|Former St. Louis street dog, Parfait, with the rabbits of Rocky Ridge Refuge in Arkansas.|
As you can imagine, we get loads of fabulous dog images from Bark readers—handsome, adorable, funny and inspiring dogs of every stripe. But when Parfait arrived over the transom, we stopped in our tracks: Who is this recovering beauty with a harem of rabbits?
A little more than a month ago, Parfait was a feral, starving dog living on the streets of North St. Louis, a neighborhood known for dog fighting. She was found trying to keep her newborn pups warm in the cold and snow; they had already frozen to death. She was also near death, due to an infection from an embedded collar that was strangling her.
“She was originally saved by Randy Grim of Stray Rescue of St. Louis . Randy has spent many years going out daily to feed and save the suffering street dogs in his city. I admire him greatly,” says Janice Wolf of Rocky Ridge Refuge in North Central Arkansas. “I named her Parfait because she needed a sweet name to reflect her nature, especially being a Pit Bull off the streets.”
Wolf continues, “I specialize in helping animals with special needs and medical [issues], and at the holidays I always try to take on a special case for another rescue to help them out. When I learned of Parfait … I offered to bring her to my refuge.” A friend volunteered to drive her the five hours to Rocky Ridge.
“She was initially quite shy, but soon came around with the help of my other dogs,” Wolf says. “She is a young girl, no more than 18 months old. She will have no handicaps really. She does have a severe neck wound with a lot of scar tissue there, and will never be able to wear a collar. Her voice is a little funny because of it too. If I can figure a way to get the funds, I am going to see about having the vet reduce and modify the excess scar tissue to make a smoother and less restricted skin area there. Otherwise a healthy, smart girl that will be up for adoption.”
For now, Parfait is keeping company with a menagerie. She met the bunnies a few days before Wolf took the photo she sent to us. She has also cuddled with lambs and chicks. Check out more of the multi-species healing at Rocky Ridge in our slideshow .
“I don't know that there is an 'advantage' per say in having all the species together, it just kinda has to be this way here due to lack of space to do it differently!,” Wolf told us when we asked about her crazy-mixed-up soup of a refuge. “I love that the many different species do form a family and look out for each other though. For the most part it works amazingly well and some odd relationships have developed.”
She is careful to respect individual boundaries and tolerances, and she doesn't expect every animal to automatically love every other critter. Some of her rescued dogs will not safely live with fawns or lambs or chicks, due to their breed prey drive or past experiences.
Wolf, who is writing a children's book about Parfait to raise money for her refuge, told us she’s been rescuing animals since she was a child. She says, “There’s nothing better!”
Visit Rocky Ridge Refuge’s Facebook Fanpage to learn more about the refuge and to follow Parfait. Also, check out Bark’s story about Gateway Pet Guardians , a grassroots rescue group caring for the strays of East St. Louis, across the Mississippi River from where Parfait was discovered.