When a couple decided to adopt a former bait dog, their lives changed forever in the best way possible. Bait dogs grow up in a very traumatic, stressful environment and often have severe wounds from dogfighting. However, bait animals don’t actually attack; they serve as punching bags for the other dogs to test their fighting skills. Dog fighters use bait animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and even wild animals, though dogs are the most common.

Dog fighters often wrap bait animals’ snouts in duck tape so they can’t fight back, and they may even break their teeth. The dogs then get placed in a pit or tied to a tree so they can’t get away while the game dogs to practice. Sadly, many bait dogs don’t survive the vicious attacks. The ones who do will have physical and emotional scars for life. Most countries have banned dogfighting. But it remains legal in a few countries like Japan, Albania, and parts of Russia.

Though the practice is illegal in the U.S., underground dogfighting is still rampant. The bait dogs who escape often go to shelters, where they finally have a chance at adoption and a normal life.

When Katharine and her partner Cody saw Bubby, they just knew they wanted to bring him home. They didn’t know what to expect regarding the dogs’ temperament, but they couldn’t let him stay in the shelter. He deserved a loving, safe place to live, and they wanted to give him that.

Katharine says when she first started looking for a dog, she didn’t know quite what she wanted. However, when she laid eyes on Bubby and saw his adorable smile, she immediately felt drawn to him.

Bubby’s transition from bait dog into a family dog

“I could tell right away that he had this personality even just through a photo where I was like ‘I want to know more about this dog,’” she said. “So, I emailed the rescue about him, and within 5 minutes actually, I had a phone call from the rescue.”

They told her about Bubby’s situation and asked if she could pick him up the next day. She hadn’t expected to have a dog so soon, but she knew the former bait dog desperately needed a home. So, she told her partner Cody, and they agreed to go pick him up.

When they arrived, Katharine saw firsthand the severity of Bubby’s situation. He was underweight by about 20 pounds and had many bare patches and scars from being a bait dog. Bubby not only had physical injuries and scars; he’d also suffered emotional trauma from his former life. Katharine said he was very closed off and distrustful of them at first.

“I was a little bit nervous because you hear pitbulls are just killers, and so obviously, I didn’t want to get myself into something dangerous,” she said. “But I couldn’t be happier that I brought this man home. I’ve had many dogs in my life growing up, and this dog is everything I could have ever wanted in a dog partner.”

Bubby warms up to his new family.

While Bubby may have been scared and traumatized at first, he quickly warmed up to his new surroundings and family. Katharine says he’s very gentle, forgiving, and loving.

“He has changed my life for the better. My mental health has improved so much since having this dog because it’s just impossible to be in my own head or be upset about my own problems when I look at him, and he’s just a constant goofball.”

The pitbull brothers love their new life together.

Bubby drags his blankets all around their house, smothers them both with kisses, or cracks them up in general. Their lives have improved so much since bringing Bubby back home with them. Plus, Katharine and Cody live and work in national parks all over the country as park rangers, so Bubby lives like a king! The couple also adopted another pit bull, Simon, from the same shelter as Bubby came from.

They both enjoy the freedom and adventure the great outdoors offers and have settled nicely into their new lives. Bubby and Simon get along wonderfully as brothers and really love the companionship. Sure, they may get into fights sometimes, but most of the time, they’re happy-go-lucky pit bulls. Coming from their life as former bait dogs, they have made a remarkable transition into family life.

Pitbulls, especially those who have been raised in traumatic environments, often get a bad rap. Many people believe them to be aggressive, dangerous, and not safe for children. However, even if they’ve grown up in a bad environment, pit bulls can be some of the most loving, sweet dogs. It all depends on how their new family raises them and what kind of training they give the dogs.

If you decide to adopt pit bulls from this type of background, make sure to do your research. It will take a lot of work and commitment, but you will have a dog bestie who will absolutely adore you. The satisfaction of knowing you saved the dog from a terrible past also makes the process worth it. However, pit bulls or other powerful breeds are not for everyone, and that’s okay too.

Final thoughts: two former bait dogs get a second chance at life

Bubby and Simon, two pit bulls raised as bait dogs, now have a wonderful life with their adventurous mom and dad. They get to enjoy beautiful scenery and nature at national parks all over the country and get smothered with love every day. Raising them is a lot of work, but Katharine and Cody couldn’t imagine their life without them now. They’ve come such a long way from when they first adopted them because of all the love and support they’ve gotten.

We hope all bait dogs and dogs in abusive situations, in general, will have a chance at a better life. If you know of anyone who’s rescued or adopted a bait dog, we’d love to hear the story in the comments!