When Abigail the pit bull came into a Miami animal shelter last November, the badly abused dog had lost an entire ear and part of the skin on her face. Her veterinarian would later suspect the pup had suffered the horrific wounds due to dogfighting, and the extent of the injuries initially put her life in question.
But thanks to expert care and a network of loving fans, Abigail not only beat the odds during that time of uncertainty but also bounced back to become "Hero Dog of the Year" last weekend at American Humane's annual awards gala. Now a loving family pet, Abigail secured the prize thanks to her unfailing optimism and serious fashion sense.
When graphic photos of Abigail's injuries first surfaced on Facebook last year, Victoria Frazier of the Florida nonprofit Love is Fur Ever Dog Rescue decided to step in. She worried Abigail might be euthanized, so she brought the little patient to Pets First Wellness Center for lifesaving skin grafts and wound therapy. The major operations left Abigail with a large scar over her missing right ear, and bandages that needed constant changing. Frazier started covering the dressing with headbands, and a star was born.
Abigail and her fancy headwear soon attracted a large following on social media, prompting people to send even more hats and accessories. After a few weeks in the hospital and several months with Frazier, the beloved survivor went to her forever home in Fort Meyers, Florida, where she lives with Jason and Megan Steinke, as well as another rescued pittie.
Ok ok too CUTE not to share! How many "LIKES" can Abigail get? Abigail said don't forget to VOTE!...Posted by Bonnets For Abigail on Saturday, April 8, 2017
"She had to endure suffering to get to where she is today," Megan Steinke told Today of her award-winning dog. "Then you see her today, and how forgiving and loving and inspiring she is." The proud owner hopes that Abigail's sweet personality will inspire others take chances on rescue dogs and disprove negative stereotypes about pit bulls.
Abigail beat out six other finalists to take home the top honor at the September 16 ceremony in Beverly Hills. All of the contestants, which represented categories like law enforcement, military and service dogs, fundraised money for a chosen charity. Abigail's win helped the nonprofit Dogs on Deployment, which benefits military pet owners.
"I think Abigail touched so many hearts because she suffered through so much, yet in every part of her life exemplifies gentleness and forgiveness," American Humane president Robin Ganzert told Today in an email. "So many of our hero dogs overcame great odds to do good things for others even when they themselves were in need of help."
"She is hope."Posted by Today Show on Wednesday, September 20, 2017
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