Then Came Scarlet

I first met Pat Delaney at her vet’s office as we were distributing an issue of Unleash Jacksonville. “My dog, Scarlet was in that magazine,” she proudly told us.“Well, before she was MY dog!” And then Pat went on to explain how this skinny, scared, almost-euthanized mama Pit bull came into her life, and the story is absolutely fantastic. We just had to share.

See Scarlet’s previous story in the UNFORGETTABLE issue:

If you were the judging-by-the-book-by-its-cover type (which you’re obviously not) you’d never in a million years see Pat Delaney as a woman who’d have a passion for the vilified Pit bull breed. But, joke’s on you! Pat has been rescuing female pit bull puppies for the past 35 years, and she has nothing but brilliant things to say about them. Her husband was a Navy pilot and deployed many times, “I needed to feel safe in my home with three little girls. Our first was Maggi, a black and white Pit bull puppy, who we rescued at 5 weeks old. She moved many times with us and was even the Commanding Officer’s dog at NAS Jacksonville for a time! She brought us such joy for 11 years. We went on to rescue Darcy, a black fawn Pit Bull, who was with us for 12 years, and then Lily, a chocolate-and-white Pit bull. Lily brought our family years of cheerful and devoted companionship. After losing my husband of 46 years to lung cancer two years ago, then last November, my Lily passed away from liver cancer, I was shattered. I was done and never wanted to be devastated again. The house was empty. And I didn’t plan on getting another dog.”

Then came Scarlet.

At 6 years old, Scarlet was dumped in a high-kill shelter in Orange County—underweight and pregnant. She was gentle and approachable … until she delivered her babies. Under the stress of being in the shelter, and also being a new mom, she became very protective of her babies. She didn’t want anyone to get near them. Any human mother can probably understand Scarlet’s mind set, but she was labeled as aggressive and placed in isolation. She was given a couple of days “deadline” to secure a rescue or else be euthanized, along with her babies.

Poochie’s Pet Rescue worked hard to make a miracle happen. They scrambled to find a foster for Scarlet and her puppies—and did so within just hours of them being killed. “Scarlet and her puppies were fostered by my daughter Kelly’s new neighbor,” recalls Pat. They were there for several months and Scarlet was able to relax and enjoy being a mom. Kelly fell in love with a sweet dog that needed a second chance after being bred so many times.”

When they were old enough, Scarlet’s puppies went to their forever homes, but no one came for Scarlet.

“Kelly begged me to take her for a few days. My brain didn’t want another dog, but apparently, my heart did. I took Scarlet on a trial basis and she never left. I really didn’t comprehend how much I needed her, or how much she needed me.”

If you’ve ever been curious what pure and unconditional love looks like, I’d invite you to spend some time with Scarlet and Pat. During our photoshoot for this story, the thing that stood out most was the beautiful bond these two amazing ladies share. They do everything together. “Scarlet is now my constant companion. She’ll get to be the puppy for the rest of her life instead of having puppies. All she has to do now is eat and play and be loved. Scarlet is so happy all the time, from her morning walk, to sleeping on the couch to exploring her half-acre yard through her own door. She brings me so much joy and makes me smile continuously.”

It’s clear that’s all Scarlet wants for Pat as well, after the losses she’s endured. Scarlet is filling up Pat’s formerly empty house with her huge smile and her open heart.

As a long-time Pit bull advocate, Pat would like people to know several things about the breed in general. “Pit bulls are so special! They bring such amazing love and companionship. They’re very loyal, powerful, and devoted. They are majestic animals that display their strength and grace with their every move. Pit bulls are incredibly intelligent, sensitive, and aware of their surroundings. They bond and are protective of their family.”

The smile on her adorable face says it all, Scarlet is safe and she is home—she has truly found her angel. But, according to Pat, “I didn’t rescue her—she rescued me.”