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Pit bull terrier pals, adopted after ordeals, back at Pinellas shelter awaiting new owners

CLEARWATER

Dogs that play together stay together. Or at least that's what shelter workers who nursed Honey, an abused pit bull terrier mix, back to health are hoping.

Early last year, the St. Petersburg Times wrote several stories about a mangy dog found wandering the streets of New Port Richey with a rope embedded in her neck and her head grossly swollen from infection. She was near death when residents corralled her and took her to a veterinary clinic for help.

People donated several thousand dollars to pay for the surgery required to remove the rope, which apparently had been left in place since the dog was a puppy. The Humane Society of Pinellas nursed the dog back to health and named her Honey because she was so sweet.

She was adopted in November.

Today, the golden-haired dog is back at the shelter.

The couple that adopted Honey along with Baby, another pit bull terrier mix that forged a strong friendship with Honey during her recovery, had to move and returned both dogs to the shelter.

"They are available individually" for adoption, said shelter spokeswoman Twila Cole, noting that "it's a challenge in itself" to adopt out adult pit bulls. "But because they are such great friends, it would be great if they could be adopted together. It just takes a special home."

When Honey was first brought to the shelter in December 2009, officials said the rope wound around her neck was so deep that it festered and caused an infection that swelled her head to the size of a basketball. Her ribs showed and she had little hair left because of mange.

"I worked in the animal industry for 12 years before I came here and it was one of the most graphic medical things I had ever seen," Cole said.

Two weeks earlier, Baby, whose owner had been incarcerated, entered the shelter.

The "girls" immediately took a fancy to one another, frolicking and pawing during frequent "play dates." Shelter workers placed them in cages near or across from each other.

They came up for adoption around the same time.

"Honey and Baby became very best friends," Cole said. "It just seemed so natural because they had walked that journey on two different roads, but parallel."

The couple that came in to adopt Honey heard about Baby and decided to adopt both dogs. But by April of this year, they returned the animals, saying their living situation had changed and their new landlord wouldn't accept their furry friends.

Honey was returned with a case of heartworms. But she has made a full recovery and is ready for adoption.

Cole describes both dogs, who are each 2 1/2 years old, as "playful, sweet and interactive."

During their last year and a half together, the dogs have bonded, but Cole says each is "very solid independently."

She says their paperwork indicates both were exposed to children ages 5 and up and behaved "excellently."

Now, they just need a home.

Keyonna Summers can be reached at ksummers@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4153.

>>Fast facts

For more information

Honey and Baby are both spayed, vaccinated and microchipped. The adoption fee of $75 each includes a bag of dog food, 45 days of health insurance and post-adoption support. For details, call the Humane Society of Pinellas, 3040 State Road 590 in Clearwater, at (727) 797-7722 or visit humanesocietyofpinellas.org.

>>Fast facts

On the horizon

Over the last three years, Humane Society of Pinellas officials say, the economy has steadily increased the number of animals brought to their shelter by owners who can't afford pet care or who are forced to move someplace where pets aren't welcome. The shelter, which currently has about 35 dogs available for adoption, offers a free food and supplies pantry. Officials also hope to open a free or low-cost pet wellness clinic in October. They are currently brainstorming on a pet resource hot line.

Pit bull terrier pals, adopted after ordeals, back at Pinellas shelter awaiting new owners 09/06/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 7:59pm]
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