When two pit bulls were discovered dumped in a park just outside of Philadelphia, people assumed they were dead. One of them, whom we’ll call Gracie, was cold to the touch. Layla, her friend, was snuggled up close to her, as if attempting to protect her.
Officer Russ “Wolf” Harper, cofounder of Justice Rescue, told The Dodo, “She would not leave her side.” “When someone approached too close, her friend sought to hide the other… It was almost as if she was willing to endure the punishment for the other.”
Officer Harper is tall and has tattoos all over his arms, a beard and a shaved head — but he has a remarkable talent to comfort dogs with what he describes his “girly 10-year-old voice.” And that’s the first thing he tried when he saw these dogs when he got at the park.
“I got down on my knees and summoned my girlie 10-year-old voice,” he explained. “Then Layla comes over to me with her tail bouncing but her eyes clenched, as if she was ready to be hit.”
She eventually approached and took some pets on her nose and brow. She then raced back to her friend.
Harper was eventually able to get close enough to both dogs to cover them with his thick police gear to keep them warm. So he grabbed them and raced them to the vet, bracing himself for the worst.
Harper was terrified that Gracie might have to be euthanized since she was so cold and feeble. Both dogs were badly emaciated and covered with wounds and scars.
Harper could tell from their wounds that the young dogs had been used for fighting their entire lives.
“Some are quite old, while others are fairly new,” Harper remarked. “They were both covered in fresh bite wounds… They’re just about two years old, and they’ve only known abuse and fighting.”
“Gracie was on her deathbed,” Harper recounted. “The vet gave her fluids and started warming her up.”
Harper has been devoted to dog rescue for years, even training as a police officer so that he may be the first on the scene when police receive complaints of cases like this one.
“Child abuse, domestic violence, narcotics, firearms, and other gateway crimes are linked with animal abuse.” Harper stated.
The police are not normally trained to deal with animal cruelty. Harper and his cofounder started Justice Rescue to fill this vacuum. They underwent law enforcement training and were recognized as special humane officers. They’re now certified as crime scene investigators, which will help them uncover abusers and submit evidence to district attorneys. Harper has been able to help in the busting of dogfighting rings as a result of this, rather than waiting for the canine victims to surface someplace first.
Gracie started to grow substantially stronger.
Harper altered when she went to the vet for a visit. “Gracie spotted me and stood up,” Harper explained. “She started feeding off my hand. She recognized me… She seemed interested in following me around. I sat down, and she sat into my lap.”
But the next day, Layla fell and required rapid medical assistance. She eventually healed, but both dogs are still in poor health.
Harper noticed that they seem startled that they have been rescued: “They’re loving the attention but aren’t sure what to do with it.”
Gracie and Layla will remain in the vet’s office for nearly a week. They’ll then go to Harper, who will help them rehabilitate, get them some basic training, and help them how to trust again. When they are ready, they will be adopted into the suitable home.
“In a lot of cases, dogs attach so closely because they don’t have anyone else,” Harper explained. They can’t believe how many individuals are aiding them in getting healthier. “They just stare at you. They only stare, as if to ask, ‘Is this real?’”