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Maryland Dog Magazine

Molly's Legacy

Feb 13, 2015 07:53PM
by Joan Allen

This is the bittersweet story about a brave dog named Molly, and her special bond with Lisa Morabito, the woman who fostered and adopted her.

Although it’s still painful, Lisa, programs manager at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), shares Molly’s story and the miracles that came from her short life.

It all began when a contractor surveying a vacant row home in Baltimore City heard a faint whimper in the basement and found Molly. Just a puppy, she came to BARCS on October 25th, 2012, with severe injuries from her life as a bait dog.

Pit bull puppies, like Molly, are frequently used to train a fighting dog or test the killing instinct of another dog in dog fighting rings throughout Baltimore City and surrounding areas.

Moira Liskovec, President of Small Miracles Cat and Dog Rescue pulled Molly from BARCS to provide Molly’s medical care. Molly endured seven hours of surgery the day she was found, and underwent many additional surgeries. Dr. Meghan Welch, a veterinarian with the Small Miracles Cat and Dog Rescue performed Molly’s surgeries. It seemed Molly’s recovery was going well. In fact, Lisa and Molly had big plans.

"Molly was going to be a certified therapy dog,” said Lisa. “We were going to do Humane Education together. She was already changing minds about pit bulls and making people see what an abused dog has to endure.”

The vet told Lisa that he was shocked that Molly could endure so much pain for such a long time. “I wasn’t shocked,” said Lisa. That was Molly. Her tail never stopped wagging. Her kisses were for eternity; and through everything she endured, she never stopped loving people.”

Then, on the morning of February 1, 2013, Molly appeared to be paralyzed from the waist down. Lisa took Molly to the neurologist and received devastating news. “Molly had severe infections in her body, from her back legs all the way up her spine,” said Lisa. “The infection was so bad the images showed no spine at all. The infection grew between her discs and caused them to fracture. Her vertebrae ruptured.”

Molly’s prognosis was heartbreaking. “She would never be able to walk again, she would be incontinent for the rest of her life, she would need multiple surgeries to repair her spine, and she would be in quite a bit of pain,” said Lisa.

Lisa’s first reaction to the news was to do whatever it took to keep Molly alive. “The vet kindly suggested I think about Molly,” said Lisa. “This wasn’t her only health issue. Her life would be cut short because of her lupus (an autoimmune disease).”

Lisa had to ask herself, is it fair to put her through more surgery, more pain, because I couldn’t bear the thought of letting her go?

After talking to two vets, close friends, and family, Lisa took Molly to BARCS to see her family there one last time. Molly, who went to work with Lisa at BARCS, was the office mascot, and made several friends there.

“We grabbed an ice cream on the way to BARCS. Then I held her in my arms, kissed her face, and told her I loved her as she passed. I never knew I could fall in love with a dog in just a few short months, but Molly wasn’t just any dog; and what we went through seemed like more than a lifetime for any dog to handle. I cannot put into words what Molly has taught me about survival, forgiveness, love, compassion, and life as a whole. I can only hope everyone is lucky enough to have their own Molly touch them at some point in their life,” said Lisa. And now Molly’s life story will live on as a lesson to people who abuse animals.

Senator Bryan Simonaire’s aide, Joan Harris, had followed Molly’s story on Lisa’s Facebook page, and reached out to Lisa about helping them write a bill giving more strict punishment to people who use bait dogs.

“We both felt it would be a great way to honor Molly and help other dogs,” said Lisa. “I went to Annapolis twice, once to testify in front of the House, and once in front of the Senate to get the bill passed. I told Molly’s story as clear as possible through tears and a shaky voice, and the bill passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.”

House Bill 542 states that a person may not use or allow a dog to be used in a dogfight or for baiting; arrange or conduct a dogfight; possess, own, sell, transport, or train a dog with the intent to use the dog in a dogfight or for baiting; or knowingly allow premises under the person’s ownership, charge, or control to be used to conduct a dogfight or for baiting.

The Bill also states that a person who violates this section is guilty of the felony of aggravated cruelty to animals, and on conviction, is subject to imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.

“It’s a great victory for other dogs who suffer at the hands of animal abusers, and while it doesn’t bring Molly back, it helps her legacy live on.”

You can help put an end to dog baiting and fighting.

Lisa Morabito, Programs Manager at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) says, “Report, report, report! So often people suspect something is going on but they don’t act on it or assume nothing can be done which is not correct. If you witness a dogfight in the act, call 911. If you suspect dogfighting is taking place at a location or suspect someone is involved in dog fighting, call 311. “Readers can also sign up to receive legislative alerts from HSUS of Maryland about animal welfare related bills. Make sure you call your elected officials about these bills. Let them know you want to see them passed if they’re in favor of our animals, and make your voice heard.”

Article by Joan Allen is passionate about dogs and their welfare, Joan has volunteered as a Dog Deputy for the Baltimore SPCA, has written feature stories for Baltimore Dog Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post, Baltimore Magazine, and many other publications.

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