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Pit bulls are a breed that get a bad reputation for what people have trained them to do through neglect and abuse. When a dog is violent, it’s not the dog’s fault nor is it a defect of the breed; humans are the ones to blame.
Most Pit Bulls are actually completely loving dogs, but that doesn’t stop them from being euthanized in high-kill shelters because of their breed.
Mario Rodriguez and his family are Pit Bull lovers; they had two already and a third, named King, just recently passed away. So when Mario’s wife saw that a lovely Pit Bull named Hickory was about to be euthanized in a New York shelter, she had to let Mario know.
He was making a delivery in California when he received her text; Hickory’s face reminded him of King — so he had to help! Time was running out, so Mario called Animal Care Centers of NYC. He told the staff at the shelter that he was coming to save Hickory and to not put him down.
The shelter was over 2,800 miles away, but that wasn’t about to stop Mario. He altered his delivery route and, soon enough, he was on his way!
As Mario made his way to New York, he hoped and prayed the shelter would continue to hold the Hickory until he arrived.
Thankfully, the Animal Care Center of New York was able to keep Hickory for a few more days while they waited for Mario. As soon as he arrived at the shelter, they showed him to where Hickory was staying…and the two bonded immediately.
When Hickory was out of his cage, he covered Mario in loving kisses, happily cuddling his new dad. It’s hard to believe that this affectionate boy was going to be euthanized.
“I couldn’t save [King], but I’m gonna save a couple for him,” Mario told The Dodo. It’s good there are people out there like Mario who see that Pit Bulls are actually wonderful dogs that can be incredibly loving and intelligent.
Once Mario signed the adoption papers and the staff said goodbye to Hickory, it was time to get back on the road.
They both climbed into Mario’s long-haul truck and started their journey back to Georgia, where Mario and his family lived.
On the drive home to Georgia, Hickory and Mario got to know each other. By the time they arrived , they were inseparable!
Hickory fit right in with the family, including his two new Pit Bull brothers, Cooper and Angel.
The new kid seemed shy at first, but in just a few minutes, he was running with the pups and playing his heart out.
Mario and Hickory got along so well, they started going on deliveries together. Not only are they making incredible memories along the way, but for each mile they travel, Mario is donating one cent to cover adoption fees for other at-risk dogs at shelters.
It’s wonderful that they are raising money for other dogs that could be put down, but Hickory is also having the time of his life! “He’s seeing so many things he’s never experienced before,” Rodriguez said via The Dodo. “We’ve stopped off places all the time, like to the park, or to farms out west where he’s met some horses. He’s barked at cows on our way down the highways … He’s really having fun.”
When Mario retires, he plans to start a Pit Bull rescue; for now, though, he and his new best friend will raise money while they are enjoying each other’s company!