A Calverton pet has gone from roaming the streets in Queens to winning a national contest.
Phil the pitbull was an emaciated stray dog found about a year ago in Flushing. Both his hips were broken.
He was taken to New York Bully Crew, a nonprofit pitbull rescue organization in East Patchogue, where he was nursed back to health.
Dawn and Paul Anderson of Calverton, whose friend had found Phil and paid for his surgery, adopted the dog soon after.
“Instead of driving by that day, she put a strange injured pitbull in her car and cared for him,” Ms. Anderson said of her friend. “It has been a long road bringing him to where he is today, but we wouldn’t change a thing.”
Ms. Anderson later submitted a photo she took of Phil on June 14, 2014, which is the day he came to live with her, to Petfinder’s “My Rescue Dog” contest.
Phil won $5,000, which will benefit New York Bully Crew.
The contest began on National Dog Day Aug. 26 and ended a month later. The winners were determined by the most shares made on social media. Out of the nearly 21,000 dogs that were entered, 16 won prizes.
Petfinder, which helps adoption organizations find homes for rescued animals, announced the winners Oct. 20.
Ms. Anderson said she’s happy New York Bully Crew’s efforts have been nationally recognized.
“They strive to change the perception of pitbulls,” she said. “They fight against BSL [breed specific legislation] and dog fighting. We chose to represent New York Bully Crew as our rescue because their mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome these most misunderstood dogs.”
New York Bully Crew office manager Nicole Verno said this is the first time one of her group’s dogs has won the contest and she said she’s excited the organization has been recognized for its hard work caring for abandoned and abused pitbulls.
“I think it’s awesome a single dog can help out a rescue this much,” she said. “He’s spread more awareness about the breed.
“Pitbulls are so forgiving and families that are hesitant to adopt a dog with a past, so to say, should understand that a lot of their past doesn’t have anything to do with their future.”