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Unforgettable: Big Daddy's Big Family

Lauren Derise/City of Greenbelt Animal Control

Big Daddy was an intact pit bull in a county where pit bulls are banned. He was left tied to the shelter’s gate with abscessed teeth, a huge tumor on his side, and his paw pads were raw and bleeding.

The shelter and community came together to raise the funds for Big D’s surgeries. Unfortunately, he was later diagnosed with lymphoma, and his prognosis was poor. The staff and community banded together to make his last year on Earth awesome. He had a rocking birthday party where 200 guests were treated to beer, cake, and food. He was featured by every local publication and had daily visitors.

Not being able to place a 10-year-old dying pit very easily, our staff did what any staff would do—they adopted him! He enjoyed a heated blanket on a top-notch mattress with fellow officer Susie Hall. He even came with the entire staff to the tattoo parlor when everyone got a tattoo of his paw print. He eventually lost his battle with lymphoma, but not before changing an entire community’s opinion of a breed often given a bad rap. Included is his birthday portrait. He donned his bow tie for the entire party. We are planning to have his memorial service in March, around the anniversary of his birthday bash, as our community would like an event to say goodbye to their beloved pit bull.

− Lauren Derise, Animal control officer,
Greenbelt, Md.

Send us the stories and pictures of your unforgettable animals. They can be animals you’ve rescued, helped, adopted, or just shots of happy or interesting moments with animals you’ve encountered in your work. Go to to share your stories!

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