What a Difference a Dog Makes

October 13, 2011  

A stray dog motivates his mother to become a vet assistant and helps change perceptions of pit bull type dogs

By Bonnie Carter

I first met my pit bull Vlad on Feb. 3, 2011. I was working for a shelter, and I was the person who cleaned the stray dog room.

My co-worker popped his head in to let me know that he had picked up a stray dog for me, and a big head popped around his leg and eyeballed me. I knew that second that eventually he would be my dog. He was underweight and scared, and it seemed obvious that someone had not treated him the way he deserved. I felt badly for him.

Sticking your face in the face of a stray dog is something that you should never do, but I grabbed his face with my hands and kissed him on the nose. It was like that kiss caused something to snap in him, and suddenly he was all over me licking my face.

I couldn’t take him home at the time because I was living in an apartment that did not allow dogs. So Vlad spent the next two months living at the shelter.

I spent time in his kennel with him every day, even after he moved into our adoption dog room. I would cry at night because I knew I needed to have him in my life, but was unable to take him home.

When my lease at my apartment was close to up, I moved back in with my parents. I asked them if I could get this dog I fell in love with at the shelter.

My mom asked, “What kind of dog is it?”

“A pit bull,” I said.

What my mom said to me next upset me very much because I knew it was just another negative stereotype.

“I don’t want a mean dog in my house,” she said.

I got defensive because I knew that not only was he a great dog, but that pit bulls in general are great dogs.

I convinced her to let me bring him home, so the next day I talked to my boss and he agreed to let me adopt him. I was so happy!

That night I cried not because I wanted him so badly, but because I was so happy I finally got him.

It did not take my mom any time at all to see what a great dog he is, and she even admits she was wrong about the breed. My sister also lives with us, and she has two girls, ages 9 and 13, who come to visit every other weekend. She was nervous about me bringing a pit bull into the house because of her kids and all the negative stories that she has heard. It turns out Vlad is great with kids! He loves to give the girls kisses, and when they go upstairs to play in their room he stays close to make sure they are OK. He is always right there if he hears someone yell out because they’re startled. He wants to make sure that everything is all right.

One time my sister fell down the stairs, and he would not leave her side for an hour – everywhere she went, he followed just in case something happened.

Since he entered our lives more and more of my family has met him, and they all love him.

I have also taken him to dog parks so that people can see how friendly the breed really is, plus he loves to play with other dogs and to run around, play in the water and just all around be happy!

I schedule play dates with my friends’ dogs (even the ones whose owners didn’t like pits). He always does well and oftentimes is better behaved then their dogs who don’t have stereotypes. They often admit that they didn’t think it would go so well, and that it seems that the dogs really like each other and get along great.

Before I got Vlad I was struggling with depression. I was in an online program to get my degree as a vet assistant, but I had pretty much lost all interest in studying. After I got him I knew that I needed to finish so I could get a good job at a vet’s office and have money to spoil him rotten!

I am proud to say that I have finished and gotten my diploma. I have also got a good job at a vet’s clinic, which enables me to be more hands on with his veterinary care since he has allergies.

Vlad is that something I was missing in my life. Now that I have him I feel complete. I would give anything for my dog and for his breed.

After having him in my home for only about three months, it is already clear to me that I do not want to own any other breed. He is the love of my life, and I do not know where I would be without him. Every night when we go to bed we cuddle, even when he decides to be a pillow hog! He has changed my life, and I try to use him to change other people’s perception of this amazing breed.

« « Yet Another Pit Bull Breaks Stereotypes | Mack Studies for the CGC – Part III » »


12 Responses to “What a Difference a Dog Makes”
  1. CarrieMcCormick says:

    awesome so touching I got choked up… I would love to do a write up on Vlad and your experience on my examiner page… always looking for positive changing people’s minds types of pibble stories… if u don’t mind then you can get in touch with me on facebook or via my email:dales0308@aol.com – carrie mccormick…

  2. justbren says:

    OMG! VLad is absolutely adorable! Thank you for rescuing him and giving him a wonderful home. I’m glad your mother was able to get passed the “stereotype” and really get to know him! Awesome story!



  3. AngelaSmithFusca says:

    he is gorgeous!! So glad u 2 found each other 😉 Pits R the BEST!!!!!!!

  4. AmylynneBerryBlake says:

    what a handsome boy!! thanks for sharing your story! One of my grand-dogs is a pit/black lab mix named Roofus that I helped my son adopt from a shelter near the college attends. He has been a great source of building maturity and responsibility in my son, he’ll probably never get any other kind of dog!

  5. ferricoxide says:

    I still remember the first Christmas we went to visit my folks with our new bullie. My dad caught one look of the dog (we’d told them we’d adopted a mutt from the shelter – didn’t really occur to us to mention the bullie part). I was concerned he was gonna tell us to take him home – a 2hr drive away. But, he gave our bullie-boy a chance and quickly fell in love with him. But then, pretty much anyone that spent more than five minutes with Puckett fell in love with him.

  6. blazer says:

    He is SO adorable! Congrats!

  7. nursy50 says:

    I feel like I just read a love story!! You’ve done a great job of teaching people regarding pitties. Congrats on finishing your diploma. I really applaud you pulling yourself up. Keep up the good work and can you sneak a kiss in for me!!!

  8. JimandchristineTaylor says:

    Bonnie, everything you say about the breed is absolutely true. We found that out when we adopted our Brandi from the local shelter. She is the doggie love of our lives, and I will never own a different breed.

  9. BJE41 says:

    Thank you for your beautiful story. We need more like this one to get the word out about what wonderful dogs Pit Bulls can be. Enjoy your new baby.

  10. NuriaRodriguez says:

    What a wonderful story and what a handsome boy!