From Battle to Bliss: The Inspiring Transformation of Dogs Rescued from the Brutal World of Dogfighting!

tank and his caregiver
Tank and his carer

Tank’s Silent Wisdom

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

If there were a way for Tank to recount his life story, it would surely be a saga of endurance and courage.

Known fondly as “the old man” among his caretakers, Tank navigates his environment with an unhurried grace, his vision and hearing diminished by time.

Yet, his composed presence signals a life rich with tales, hinting at a past filled with more than its fair share of challenges.

A Veteran’s Tale

Tank, a dignified twelve-year-old, holds the title of the eldest among 29 canines rescued from a grim dogfighting ring in Horry County, South Carolina.

This wasn’t the first encounter with such cruelty for Justin Wyatt, the local police captain tasked with overseeing the Horry County Animal Care Center.

“Dogfighting is universally condemned, regardless of background or beliefs,” Justin points out.

Despite dogfighting being illegal nationwide, it persists, haunting many communities years after high-profile cases brought the issue into the limelight.

As the operation to save these dogs unfolded, Justin was deeply concerned about their futures.

“Handling dogfighting cases involves complex considerations for any municipal or county body,” he reflects.

The priority was finding the right expertise to guide the next steps for these animals.

A Lifeline for Horry County

Helping underdogs rise up in Savannah

Help was closer than expected.

Jen Deane, a specialist in rehabilitating trauma-affected dogs, was already working with some of the shelter’s residents through a pilot behavior program funded by Best Friends.

This collaboration aimed at enriching and training dogs from tough backgrounds, underscoring Best Friends’ commitment to achieving a no-kill nation by 2025.

The grim fate that often befalls dogs seized in dogfighting raids weighed heavily on Justin.

“Misconceptions about these animals and legal concerns about liability put them at immediate risk of euthanasia,” he admits. Thankfully, Jen and Best Friends’ intervention offered a glimmer of hope.

After careful evaluation, a plan was set in motion to transfer the dogs to specialized rescue groups.

Tank, along with sixteen others, found a new chance at life with Renegade Paws Rescue in Savannah, Georgia, while the remaining twelve were welcomed by the Beyond the Fight Initiative in Palm Bay, Florida.

New Beginnings in Savannah

At Renegade Paws Rescue, each dog, now bearing names like Venus Moon and Nutmeg, embarked on a journey of healing and discovery.

“The sad truth is, being seized doesn’t guarantee these dogs a future,” Jen laments. “Without placement in a caring environment, their rescue could end in tragedy.”

Jennifer Taylor and her team at Renegade Paws were ready to embrace these survivors with open arms.

The rescue’s innovative Underdog Uprising program pairs each dog with a volunteer advocate, fostering trust and skills essential for a new life.

“Our advocates are trained to handle the unique challenges these dogs face,” Jen explains. “Frequent, dedicated interaction is key to their rehabilitation.”

Hope Flourishes in Florida

Ashley Dames’ Beyond the Fight Initiative serves as a sanctuary for dogs overcoming the shadows of their past. Following her biweekly visits to Savannah, Jen heads to Florida to continue her work with the Horry County rescues.

Ashley’s passion for helping dogs like these was ignited by Diamond, a former bait dog whose spirit and resilience inspired her to dive deep into animal rescue.

Each of the dogs in Ashley’s care, from the affectionate Willow to the energetic Doug, shows the incredible capacity for love and joy these “love bugs” possess, despite their harrowing pasts.

Tank’s Journey Continues

Meanwhile, Tank has found a special friend in Cindy Weimer, a dedicated volunteer at Renegade. Cindy was drawn to Tank, recognizing the challenges older, rescue dogs face in finding homes.

Through patience and cheese treats, Cindy is slowly but surely breaking through Tank’s barriers, offering him the kindness and affection he’s long been denied.

As Tank and Cindy’s bond deepens, it’s clear that this match was meant to be, united by their love for cheese and a chance at happiness.

Through the efforts of individuals like Cindy, Justin, Jen, Jennifer, and Ashley, the dark legacy of dogfighting gives way to stories of hope and redemption, one dog at a time.

For more amazing dog stories, continue reading these articles:

Share this post!
Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

no more bad dog breaths banner