On June 10, 2011, 25 dogs were seized in Milwaukee’s largest dog fighting bust to date. One of the dogs, “Renato” – the Latin word for rebirth, is believed to have been used as a breeding dog. He spent 22 months at MADACC on hold as evidence for the criminal trial. During that time he had little interaction with people, other than to be fed or have his kennel cleaned.
The Brew City Bully Club rescued Renato on April 1, 2013 and took him into their facility in Pewaukee to begin his true rebirth. For 14 months they worked to rehabilitate him in hopes he would be able to live in a family environment. They spent many hours desensitizing Renato to sudden movements and teaching him the value of human touch. Under their care he learned what it truly meant to be a dog and be loved.
I learned about the Brew City Bully Club after adopting a Pit Bull/Boxer Mix from the Wisconsin Humane Society in Saukville. I became an avid BCBC follower on Facebook and one day, there he was … a dorky, big-headed white dog with a black and white spotted nose and huge perky ears. Renato was ready for adoption.
Renato really captured my heart, but my family wasn’t ready to take on the responsibility of a second dog. I watched the BCBC ‘adopt Renato’ posts hoping someone would step forward. Months passed with no interested parties and Renato continued to call to me. We finally decided in early May of 2014 that we wanted to meet him and see if he would be a good fit for our family.
We made the trip to the rescue facility, and it was love at first sight for all of us. This crazy-looking dog was a giant lover who just wanted to snuggle and kiss everyone. We made plans for him to meet our dog and moved forward with the adoption process.
On Monday, June 30, 2014, Renato came home to live with us FOREVER!
It has been 2 years since we brought Renato into our family, and he is as happy as can be. He spends his time playing and causing trouble with his doggy sister, Brulee’, and is a whiz at figuring out new ways to chew through our backyard fence (tempted by bunnies).
While most dogs won’t pass up the opportunity for a snack, Renato attacks food, wolfing it down with a vengeance. I suspect that behavior is the ghost of his past still haunting him. After the disappearance of an entire loaf of bread, we learned it’s not safe to leave food unattended on the counter. Antics like that have earned him the nickname ‘Renaughty’.
He sleeps curled up with my son at night and is my daughter’s ‘shadow man’ showing an understanding of her emotions I can’t even grasp. He gives everyone he meets a giant grin and then proceeds to cover them in his signature drool (envision scenes from the movie “Turner and Hooch”). We spend countless hours snuggling him, kissing his over-sized head and giving him more treats than any dog should be allowed. He loves to have his tummy and ears rubbed.
Renato has remained active with the Brew City Bully Club family and serves as poster dog and ambassador for their annual “Ride to End Dog Fighting”. He also loves to make appearances at other BCBC functions throughout the year and is currently campaigning for the upcoming presidential election – although we’re not sure if he’s a Repuplican or a Dogmocrat. He has his own Facebook page (follow ‘Renato Enchilada’) where he stays in touch with all of his fans, old and new, posting photos and updates on his latest shenanigans.
We suspect Renato is 10 years old, but there is no way to know for sure. By becoming his family, we’ve accepted all that his is and isn’t, and we’ve promised to fill his remaining life with love. For all of the care and affection we’ve shown him, Renato has given us so much more. He continues to show us every day just how wonderful a rescue with a horrific past can become when given the chance to just be a dog!
Story and photos courtesy of Andrea Mlejnek