McCaela, Kanab, UT

Hi! I’m McCaela! My story started on January 31, 2013, when I was discovered.

I was chained in an abandoned building on Fearing Street in Toledo, OH, with 5 other fighting dogs. All of us were malnourished, full of fleas, ticks and worms, in horrible condition, torn and scarred. Two of us had legs that had been broken and never set. That day we were christened the “Fearing Six.”

Up until this point in time, all fighting dogs seized in Ohio were immediately euthanized. Or they were held as evidence until the trial was over and then euthanized. The Vicktory Dogs (dogs seized from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels) changed the way the country looked at fighting dogs. The Fearing Six were the first fighting dogs seized in Ohio that were individually assessed for rehabilitation.

Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer from Bad Rap came to Ohio to assess the six of us. They felt that we all had potential, but the municipal shelter director felt that two of us were just too aggressive and unpredictable to work with, and were humanely euthanized.

Tim and Donna loved me…and said they wished they had room in their program, because they would have taken me in a heartbeat. But there just wasn’t room for me.

The other three dogs quickly got picked up by a Pit Bull Rescue Group. But no one was really interested in me. It might be because of the way I looked……I am a big girl, my eyes kind of bug out, I’m missing half of one ear and the other one has been ribboned. I am scarred over most of my body, and one of my front legs was badly broken and never set, so I kick that leg out to the side when I walk. Maybe it was because I am Babesia positive…which means I have a blood-borne parasite that can be very expensive to treat.

For nine long months I lived at the shelter. The staff was almost ready to give up on me, but the Lucas County Pit Crew believed in me. They started networking me. Some amazing people and groups got involved. Vicktory Dog Oscar’s mom Rachel hosted a fundraiser for my medical costs. Jasmine’s House rescue (named after another Vicktory Dog) pulled me and sent me to Salt Lake City to be fostered while a permanent home was found for me.

My first foster was temporary…just until I could find the right family to live with, and it was not the right fit for me. And since there was no other place available for me, Kate from Jasmine’s House had me boarded at a vet’s in a cage. Every day Kate would come see me and walk me, but she knew that wasn’t a happy place for me to be.

So she reached out to the pit bull network to see if anyone had any ideas. Vicktory Dog Handsome Dan’s mom Heather said, “I have an idea…give me a bit to check something out.” She knew that Vicktory Dog Ray’s parents had just lost another dog. In less than a year, three of their dogs had passed away: two from old age and one to a spleen tumor. Maybe they were ready for another companion.

In Fredonia, AZ, Ray’s parents Kevin and Jacque were feeling that their home was sad and lonely. Ray was unhappy and moping without his lab sister. They had started looking for just the right dog to bring home. They had some criteria they felt were important, given Ray has some special emotional needs. They were looking for a calm, older female dog. Ray has Babesia, so another dog with that parasite would be okay. And they knew they wanted a pit bull terrier type of dog.

Both of Ray’s parents had fallen in love with muscular, blocky-headed dogs. Heather emailed Kevin and asked him, did he think they would be interested in a dog like me?

A week after the 4th of July, Kate and Vicktory Dog Halle’s mom Traci drove me from Salt Lake City all the way to Kanab, UT, to meet Ray and his parents on neutral ground at Best Friends Animal Society’s sanctuary.

Ray’s mom walked him around Angel’s Landing while I walked with Kate. Ray was very aware of me, and kept watching me, but he didn’t bark or lunge at me. That was a very good sign. Ray has problems with dogs that are too interested in him…they scare him. But I am so easy going that I wasn’t threatening to him at all.

Kevin sat in the grass and talked to me, and I rolled over so he could rub my pretty pink tummy. That’s when he found out why I was nicknamed Turtle…when I get on my back I can’t flip back over without help. 🙂 Kevin and Jacque decided I was perfect and could come foster at their house.

So Kate, Traci and I followed them to Kevin and Jacque’s house. They stayed for awhile to make sure I was comfortable there. Kate wanted to make sure that the house was safe for me. Ray’s parents have baby gates installed to keep new dogs separated, and their yard is divided in half with six foot fencing. Kate and Traci gave me a hug and a kiss and left me.

I felt right at home immediately. The house smelled like dogs, and there were fluffy beds, soft couches, marrow bones and toys. I fit in pretty seamlessly. In fact I fit so well that mom called Kate the day after I got there and told her to send the adoption contract. She laughed and said I was a foster failure. I guess that’s good, because she hugged me and said I never had to go anywhere else again.

I do have some quirks my parents had to deal with. I am highly food-motivated and my folks were concerned when they saw how fixated I am on eating. I bolted my dinner so quickly they were afraid for my health. But they figured that out pretty quickly. I get my wet food in a slow-eat bowl and my kibble in a bobble toy. That takes me quite awhile to get all my food out.

I also had a very bad habit of jumping up on people. Mom taught me right away that she wouldn’t look at me if I jumped up. But if I sat down in front of her I got lots of love, kisses and treats. So of course I sit down nicely now! It’s a lot more rewarding than jumping up ever was!

Ray and I take walks together every night. Eventually my parents hope that we can be in the same area together. I have great dog skills, but Ray really doesn’t. Until then we play bow at the baby gate, and get zoomies together. We lick each other’s faces. Someday soon we will be able to play together.

I’m a lover not a fighter. And even though I have health issues that are a reminder of my time when I was forced to defend myself, I am a very happy girl. I have never met a person I didn’t love. My butt wiggles so hard that my tail almost smacks my sides. I even like most dogs….just not the small fluffy ones…..they annoy me. 🙂

I have a wonderful life now. I always have someone with me (I have some pretty severe separation anxiety). I get great meals and treats. I get to have wonderful car rides, and every night I get to snuggle with mom and dad on the bed until it’s time to go to sleep. I’d like to stay there all night, but mom says the bed belongs to the cat at night. I don’t think that’s fair, so every night I play possum when it’s time to go to my crate. Sometimes I even snore. But my eyes keep popping open to see if the parents are buying it.

They haven’t yet.but someday I know they will!

McCaela the Turtle

Parents: Jacqueline & Kevin