Recovering addict’s passion for pit bulls creates unique dog rescue organization

TOTTENVILLE, Staten Island — They're two words that evoke images that are not necessarily positive: pit bull and addict.

Now, though, thanks to efforts by one man here with a story of recovery, the two are coming together, with the result being hope, redemption and companionship.

Michael Favor, 34, is the son of a veteran NYPD narcotics detective. Despite that, he ended up becoming a drug addict with an intense habit of abuse.

"I was doing like 15 bags of cocaine a day, along with alcohol," he told PIX11 News outside of his dog training facility.

"My fiancée didn’t know," he said. "I was sleeping when she was away and leaving before she’d wake up."

Two years ago, Favor successfully became clean and sober, and has stayed that way. However, for years before that, his situation demonstrated how addiction affects more than just the addict.

"I felt lied to, and began to hate him," his fiancée, Erica Mahnken, said. "But when I saw what this was becoming, I felt proud and amazed."

Mahnken was talking about the 4,000 square-foot, wooden-enclosed facility that Favor built by hand. He's a carpenter by training, but in his sobriety, he started learning how to train dogs. Mahnken did, as well.

Last spring, a friend donated an empty lot to them, which they developed, along with volunteers, who help them operate the facility also.

"Everybody gets here at an ungodly hour," said George Walsh, who's been a volunteer from the facility's inception. "And I can't tell you how much poop we pick up. And all the dogs get fed, they get loved."

Walsh is not a recovering addict, but many other volunteers are, and are also turning their lives around.

"It worked for me," said Favor, "and I'm willing to open it up to anyone who needs help."

He's also opened up a climate-controlled kennel at his facility. There now, are 14 dogs — 12 of them puppies — who were rescued from hurricane-damaged areas. More dogs, from Puerto Rico, are expected next week.

"I bring them back to life," said Favor, "and they’re all up for adoption, through No More Pain."

No More Pain is the official name of Favor's and Mahnken's charity, which is nicknamed Pit bulls and Addicts. No more pain is also how the couple, the volunteers, the dogs and adopters feel.

They're constantly accepting adoption applications. Anyone wishing to be considered to be the forever home of one of the dogs, or to become a volunteer can get more information here