A friendly pit bull named Buddy is proof that not every dog raised for fighting is a lost cause, according to those who are part of his story.
Buddy was one of several puppies rescued last summer from a multi-state dog-fighting ring and brought to Charleston to prepare them for new homes.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals drew attention to Buddy to publicize the fact that Tuesday is National Dog Fighting Awareness Day.
Dog fighting is still a serious problem, according to ASPCA. It's also a felony in all 50 states.
Nearly 400 dogs were seized last August in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. Buddy was found tied to a heavy, weighted chain in a yard with hundreds of other fighting dogs, according to ASPCA spokeswoman Kelly Krause. Buddy and several other puppies were taken to the Charleston Animal Society.
Nicole Maki and Andrew Metzger of Goose Creek adopted him last month.
"He is still a puppy," Maki said. "He likes to dig and lie in the dirt. He loves to snuggle. He loves to be in whatever room we are in."
They fell in love with Buddy when he crawled all over them at the shelter. He was in the lobby wearing an "Adopt Me" vest and jumped on Metzger and started licking him.
"He jumped right into his lap and started giving him kisses," Maki said. "It was like he knew Andrew was going to be the tough sell."
They took him to a park to see how he got along with Cinnamon, their German shepherd Husky mix.
"They just immediately took to each other," she said.
They didn't learn about his background until the next day when they were ready to adopt him. It didn't bother them.
"When you have a dog that's wiggly and excited to see you and gives you nothing but kisses, that's not a dog to worry about," she said. "You can look at him and tell he's not a mean dog at all."
Buddy had never been involved in fighting, according to Aldwin Roman, the shelter's anti-cruelty investigator. He declined to say how many dogs from the fighting ring were brought to Charleston.
"We want to protect the safety of the dogs," he said. "Also, we want people to adopt for the dog is and not for its history."
The history of the dog is explained before the adoption papers are signed, he said.
None of the puppies taken from the ring had been involved in fighting, Roman said, Another dog from the group, Kaya, has also been adopted.
The first step in getting Buddy adopted was to find a foster parent to make sure he got along well with people and other animals.
Michele Wilkins of Mount Pleasant volunteered.
"When I met him, he was just a typical 3-month old puppy," she said. "Really, really rambunctious and full of energy. But we have three Chihuahuas and a pit bull so he learned quickly how to get along with others. He learned boundaries because if he crossed the line with one of them, they would let him know. He was easily trainable and learned basic commands easy. And, from day one, he was a love bug. He is a 'people pooch' and loves everybody he meets."
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.
Nicole Maki and Andrew Metzger Buddy was taken from a dog-fighting operation when he was puppy.×
Buddy (right) hams it up with Andrew Metzger, Nicole Maki and Cinnamon, a husky-shepherd mix.×
It was “instant love” between Buddy, right, and Cali, another pitbull.×
“He’s a lovebug,” Michele Wilkins, who helped get Buddy ready for a new home, says of the pitbull.×