Micaela, Rocky and Omega

May 18, 2011  

All types of people from all walks of life love pit bulls

Name: Micaela Myers
Age: 36
Occupation: Editor-in-Chief, Laguna Beach Magazine

I became a pit bull person by accident. I got married in 2004, and the next year we bought a condo and watched the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina unfold on television. Being an animal lover and especially a dog lover, the photos of dogs starving, tied to porches, stuck on roofs and, later, mass-housed in crates, were too much for me to take. I felt ready to adopt my first dog as an adult, and the footage motivated me to not wait another day. I didn’t feel the need to track down a Katrina refugee all the way out in Southern California, but just to do something for a dog in the cosmic scheme of things.

My dog growing up was a German Shepherd mix, so that’s what I wanted. My husband wanted a lab. Someone had listed Rocky as a yellow lab mix on Petfinder, and he was at the shelter just a few minutes from our house. The write-up said he was a young adult, housetrained and good with dogs and kids – all things we both wanted. But when I got there to meet him, he didn’t look like a lab – too short and stocky, a beefcake. They said he was a pit bull mix. I had never met a pit bull before. I only knew what the media told me, which, as we all know, isn’t good. But I was an associate editor for Horse Illustrated magazine at the time. We often got questions from readers containing stereotypes about horse breeds, like “I hear Arabian horses aren’t good for trail riding because they’re too skittish,” etc. We always told them to judge every horse as an individual, not by its breed. I decided to apply that same logic to Rocky, and I adopted him on the spot.

He was so happy to get out of the shelter, where he had been living for four months. He loved the car ride home, loved rolling around on our carpet, loved giving us kisses. It only took a day before I stopped worrying that he was going to “suddenly snap” and “turn on me.”

Once I fell in love with Rocky, my “mommy” instinct kicked in, and when I had two separate acquaintances say, “You should put him down before he turns on you,” I became a hard-core pit bull advocate. How could intelligent people harbor such blind hatred and prejudice? How could they judge this member of my family like that without even knowing him?

I read everything I could get my hands on about pit bulls. The more I read, the more I felt they needed my help. They are the most abused breed, the most euthanized breed in shelters, the most maligned, the most misunderstood. I started volunteering for Pit Bull Rescue San Diego, and at an adoption event in 2008, I met the sweetest little girl pit mix – so squishy and cuddly, asking for belly rubs with her big, gentle doe eyes.

We adopted Omega, and quickly saw that the 3-year-old former stray with an unknown past, a malformed hip, and buckshot mysteriously speckled in her hind end, would make an outstanding therapy dog. She’s the mellowest dog I’ve ever met. I took her through classes and got her certified with Love on a Leash. The seniors with Alzheimer’s she visits love cuddling with her, commenting on her unusual markings and watching her do her array of tricks.

What my six years with pit bulls has taught me is that they are just dogs. Are there aggressive dogs out there in the world – ones who have been bred or taught to be that way? Certainly. But all dogs, just like all horses and all people, should be judged as individuals, not by type, breed or race.

Rocky and Omega are cherished members of our family. From doing therapy work with Omega to coming home to Rocky’s happy dance, each day is enriched because of the joy they bring to our life.

Because they need me and I need them, I will forever be a pit bull person.

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12 Responses to “Micaela, Rocky and Omega”
  1. Anne says:

    This is such a heartwarming story; I’m sharing it with all my friends! Lucky dogs and lucky you, Micaela!

  2. kerbear81281 says:

    Love this!! Such a great story. I can completely relate to it, as I’m sure a lot of others can too!

  3. AngelaPeak says:

    Awesome story with a great message!!!!

  4. CharlieMurphy says:

    great job ! PBRSD is one of the things I miss most about San Diego.

  5. micaela says:

    @CharlieMurphy Thanks Charlie! PBRSD is great. I’m so glad we found Omega through them.

  6. micaela says:

    @AngelaPeak Thank you Angela!

  7. micaela says:

    @kerbear81281 Thanks! I appreciate you reading the story and posting a comment!

  8. micaela says:

    @Anne Thanks for sharing the story. We are indeed lucky to have found our pups.

  9. GemmaDavisWright says:

    I have loved Bull Terriers ever since meeting my first Staffie at the B&B I stay at to visit my autistic my son. Of course, they’re all related to Pit Bulls and they’re all wonderful dogs. I have epilepsy, and if I ever need a Seizure Alert dog then I hope I’m matched with one of these loyal, gentle giants

  10. StubbyDog says:

    @GemmaDavisWright Thanks for sharing and we are sure a pit bull will make a great therapy dog should you ever need one.

  11. GemmaDavisWright says:

    Thank you! I adore all dogs of the Pit Bull variety and believe that they are the most gentle animals on the planet.

  12. StubbyDog says:

    @GemmaDavisWright They truly are.