Cumberland County animal rescue rehabs “aggressive” dogs

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Janine Guido founded Speranza Animal Rescue in Mechanicsburg in 2012. The no-kill rescue helps many dogs with formerly “aggressive” reputations find new homes — and focuses on pit bulls.

Guido takes on dogs with dark pasts and rehabs them so they’re ready to find new homes.

“That’s part of the rehabilitation process, time and socializing with other dogs, people, kids, all that,” she says.

Guido understands the prejudices about certain breeds, but disagrees with them. She was bitten by one of her dogs last year; a boxer. She needed 37 stitches. The dog still lives at the rescue; no dog with a bite history will be adopted out.

“It was not the dog’s fault,” says Guido, adding that he’s a sweet animal. “I blame myself 110 percent, he was injured, I went to reach to pick him up and he reached around and got me in the face.”

She says socialization has worked for the dogs at the rescue. She takes on dogs known for aggressive behavior, including the pit bull Zeus.

He was abused by an owner in the Lancaster area and lost an eye. That person has never been found.

“He was hit over the head with a baseball bat,” says Guido. “And he lost his left eye, and all the bones on the left side of his face were crushed.”

Zeus was nearly put down because of his injuries and aggression. He was terrified of men.

Today, Guido  says he acts like a different dog.

“If you don’t socialize them, and that’s with any dog if you bring up,¬† a black lab, a chihuahua, not around kids, they don’t know,” she says.