This is Violet- some of you may remember her as the almost-starved to death pup I got in August of 2000- who had a dermoid cyst (hairy patch) on her eyeball.

She is doing great now, lives with a vet assistant, and has completed basic agility class.

She did very well in her training – her only problem is that she doesn’t see well out of the eye where the cyst was removed- but we never even noticed until she started agility- you would never know there was anything wrong if you saw her getting around otherwise.

You do have to watch using power tools around her- she thinks the sweeper and weed whacker need to die!!

She has come a long way in a short time, and shows little similarity to the starving pup found tied to a porch!



This is Oliver, who was a rescue pup I got at 5 mo (in 2000). He was from a “breeder” who ended up chaining him in their front yard, on a 2 foot chain, because they hadn’t been able to sell him, and the adult dogs were going after him.
So he basically lived like this for 2 mo or longer, until a repair guy coming to their house saw him there, and asked the owner if he could have him. They were glad to unload the pup, so he took it home to try to place it. After Oliver destroyed half his furniture and harassed his old female for a few days, she finally located me to try to find him a home.

I took him, and WOW, what a little “Shark” he was- NO bite inhibition at all- chewing all over your hands, arms, legs, etc (playfully, but HARD), chewing everything in sight, and HIGH DRIVE. Basically, a nightmare! But he was CUTE! My friend Liz was up for a challenge, and offered to foster him for me. He was a raging maniac for a while, but she got the nipping under some control and then enrolled him in obedience class – and eventually decided he would live with her permanently.

I’m VERY glad she kept him- with the amount of energy and drive he has, he would NEVER make it in a pet home- he NEEDS something to do, all the time! Anyhow, this is Oliver in one of his CALM moments! – he’s matured into a nice looking boy! Thanks Liz!!

This is Kip's Story (he was adopted 9-24-00):

In September of 1999, the story of Kip, AKA Big Boy, was made public. He was a victim of the usual hysteria and misconceptions surrounding “ex fighting dogs”. Kip was on “doggie death row” after spending almost 2 years locked in a cell, with little or  no human contact, waiting for the end of his owners’ court case, because he had been in used in a fight with another dog.


Kip’s case became public when I saw the following article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on 8-19-99:

*** Available to a good home: Full-grown killer pit bull. Dangerous, especially to children or other animals. Soon to be destroyed if not adopted…….The dog needs to be put to sleep, said the Animal Rescue League, which has housed the unnamed animal since police found it mauling another dog in Garfield March 1, 1998.  “It’s a danger,” said Tim Crum, the shelter’s director of development and public relations.”It’s a detriment to the public.  He is not adoptable. Oh my God, no.” ****


Thankfully, Kip had a lot of friends in high places rooting for him, and with much effort over several long weeks, they were able to get court orders to secure Kip’s release from his prison, to be sent to Spindletop Refuge in Houston Texas. There Leah Purcell would begin to work with him, and prepare him to be adopted and have the home he had been denied for so long. Kip arrived in Texas in November of 1999, where his first item of business was to RUN freely around the play yard until he dropped– something he hadn’t been able to do for almost 2 years.

Now, we have some long-awaited news to announce! Kip has finally found his FOREVER home! On  9-24-00, Kip went to live with a Texas family, including 2 young children – a 4 year old girl and a 3 year old boy. Leah reports that on the day they came out, the little boy was very shy but the little girl took to Kip immediately . Leah showed her how to walk him and taught her his commands. He listened to everything she told him and followed every command. He was very gentle and content with the children. Kip has now been in their home for almost a month, and they are all quite happy together!


Here is a small portion of an email Kip’s new “mom” sent me: “I love this dog! Me, Curtis, McKenzie (my 4 yr old daughter) and Drew (my 3 yr old son) just think he hung the moon. He’s adjusted to being here like I never thought possible. No one can believe how short of a time he’s been with us. He’s truly a blessing to us and a member of the family. I wouldn’t trade this dog for the world. ….He also LOVES apples sliced and cubed, he likes cream gravy, strawberry cheesecake is his FAVORITE and on occasion he gets a small amount of ice cream. He likes raisins, fried chicken (shredded, off the bone)and peanut butter cookies. There isn’t a whole lot that I eat that he doesn’t share with me…needless to say the diet he is on isn’t going to well….. He is such a good dog! I wish the people that knew him then could see him now! I tell people he went from caged killer to king of the couch! “


Kip’s picture with his new family is attached- you can see the big smile on his face.


Killer pit bull, indeed!


Although Kip is now safe and secure, there are many other residents at Spindletop that haven’t had their chance at a permanent home yet. Leah has placed approximately 350 dogs in the past 15 years (mosly APBTs and AST’s and mixes, but a few other breeds occasionally). There are currently over 80 dogs there waiting for homes, and donations are the only way they can keep their doors open to help dogs like Kip. You can make a donation on their website below, or sponsor a particular “orphan”. Think of them when you are making holiday donations!