Pit Stops: Crossing the Country with Loren the Rescue Bully
A journalist and animal-welfare advocate exposes the brutal tragedies and prejudice inflicted upon pit bulls in this insightful travel narrative. Upon turning 40, Michelle Sathe bypassed a midlife crisis by embarking on a great American road trip—accompanied by Loren, a young rescued pit bull. The two set out to explore 29 states in 50 days for a whirlwind sampling of regional cuisine, historic landmarks, and just plain fun, including locations such as the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, New York City, and Savannah’s scenic waterfront. But along the way, they come face to face with the sad reality confronting beleaguered pit bull prejudice and the sad reality facing beleaguered “bully” breeds in America’s shelters and in places like Virginia, where Michael Vick ran a gruesome dog-fighting ring, and Pittsburgh, where bullies are routinely kept as enforcement in a dangerous underworld. Mile by mile, as the duo forge a stronger and stronger bond, the spotlight is also turned on the incredible humane workers, volunteers, and advocates across the country who work tirelessly to give bullies a second chance.
cool.” He went back in to work and I sat in the parking lot with Loren, unwrapping the sandwich which, to my surprise, was served on thick, white bread rather than a bun. The smoky aroma permeated the incredibly soft meat, which was enhanced with a spicy, vinegar-based sauce. I gave Loren a few pieces without sauce, which she gently accepted. Still, she’s no pig, like the Labs I’ve had over the years who were relentless once they smelled food. Loren waited patiently, never lowering herself to
square in the eye. “You look like one of the good ones. I can tell.” I smiled. Levon, I’m sure, was a junkie. His eyes were glazed and yellow. His clothes and shoes were dirty, his black skin deeply leathered. Levon spoke in a shuffling cadence that I could barely understand as he quickly fashioned my rose with his rough hands, explaining each step. It was beautiful, intricately wound and finished with a wispy fluorish. The cost was $5. “A special deal for you,” Levon assured me. Sure. I gave
neutral and listen to the debates, which are so well argued that if I were from another country and had never heard of Michael Vick, I would understand their point of view,” Weise said. Originally founded in 1996 to help dogs owned by the homeless population of Skid Row, Downtown Dog Rescue began to change its focus upon the gentrification of the area. Now they serve South Central, Watts, and Compton, low-income, high-minority communities where pit bulls are prevalent and dog fighting is an
patience, so I picked up takeout at the Chicken N Trout instead of eating in at a restaurant. The name intrigued me as did the customers; the woman ahead of me had a plastic Wal-Mart bag around her coiffure. I got an order of wings, mac n’ cheese, and collard greens. The chicken was KFC-level, not bad, but not great, but the mac n’ cheese was rich and satisfying and the collard greens the real deal, finished off with bits of bacon and a hint of Cajun spice. Talk about fattening, though. I
myself for the 387 miles ahead. Though it was the 4th of July, traffic was light and the sun soon came out with a vengeance. This stretch of the 5 freeway reminded me of the Great Plains; flat, dry, seemingly never-ending, with a few gas stations, hotels, and chain restaurants every 30 to 50 miles to remind you that you were still in civilization. Loren slept up front almost the whole way home, allowing me access to pat her sleek body throughout the trip. We pulled up in Valencia a little early,