A Valentine on Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2011  

Was it a sign how DJ Jazzy Jazz came into my life?

By Alyson

I had preconceived misconceptions about pit bulls in 2005.

While working as a vet assistant I encountered my first one, Trix, an emaciated little thing that came in for treatment from a local shelter. I cringe when I think about walking her to the back cages; I was constantly looking over my shoulder to see if she would “do something.” Do what, you ask? Up to that point all I had heard about the breed was that they were vicious and could not be trusted.

At that point in my life, I was just as ignorant as anyone about pit bulls. In fact, I think I was the worst.

But I fell in love with this poor, sweet helpless girl. Trix showed me that they are some of the most loving dogs in the world.

She had a huge obstruction that the shelter would not pay to have removed. The plan was for her to be put down.

Because my heart had changed, I wouldn’t stand for it. I begged the vet I worked for to take custody of her and to perform the surgery.

Trix made a full recovery and although I longed to take her myself, I was renting and struggling to make a life for myself in my mid-20s. Trix was adopted by another vet tech.

Since then, I’ve had many opportunities to help save the lives of dogs – all of them pits and pit mixes.

How I met Jasmine

In early 2009 I was finally in a position to buy a condo, which meant no breed restrictions. I went to the local shelter on Valentine’s Day looking to pick a young male who’d been a stray, and was therefore least likely to be adopted.

I wandered the kennels waiting for a dog who “called out” to me. That was a joke because they all did, in their own way.

There were the energetic jumpers, the soulful eyed ones and the tail-waggers.

Then, I noticed one last room.

This room was for animals who had gotten mildly sick in the shelter. There was a sign stating that you should only visit this room on your way out, so as to not contaminate the healthy dogs. I walked in and met my new partner in crime, DJ Jazzy Jazz, lying there in Cage Two.

She looked at me with the saddest hazel eyes you have ever seen. Her gaze was just so human, with old-soul eyes that looked to have seen much more than they should have. She came up to the door of the cage and press her entire body against it. I began to pet her through the cage (a huge shelter no-no), and she sighed.

DJ Jazzy Jazz had been left tied outside of the shelter in late January. She’d obviously had a litter of puppies. Her demeanor was soft and kind – notes from staff members called her a “great girl,” “love bug” and “big sweetheart.”

The kennel staff had nicknamed her “Valentine” due to the heart-shaped spot on her head. Did I believe in signs? Today was Valentine’s Day.

No one else had offered to adopt her. I put my name down immediately. I waited to see if the bank would approve my offer on the short sale condo I envisioned as my new home.

Everything came together in March. I brought my new cohort into my new digs – after painting the place first. (Her wagging tail would have made that impossible!) I felt so blessed.

Jazz wasn’t a chewer or a digger. I didn’t want to crate her and never have had reason to do so.

She had some pulling issues, but once we found Martingale collars she settled down. All she wants to do is love, love, love 24 hours a day.

She jumps up in anyone’s lap as if she weighs 10 pounds instead of 55. And she spends most of her life in her own little spot in heaven-on-earth – getting petted by her grandmom.

Jazz loves to play and swim and run with me; and in time, has learned not to steer me into a tree while going after squirrels. She is sweet and calm and above all else, desperately wanting to please everyone. People think that shelter pit bulls are lucky to get a second chance, and they are.

But we, their people, are far luckier to have such amazing companions to enrich our lives.

Photos courtesy of AlexsandraG

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