Now that Hurricane Irene has come and gone, it’s business as usual for the thousands of rescue organizationsacross the countrythat do dog’s work every day of the year, weather or not. You’ve read about Guardians of Rescuein this column before. Now, meet the newest Guardians member: a 70-pound pit bull named Pacino.
Rescuing Pacino has set the Guardians back about $15,000. Was the effort worth it? Dogsters, what do you think? Just check out the before and after photos of Pacino — that’s some impressive makeover!
As the Guardians’ Robert Misseri puts it, “Once you’re in, you’re in for good. Pacino is a symbol of the commitment that it takes to do this kind of rescue work.”
“Somebody took this dog and threw him out like a worthless piece of trash, and used him for sport,” Misseri continues. “But as rescuers, we found him and put all our energy and effort into saving him. So here are the two sides of the equation: The dirtbags who thought nothing of taking this dog, fighting him, keeping him as a bait dog, and then throwing him out. And then you have the side of what we do as rescuers. The people who threw him out couldn’t even imagine that someone else would put that much money into a dog they had tried to profit from and thrown out. But rescuers won’t hesitate to go broke and make tireless efforts to get dogs saved and rehomed.”
Pacino’s new life began in March, when two police officers on Long Islandfoundthe year-and-a-half-old dogwandering the streetat 2 a.m. “The officers witnessed the dog walking veryslowly, clearly in pain,” Misseri reports. “Hewas bloody, withbite wounds all over his body.”
The officers gingerly lifted the dog into the back of their vehicle; the dog complied sweetly, anddid not resist arrest. The officers were touched by the dog’s gentle nature.So instead of taking the animal to the pound, the officers chauffeured him to a veterinary hospital and contacted the Guardians.
The next day, the dog was transferred toDominick Marino of Long Island Veterinary Specialists in Plainview, where he was given the medical attention he needed — not to mention megadoses of TLC from the staff. “Doc Marino and his staff have gone above and beyond for Pacino, and we are very grateful to them,” Misseri says.
Because he had scarring over 60 percent of his body, the dark, handsome dog was named after the famously dark, handsome star of the movie Scarface.And K9 Pacino won the heart of a benefactor, Gail Waller, a Guardians supporter who contributed generously to help defray the cost of his hospital boarding. Gail is a huge Pacino fan: “She brought homemade chicken several times a week forhim, and spent quality time with him … shedeveloped a tremendous bond with this dog,”Misseri explains. “Before, he never knew what it was like to be someone’s pet. Now he’ll be ready to be someone’s perfect pet very soon.”
Meanwhile, renowned veterinary behavior specialist Peter Borchelt has been working with K9 Pacino. Dr. Borchelt is confident — as is everyone involved with this extraordinary dog– that Pacino’s strong, good heart and love of people will make rehabilitation smooth and easy.
“Pacino has a great disposition, and he’s great around people,” Misseri adds. “He’s an example of just how much effort goes into saving one dog’s life.”
The Guardiansbelieve that this dog might have beenthevictim of a dogfighting ring that was recently busted in the area. And so Pacino’s rescuealso offers a valuable teaching lesson:”A team ofGuardians, led by Brian Sperazza,has been posting flyers in the area where Pacino was found, both rewardflyers and noticesalerting the community to the dangers of having children exposed to dogfighting,” Misseri says. “We hope to raise awareness of dogfighting in the surrounding neighborhoods as well, so that we can put a stop to this terrible form of animal cruelty. And we’re working to gather information that will help authorities pinpoint other dogfighting operations in the area.”
Meanwhile, asK9 Pacino recovers from his physical and emotional wounds, the Guardians are searching for a foster home forhim. If you’re interested in lending a hand or sponsoring Pacino, contact info [at] guardiansofrescue.org.