One vote can make all the difference—in a life or in a contest. Such is the case with Best Bully Sticks most recent 1-Day Animal Rescue/Shelter Giveaway. We seem to always have very close races, but this time around it was particularly close with only 1 vote difference separating the winning group.

In a way, BBS thinks that’s reminiscent of the nature of rescuing animals: it only takes 1 “vote” of confidence, care and courage by a willing participant to make a difference. In the case of our winners, Carolina Care Bullies, taking a chance on the “bully” breeds in North Carolina was all it took to make a difference. In today’s Rescue Spotlight we’ll take a look at CCB—their story and their successes—through the eyes of the organization’s president, Amanda Liston.

When & Why did you start?

We started in August 2009 after Terry [King] and I rescued and adopted our third pit bull, Spiderman. There was so much public support when we rescued him, and we noticed what a huge difference we could make in the lives of other pit bulls. There just wasn’t a lot of activity geared towards getting pit bulls out of shelters and into good homes in our local area.

What’s different about your rescue?

We are different because of the prejudice we face everyday due to the breed we fell in love with. Our foster parents need to work so much harder to present a great image of their dog because of the negative image the media presents. We have to really form a tight support system so we don’t become discouraged or burnt out from the stereotypes we are constantly fighting.

What is the greatest success story or “win” that your rescue has had?

My favorite success story happened during our first year. We got a call about a dog abandoned in a house when the owner was incarcerated. We were very naive and at the time did not know what we had agreed to. Another volunteer and I went to the house and realized we were in a very unsafe part of town. But we were already there, and the dog was locked inside the house, alone, and it was a hot May afternoon. We found an open window and built a makeshift stool, lassoed the dog through the window, and pulled him out. So many things could have gone wrong, but we were very lucky. Once we got the dog out of the house, he didn’t bark at all and was actually very friendly. He was also extremely underweight, missing fur, and covered in ticks. This was a dog that had been neglected long before his owner had left.

I brought him home with me, and we asked our supporters to name him and donate toward his care. That was the week the show Lost went off the air and our fans chose “Sawyer” – it really fit him right away. We cleaned him up, and Sawyer let us do anything we wanted to him. He never flinched for the bath, tick removal, ear cleaning or nail trim. He seemed to be so happy that someone was just touching him. It had only been a few hours, but he had already done us in with his big brown eyes and his gentle nature.

Soon we found him a foster home, and it happened to be at the coast. We accept foster homes all over NC, and we figured, what a better treat for Sawyer? His foster mom was wonderful. He got to go visit a farm and run around with the horses and his foster sister whom he loved right away. He of course got to go to the beach and play in the sand like any good beach dog. And this dog knew how to SMILE, and in every photo of him after his rescue, he was grinning ear to ear. After about 6 months in foster care, he developed a tumor on his leg that had to be removed, and he went through that like a trooper as well. By the time his one year anniversary in foster care rolled around, his foster agreed, he was officially home. When I’m having a bad day, I always think of Sawyer, and I know what we struggle with every day is entirely worth it.

What’s the most rewarding thing about working at your rescue?

I really enjoy hearing back from the families that adopt our dogs and telling us how happy they are, or how much their dog has changed their friend’s perceptions of pit bulls. We’ve had alumni become Canine Good Citizens, therapy dogs, or just their children’s best friends. When that happens I know that what we are doing is so much bigger than us. We are really changing the future for this breed, and hopefully the next generation will stop stereotyping dogs based on their appearance. BSL can rip families apart; it’s nice to see when we can make a family whole.

 What can people do to help your rescue?

Please “Like” our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/carebullies. We really would not be as successful without our FB fan base. People can learn so much about us on Facebook; the dogs we have for adoption, events we have coming up, our biggest needs at the moment.

Congratulations to Carolina Care Bullies for winning Best Bully Sticks 1-Day Animal Rescue/Shelter Giveaway! CCB is receiving over $500 worth of BBS product! Learn more about CCB on their website or on CCB’s Facebook page. Find out more about BBS’s featured rescues in our Rescue Spotlight series.