Dressed as a velvety black spider, a “pit bull” puppy named Kirby was crowned the “cutest” dog at the Lucas County Pit Crew’s annual costume contest Saturday.
It was a big day all the way around for Kirby, who just a month ago was found shot and bleeding in the 1600 block of Norwalk Street. Not only did Kirby win a box of dog biscuits in the costume contest, but he was formally adopted by Dr. Barb Buford and her family.
Dr. Buford, a veterinarian at Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center of Toledo, said she had been fostering Kirby and decided to adopt the brown and white pup, who is now minus a left front leg.
“He’s a great little dog. He’s got a tremendous personality, and he’s quite the trouper,” she said. “He’s been through so much in the past three weeks.”
Kirby was shot twice in the chest near the top of his front left leg, which had to be amputated. It is not known who shot the dog.
“The bullets completely shattered the bone,” said Jean Keating, executive director of the Lucas County Pit Crew, which took charge of the injured dog from the Lucas County dog warden.
The rescue group held a free rabies clinic Saturday outside PetSmart in Spring Meadows Shopping Center before gathering the 15 or so dogs of varying breeds for the Halloween-inspired costume contest.
The overall winner was a Pomeranian named Oliver who was sporting a green dinosaur costume. A white “pit bull” in a red lobster costume was named “funniest,” while a dog disguised as a lion took the “scariest” title.
“They’re all cute. What do you say?” quipped Ned Wisniewski, who served as a judge along with his son, Mitchell, and Mike Vaccaro.
The costumes included a cow, a bumblebee, a ladybug, Batman, and the perfunctory jack-o-lantern.
“It’s easier to pick a president than a dog,” Mr. Vaccaro said after the three judges conferred on the winners.
Tammy Davis of Toledo, Oliver’s owner, said she volunteers with the Pit Crew, a nonprofit that supports protection and guardianship of “pit bull”-type dogs through education, training assistance, spaying and neutering, and adoption, although so far she has not added a “pit bull” to her household of six dogs.
“I think of Oliver as my little pit bull disguised as a Pom,” she said, adding that “pit bulls” are “so sweet. They’re so misunderstood. You look at a little dog and say, ‘how sweet.’ I look at a pit bull and say the same thing.”
Even on three legs, Kirby seemed to be getting along just fine, strutting in a circle for the costume contest.
“Dogs do great” with three legs, Ms. Keating said. “I had a lab-pit mix who lost his leg at 9. He lived to be 13, and even at the end he was up the stairs at night.”