Thanks to a Craigslist post gone viral, Mama Jade is getting another shot at life.
People who know Christianna Willis, 23, know she loves animals and could never turn away a stray. So when the stray pit bull Mama Jade wandered up to her door in Nashville, Tenn., her roommate immediately called Willis asking what to do.
“Put her in a crate, I’ll be right there,” Willis told her roommate.
Willis, who works as a receptionist at PetMed Veterinary Hospital in Antioch, Tenn., didn’t think twice about taking her in.
“They just find me,” she told ABC News.
Upon seeing Mama Jade for the first time, Willis knew she was not in good shape.
“I took off her collar and saw rope marks around her neck, bite marks all around her nuzzle and she was really banged up,” Willis said. “There was blood in the crate from pressure wounds on her elbows that bust open every time she lies down.”
Willis made fast food runs to feed the dog and stayed up with her all night. Willis realized the dog had been severely abused and had been involved in dog fighting. At first, Willis didn’t have much hope for the dog. If she made it through the night, figured Willis, she would take the dog to work in the morning and there she would be euthanized.
However, after bringing Mama Jade to work’s care, she asked her boss to put it off until the following day. She was so attached to the dog already she thought if they put her down that night she wouldn’t have even been able to drive herself home.
That night, Willis sat down to her computer, checked Craigslist as she had been doing to see if anyone had posted a missing dog post, and wrote a post of her own.
She titled her post “Your pit bull has found me and I’m not giving her back,” because she wanted people to click on it and see the reason why she was keeping Mama Jade, she said. Willis was so angered by the inhumane treatment Mama Jade had received, she decided to let whoever hurt the dog know that Mama Jade would never be in their hands ever again. And that the way she was treated was not right.
“I never ever thought it would get this big, ever,” Willis said.
Now, Mama Jade is experiencing love from all over the world after Willis’s post on Craigslist — which has since been flagged and taken off Craigslist — went viral.
Addressing Mama Jade’s abuser head-on, Willis wrote in her post, “If I ever find out who did this to the dog we all lovingly know as ‘Mama Jade,’ I honestly don’t know what I would I do. But it would probably involve contacting your mother and informing her of what a monster she managed to raise.”
The Craigslist post inspired Willis to create a Facebook page in support of Mama Jade. After all, she received thousands of emails of support from people all over the world. In only three days, the Facebook page has already received more than 100,000 likes and counting.
As for Mama Jade, she is currently in the care of PetMed and has been undergoing treatment for a variety of health issues. Many people have come forward to offer their help, Willis said, and the hospital will be going through the various options and picking the ones that are best for her.
Additionally, Willis said she plans to set up a fund over the weekend for donations towards Mama Jade’s care. She plans on posting the link through her Facebook page. Any additional donations that come in once Mama Jade’s health care costs are covered will go to PetMed’s need fund, which is a fund that helps families that cannot afford their pet’s care.
Jean Harrison, founder and coordinator of Big Fluffy Dog Rescue, helped take care of Mama Jade for a few days. She warns Mama Jade’s situation is not unique.
“It’s great she’s getting an incredible amount of attention, but she’s not even the worse one we’ve seen this week,” Harrison said.
Big Fluffy Dog Rescue has seen three severe cases in the past two weeks that make Mama Jade’s condition seem tame, she added. The lack of government oversight, lack of anti-animal cruelty laws and poor regulation contributes to the prevalence of these animal abuse cases in the South and other rural areas.
Willis said she hopes Mama Jade’s story will help to eliminate the stigma surrounding pit bulls.
“Mama Jade has this chance to shed light on a situation that isn’t really understood,” Willis said. “I strongly believe people are the problem and you can make any dog vicious.”
Howard Nachamie, a New York veterinarian who did not treat Mama Jade, told ABC News that although it’s hard to train an old dog new tricks, pit bulls can be sweet and gentle. The first four to six months of a dog’s life are the formative years. After that, how they respond to treatment depends on how old the dog is at the time, how aggressive they are and how they were trained, he said.
Willis said the public perception of using pit bulls in music videos and dressing them in spiked collars just perpetuates the stigma.
“Even though we don’t know the extent of what happened to her, she still loves people unconditionally.” Willis said. “She’s a little afraid when you touch her, she gets still like a statue when you pet her, because she’s so used to people not touching her or at least not in a friendly manner.”
Through it all, Willis says, Mama Jade never lost her spirit. Willis too has been touched. In an update she posted on Craigslist, she writes, “The response has been overwhelming and has restored a lot of my faith in humanity.”