The 85-pound Lap Dog

September 22, 2011  

Vladamir gives love and laughs to family, cats and strangers alike

By Jennifer Woleslagle

My boyfriend and I moved to Jacksonville, Fla., last August so that I could begin law school. Shortly after moving, I got news that my family pet back home, a German Shepherd, had passed away. I was devastated. We knew we wanted to get a dog, but we wanted to get settled in first. I started browsing around on, and early one morning I saw a posting for “Tom” at animal control and protective services.

He was sitting there with a goofy smile on his face with his head tilted.

I fell in love.

I woke my boyfriend up and said, “We’re going to see this puppy!”

We got to the shelter before it was even opened because I was so excited. Once we laid eyes on him we knew he was coming home that day. I knew he was an American Bulldog mix when we got there, but when we saw him I knew he had to have some pit bull in him, too. The staff told us about his mixed bloodline, as if it would possibly discourage us. I told them that it was just another reason why we wanted him!

We chose the name Vladamir because my boyfriend and I are both big hockey fans. (Go Pens!) Lots of players are Russian, so it was a natural fit. I, of course, had to be different and switch up the spelling a bit.

The Perfect Companion

My first semester of law school was rough. Between the big change of moving so far away and the new demands academically, my stress level was through the roof. No matter how busy, how stressed, how sad I would get, Vladamir would always be right there by my side. It’s as if he knew how to behave for each moment. Sometimes he’d encourage me to get up and go for a walk. Other times he’d start acting goofy and chase his tail as if he knew I needed a laugh. But my favorite is all the naps and cuddle time we’ve had on the couch. I also suffer from severe migraines. Vladamir is usually a complete pillow and cover hog, but when I have a migraine he always shares.

It’s been interesting to see the reaction of people that have seen him since he was just a 10-pound baby that we brought home. As he’s gotten older I’ve noticed the “Aww, how cute” reactions are turning into hurrying up and walking the other way and avoiding eye contact.

Still, Vladamir is in love with everyone.

When he sees someone when we’re out, he instantly lies down and stays there until someone says, “Hi.”

After some coaxing people will pet him, see how happy he is, and then ask his breed.

I proudly say, “He’s an American Bulldog/pit bull mix!”

That always leads to a lot of, “Oh, wow! He’s so nice though!”

I use that opportunity to explain to people about this misunderstood breed and explain that just with any creature, it’s all about how you treat them. This is the dog that literally gets knocked down at the dog park because he just stands so excited to see everyone.

A Friend to All

He’s now our 85-pound lap dog. One of his favorite friends is a stray cat that catches naps under cars at our apartment complex.

He’s well behaved, too. He doesn’t bark when someone knocks on the door – instead, he runs and wags his tail so excited to see a new friend. Neighbors have told us that just seeing him crawling around always makes their day. One of the maintenance workers at our complex once said, “I don’t think you’ll ever find another dog that gives so much love.”

And it’s true. He may not be a therapy dog by certification standards, but I can’t possibly think of any better therapy than Vladamir.

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One Response to “The 85-pound Lap Dog”
  1. AdrienneClegg says:

    Thank you, another winner! We are a beautiful and diverse community of Pibble guardians.