By Lindsay Brandt
Point Park News Service
Gracie the Pit Bull was a puppy when she showed up at Michael Delahonty’s church and never left because of a Pit Bull rescue group.
Ferdinand was rescued and placed in a safe home from “an alleged hoarder/ dogfighter/ backyard breeder in Jefferson County, Ohio,” said Nicole Meloy, the event and fundraising coordinator for the group Hello Bully, which cares for abused Pitt Bull Terriors.
“This is my first dog,” Jennifer Brown, who works with Meloy, as Ferdinand nuzzles up to her and puts his head on her lap. Ferdinand’s new owner said. “I will always have a Pit now.”
For the past six years, the Pit Bull rescue group, Hello Bully, have taken in these wide-jawed dogs know as savage fighters, fixed what is wrong with them and placed them into loving homes.
“We sent anywhere from 5-12 volunteers a day over a six week period to help care for these dogs while they were being held in a temporary facility until they could be released into rescue. Some dogs had scarring and some were a bit malnourished, but as soon as they saw you, they wiggled like crazy even though they had lived all of their lives on a chain. This was a historic case because it was the most dogs that were ever seized out of one yard,” Meloy said.
A Bully Pulpit
Hello Bully was an organization started by Daisy and John Balawejder. “According to Daisy, a Pit Bull saved her life and she has dedicated hers to helping them in return,” a senior volunteer Jessica McNeely said. Daisy is now the president of the organization.
This organization is Pittsburgh based but they want to get as much knowledge out to the population as possible.
Hello Bully was started to help save the lives of Pit Bulls and to get proper knowledge out to the public about the breed. Volunteers help set up fundraisers, adoption fairs and training sessions for Pit Bulls.
A Little Help From Her Friends
Delahonty got involved because he was friends with Donna Winnie, the veterinarian who opened up her story for monthly bath sessions. Since he had his very own Pit Bull, Delahonty decided to join the group and help out as he could.
“Gracie is our little guardian,” Delahonty said. He then went on to explain that when Gracie showed up at the church his wife was fighting cancer. “This dog stayed by her side during the entire fight, She wouldn’t leave her alone.”
“Pit Bulls have a desire to serve. If you are a bad owner, the dog will serve but in a bad way. This breed needs good owners,” Delahonty said.
Ferdinand was rescued along with 200 other dogs. The organization will collect the dogs and figure out which ones can be saved and trained to be sweet dogs that will go to loving homes. The Humane Society paired with Hello Bully to save these dogs.
Ferdinand is a seven-year-old whose face and body is covered with scars. He was the legacy of a fighting dog, now he is a sweet dog that loves to be around his new owner. He was very quiet and shied away from the other dogs at the Bath-a-Thon. Nevertheless, Ferdinand’s new owner liked his heart and quiet nature and adopted him.
“I fell in love with him! He also loves cats, which is a bonus,” Brown said.
On April 30th, it staged its first annual bath-a-thon to raise money to continue its work at 4885 A McKnight Road Suite 197, Pittsburgh, Pa 15237.
Donna Winnie a 30-year veterinary technician with just the connection of loving all animals started the Bath-a-Thon; she invited Hello Bully to have their very first Bath-a-Thon at Greenfield Grooming Salon 4028 Beechwood Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. For $25 the dogs will get a wash and dry, ear cleaning and their nails trimmed. “All of the money goes to the organization.”
There are different Bath-a-Thons dedicated to a specific breed and organization. You do not need to have that breed to show up at the Bath-a-Thon though.
If you want to volunteer with Hello Bully you can go the website, http://www.hellobully.com/index.html and sign up there. You will need to have a training session and you can go from there.
“I don’t have an exact number but I would say that we have saved hundreds through our free spay/ neuter program, Pit Fix Plus,” Meloy said on how many dogs they have saved over the six years since they opened.