Pulling for the Pibbles

By Joanna Dunn Samson, FOTAS Vice President


Luci was surrendered to the Aiken County Animal Shelter by her owner, who had been deployed overseas.

Olivia was picked up by Aiken County Animal Control, starving and anxious.

Harley spent the first part of his young life outdoors, starving and dodging abuse from the drug-addicts who claimed to own him.

Dante was found wandering the County roads in search of food. He was malnourished anxious and mistrustful.

Ginger spent her entire 2 years of life at the end of a chain. She has permanent scars on her neck and head from her chain and is heartworm positive (HW+).

All of these unfortunate animals are what we call “Pibbles” – pitbulls or pitbull mixes. Open admissions shelters across the country are inundated with Pibbles. It’s a real crisis. They are the hardest dogs to place, spend the longest resident time in the shelter, thus straining limited resources and space. Pibbles are euthanized in greater numbers than their less muscular, less energetic and less square-headed brethren.

Yet Pibbles make extraordinary pets and companions. Today, Luci and Olivia are companions to veterans and working on their service dog certifications. Harley has been adopted by a local, loving family. Dante is living the good life on a farm in Maine. Our dear Ginger, a little scruffy and scarred up, found her true love at an off-site adoption event at Stable View and spends her days loving and being loved.

Here is what you need to know about the Pibbles in the County Shelter.

Because it takes so long to find them homes, Shelter staff and FOTAS volunteers have had lots of time to observe and assess these dogs, so we’re confident they have the right temperament to make great pets. Our volunteers work with the Pibbles daily to channel their naturally energetic instincts and make them more adoptable – no small chore since 90% of them have never had basic obedience training or a regular routine of feeding and exercise.

Moreover, we work with our foster families and our no-kill rescue partners to find homes for these dogs when they are not locally adopted. We don’t need to transfer the cute, fluffy dogs that happen to come our way – they find homes in a heartbeat. We choose dogs for transfers that have been on the adoption floor the longest, which are, more often than not, our Pibbles.

For those dogs that aren’t selected for transfer or can’t be transferred out of state because they are HW+, FOTAS reaches out to its rescue partners to find them homes. If they need to be treated for heartworms, FOTAS funds the first six months of treatment (via the established slow-kill method).

It breaks my heart to see so many of these noble, big-hearted animals lined up in the kennels at the Shelter, desperate for someone to give them some attention, a little love, and a home of their own.

Dogs like handsome Bryon, who wags his tail so hard, it bleeds; or Rob Roy, a gentleman pit with the heart of a lamb; or little Tiger, who is wild about children and loves to play and kiss.

Please don’t wait. These dogs have done nothing to deserve their fate. They need our help.

Their lives are in our hands.