Her name is Sweet Pea. Aptly named, her gentle nature and readiness to give love are only the tip of the iceberg. This girl has been through all the worst experiences humans can create for animals. It’s a suffocating list of abuses that would leave most of us jaded at best and hopeless at worst. But not Sweet Pea. She survived, thrived, and rose all the way to the throne of ASPCA Dog of the Year.
Found in a Dump, Bleeding from Deeply Torn Flesh
A woman was outside in Camden, New Jersey when she heard a dog crying. She intently listened, following the sound to its source. The whining led her to a garbage dump. There she found a severely injured female Pit Bull. The dog had deep tears from her legs to her face. The Pit was in such bad shape that despite best efforts, the dog could not even stand. The woman called animal control to help. An officer came along to bring the bleeding dog to a local shelter.
Life Threatening Bait Dog Wounds Left Untreated at Shelter
The poor girl was in terrible condition. Her wounds were consistent with dog fighting and an ugly assumption was made. The abused dog had been used as bait, suffering horrible injuries as a result. When her bait wounds appeared to be life threatening, as they certainly were, her abusers took her to a trash heap and left her there to die.
According to reports and for unknown reasons, the dog was not given medical attention at the shelter. Instead, she was given a kennel and a one-week waiting period, required by law to allow time for a family to reclaim a lost pet. The shelter would euthanize her after that waiting period. Thankfully, a rescue came along to save her first.
The Gentle Dog is Given Her Name
Kathy McGuire, president of NJ Aid for Animals, was looking for another dog to bring into foster care with her rescue group. She happened to visit the shelter to find this torn up, sad, and pained Pit Bull and she knew she found who she was seeking. She placed the Pit in the backseat of her car, headed straight to Mount Laurel Animal Hospital. There, she received her name.
As the vet carefully examined the dog, she didn’t lunge or growl. These are common behaviors in abused, sick, and injured animals who want nothing more than to protect themselves from further abuse. One of the medial assistants commented that the dog was really just so sweet. That’s when it was decided. Her name would be Sweet Pea.
Sweet Pea’s Story Inspires Donations to Care for Her and Others
NJ Aid for Animals committed to making Sweet Pea a healthy girl again. That would require ongoing medical care, including surgery, at great expense. Turning to their followers on Facebook, NJ Aid for Animals asked for donations. Unsurprisingly, Sweet Pea’s story inspired donations to come in swiftly in large sums. Receiving more money than they needed to care for Sweet Pea, they launched a foundation in Sweet Pea’s name which, to date, has covered over $65,000 to care for abused and abandoned animals.
Sweet Pea Becomes the Official Face of Dog Fighting Awareness in NJ
Last year, Sweet Pea’s gentle personality and love of everyone led to an official Resolution from the State of New Jersey. As stated on the New Jersey Assembly Democrats Facebook, it reads:
Whereas: The Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey are pleased to honor Sweet Pea, a highly esteemed canine member of the Garden State community, who has been designated as the Official Face of Dogfighting Awareness and Be It Resolved by the Senate and General Assembly that this Legislature hereby lauds Sweet Pea and her remarkable spirit.
Billboards were put up all over New Jersey showing Sweet Pea dripping in pearls, tongue rolling out, posed under cherry blossom trees. As Kathy McGuire put it, “She certainly looked the antithesis of what you would think a dog fighting dog would look like.”
Honored as the 2019 ASPCA Dog of the Year
Sweet Pea was chosen as the ASPCA Dog of the Year for her fundraising efforts, kind demeanor, and improbable survival.
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