Home » Charity » Charity News » Gremlin’s Story: From Heartbreak To Healing

Gremlin’s Story: From Heartbreak To Healing

Gremlin and Rowdy to the Rescue

Meet Gremlin, the winner of the 2012 LIFE+DOG Cover Dog contest who received more than 10,000 votes from our fans and followers. Gremlin is a former Bait Dog that was bought, along with her mother, by an undercover police officer investigating a fighting ring in the Washington DC area. Once she was removed from the ring she was taken to be held in the shelter as evidence in the Cruelty Case in which the abusers that harmed her and dozens of other dogs were never convicted or punished. Once the case was over, Gremlin was scheduled to be euthanized. Thanks to the group Odessa Second Chance Rescue and Rehabilitation, who pulled her from the shelter and brought her into their program, she was able to meet a human who would show her to trust again, her new father Chris Hughes. Chris, who had started Rowdy to the Rescue was no stranger to seeing this type of abuse and immediately started to work with Gremlin on rehabilitation from her injuries. Gremlin faced many challenges at the beginning of her new journey. Both of her back legs had been broken, purposefully, and because of the way they had set after the injury it was very difficult for her to walk. Gremlin’s vocal chords had also been ruptured by what was said to have been caused by the end of a baseball bat being forcibly jammed down her throat, rendering her silent. With the help of Chris, Gremlin endured almost two years of Hydro-Therapy and rehabilitation to be able to walk normally without any pain. This was a major milestone for Chris and everyone who had been a part of Gremlin’s therapy as many thought she would need a wheelchair to be able to walk.

Once she began walking and was able to climb stairs normally, Chris started training her to become a therapy dog and she got her Canine Good Citizen’s certification and became a Registered Therapy Dog through Therapy Dogs Inc. Gremlin started a group of Pit Bull Therapy Dogs called Thera-pits which includes five Pit Bulls and a Bull Mastiff that are all registered Therapy dogs. They visit schools throughout Cleveland and work with children with special needs through a reading program. They also visit with emotionally distressed students, letting them sit and pet them to help bring down their stress levels. Gremlin also is a Pet Pal at one of the longest running dog therapy programs in the Country, at Rainbow Babies and Children Hospital.

Gremlin’s story amazes everyone she meets, changing the minds of many who feared her just because of her breed. To overcome her situation and become a therapy dog for children says a lot for the capabilities of the breed, but mostly about how strong she really is. Gremlin’s mission is to travel the country and expose the nation to the truths of dog fighting and to show that a little love goes a long way.


About Rowdy to the Rescue:

Rowdy to the Rescue was founded by Chris Hughes in the beginning of 2009 in Washington D.C. His first dog was a Golden Retriever named Rowdy and when he started the rescue he named it after his best friend. Rowdy to the Rescue is comprised of volunteers and animal enthusiasts.


Rowdy to the Rescue is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit organization of volunteer animal enthusiasts who recognize the need to educate the public about animal overpopulation, with the goal of ending overpopulation using animal friendly techniques, and to rescue companion animals from high kill shelters providing them with carefully selected “fur”ever homes. Rowdy to the Rescue will rehabilitate, spay/neuter, and provide any necessary medical attention to all companion animals.


How you can help:

Sponsorship is needed to help Rowdy to the Rescue give the dogs in their care everything they need to thrive and get the best “fur”ever home possible. There are three levels of sponsorship and each one is equally important.


Level 1:

A Level 1 sponsorship gives a dog the basic necessities needed to make them feel just like they are at home. Level 1 ensures they have food, a nice warm bed, and treats and toys so they feel they are loved.

A one-time donation of $50

Level 2:

A Level 2 sponsorship helps Rowdy to the Rescue give a dog the proper medical treatment needed to be completely healthy and 100% ready for their “fur”ever home. Level 2 takes care of all the necessary shots to be completely up to date with vaccinations, Spay/Neuter if necessary, and any “pull fees” that the shelter charges.

A one-time donation of $100

Level 3:

A Level 3 sponsorship helps Rowdy to the Rescue give a dog both the basic necessities needed to make them feel at home and the proper medical treatment needed to be 100% ready for their “fur”ever home.

A one time donation of $150



Rowdy to the Rescue is always looking for good foster homes! Fostering is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to help save a dog’s life. When you foster, all they ask is that you show the dog the love and attention they deserve. There is no monetary donation needed, just LOTS OF LOVE! Every time you foster a dog it makes it possible to save another dog’s life. If you would like to foster please email Chris Hughes at rowdy2therescue@gmail.com.

Find Gremlin on Facebook and Twitter and learn more about Rowdy to the Rescue at www.rowdytotherescue.com.


HooplaHa, a new video website seeking to connect the world through positive storytelling, has produced a video highlighting Gremlin’s struggles and her incredible work in the community. Executive Director Rob Hess recognized the power of Gremlin’s heartwarming story and knew that it had to be shared. You can find Gremlin’s video—and share your own inspirational stories after you view it—at www.hooplaha.com/heartbreak-to-healing-2/.

Nature's Miracle