VIOLET - A victim of dog fighting and placed on death row...
then rescued and living the good life!

By Rebekah Piedad (Violet’s mama)
Photos courtesy of Rebekah Piedad

I stumbled onto Violet while she was awaiting death after a police confiscation. She was covered in scars and open wounds. I could see the outline of every bone in her body, and her teats were so huge and filled with milk that they were developing sores from being dragged on the ground. Violet was a victim of human cruelty. She had been forced to fight and to watch the dogs she beat finally lose their lives to a bullet in the head. Because she was such a survivor, they tied her to a horrible contraption called a rape stand in order to force her to breed. Eventually, her owners fled the police and abandoned Violet with no food or water and only her survival instincts to feed herself and her pups. Eventually, she found her way to the end of a dog-catcher’s pole, then to a cage in a kill shelter where she awaited her own death.

From the moment I saw Violet, I knew she didn’t stand a chance in the county system, so I pooled together my rescue resources and succeeded in getting her pulled from the shelter with only hours to spare. Her love and trust in me was immediate. I spent the first week treating her wounds, putting warm compresses on her teats to ease the pain and prevent infection from the sudden weaning (she left her 10 week old pups at the shelter, all of whom she was still nursing full time as the shelter staff didn’t see fit to feed the pups), improving her overall physical health, and otherwise developing a relationship with this beautiful girl.

As time went on, it became clear that Violet suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Her physical wounds healed, but the following year would present challenges as we dealt with fear aggression toward humans and fear aggression at the sound of gunshots—we live in an orchard in the country where guns are frequently fired by neighbors. She had an extremely high prey drive and red zone, fear aggression toward other dogs. But I just couldn’t give up on Violet. Every day she showed her gratitude and devotion to me with her snuggles, kisses, and her love of playtime. She even saved me from a 3 a.m. intruder one night! So I continued to help her work through her issues, and she has made huge strides. She has become a lover of all humans and has integrated very nicely into our pack that includes 3 other dogs with whom she plays and snuggles daily. Though gunshots still frighten her, she can now control her reaction and remain calm. While, at first, every bird or squirrel seen on a walk resulted in my shoulder being yanked from its socket, she now contains herself and resists the urge to lunge. Dogs outside of our pack remain a big challenge, but we find joy in the small improvements (of which there have been many!) and consider each success a milestone.

Violet remains a work in progress, but now she is happy, healthy, and improving psychologically every day. Most importantly, she is a loved and adored member of my family. At one point, I had thought to only foster Miss V, but it is quite clear to me that she will be at my side for the rest of her life.

Violet maintains her own blog, and this was her first post:
www.viciouspibbles.org/2010/09/day-i-became-violet.html