Bella Pittman, Dog Enthusiast

February 10, 2017

Some people go to Miami strictly for the sun, warm weather, and beaches. As much as Bella Pittman ‘17 enjoys all of that, her favorite thing about Miami is rescuing dogs from the shelters.

“My mom and I pull, or adopt, dogs and cats offline or straight from the shelters,” Pittman said. “We have rescued some animals with problems like heartworm and ringworm. After we pull them, the animals come back to Iowa where we foster them until we find an adopter.”

Help 4 Rescues, Pittman’s family’s business, has been fostering since late February of 2014. The first time Pittman went down to Miami, she went to see her family. While they were there, her mom took her to visit a shelter that wasn’t very well taken care of.

“They had two wings of dogs — the main wing and the west wing. I went back there [the west wing] and saw the dogs. They were in dirty kennels, didn’t have beds, and were on concrete floors. It was very hot and because whatever weather was outside, was inside,” Pittman said. “I noticed an ugly little pitbull mix huddled in the corner by herself. At the time, her name was Rose. I started talking to her, and then I patted the floor to get her to come over. Eventually she got up and started jumping and wagging her tail! Later we found out that if she had stayed one more day at the shelter she would have been euthanized. We rescued her and took her home.”

Pittman typically uses Rescue Me or Facebook to advertise new dogs for local and non local people to see. Pittman and her mom usually don’t know the adopters, as they mainly meet adopters via online.

“My mom finds dogs online, and other rescuers in Miami pull them out of the shelter. On our last day in Miami, we pick the dogs up. Sometimes, we end up going to the shelter and find other dogs we weren’t planning on taking home. Or, we have some transporters that will pull the dogs from the shelter and they drive up to meet us somewhere nearby.”

Help 4 Rescues accepts any dog breed, but they consistently foster pitbulls and other mixed breeds. Pittman mentions her mom frequently ends up adopting a dog or two, depending on how many they care for at a time.

“We’re not rescuing any animals right now because we are at full capacity and very busy, meaning every kennel is full except for one. We keep as many as we can, it all depends on whether keep a dog.”

Pittman says she and her mom spend about 5-6 hours minimum a day taking care of their animals between feeding, cleaning, and playing.

“We spend as much time as we can [taking care of the animals]. As much work as it is, it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. The ability to work with such incredible animals, save them from bad lives and even death is just thrilling. I love what I do.

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