The dedicated folks at Bark Nation’s Pitness Protection shelter are used to thinking outside the box when it comes to saving dogs. They specialize in rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming Michigan’s most vulnerable and exploited pups: Pit Bull-type dogs that have survived abuse, neglect, and the trauma of dogfighting.
Oatmeal (aka Oaty, aka Oats, aka Oats M’Goats) came into their lives in May of 2020 when she was seized from a suspected dogfighting property along with six other American Pit Bull Terriers. She would become one of Bark Nation’s most challenging and adored rescues.
Oatmeal As Evidence
At the 14,000 square-foot Pitness Protection shelter, dogs like Oaty receive the love and care they need to overcome their past and become beloved pets. It is also a safe, confidential location for those awaiting justice as the courts decide the fates of their abusers. Sadly, dogs rescued from abuse are considered “evidence” and cannot be rehomed until their cases are resolved.
Like many dogs forced into fighting, Oatmeal is reactive around other dogs. Her caretakers determined that she would have to be adopted into a home with no other pets when the time came. This would make finding the perfect placement all the more challenging.
The Royal Treatment
Luckily, Oaty was blissfully unaware of these issues. She was too busy enjoying all the toys, treats, and special attention she received from the volunteers. Madame Oatmeal quickly established herself as Her Royal Highness 1st Queen of Bark Nation, demanding all the benefits that accompany such a title.
Rather than eat from a lowly dog bowl, Oaty demanded to be hand-fed twice a day by one of her “minions” (her word, not ours!) She also used her royal bark to express her displeasure at spending time in a kennel. As a result, Oaty wrangled all the extra attention, snacks, and playtimes befitting of a queen.
Noble beast that she is, Queen Oaty paid her staff back with lots of love and laughter. A Facebook post describes her time at Pitness Protection:
“It didn’t take long for Oaty to become a volunteer favorite. She proved to love every person she met, she loved to snuggle, and could entertain herself with toys and bones, tossing them to herself and rolling around on them. It was so heartwarming to see a dog being able to do things a dog is supposed to do, and probably had never had the opportunity to do before.”
A Home Fit For A Queen
As expected, finding Oaty a forever home proved to be challenging. In November 2021, her friends began racking their brains for out-of-the-box solutions. They thought she could make a wonderful firehouse dog. She’d have all the firefighters to herself as the only pet, plus 24-hour companionship. It seemed like the perfect solution, so crew member Janice emailed hundreds of firehouses across the state of Michigan.
Sadly, that option didn’t pan out, but it did spark another idea. Pitness Protection volunteer Cheryl works as an EMT and suggested contacting ambulance dispatch centers.
“After hours and hours Googling and cold calling (again, all Janice), we found an ambulance call center that was open to the idea of having a dog,” Oaty’s Facebook saga reads. “Their facility was staffed 24/7, located in an industrial area so there were no neighbors nearby, and they wanted to take Oaty on a trial adoption!”
A Life Of Luxury (And Some Service)
Her Royal Highness made a wonderful impression, so her new friends at LifeLine Ambulance decided to make the adoption official! While she’ll miss her champions at Bark Nation, she now has a whole new team of heroes to love and inspire.
When she isn’t napping on the couch, watching TV, or roaming the massive building, Oaty occasionally sees fit to offer a few supportive snuggles to her brave companions.
After loving and caring for Oatmeal for nearly two years, saying goodbye was understandably difficult for her Bark Nation BFFs, but they are delighted to have found her a home where she can thrive.
And her LifeLine family is happy with the arrangement, too. But don’t take our word for it; check out what her new colleagues had to say:
“She has truly been a blessing for all of us.. I am so happy she has a forever home. She is so spoiled and is now a couch/chair/ lap dog!!” – Katrina Hanosh
“And now she is Her Royal Highness, Oats McGoats. She’s settled in so nicely here!” – Kristin Perkins
“She is a great girl! Loves all the crews!” – Michael Anthony
Oatmeal has found her forever home, but several Bark Nation survivors are still searching for theirs. Consider adopting your new best friend.