When I was rescued vets and evaluators estimated I was three years old. My original owner was the highest paid player in the NFL.But I was and had always been hungry. I never knew when or if I would be fed. In the summers I was hot and in the winters I was cold. If it rained I was wet but, the wet of the rain was a blessing. I could, at any moment, have been wet from the pool, where so many of my siblings took their final breath.
Crowds of people were awed at the way my owner could throw a football. I don’t think footballs scream or howl when they are slammed to the ground, the way my siblings did, before they died. I too lived with the roar of the crowd, it came with the smell of blood, and the sounds of pain. Crowds hidden in the woods, in buildings painted black so they would not be noticed, so the blood soaked floors and walls would not be found.
While the electricity of the NFL crowds, and the sounds of the games, fueled my owner, driving his adrenalin to it’s peak and heightening his performance.The electricity of the crowds, around my siblings, came with the smell of burning flesh and another death. The sounds of the “games” we were forced into, tore thru my soul causing my entire body to shake, as I would lower myself to the ground, trying to make myself as small as possible, so as not to be noticed, so as not to be next.
What my owner and his cohorts called sport, was to us, my siblings and I, a living hell. A life filled with torture and pain, surrounded constantly by the smell of death. For even when the woods and the black buildings were quiet, as dogs we could smell what had been. We knew nothing of a loving touch or a gentle hand. We had no concept of kindness, we only knew fear. Fear, pain and death.
The story of our rescue, of my becoming Piper, is pretty well known and easy enough to find. There is a link below. What is not known is what has happened since. How I became Piper Vick-torious.
Once we (my siblings and I) were released by the courts I was taken in by Animal Rescue of Tidewater and sent to live with my first foster family. They are trainers and are still a very large part of my life. They showed me how big the world really is, and how not to be afraid anymore. At times I am unsure. Humans call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s hard to believe that everything I knew for three years could really be over…gone forever. But with each passing day as I face each new experience, I get healthier and happier.
I’ve learned a vocabulary, so I understand when people talk to me. I have learned about toys, cats, birds, rabbits, and playing with other dogs. Best of all I have learned about kindness and love. I have learned that the human touch doesn’t always hurt, actually it can be wonderful. I have learned, I can ask to be touched and they will rub my belly. I am so glad I learned about belly rubs!
My first foster parents taught me all these things while they kept who I am, a secret. They kept me from the press, they didn’t tell the people that helped them with my training or the people that helped to take care of me. They kept me and trained me in secret until I was ready for testing the Canine Good Citizen and the Therapy Dog test. When the evaluator said I passed my foster mom cried, then told her who I was and where I had come from. The evaluator said “But she is so small.”
My mom said it was very important for me to pass these tests like any other dog. She said I came from a six year lineage of fighting dogs and that no one could ever doubt that I earned these honors on my own, and I did!
After the tests I went to work as a Therapy Dog and began living in my second foster home, it is now my forever home. I live with my new Mom and Dad, A big male Bulldog mix and a prissy female Border Collie mix. My prissy sister thinks she is so special but, I help children learn to read.
While I was learning and working my way to a new and better life, my original owner went to jail. He is out now and back in the NFL. Many humans argue whether or not he should be forgiven for the type of crimes he committed.
I say, “Whatever!” Everyone has to make their own decision about forgiveness. I just want humans to see that me and dogs like me, dogs of my breed, dogs that are tortured, and forced to fight. We deserve to be forgiven! We can learn a better way! We deserve a better life!
For more facts on this case: