April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month

Prevention of cruelty to animals is a topic near and dear to the Champaign County Humane Society and to a local couple and their dog, whose lives were forever changed in 2019.

On a cold and windy November day, a pit-mix puppy was found trapped in a partially submerged cage in Kaufman Lake in Champaign, IL.  A local science teacher, Bryant Fritz, happened to be fishing there at the time and saw this helpless dog fighting for her life.  Without a second thought for his own safety, Bryant jumped into the frigid water and brought the pup safely to shore. 

The abuse this puppy had suffered prior to her miraculous discovery was quite evident:  her hip had been broken, and her skin was covered with scars, likely from burns.  When Bryant recovered her cage, she was still caked in feces despite having been thrown into the cold water.  Upon freeing the pup, Bryant rushed her to the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital.  It was there that he gave her the name “Dory,” after the fish from the movie Finding Nemo who “just kept swimming.”

Dory's story went viral, garnering love and support from thousands of people all over the country.  Ellen DeGeneres, the voice of Dory in the movie, even invited Bryant and his wife, Krystal onto her show to share the story of the brave little pup who just kept swimming!  Dory made a full recovery after a few months and now lives happily at her forever home with Bryant, Krystal, and another adopted dog – a Newfoundland named Finn.

At the end of this month, on April 30, Dory will have been safely rescued for 910 days.  The Champaign County Humane Society would like to raise at least $910, $1 for each day that she’s been safe, to honor Dory and her family and to bring awareness to Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.  To donate, go to You can also follow Dory on her journey to help other animals: @doryfritz on Facebook and Instagram.