A Very Sweet 16 For A Special Pit Bull

September 29th, 2010 by Dan

This past Saturday we gathered with Sarge the Pit Bull and his “parents” along with 100 or so human and canine friends in a Philadelphia park to celebrate an amazing 16 years. While celebrating such a long canine life is an occasion itself, for Sarge it’s proof that no amount of cruelty could change who he was – a dog that was meant for a better life than the one he was born into. In September, 2008 he and 30 other dogs were pulled by the Pennsylvania SPCA from an alleged dog fighting operation in South Philadelphia. That story was featured on Animal Planet’s “Animal Cops: Philadelphia” (you can even catch a glimpse of Sarge being carried from a building during the episode.)

When most people rescue a dog, they’re told what a fulfilling experience it will be. When Kim Wolf, a social worker, adopted Sarge in February 2009, they began working together to fulfill the lives of others – both 2 and 4 legged. Sarge became a Certified Therapy Dog with Pals For Life, a non-profit that provides pet therapy to elderly, handicapped, or mentally challenged individuals. He began visiting classrooms in Philadelphia Public Schools, educating children about animal cruelty and humane education and the proper care of animals. In May 2010 Sarge was recognized for this outstanding service by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and received the “Humane Educator Of The Year Award.” We were there that rainy day to see Sarge honored by an enthusiastic crowd. Never busy enough, in August of this year Sarge and Kim started “The Sarge Fund” in conjunction with PAWS to provide low-cost veterinary care in neighborhoods where it’s needed. With funding from The Animal Farm Foundation, The Sarge Fund is also able to provide low cost spays and neuters for Philadelphia Pit Bulls, free microchips and will give owners leashes and collars if they’re needed for their dogs.

Sarge and Kim have touched countless lives in a very short time and Sarge’s birthday was a day to acknowledge his rescuers as well as the contributions of this elderbull!

The party itself was a laid back BBQ. Guests mingled, sniffed and enjoyed vegan treats provided by The Peace Advocacy Network and Whole Foods. Rescue Chocolate came all the way from Brooklyn to sell their amazing goodies (seriously, I ate a Peanut Butter Pit Bull bar, savoring it over 2 days – this stuff is ridiculously good. I am still thinking about it). All profits that day went to The Sarge Fund. There were adorable dogs available for adoption and Ilene Wellner, owner of Dog Gone Walking, even made t-shirts to honor the birthday boy (with all proceeds going to the Sarge Fund)!

Sarge took the whole event in stride, as he takes everything in life! As the afternoon played out, the crowd gathered around to listen as Kim presented a series of awards to individuals and organizations for their commitment to animal issues and welfare.


Sarge gets a kiss from Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Barbara Paul who prosecuted Sarge’s former
owner for numerous charges of animal cruelty.

At 16 (or 112 in dog years) Sarge has an active life volunteering and has the ability to do what many people can’t. He breaks down a multitude of stereotypes: he’s a rescue, he’s a Pit Bull, he’s elderly, he was abused; now look at all he’s accomplished and the immense amount of good he’s brought to so many communities and individuals. Sarge may not have rushed into a house to save his owners (in fact, he doesn’t rush at all), but he truly is a heroic dog.


Reef poses with the birthday boy!


Check out a few of our photos of Sarge’s Sweet 16!


One guest wore a flower.


Playtime! (notice the tongue!)


A Witchy Pitty celebrated Halloween a bit early.


Indigo the Pit Bull was rescued from an abuse case. He now uses a wheelchair to get around.


Sarge and his “parents.”





Posted in Dogs, Pit Bulls, Rescue | | Top Of Page

17 Responses to “A Very Sweet 16 For A Special Pit Bull”

  1. Wanda Says:

    Sarge does all pit bulls proud!!

  2. Meredeth Says:

    Sarge and Kim are truly an inspiring duo. We were so unhappy we couldn’t make the party.

  3. Kim Says:

    What a wonderful and beautiful story. This has truly been a happy ending yet, I could not hold back from shedding tears thinking about what came before and the fact that there are still dogs out there suffering the same abuse that Sarge and all those other gorgeous creatures suffered. In any event, this story is an inspiration and Sarge is a remarkable dog. Happy Birthday Sarge and I hope you will be around many more years to come!

  4. Theresa Daley Says:

    What a great article honoring Sarge! Thank you for reiterating the message of how great pit bulls are and how notable it is that Sarge has accomplished what he has in such a short time in his new life!

  5. Jenny Weeks Says:

    Happy Sweet 16, Sarge…you’re an incredible dog…with an incredible spirit and the most wonderful lesson to teach so many humans about pit bulls, about dogs and about the will to survive…

    You began my day with tears in my eyes and joy in my heart. Both of my dogs are rescues…Scully was almost dead from starvation and was chained to a fence. He looked like one of the starving dogs with protruding ribs covered thinly in skin and Dovi was a 3 mo. old pup thrown out on the cold city streets…10 and 11 years…my senior babies.

    Thank you Sarge and thank you to your wonderful Forever Parents. ^..^ ‘

  6. Laura Coffey Says:

    What a wonderful story! All of my dogs are rescues (one is a pittie used as a bait dog in fight rings in South Carolina) and I am so happy to see articles like this that celebrate what fantastic ambassadors pit bulls can be to their name and to showcase wonderful people who care about these amazing animals.

    Great work and Happy Belated Sarge!!

  7. Nancy Says:

    Sarge’s story makes me cry with joy and happiness every time I see him on my Facebook page, which is every day! That’s a lot of happy tears because of Sarge, his siblings and his parents.

    If every single companion animal household was like the Wolf-Stringer family’s, just imagine how amazing the world would be. I will keep fighting the good fight with my two pibble boys because I know that this breed (or breed combo, more specifically) deserves to exist without prejudice just like any other. Dogs are individuals and it’s time we recognized that and looked at them as such. Sarge is the perfect example of this and proves it daily.

    Happy Birthday Sargie! You are one IncrediDog!

  8. Jennifer Lisacek Says:

    Way to go Sarge!!! You are seriously one of my heroes!! I love you!!

  9. Jeff @ Pawbites Says:

    That dog was really amazing. For 16 years, I can’t believe that this dog is still strong than ever. It’s good that his “parents” who have taken good care of him have shown great love for him. My dog Spike is now 10 years old, and I hope he will live stronger too because I notice that he’s sick until now.

    For Sarge, I can say that he’s truly incredible and made a good example out there with the other dogs. :)

  10. Nikoli Says:

    Sarge is not a pit bull!! He lacks the jaw muscles which define the pit bull breeds. His stature and ear-cropping may help him appear to be a pit, but even that is way-off. With those bowed legs and short nose, he is more likely an english bulldog crossed with a dog of normal stature, in this case I would guess chocolate lab. He doesn’t have even as much jaw mass as 1/2 breed pits. Look at the musculature on top of his head and at his cheeks. It is similar to a lab, not a pit. Sorry dude, you’re a cool dog but not a very good ambassador for pits.

  11. Kim Wolf Says:

    Sarge was labeled a pit bull by the shelter and that’s what most people assume when they see him. Fortunately we don’t live in an area with breed-discriminatory legislation, but we have been turned down from certain insurance companies, doggie day cares, and therapy dog programs because they have labeled Sarge as a pit bull.

    It’s important to note that you cannot identify a dog’s breed based on physical appearance alone (for more info, visit: http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/canines-issues/breed-identification/). Sarge’s jaw muscles, ears, legs, nose, etc don’t tell us anything conclusive about his genetic makeup.

    Nikoli, I can tell you that we ran a DNA test to see what breed or mix of breed Sarge is and the results indicated that there’s not a trace of English Bulldog or Labrador in him. I only share this to emphasize that a dog’s physical appearance alone can be very, very deceiving when it comes to making breed identifications.

    But even when you have a dog’s DNA, that information still does not tell you much about how that dog will behave as an individual dog. There is so much variation within purebred dogs and even more so with mixed breed dogs.

    Sarge is Sarge, as far as I’m concerned. To be honest, I don’t like the term “breed ambassador” because it’s not about the breed anyway. But since he’s already been labeled as a pit bull, I’m proud of the work he’s done to dispel fears and challenges myths about dogs who have also been labeled as pit bulls.

  12. louanne studer Says:

    I wish everyone would consider adopting a rescue – im my experience they are often the most loving grateful loyal pets around – please check out your local shelter before buying a pet elsewhere

  13. louanne studer Says:

    adoption – rescue – help end the suffering of dogs who are already here and waiting for a home

  14. louanne studer Says:

    if you get a rescue dog who already is microchipped make sure you double check that the number you are given matches the number that comes up when your vet scans your pet – mistakes can be made and if your pet is lost he may be difficult to track down

  15. louanne studer Says:

    we need tougher penalties against those who use fighting dogs – write your local politicians to demand change

  16. louanne studer Says:

    we need tougher laws to punish those who are cruel to animals – especially dog fighting – it is evil

  17. louanne studer Says:

    i have only had rescue pets they are the best

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