Mike and Anita Mandis are in love. The husband and wife are crazy about each other, of course, but they also adore Moo and Chew Chew Charlie, two rescued pit bulls.
Thedogs have brought so much joy into their lives that they are opening up their house and property in Sparks on Oct. 1 for a fundraiser that will benefit animal rescue efforts.
"Both of ourdogs would be dead now if we hadn't adopted them," said Mike Mandis as he and Moo, who has lived with his new owners since July, played tug-of-way with a dog toy. Charlie, adopted by the Mandises five years ago, stretched out on a cushion and slept.
"Moo had been through so much, but he snuggled right up to me his first night here. Charlie has so many scars and teeth marks from being used as a sparring partner in dog fights that he still wakes up with night terrors," Mandis said. "Somehow, I think they know we've saved them."
The fundraiser, Rock-n-Rescue, features live music, food, beer wine, raffles and a silent auction from 2 to 6 p.m. Guests park at nearby Butler Volunteer Fire Department and are shuttled to the party where they'll also get a chance to see Mandis' huge collection of rock 'n' roll memorabilia.
Music is by the classic rock band Slant 6, whose vocalist is involved in pit bull rescue and arranged for Moo to find a new home with the Mandises.
Kathy Soul of White Hall is a foster parent for dogs waiting to be adopted and also runs the Baltimore Pit Bull Project. It offers free spay and neuter services to pit bulls in the city.
"There are a tremendous number of dogs being euthanized in our shelters, using our tax money to kill them, instead of offering birth control," she said.
Soul took in Moo — named for his black and white cow-like markings — his mother and five other puppies earlier this year after they were abandoned in Cumberland, Md. Four died from parvovirus, but Soul found homes for Moo and the rest.
Unfortunately, Moo's adopted family neglected him and when he became ill, they gave him to a Baltimore shelter. The shelter personnel recognized him and called Soul just before he was scheduled to be put to sleep.
Soul then posted Moo's story and photos on Facebook where Mike Mandis came across it.
"We weren't even planning on getting another dog," he said. "But now we can't imagine life without him."
Mandis, who owns Alliance Mortgage Funding in Hunt Valley, was so impressed with Soul's efforts that he offered to host a fundraiser. Tickets are $50 and are being sold in advance. Proceeds will benefit Charm City Animal Rescue and the Baltimore Pit Bull Project.
For details, go to http://www.rocknrescue.net or call Mandis at 410-683-1500.