The Vecchio’s Foster Story

By Jordan & Mike Vecchio

We are not sure who said it first, but it’s true. When you fall in love with one pitbull, you fall in love with all pitbulls. Our love for pitbulls has shaped us in so many ways. And every new dog brings more joy.

For Mike, his love for pitbulls started long ago and grew with him over the years. In 2007, Mike’s house was feeling empty and quiet. He adopted a handsome guy, Beau, who would have been overlooked. Beau proved to be the boost Mike needed.

A couple of years after Mike fell in love with Beau, he fell in love with me. Early on, Mike educated me about what it means to love pitbulls. At the time, I was mom to a 11-year-old Westie named Madeline. Within months we were married and blending our families. We did everything by the book with introductions, feeding separately, walking together, and so on. Beau and Madeline must have known what was going on and were rooting for us because they immediately loved each other and made the transition easy. For the next few years, the love in the household grew. As a family, we went on short road trips to the mountains, spent days at the lake, and went on “adventure walks” through the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield trails. There was so much doggie love. So much so that we knew we wanted to add a third dog to the family. We were up for the challenge. And we knew we wanted it to be a pitbull.

The pitbull gods must have heard we were asking for a challenge because right on time, we were introduced to a rambunctious little girl who needed a home. We brought the new little sister home and named her Sorella (Sorella means “sister” in Italian.) Beau and Madeline immediately welcomed their little Sorella into their home and loved her to bits. Her puppy antics brought out the playfulness in them again. Eventually, though, Beau’s face was getting greyer and Madeline’s eyesight was deteriorating. We knew that our time with them was limited. By this time, Beau was around 11 years old, and Madeline was 16 years old. They had seen it all, and, as it goes, both eventually developed cancer. In their own time and in their own way, each dog let us know that it was time for them to leave this life and go to rest. So, as sad as it was each time, we had to let Beau and Madeline go, one right after the other, just 6 weeks apart. Now, we lovingly refer to them as the “OG’s”.

Don’t worry, Sorella didn’t let anyone stay sad for long. She suddenly became the center of all our attention and the receiver of all our affection. She went with us everywhere, and everywhere she went people loved her and told her she’s pretty. She was well-trained, well-behaved, and just too easy. Sorella proved that she was ready for a house-mate, and, lucky for her, we were up for the challenge. Mike was already following Jason and FTTF, and one day a cute blue boy with floppy ears and puppy dog eyes named Parker grabbed his attention. Again, the pitbull gods must have heard us say we were up for a challenge.

Jordan, Sorella & Parker

It was in November 2016 Parker first came to our house. The connection was instant, with us and with his potential new sister. Mike walked him (along with Sorella and Iris), and Sorella and Parker played like crazy dogs in the backyard all day. Once again, we instantly fell in love with this pitbull. Parker’s foster parents felt a little sad to see him go. And, honestly, they were a little surprised that Parker had taken to his new family so quickly because, as we soon found out, Parker is a unique kind of guy with peculiar challenges. The next several months were dedicated to integrating Parker more fully into our home. Let’s just say that Parker provided us the opportunity to learn how much we are willing to do to love ALL pitbulls, even the tough ones. We fed him by hand for the first six months. We learned that, generally, he is introverted and does not like meeting new people. And we learned that he will do just about anything for a carrot stick. He is a handful to say the least, but he loves to snuggle with his sister, lay at my feet while I work at my desk, and greet Mike after a long day at work with a wiggly butt. And, together, Parker and Sorella alert the household to every delivery at the front door and every squirrel in the backyard. From the very beginning and still today, Sorella and Parker love each other just like how Beau and Madeline had loved each other.

At the end of May 2018, we noticed a cute little boy who was at Fulton County Animal Services and was on the euthanasia list for the third time. The staff was advocating for him to find a home. They said he was a “rockstar” who got along well with the other dogs, and they desperately wanted to see this sweetheart have another chance at life. So, Mike and Jason headed down to Atlanta for this forlorn pitbull’s Freedom Ride. We named him “Chiron” after a comet that travels around Saturn. We’re very grateful the pitbull gods designated Chiron to be our first foster pup. As we write this, he is in standard-procedure quarantine separate from our other dogs. But, he is exceptionally affectionate, gentle, and sweet-spirited with us. He anxiously awaits the day he can meet his foster brother and sister. We’re sure they will fall in love with him.

We continue to admire Jason and his dedicated and enthusiastic staff for their limitless efforts to save the forlorn pitbulls. He leads the rescue with his whole heart, and that attitude permeates the work. We are so glad we found FTTF and have the opportunity to be more involved in the pitbull lovers’ world. We’re volunteers, adopters, and fosters…bring it on! After all, when you fall in love with one pitbull you fall in love with all pitbulls. Even, and especially, the forlorn.

Mike & Parker
Adopt-a-Bull Chiron
Parker & Sorella

The Cardoso Zoo

By Pamela Cardoso

Until about 9 years ago, I was indifferent to “pitbulls”. That all changed when I met Jason Flatt. At that time, Jason recently founded Friends to the Forlorn and was bringing his newly-rescued dogs to the vet office where I worked. Many dogs came in, but the one who really touched my heart was Quinn.


Pam & Quinny

Quinn was a true “fighting dog”. Highly dog aggressive and shut down to the world, he would cower in his kennel at the vet hospital where he was in boarding. The slightest noise, touch, or tennis ball was just too much for Quinn to handle. After months of building trust, he began to emerge from his shell. He and I would become the best of friends. We would frequently go for walks or hang out in the yard at the Pitbull Palace, where he later went to live. Those tennis balls, that just months before were too scary, became one of his favorite toys. He even gradually began to make a doggie friend: his roommate, Gerrie. This highly dog aggressive, terrified fighting dog was transforming before my very eyes.

I was brought to tears the day I witnessed Quinn interact with another dog outside of his kennel. I was walking him and began to step aside as Jason was walking nearby with Gerrie. Jason called out, “No, stay. Watch this!” Worried but intrigued, I watched as Gerrie, this petite little pittie girl, not only walked straight up to Quinn…but play pounced to him. No aggression from Quinn, just a tail wag and a smile.

To be a part of his transformation was amazing and eye opening. Unfortunately, Quinn passed a few years ago after fighting a hard fight against babesia (a tick-borne infection common in fighting dogs). I was given the honor of giving him in death what I couldn’t in life – a forever home. He remains with us along with all of our other pets who have passed.


Pam at the Pitbull Palace with Adopt-a-Bull Stella

While I was falling in love with Quinn, along came a small, mangy, stinky, smiley girl. She lived in the kennel next to Quinn at the vet hospital. We named her Charlie Girl. I instantly fell in love. The timing was not right for us to take her, but oh how I wanted her. The mange cleared and she was adopted, but a few months later I got a call from Jason. Charlie Girl was coming back to FTTF and had nowhere to go. The circumstances had changed at home and my husband, Tony, reluctantly agreed to foster her. He proceeded to sleep with one eye open as she slept next to his head that first night. He had fallen victim to the media hype and was petrified of her.

It didn’t take long for Tony to realize the media had not been telling the truth and, just a few days later, it was him who said she wasn’t ever leaving our house. She fit and she was home. To this day, Charlie Girl continues to be an amazing, sweet, loving girl who goes everywhere with us. She became our first pitbull foster fail.

It was a few years before we decided to foster again. I spent a good bit of time with the Forlorn Family and all of the dogs who would come and go through the rescue. As my involvement with FTTF progressed, Tony admittedly wanted to join me. We soon discovered we both shared a passion for these dogs and for fostering.

Titan was our second foster and the beginning of the “Cardoso Zoo” (our loving nickname for our ever growing pack). A sickly pup from a bad cruelty case, he joined us in 2013. It was hard letting him go; a mixture of both happiness and sadness. The array of emotion we experienced was so worth watching a pup get his forever home.


Renewing vows with Charlie & Austin

A couple more came and went. Enter a shy 8-week-old pup named Austin. While awaiting a forever home, Tony and Austin developed a strong bond. After a couple of failed attempts at a forever home, we discovered the failures occurred because he has already found his forever home: ours. And, just like Charlie Girl had years before, he fit. Foster fail number two had officially joined the “Cardoso Zoo”. A few more years and a few more pups came and went; each with different personalities and different needs. Each made their own impact on our hearts. Everything was going well with our fostering adventure. Little did we know what was coming next.

About two and a half years ago, two more fosters joined the group: Mio, an 11-week-old “bite dog”, and Fe, a broken 8-month-old pup. We had no intention of keeping these guys as they didn’t get along with our crew. We felt they deserved more due to the crate-and-rotate routine we had to adhere to. We won’t even mention the fact Fe and I had a love/hate relationship. Over the course of their tenure at the “Cardoso Zoo”, Mio and Fe developed a very strong bond. I became Fe’s “person” and both Tony and I fell head over heels for Mio’s goofiness. We developed a system that worked and all pups were happy and content. We made the decision, a couple months ago, that Mio and Fe were home as well. So, they became FTTF foster fails three AND four. Currently, the Zoo is complete, but we know sometime in the future there will be another in need who will join the loving chaos that is the Cardoso Zoo.


Pam with FTTF Alumni Track

Each and every one of the foster dogs who have come to our home have taught us something. Yes, it was hard to let Titan, Brock, Cid, Ortiz, Harry, Track, Cheeto, Draco, TJ, Komodo, Merle, “Voodoo”, Watson, and Whitey go. Without a doubt. Yet, to watch them happy and loved in their respective forever homes is amazing. I am so thankful for a husband who shares my passion, the friends and family we have gained through Friends to the Forlorn, and the four dogs – Charlie, Austin, Fe, and Mio – who now complete our home, and our family. At the end of the day, I’m not sure who gets more out of it: us or the dogs.

It has and continues to be an amazing ride with FTTF, watching it grow into what it is today. I’m proud to be a part of the Forlorn Family. Not only do we raise awareness and find home for some amazing creatures, but we are an invaluable asset to the local community.