In April 2011, the ASPCA helped federal authorities bust a narcotics, weapons and dog fighting ring in Halifax, Virginia
. After we removed about 40 dogs from a barren property where Pit Bulls were attached to heavy chains, ASPCA behaviorists evaluated the dogs.
One dog stood out: Mallie, a petite and cheerful Pit who rolled over submissively to every other dog. Mallie (short for Mallomar) was eventually placed with Animal Farm Foundation, an upstate New York organization that specializes in Pit Bulls.
Meanwhile, Nancy Vaughan was looking to adopt what she calls a “real dog.” “We had recently lost our black Lab,” Vaughan says, “and I was missing having a dog dog. We have two large Greyhounds, but they’re very cat-like.”
Vaughan saw a flyer for Animal Farm Foundation at her vet’s office and decided to make a call. She wanted a dog who would defer to the Greyhounds, six-year-old Dealer and nine-year-old Flint, and who would be a playmate for fun-loving Dealer. To Animal Farm Foundation, that sounded just like Mallie.
Vaughan and her husband brought the dogs to meet Mallie, and the diminutive Pit had no idea what to do—Vaughan laughs, “She’d never been around dogs that big and didn’t quite know what they were. Then we realized that since she was rescued from a fighting ring, she had probably never played.”
The Vaughans didn’t think twice about Mallie’s background—they could tell right away that she was a wonderful dog—and brought her home to their 41-acre property, where Mallie runs around all day and snuggles up on the couch with Vaughan in the evenings.
Mallie is great with the Greyhounds, who gently instruct her in which behaviors they will and won’t tolerate, and she proved a quick study in the art of playing. (“She’s now a master Frisbee player,” Vaughan notes.) Mallie’s one behavior issue? Too much interest in the local chipmunks, though Vaughan says she’s learned how to redirect Mallie’s attention. “You can’t help but smile when you see her in action. She’s just a fun, silly dog,” adds Vaughan. “I really wish people would not be fearful of Pit Bulls. We’re really happy with ours, and she’s in heaven here with us.”