My name is Kristal Martin and I’m Abbey’s mom. Me, Abbey, and my boyfriend (Alberto Umana) all live in Maryland…but were visiting Mississippi so I could meet my Alberto’s family for the first time. After a long 15-hour car ride we finally arrived at a family member’s house and opened the car doors so we could all stretch. Within minutes, his cousin’s dogs (although friendly), came running after Abbey and spooked her. She was chased off the property and into the woods. We spent the next three days (Memorial Day weekend) searching for our baby girl, posting signs, going door to door at all the neighbors houses, contacting local police, etc. We were in complete shock, devastated, and running out of hope when the first night she went missing, the sheriff told us “a pit bull? If you haven’t found her by now, they (pit bull fighters) probably got her. If they can’t “turn” her or breed her, they’ll kill her or use her for bait.” Our hearts literally shattered and we feared for the worst.
Completely devastated and heartbroken, we had to leave Mississippi to drive back home to Maryland – but WITHOUT Abbey. Up until this point there had been no sightings of her and we feared she had ended up in the wrong hands. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I would never quit on her…so I decided to take to facebook and try to ask for help – we were NOT going to give up on finding Abbey. A woman named Cindy Bailey Herron, a complete stranger, reached out to me and offered her help in the search for Abbey. She started contacting local rescue groups (Cheshire Abbey, CARA and ARF) and immediately started spreading the word. Within days…Abbey’s story had gone viral on the internet and we were getting help from people all around the world. Phone calls and emails starting pouring in with people wanting to assist us in any way they could. We were overwhelmed with love and support by not only friends and family…but complete strangers.
When we had left Mississippi there had been no sightings…but on our way back home to Maryland we started receiving word that people had seen her, she was ALIVE and still on the loose. We finally had HOPE…but were in a race against the clock to rescue her. Over the next few days more and more rescuers were flocking to the area of her “sightings” and trying to help.
We were contacted by a professional dog tracker, Elizabeth Mask, who offered her time/services and we came up with a plan to go back down to Mississippi with a bunch of my clothing, her bedding, and we were going to camp out in the woods in hopes she would come to me – it was obvious she stayed in the area and was looking for her mommy! We were already on the road headed back down there when we got a phone call that she had been rescued!!! Trechia Bouge and Cindy Cobb, two “city clickers” from over an hour away, had spent all day looking for Abbey and camped out. A thunderstorm rolled thru, and Abbey was desperate. The ladies saw her…Abbey walked towards them…then jumped into their car! They took her to the local animal hospital, All About Animals, where they treated her for multiple minor lacerations and puncture wounds. She was a little beat up, but was going to be OK! We were overwhelmed with happiness and words still can’t express the gratitude we have for everyone who was involved in her search!
We had the help of Mississippi residents, the facebook community (both nationwide and worldwide), the local police and even the MAYOR of Crystal Springs (Sally Garland) had spent days looking for her! Local news stations covered Abbey’s story and reunion, and she even ended up on the front page of the newspaper! To this day we are still in complete awe of the love and support of so many! This search/rescue wasn’t just ONE person…it took an army of THOUSANDS and we were able to save Abbey and bring her back home.
We want to share Abbey’s story, educate and advocate for the pit bull breed, and work to put an END of illegal dog fighting. This is only the beginning of a long road ahead of us…but we WILL get there and change WILL come. We are thankful for all the support we have received and love of so many – it is amazing what the human race can accomplish when they come together in LOVE! Who would have thought, a PIT BULL, would have brought together so many. I’ve made lifelong friends out of this potentially tragic situation, and the compassion of so many has changed so many lives, for the better.