Hi, from author Tom Frye. Many of you, 1,500 so far, have read this first chapter of Kody Connick’s new book, Wild Hearts. We have received dozens of comments and remarks regarding the book, some of them very postitive while others have been negative and downright obnoxious. I have accepted them all to give readers a chance to see the controversy that surrounds these great dogs known as Pitbulls.
20 years ago, when Dobermans were rumored to be such fierce dogs, I adopted a female dobie. Bummerwas the sweetest dog and nothing more than a big baby. Unfortunately, my neighbor at the time didn’t think she deserved to live so he threw poisoned meat over my fence, and my foster son and I were left stunned by Bummer’s terrible death. I had an autopsy performed on Bummer and the vet found traces of strychnine in her system. I called both LPD and Animal Control, but they could do nothing as they needed certain proof that my neighbor had poisoned her.
So I know firsthand what kind of prejudice and hatred is shown to certain breeds of dogs, and I was impressed when Kody wanted to give a voice to Pitbulls who suffered this same kind of treatment. Besides, it’s the people who raise them, not the dog or the breed.
We are into the 4th printing of the book in its third week and we have orders from 7 different states, with interviews from several rescue networks and we are listed on at least 40 sites pertaining to Pitbulls.
Here is the 1st chapter and a little more:
There I stood in a puddle of blood, and through blurred vision I looked at the toughest opponent in my life.
My owner, Big J, shouted, “Go get him, Killer! Be the King you were meant to be tonight! Tear his heart out!”
The next thing I knew, I was head-butted by Shadow, then felt his sharp teeth graze my neck, then my shoulder, then slide down and clamp onto my left foreleg. I yelped it hurt so bad.
I was then fighting back, biting and chomping on Shadow’s neck. I got a good hold, too. I tasted blood. I tasted madness, and then I tasted sorrow as Vince used a prod stick on Shadow and forced him to back away into his corner of the ring. I then watched as some big man took the three-month-old pup Bandit by the scruff of his neck and toss him into Shadow’s corner.
Poor little Bandit didn’t stand a chance. Shadow lunged and clamped his massive jaws down hard on the pup’s neck and sent Bandit flying up and over his head.
The crowd went wild as Bandit spun head over paws, then landed in a crumpled, bloody heap in the middle of the ring.
Shadow was now prepared to take me out. His blood was up. His rage was red-hot, and he as came charging across the ring, I wondered if poor little Bandit was dead . . .
’ll start from the beginning. My name is King. I’m a red-tip Pitbull, and my owner uses me to fight. Ever since I was a pup I fought. I even fought and killed my own brothers. In this environment, it’s win or die, and I fight to win.
Imagine this: You’re hungry, scared, and cold, walking around with 30 pounds of steel on your back. I knew when it was fight-time because Big J would starve me for days and make me fight puppies to get ready for the real challenge.
Did I want to fight?
No, but I had to.
Every fight-night, Big J would walk me into an arena to face another dog. There were people all around screaming. The smell of blood in the air. There were dark red stains of fallen dogs on the mat. The look in the others dog’s eyes was cold. The fights were quick. If you were lucky. Biting and slashing. Blood and fur flying in the air. And simply to entertain the crowd.
You had to be quick and strong to take the other dog down.
I was both, and on fight-night, I lunged up and bit the other dog’s neck, then I locked my jaws on him and swung my head around until there was no life left in the dog. Big J would walk over and pick me up by the scruff of my neck, and that’s when I knew the fight was over. I had won once again.
Big J would take me back to my kennel and drop a little food in my dish. He’d then say, “Look, you made me more money. I can’t believe a stupid mutt like you could bring in money! Glad I didn’t shoot you.”
I knew what he would do to me if I lost. He would take me out back and shoot me just like he did all the others who lost. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I lost.
Heck, I shouldn’t even be alive now, for when I was just a pup, Big J was going to use me for a “sparing” dog. He put me up against Rex, a big black Pitbull. Rex bit me once in the leg and once in the head. So I bit him back right in the neck, and that’s all it took to take down Rex. He left me two scars, one which looked like a lighting bolt down the calf of my back leg, and one on my head, which looked like a crown which is where I get the name King.
Big J had several other dogs. I never fought these dogs but I often talked to the older Doberman, Bullet. Bullet didn’t do so good in his last fight. He won but barely, and I knew Big J was going to shoot him soon.
One night, Bullet told me, “Never give up, no matter what, because soon you won’t have to fight anymore.”
I said, “There is no such thing as living without fighting.”
But Bullet said, “No, we were meant to live and run free no matter what breed of dog we are.”
That night, Bullet turned on Big J and bit him in the arm. That was the last time I ever saw Bullet. He was my only friend, and he was gone from my life just that quick.
Another day, I fought a red-tip Pitbull named Jade.
This fight, I didn’t know if I could go through with it, not because it was a girl, but because it was my daughter. When they brought us face to face what I saw before me wasn’t my daughter but a dog who was hooked up on the “juice” as Big J called it. It made normal calm dogs hyper and more aggressive. She lunged at me and bit my shoulder, and to my amazement she had no clue who I was.
I said, “Jade, do you know who I am?”
And she said, “Yeah, another opponent!”
If she saw it that way, so should I. I knew she was in pain so I grabbed her by the back of the neck and squeezed my jaws as hard as I could, and with the snap of her neck, my heart snap-ped, too.
Big J said, “You are a beast, killing your own daughter!”
The next couple of nights went by fast because watching Big J’s new dog Shadow was intriguing. I’ve never seen a dog so big and so fast. I knew if I were to fight him I would lose. Night after night, he killed dogs instantly, most of them had no clue what was going on.
One night I will never forget, is the night when Big J made Outlaw fight Shadow. This fight was the fastest fight I’ve ever seen and the most gruesome. Poor Outlaw, a German shepherd, was dead only two minutes in, and Shadow still bit and tore apart his lifeless body. I thought the sight of that couldn’t have brought anybody joy, but the monsters making us fight cheered and screamed.
While walking to the ring, I heard the low chilling voice of Shadow saying, “Go get him, Killer!”
Me a killer?
It was the painful truth, and I would show it in the match tonight. The match turned out like every other. We fought and I won. For the first time in my life, I looked at my reflection and saw what every body else saw: A bloody, scarred up beast.
For the next few days, I thought about what Bullet said, “We’re supposed to be free and we’re not meant to fight.”
What did he mean be free?
With Shadow around, I fought less and less but I got worked harder than ever.
Instead of 30 pounds I carried 80 or 90. I ate less, too. Just like I suspected, Big J got another dog but this one wasn’t like the others. This one was scared and small.
Big J though injected her with “juice” before every fight and she didn’t look like the same dog during a fight. She was a small dog who fought dogs my size and still won even though she bled a lot and had very bad wounds.
One night I talked to her and she said her name was Star, and over the next couple of weeks and fights, we both grew stronger physically but were weaker mentally, and wondered if anyone out there cared that we were dying.
I knew Star didn’t want to fight and she was fast, the fastest I’ve seen and she always talked about running away. I never thought she actually would, but one morning I heard a loud crash and then Big J screamed, “Get that stupid mutt!”
After that I never saw Star in the ring or in the yard. I often wondered if she had escaped and if she was still alive.
The training was rigorous and brutal. Big J got a pole which he shocked us with, and a running machine. We worked more and more every night and fought more and more. Shadow was bigger than ever, and Big J started to inject him with stuff. It made Shadow looked more like a vicious timber wolf.
That night, I had dream about Bullet and Shadow fighting, and Bullet barked and Shadow trembled with fear, but right when Bullet was about to bite Shadow and win, I woke up.
To my surprise, Big J was giving me food so I ate it, and later that day when Big J was letting me train in the yard I saw something in the ground so I dug it up. It was a dog, but it was dead. I wondered who it was and why it was back there. I thought about it longer and I noticed it could be Star dead in the yard.
Then the next night, I wasn’t the same. I was more sad, more aggressive, and felt that I could win in any fight. That night I awoke to a conversation between Big J and Vince.
Vince always had dark rod with a red tip at the end in his mouth. It looked as if it was on fire because every so often smoke filtered from the red light and his mouth. He also brought Shadow to Big J and a lot of puppies.
Big J and Vince were talking about a big fight going down in a week, and Big J was entering it with me and Shadow both.
Vince had with him a big shepherd named Ace. He was enormous and strong. Stronger than Shadow. Ace and Shadow didn’t really get along with each other. Every time they locked eyes, they would exchange snarls and growls.
Ace and I, though, we got along well. He would talk to me often about how he was planning to escape. I asked him how he knew about this, and he said, “I talked to a dog once named Bullet, and he told me he once was free but was taken in by someone and trained to fight.”
After he said that I knew what Bullet wanted to tell me and why he was always so sad. I then knew what I had to do to get out of this place.
I knew I had to redeem myself so I worked myself up to be the strongest I could. I was getting closer and closer to being even stronger than I was when I was on the “juice.”
Big J and Vince couldn’t believe their eyes, a little red tip Pitbull with a ton of scares and sadness in his eyes. The smal-lest dog in his litter turned out to be one of the strongest one in Big J’s whole game. I knew what I was to do, and that was to rise up and beat all the dogs in the massacre we call a sport.
I didn’t think much of Vince after he brought the big bag of green leaves that they call pot. He said something about jail and he was going away for a long time if they couldn’t find money.
So after about a week or so, J sold Shadow to some big guy named Mike. I’ve seen him once or twice before. He always smelled like blood. After Shadow left, Vince came back and he was mad at Big J for selling Shadow. After that I didn’t see Vince for a long time.
Big J got a new dog but this one was a puppy. Only about three months of age. The pup liked me for some reason. He told me I was like a father he never had. I explained to him what was going on with these fights, and he didn’t like it, but I then told him he would be shot if he refused to fight. So I told him to fight and keep on living. He’s the only one to remind me of Jade and what those monsters did to her. He also reminded me of Star, and that was my drive to win.
Big J took me and the pup, Bandit, for a car ride. He took us to a old house and before he let us out he put a muzzle on our mouths and a spiked collar around our necks. I knew this wouldn’t end up good but I didn’t know what would occur.
We walked in the house and saw five big guys, one with a gun. Big J and the guys started talking and one of the guys pulled out a big box, and in it was a gun. J gave the men money and got the gun. I knew this wouldn’t be good.
The next day, Big J said something about a bust. Big J loaded our cages and us into a big truck and drove off.
“King? King, you there?” peeped Bandit.
“Yes, why what’s wrong?” I said back to him.
“Where are we going?” asked Bandit.
“I’m really not sure, but it will all be okay,” I said.
But really I didn’t know if it was okay I was as scared as Bandit right now.
For the next couple of hours we were stuck in the little cages and couldn’t see a thing and it was getting hard to breathe.
I finally was wondering if it was my time if this is how so many friends died before or if this was my punishment for fighting. After all it wasn’t my fault, it was Big J’s. He had control and he brought us up that way, but I knew how other people thought of me as a blood thirsty mutt, but I wasn’t. I was a dog looking to be loved by his owner. But you see how that was working out for me? This love I yearned for was making me fight to death, making me fight for food. If this was love, then I must be one of the most loved dog in the whole world!
More than forty minutes passed and I wondered if this was the end. It was hard to breathe and I still couldn’t see. My mind was racing. Was I finally going see Star and Bullet? After death will I be free? Is that what Bullet was taking about when he said being free?
After fifty minutes I lost consciousness and suddenly found myself in a house. Bullet walked out from the shadows and said, “You’ve improved my friend.”
In amazement, I muttered, “Where am I? Are we free?”
For the first time Bullet laughed and said, “I am and you will be soon enough, my friend.”
After he said that, a big light flashed and Big J was standing there with the back of the truck open. “Good, you mutts are still alive.”
When my eyes opened a little more I looked around and I saw Bandit and Ace both laying next to me in small cages. Big J lifted us out of the truck and onto a board with wheels and drug us into another house. This one was cold and dark. Big J also brought over all of the equipment and placed it in the biggest room. He let us walk around the house and then left.
Bandit, Ace, and I usually ran on the treadmills or running machines. Night after night passed and Big J passed through once in a while to train us more and set up the ring and mat.
I looked at the mat and had memories of how much blood was mine and how much blood I had spilled across the mat. The dream passed through my mind over and over and I was trying to figure out what Bullet meant by, not yet. How did he know? Was that really him or just an illusion?
Not long after we moved to a different location, the fights started again.
Bandit was one good fighter and always had blood dripping down his face. One night Bandit passed me when I was walking to the ring and he said, “Good luck, Friend.”
Friend? I thought. How can I be his friend? He knows nothing of what I’ve done or can do. That made me wonder, how can we be friends? Did he really mean it? Or are they just words? But I didn’t have time for that. I was on my way to fight again.