“Judging others doesn’t define who they are it defines who you are” - Wayne Dyer

No one is safe from discrimination. Turn on the television and you will be inundated with media reports regarding people being judged based upon their race, age, gender or sexuality. The reality of discrimination is it has no boundaries whether human or animal. Dogs are judged and restricted under Breed Specific Legislation. These laws impose bans or regulate a breed of dog judged to be dangerous. Tragically, these laws can result in euthanizing dogs solely based on breed or the appearance of a breed, unjustly deemed aggressive, and therefore, perceived to be a threat to public safety. Pit bulls are one such breed. Ironically “pit bull” isn’t even a breed, but rather a term used to describe numerous breeds such as Staffordshire Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terrier and American Bulldogs. The unfortunate reality of kill-shelters is the high percentage of “pit bulls” deemed unadoptable and euthanized solely based on breed.

Emma, a nine-week old “pit bull”, was dumped at Chicago Animal Care and Control, a high-intake, open-access shelter with high euthanasia rates. On January 28, 2016, Fetching Tails Foundation learned of Emma and heartbreakingly knew all-to-well Emma’s odds were extremely poor of making it out of the shelter alive, simply because she was a “pit bull” mix and would be judged to be a danger. Volunteers at the Foundation said, “Emma is just a baby; we couldn’t let her life end at a kill shelter before it even started.”

They immediately began working on rescuing Emma from a death sentence. The very same day a foster family stepped up and Emma was transported to Fetching Tails Foundation. Emma displayed a wonderful temperament despite negative judgment regarding her breed. She played politely and loved to snuggle with literally everyone she met.  Emma was in the care of her foster family for two days when this happy go lucky, active puppy alarmingly became lethargic and feverish. Emma was rushed to Schaumburg Veterinary Hospital where she was diagnosed with the dreadful parvovirus. It severely affects the intestinal tract and can damage the heart muscle causing lifelong cardiac issues in young animals. Emma was gravely ill as she was in gastrointestinal distress. The medical treatment necessary to save her life would come at a high financial cost. Fetching Tails Foundation said, “We don’t shy away from medical cases, but her case was unexpected and we are determined to do everything possible to save her life.” Fetching Tails Foundation reached out to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and was awarded an Emergency Medical Grant to assist with Emma’s medical expenses.

Emma received round the clock care consisting of fluids and antibiotics to fight the Parvovirus infection. Emma’s medical condition improved slightly each day. Following a six-day hospitalization, she was released back into the loving care of her foster family who continued to give her antibiotics and prescription food to assist in her recovery and help her regain her strength. Thankfully, Emma made a full recovery from her Parvovirus crisis and is a happy, healthy growing pup. Fetching Tails Foundation reported, “Emma came through her illness like a champion. She was a model patient at the hospital.” Emma’s foster family could not imagine their lives without her in it permanently so as soon as she was medically cleared they formally adopted this loving pup. Emma, now known as Phoebe, is paying it forward as her family continues to foster other dogs in need through Fetching Tails Foundation. Her family describes her as “a delightful foster sister for her Fetching friends.”

Fetching Tails Foundation reached out to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation to say, “We are so grateful for ISF’s support for our organization. With your financial help, we were able to provide Emma with the best care at a 24-hour veterinary hospital where she was closely monitored during her long stay. Your assistance to ease the big financial hit allowed us to focus only on providing Emma with the love and the emergency care she needed to survive and we can’t thank you enough. You really make a huge difference in the lives of animals in need.”

The Ian Somerhalder Foundation would like to thank Fetching Tails Foundation for saving Emma’s life. Emma’s recovery clearly depicts she is an aggressive fighter, not in the discriminatory way her breed is judged, but in the best way possible.  She aggressively fought to heal from a terrifying diagnosis of Parvovirus and she won.

Written by Theresa  Blangiforti

Edited by Bob Stone