.
We are a well-oiled machine, and until the day comes where we are no longer needed, we will press on with our mission.
My Caesar was dropped into my life and heart to show me what I was capable of doing. He visited me one final time in a dream, shortly after the start of MVPC. He then walked away forever, knowing that he completed his mission here on earth.
I will never forget him and in everything this rescue does, we honor him. I hope I have made him proud in this endeavor.
May we never become numb to the atrocities that happen at the hands of humans. My hope is that my dogs, all of them, go on to be the example that I know they can be.
Miami Valley Pit Crew