“They kept asking me, ‘Where’s the doggie, Daddy?’” he said. “I thought, ‘I can’t keep doing this.’ I can’t do it to my kids. I can’t do it to the dog.”
Pickett left the world of dogfighting permanently. Later, he volunteered for End Dogfighting in Chicago after hearing about the program from a friend. Eventually, the HSUS hired him as a full-time outreach worker.
Pickett said of the youths he counsels, “They don’t have anyone like me to show them that there’s more to their dog than dogfighting,” he said. The free classes in agility, obedience and conformation help the youths bond with their dogs as pets.
“And they value the dogs more,” said Pickett, who takes the youths to amateur agility events as spectators. “It’s like their eyes open, and they go, ‘Wow, look what you can teach a dog to do.’ Then, once they train their own dog, it’s like he goes to a different level.”